Conservatives Ditch “Lionheart”

An update on the website of Phyllis Chesler:

Once I posted my interview with Lionheart, some readers insisted that Lionheart is a member of the British National Party which is a fascist, neo-Nazi, Holocaust-denying political party. People in the UK, the USA, and in Israel feared that although Lionheart’s freedom of speech in cyberspace is crucial, and that telling the truth about Islam should not lead to anyone’s arrest—that it was equally crucial that freedom-fighters and democrats not inadvertently make alliances with fascists.

At first, I thought that these well-meaning people were wrong about Lionheart. And why? Because I asked him outright if was a member or supporter of the BNP and he passionately denied that this was so. He insisted that he was an anti-racist who had friends of many ethnicities And then, a British blogger sent me the following snippet from Lionheart’s blog.

A pro-BNP screed from the blog follows, probably found the same way I discovered the shocking truth: by mystically typing the words “Lionheart” + “BNP” into Google. Why Chesler was unable to do this is unexplained. We might ask the same about this CBN News report:

…Some conservatives are refusing to support [Paul] Ray [aka “Lionheart”] because of allegations that he is a member or supporter of the British National Party. The BNP is a white supremacist party. Ray reportedly denies membership in the BNP and insists that he is being slandered.

Perhaps CBN doesn’t have the resources to find out for sure? (BTW, we all know what the BNP stands for, but it now eschews public “white supremacist” positions, for strategic reasons) Also looking sheepish is the Jawa Report:

[11 January]: As to the charges that Lionheart is a supporter of the BNP, I’ve seen no evidence of it…

[14 January]: I’ve been defending Lionheart against the accusations that he’s a BNP supporter. Maybe I was wrong?

“Lionheart’s”/Ray’s support evaporated when his BNP sympathies were picked up – and denounced – by LGF; he responded by denouncing LGF as “a traitor, nothing less than the equivalent of a Second World War Nazi collaborator who would have been shot”, which turned out to be biting off rather more than he could chew. He quickly apologised, and quietly removed his pro-BNP blog postings – alas, too late.

There are a couple of lessons here. Firstly, the easy one: that whatever the real dangers of Islamism, hatred of Islam is the first refuge of the scoundrel in the UK and the USA, and as long as you avoid explicitly stating your support for an unambiguously far-right political party you can easily gain the uncritical support and sympathy of lazy conservative pundits who are willing to jump aboard almost any anti-Muslim bandwagon, no matter how foul or preposterous the rhetoric (although there is a free speech issue worth keeping an eye on). The fact that Ray managed to botch such an easy path to blog-glory doesn’t reflect very well on his abilities.

There is also, though, a more difficult observation: we can see a general human failing here, as well as a conservative vice. People want to hear voices that confirm their view of the world, and it takes an effort to consider critically those with a message that seems congenial – I wouldn’t claim to be perfect here, and I can think of a fair few unworthy characters who enjoy standing in certain “liberal” circles, thanks to a bit of “anti-imperialist” ranting.

So, what next for Paul Ray? Bedfordshire on Sunday has some clues:

Paul Ray, who ‘blogs’ as ‘Lionheart’, left Britain for an undisclosed location in the Middle East two years ago.

He claims he was receiving death threats which made it impossible to stay in his home town of Luton.

Since leaving Britain, he has regularly updated his blog with news and opinions on subjects such as the heroin trade, Islamic fundamentalism and police corruption.

Bedfordshire on Sunday understands that Mr Ray has been intending to return to Britain for over a year, in order to make preparations to emigrate officially and permanently.

Somehow I doubt supporters of the BNP are welcome in Israel, if that’s where he’s heading off to.