A worrying development. France’s government passes a bill to make denying the Armenian genocide illegal.
The fact that the genocide undoubtedly happened isn’t the point. Once governments start passing laws deciding what people may say or write – however misguided – you’re in a police state. And once you pass laws about it you’re creating a class of people who can make money out of it, which means ambulance-chasers aren’t far behind.
Britain’s ‘hate speech’ law is bad enough. And of course, we’re used to this sort of thing happening in the USA, where a President writes laws on a single individual’s right to die – effectively ruling by decree – and where universities have speech codes so politically correct their academics can’t even question basic biological differences between men and women. In Germany, too, it’s illegal to read Mein Kampf or wear a swastika. (To anyone who thinks that’s reasonable: the crooked cross was a Hindu peace symbol for thousands of years before Hitler got hold of it.)
But I didn’t expect it from France. And nor, it seems, did France’s political class. At least the politicians themselves are unhappy, too.
At least it makes one thing clear. Turkey will not join the EU. It was clear from the moment the cartoon story went global earlier this year: there is a dividing line between what’s ‘European’ and what’s not, and however fuzzy it is, Turkey is on the wrong side of it.