Krishnan Guru-Murthy usually makes a competent stand-in for Jon Snow on Channel 4 News, but he has his immature moments and last night he became quite hysterical during the interview attached to this report with Greg Avery of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC).
Avery is not allowed to answer any questions until he accepts that his organisation is no different to ‘Islamic terrorists’. And it’s not enough to answer, ‘Yes of course I do, I’ve done that hundreds of times,’ when asked if he condemns threats to a nursery serving workers at Huntingdon Life Sciences, the laboratory made famous following its infiltration by protestors who filmed abuses and secured the temporary revocation of its licence. ‘I’m struggling to see the difference between you and the Islamic clerics we ask whether they will turn in Islamic terrorists,’ says Krishnan Guru-Murthy. A sentiment Avery reasonably rejects, given his organisation’s killed nobody.
But when Guru-Murthy counters with: ‘It’s defined in law as terrorism; it’s not my definition, that’s the law of the land,’ he’s let down by the very next news item. We’re back to Walter Wolfgang, the 82 year-old heckler who really has been held under terrorism laws. And now, echoing my own thoughts, we’re asked if current definitions of terrorism aren’t just a little too wide with none of this ‘that’s the law of the land’ nonsense.
As Avery repeated points out, Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s determination to apply an increasingly meaningless label to his interviewee can only dumb-down an important and often complex moral debate. It’s a debate we’re going to have to have sometime, so we best end the name calling sooner rather than later and start addressing the real issues.