If it's true that A. N. Wilson has said that Tom Paulin's remarks about his wish to see Israelis shot dead is 'free speech', then he has forfeited the last little smidgen of respect I had for him. Incitement to murder does not represent free speech. The fact that Paulin is advocating the murder of foreign nationals in a foreign newspaper is neither here nor there (that's not even a defence under UK law). Even if his remarks were not actionable under the letter of the law, the astounding pusillanimity of the Oxford authorities leaves me speechless. As a little thought experiment, try substituting any other ethnic, religious or racial group for the word 'Jew' in Paulin's rantings, and imagine how long he would remain a) employed b) unprosecuted.
And what exactly does A. N. Wilson do? Apart from writing MEGO* columns of insufferable pomposity in The Daily Telegraph, I can't say that anything he's ever done has swum into my ken. I know he's meant to be frightfully erudite and all that, but defending a yahoo like Paulin on the grounds of free speech marks him down as a cretin in my book.
* MEGO: My Eyes Glaze Over
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