We must stand up for the free speech of people who want to kill you
The Conservative Commentator
‘The prisoner won’t keep quiet. Keeps droning on about the Commonwealth. It’s keeping the other inmates awake.’
Herr Bastani sighs.
‘Ich verstehe. Instruct Kommandant Von Mason to get the prisoner and bring him to me.’
‘Jawohl, Mein Herr.’
Half an hour passes. A furious looking Von Mason bursts through the door, dragging behind him a half starved man wearing a tweed jacket from the Edinburgh Woollen mill.
The man is beaten, bruised, with tape covering his mouth.
‘Von Mason, I didn’t ask you to hit him.’
‘Luuuuke, luuuuuke, we’ve got to, we’ve got to be robust in ‘ow we stand up to far right, ‘ow we, ‘ow we-’
Another sigh from Bastani.
‘Fahnenjunker, could you ungag the prisoner please?’
A big rip follows, and much spluttering as the man tries to clear the taste of Von Mason’s cheesy sock out of his mouth.
Bastani walks calmly to his elaborate drinks cabinet. He takes out two glasses, filling both with a murky brown liquid.
‘I am afraid there is no ice. It is proving logistically difficult to recruit a Black or brown body to join the site team. In strict accordance with the renewed Equality act of 2027, all Arbeit müssen halten until the freezer can be repaired in a diverse and inclusive manner.’
‘It’s no bother, really.’
The prisoner drinks thirstily, ignoring the stinging pain. It’s the first liquid he’s had in days.
‘You know, you know I wrote a piece in Conservative Home praising Liz Truss’s cabinet for being diverse and inclusive.’
‘Ich erinnere mich gut. I particularly admired how you framed the results of an explicitly discriminatory selection process, the A-list, as evidence that Britain is a post-racial meritocracy.’
Bastani digs around in his drawer for a moment.
‘Mein Gott, You are very stupid indeed! You would have made an excellent Trade Union rep.’
Bastani pulls out his Lueger.
‘In another life, perhaps.’
‘Is it too late?’
‘Das tut mir leid, Mein Freund.’
‘But-but-but what about all those times I stood up for your freedom of speech! Surely that must count for something.’
Bastani allows himself to smile, warmly.
‘You must forgive me for my sensucht, remembering the long 2010s is often enough to bring a tear to my eye.’
Bastani looks to Von Mason.
‘Do you remember when we tacitly endorsed throwing milkshakes at politicians we disagree with?’
‘I remember it well, Kameraden, I remember it well. Luke. Luke. Luke. That lot, yeah, that lot over there, yeah, ‘ow you fight back, organising, and when yerv, when yerv got people, who are marginalised, luke, getting together, luke-‘
Bastani turns to the wall.
‘Your instinct to fight with both arms tied behind your back, and stigmatise other people trying to rectify the problem through political mechanisms as ‘populists’ was helpful at the time. Whinging about the treatment of Ray Honeyford in the Sunday Telegraph, with endless pleas for us to take on board enlightenment values, which we summarily ignored in favour of advancing our own political ends by stigmatising dissent, sometimes through the law and often by acts of violence, while using ‘free speech’ as a shield for our political inflammation.’
‘I even defended your right to protest the funerals of dead British soldiers and Monarchs!’
‘Indeed. Thank you. Alas, Der Krieg ist Vorbei.’
A single, clean shot penetrates the skull of the Conservative Commentator.
‘Best have another pop, in case you’ve missed his brain’.