The Trade Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Brendan Barber commented that:
The European Court has made the common sense decision that the right to freedom of association does not force unions to accept into membership people opposed to the basic principles of trade unionism.Aslef National Officer Andy Reed judged it "a significant decision... for the whole trade union movement."
Every union will welcome this clear decision that they can now expel BNP members.
The BNP, demonstrating the logic of union and the court, observed that:
We are a nationalist party and the trade union leaders are antithesis to this - they are internationalists.[Updated on the 3rd of March 2007]
Someone calling themselves "the Green Arrow" sneered that:
I was going to leave a comment about freedom of speech and democracy and then I had a look at your profile and realised it would be pointless. Your too far up your own behind.Given the rest of my profile is a half-a-dozen line summary of my professional life, I presume that that reference to my admission that I'm "anal" is what passes for wit; it would be even more disappointing if it were a response to me providing some information about myself to help readers judge my writing.
Now, they have their identity set up so it is not publicly available, set up not to tell people who visit their Blogger profile who they are or which site is theirs, but, there is somewhere that calls itself "the home of the Green Arrow", where
[t]he purpose of the site is to support the British National Party and to speak in defence of the United Kingdoms [sic] indigenous peoples [sic] and way of life.Its Technorati profile identifies the author as,
[a] member of the resistance for the recovery of the United Kingdom and the bringing to justice of the traitors [sic] who have brought it to its knees.I suspect that this is the author of the comment, who I will not link to, but feel free to search for these terms if you want ignorant and malevolent analysis of current affairs - and really, who wouldn't?
Amusingly, the Green Arrow comic book character became "an outspoken and strident advocate of the underprivileged in society and the political left wing", while this commentator, if they are from the site described above, is a propagandist who lays claims to protecting the underpriviliged, but who only seeks to protect the white, nominally-Christian underprivileged.
That commentator could only stake some claim to the left insofar as they were what could be termed a "nationalist socialist", which would stop the claim being true in any meaningful sense. Indeed, I would guess that they wouldn't want to be labelled "left wing"; only further demonstrating the contradictions in their position, I think they were more attracted to the Green Arrow's echoes of the Robin Hood legend, who, to them, would be an "acceptable" left-wing hero in his contemporary identity, although his medieval inspiration and construction was far more complex.
The commentator talks of "freedom of speech and democracy", but again, doesn't mean it in any meaningful sense, as one of the reasons underpinning unions' desire to rid themselves of BNP members and courts' agreement that that was acceptable is the fact that any success the BNP may have depends in part upon suppressing free speech and inherently attacks democracy.
Even racists' non-violent racist actions violate their victims' human rights to freedom from discrimination, freedom of belief and freedom of expression. It insults people's intelligence for them to claim their rights to freedom of speech when they use it to violate other people's; it is absurd to plead for democracy whilst preaching bigotry.
Unions have every right - now legal as well as moral - to expel members who would intimidate others, impair their access to their rights (and, through their participation in the union, indeed impair their access to the very means to access their rights).