A stranger to Stroud, walking up the High street on Saturday morning, would have seen some people giving away the free newspaper “The Light” and a few yards further on some people with placards saying “Keep The Light off Stroud High Street."

This visitor to Stroud may well have known that Stroud is an alternative kind of place and have been intrigued by this internecine conflict between two sectors of Stroud opinion.

This conflict is about an article in The Light in November which gave some support to someone convicted of broadcasting anti-semitic views. I wonder if the newspaper's editorial team would like to backtrack on that article. And I wonder if the two sides in this disagreement have talked to each other.

I do not support anti-semitism or Islamophobia or any other kind of prejudice. Nor do I agree with The Light’s denial of climate change.

But my letter is not about the rights and wrongs of this issue.

It is about how to manage and respond to expressions of opinions which we disagree with, or think are wrong, or are actually wrong. I think total suppression of these views doesn’t help. It drives them underground and makes them worse.

The law deals with anything which goes too far, as it did with the subject of that article. Maybe the law does not draw the line in the right place, but for offences which are not illegal what is needed is condemnation and conversation and education.

Negotiation may be better than excommunication. Banning a whole newspaper for one hateful article is not justified.

By that standard the Daily Mail should be banned from Stroud newsagents.

Censorship is a slippery slope.

If we go too far we are heading for totalitarianism in the name of justice.

This is like defunding the police because there is racism in the police force: the side-effects of increased crime would be counter-productive. This fervent persecution of error is getting too close to what it says it is fighting against.

Peter Adams