Monday 27 November 2023

The n-word

Free speech in the UK has been more and restricted since 1965 (before the Race Relations Act 1965 the country had as much free speech as the USA) but the misuse of the word 'antisemitic' by conservatives, who have suddenly become leading advocates of cancel culture, is remarkable.

It now covers all sorts of criticisms of Israeli government actions that are not anti-Jewish, let alone, of course, anti-Semite. 

I wish people would stop talking about Nazis, but they won't. This is what I wrote about flinging around the word 'Nazi' four years ago.

Allison Pearson is now on the other side of the argument.

What is not normal is the wave of sympathy for Anna Soubry, the Remainer Tory MP, whose attempts to be interviewed outside (note this) the purlieus of the Palace of Westminster have been incommoded by  a handful of protesters shouting 'Nazi' at her. 
In the strange world of political correctness the worst thing you can be is a Nazi and the second worst thing is to call someone a Nazi when he has the politics the media like. 

Calling someone who wants England to be free from foreign rule a Nazi is fine, naturally. People like that have it coming to them. Miss Soubry herself has often accused Leavers of being racists and fascists.

Everyone seems to think shouting out insults at itinerant Members of Parliament should be illegal. Thankfully it might not be, yet, though I am not at all sure if this is so or not. Had the insults referred to Miss Soubry's sex or race they would have been illegal. Very shockingly indeed, a member of the public in Brighton was put on trial a few years back for shouting out 'Coward!' at his MP. This attracted little attention or remark.

The Times think that the protesters' behaviour was illegal and may be right.

Scotland Yard was accused of “wishy-washy” policing at the Palace of Westminster yesterday after failing to take action against protesters who hurled abuse at MPs and commentators. 
Legal experts and former senior police officers said that the Public Order Act was clearly breached by men who surrounded the Conservative MP Anna Soubry and called her a Nazi.

What a long way we have come from 18th and 19th century elections with dead cats thrown at candidates. There is a case, according to Dr. Robert Tombs, for arguing that real democracy was curtailed by the 1832 Reform Act, which took away votes from raucous working class electors in constituencies like Preston. Without going into that, democracy is in poor shape now, when members of the public get it in the neck for calling a legislator a fascist who wants to ignore the decision of a referendum.

Calling someone a 'Nazi' is not disgraceful. It's free speech. What we are all, I hope, fighting for.  Except I know we are not.

It's Nazi to dislike free speech or rather so we formerly thought. Now people think it's free speech that let the Nazis get elected.

The left once championed the people but now greatly fear a (white) mob. The same people who argue that MPs must not be subject to pressure from the so-called mob usually also argue that the border between Northern and Southern Ireland must be invisible because otherwise the IRA will go back to murdering people. 

The ironies are endless. You can probably think of them for yourself, gentle reader. I don't think I have time or energy to try to list them.

Allison Pearson mentions one in today's Telegraph:

If a few aggrieved blokes are not allowed to shout “scum” at their elected representatives then it is the state, not the people, which is flirting with fascism.

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