Piers Morgan: 'I respect Palestinian supporters' right to march on Armistice Day. I just hope they respect the people who died so they can.'

Thursday 9 November 2023

By TalkTV's Piers Morgan

Saturday is Armistice Day, and Veterans Day in the US. Every year on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there is silence.

It’s a moment for mournful reflection - and gratitude - to the many millions of people who died in the First World War.

This year, war is on all of our minds. And with bitter irony, it’s putting Palestinian supporters on a collision course with many British people.

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestine protesters will march through London on Armistice Day.

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, says that’s unacceptable. The Israeli President - on this show - joined calls for the march to be banned.

To be honest, my initial instinct was to agree. November the eleventh is a sacred and emotional day.

There is plenty of evidence that some of the people joining these protests have no respect for our traditions or our values.

Yes, it’s a minority. But some have called for “jihad”, some have defaced our monuments, some have chanted for the total eradication of Israel.

The idea that this could happen on a weekend of remembrance and respect is frankly sickening, and it risks bringing tensions to the boil.

But so does the incendiary rhetoric from people like our Home Secretary. To be clear, I don’t think it’s a “hate march.” Many of the people taking part believe they are marching for an armistice.

We already have laws against violence, against inciting hatred and against supporting terrorists. Anybody who shows up with that in mind should be swiftly arrested.

But should the ugly behaviour of a minority mean we just throw away our hard-fought rights to free speech?

Yesterday Lord Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill himself, said: "98% of those people are not there to make trouble, they're there to express a deeply held view."

That sealed it for me. And hearing it from Lord Soames reminded me of the words of his grandfather, which take pride of place on my dressing room wall: "Some people's idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage."

And that's really the point here. If the people calling for a ban on this march actually agreed with the protesters, they wouldn't have a problem with it.

Freedom of speech works both ways.

Sir Winston Churchill fought in the First World War and led us to victory in the second. The many millions who died were fighting for the free world we now live in and the freedom of speech we live by.

So I respect the right of the Palestinian supporters to march on Armistice Day. I just hope they respect the people who died so they can.