Some news stories just make your jaw drop. A Dutch court has upheld the right of the Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity party to stand in their upcoming general elections. The PNVD, as they are known, wish to lower the age of consent from 16 to 12 and to legalise child pornography. They also want to legalise bestiality, although abuse of animals would remain illegal. Not sure how that works. Presumably it’s OK as long as the animal in question gives its consent, perhaps after first being suitably wined and dined. Then maybe some slow dancing, steal a kiss in the moonlight, “can I come back to your barn for coffee?” You know how these things evolve. Also on their platform is a policy to legalise all drugs, lower the voting age (again to 12) and, in something of a surreal twist, provide free train travel for all. I think they stuck that lost one on there as a joke. As if anyone would take that seriously.
As the esteemed Richard Littlejohn has been known to opine: you couldn’t make it up. Although I’m pretty sure Chris Morris already did, in the infamous Brass Eye 2001 Special, which depicted a paedophilia advocacy group known as MILIT-PEDE. But no, these people are for real, and seriously aim to “break taboos and fight intolerance”. Because apparently, public perception of paedophiles has worsened over the last ten years or so. Ever since Marc Dutroux kidnapped two young girls and starved them to death in nearby Belgium. Yes, because before that, you were all considered upright members of society. I suppose you all just get a bad press, in the same way that hooligans give all football supporters a bad reputation, perhaps?
This throws up a liberal dilemma of enormous proportions, but I don't think banning them from standing would have achieved anything. These people are repugnant by anyone's standards, but the fact is they present less of a threat to society by running for parliament than they do as unknown citizens. By standing for election, it gives voters the chance to reject what they stand for by ignoring them completely at the ballot box. Their chances for electoral success are zero. In order to participate in the elections in November, the PNVD must register a list of candidates and the signatures of at least 30 supporters. I doubt they will be able to muster even that – it would be tantamount to creating their own sex offenders register. Far more likely is that anyone who makes their support public will find themselves on the receiving end of a lynch mob.