Michael Savage had no plans to enter the UK he says, but should he want to, he won’t be allowed. Along with radical islamist preachers and a jewish extremist, the American ‘shock jock ‘ has been listed on a ‘banned list’ of sixteen people, just published by the British Home Office. It’s brought instant notoriety and untold publicity a man who was previously virtually unknown to people outside his native America. So does banning people just do more harm than good, by fanning the flames of publicity and making a new audience aware of their views?
Countries all over the world ban people on the grounds of their views. The Swiss-Egyptian academic Tariq Ramadan has been banned from entering France and the US at various times.
Jewish-American academic Normal Finkelstein has been banned from entering Israel. He regularly criticises the country saying it uses the Holocaust as an excuse for its actions against Palestinians. He’s also expressed solidarity with Hezbollah in the past.
The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been banned from the UK and it now appears as though Denmark is attempting to do the same. What’s interesting is that his blocking at Heathrow airport received continuous live coverage on the 24-hour television networks. It’s questionable whether the speech he was planning to give in the British parliament would have received as much attention.
Would it be better just to let anyone without a criminal conviction enter, regardless of their thoughts? In the internet age is banning people a superfluous act anyway?