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The Voice Of 40-Something Cynical Optimism!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I enjoy freedom of speech- YOU abuse it!!

"Assassination is an extreme form of censorship."- George Bernard Shaw

There has been a lot of debate on Airstrip One at the moment about the whole issue of freedom of speech. Just before Xmas a Birmingham production of Gurpeet Bhatti's play "Behzti", set in a Sikh temple, was invaded by a group of militant Sikhs, who thought it insulted their religion. Then a couple of weeks ago the BBC showed a documentary of "Jerry Springer The Opera", which involved lots of swearingand Jesus being described as "a bit gay." 45,000 people complained about the programme before it was even shown, orchestrated by a group called Christian Voice. There has been talk of the programme makers being prosecuted under our Blasphemy laws (so along with having oil supplies, an unhealthy relationship with the Chimp in the White House and a ridiculous Royal Family, we do have something in common with Saudi Arabia). AFTER the programme there were a mere 200 complaints to the BBC and a lot more in support of it.

Perhaps I'm being a bit naive about things, but when I was young one of the things I was supposed to make me proud of living in Britain was that we had freedom of speech. Made us better than the Evil Empire to the east and all that....

I'm come back to this after 2 months. A lot has happened since I typed the stuff above, and it seems that our Government's plan to introduce an incitement to religious hatred act has bitten the dust more or less...until after the election. All I will say for the moment is that I have rejoined the National Secular Society & renewed my sub to their mag The Freethinker. If I wanted to live in a place dominated by religious values I'd f*** off and live in Northern Ireland...


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