‘A ban runs the risk of making martyrs of them’

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MANY will be dismayed at the court decision which overturned the city council’s ban on the Scottish Defence League’s march in Edinburgh.

There were sound reasons to be concerned at the prospect of trouble surrounding such a controversial organisation.

The group’s extremist views are offensive not just to Muslims but to the vast majority of residents in Edinburgh.

And with form for parading elsewhere with placards reading “No More Mosques”, it is little wonder they have provoked such strong feelings.

We have great sympathy for the city councillors who decided to take a stand against the SDL, a move which would have been backed by most of their constituents.

The SDL is, as you might expect, hailing the court’s decision as a major victory, and quite ridiculously alleges that it in some way supports its claim of being discriminated against.

It does not and should in no way be taken as an endorsement of their activities.

But at the same time the court is right in this case to allow the SDL to express their views, even if we don’t want to hear them.

Failing to do so is dangerous in itself, as it risks creating martyrs, builds resentment and conversely affords them more publicity and a greater platform than they would otherwise have achieved.

The right thing to do is not to ban the SDL. Let them have their march and have their say if they want.

A walk from Regent Road to St Andrew’s House is unlikely to bring the city to a grinding halt and hopefully will be over almost as soon as it begins.

If any sensible person is unlucky enough to catch a glimpse of them then they should turn their backs and ignore them.

What might have been

THERE is probably not a lot that could make Hibs fans feel worse this week. But reading a speech written in the event of a Hibs Scottish Cup victory probably won’t help.

Rescued from a dustbin, the words were to be given by Lord Provost Donald Wilson.

The transcript congratulates the Easter Road team on their third Scottish Cup victory following wins in 1887 and 1902, while offering commiserations to Hearts.

So near and yet so far. What price a repeat Edinburgh final in 2013?