Mr Docherty has realized that Mein Kampf is not a very nice book and considers that we ought to think of banning it.
Docherty has written to culture secretary Sajid Javid about the text, pointing out that it is currently “rated as an Amazon bestseller” and asking the cabinet member to consider leading a debate on the issue. An edition of Mein Kampf is currently in fifth place on Amazon’s “history of Germany” chart, in fourth place in its “history references” chart, and in 665th place overall.Right, let's have a national debate. This blog is weighing in on the side of NO. Or to be a little more detailed, "no, you stupid fool, we cannot ban books, especially those of historic importance, because we do not happen to like what is written in them". Will that do for a debating position Mr Docherty?
“Of course Amazon – and indeed any other bookseller – is doing nothing wrong in selling the book. However, I think that there is a compelling case for a national debate on whether there should be limits on the freedom of expression,” writes Docherty to Javid.
If Mr Docherty is worried about anti-Semitism he should think of banning the Koran and, indeed, certain parts of the Bible. The Gospel According to St John springs to mind. He should certainly think about banning certain deeply anti-Semitic publications that his colleagues in the SNP were quoting during the IndyRef campaign.
If Mr Docherty is worried, as he seems to be, that Mein Kampf led to some very nasty events and actions in twentieth century history (not that I believe that as who could possibly have got through that turgid rubbish?) then he had better start thinking about banning Das Kapital, The Communist Manifesto, various works by V. I. Lenin, I. V. Stalin and Mao Zedong. We could start with the Little Red Book, which was most definitely a call for hatred and violence.
Is it really surprising that the book is high on Amazon's list for history of Germany or history references, given its importance? What are students and historians to do in Mr Docherty's ideal society? Sign up, presenting credentials, to the one and only library that will be issuing the book to the right personnel? I do believe we have seen systems like that in certain societies in the twentieth century. Does Mr Docherty want to emulate them? (Maybe I don't want to hear the answer to that.
Sadly, it is against the principles of this blog to call for a ban on stupid pronouncements by politicians though I say this with gritted teeth.