Thursday 8 January 2015

Freedom of Speech above all

We don't go in for wishy-washy hand-wringing on this blog, but the murder of cartoonists in France is a level of horror that cannot be left it go unremarked. None of the authors here would be so rash as to declare ourselves journalists or even satirists - ours is a part-time vocation, not a career.

However, daily we denigrate the fools in Westminster, Brussels, Washington, Moscow and wherever who seek to rule us with their inept economic and political policies.

Were Capitalists@Work a Russian blog, we would have been shut down by now, if Chinese, we would never have been allowed to start. As British, we do not even register with anyone in authority.

But for terrorists to attach cartoonists in the name of their twisted death cult is a sad day. Religion must not be above the law or indeed natural justice, long since has Christianity and Judaism allowed criticism. The latest burst of anger from the crazed Islamic fanatics is a predictable, but nonetheless sad turn of events.

We can only hope those who have committed such crimes are brought to justice and those killed or wounded are not forgotten and their own loved ones supported.


Electro-Kevin said...

The likes of Ian Hislop never did poke fun at Islam, though they claim to be 'edgy' and pushing at boundaries.

In this country Islamists have protected status. (Probably since the fatwah issued against Rushdie.) This religious/political body is not subject to the scrutiny and poke from the satirist's sharp pen (the most effective test of any politician or ideologue in a free society.)

An intemperate reaction from the target is usually the golden shot for the satirist. Not in this case !

Now that it is absolutely clear that to mock Islam is to risk a well coordinated assassination no one will ever feel free to push the true boundaries of taste (set in stone by Islamists) ever again.

Ian Hislop cannot consider himself to be edgy until he's prepared to cross the line drawn on the Charlie Hebdo office floor.

Better still. If one group is to be exempt from satire and be allowed to grow unchecked and unimpeded by the most potent tool known to democracy then let's not have satire at all.

Perhaps the pudgy faced little git might consider backing off truly peace loving, law abiding, better tempered - and far less radical - Ukip with his insidious drip-drip of acidic (and highly effective) sniding.

Electro-Kevin said...

PS, I would have been more impressed if your article today had a picture of one of the 'offensive' cartoons.

The people protesting in Paris holding Je Suis Charlie posters in the name of free speech are already censoring themselves in fear.

The 'fight' is already over.

The only fun we are allowed to poke is at white Englishmen, the Monarchy, old people and Ukip.

MyStopItName said...

I'm going to go against the self-righteous grain here and point out that freedom has boundaries too.
If you just want to insult 1bn people with a cartoon - then count me the fk out of it, and not out of cowardice; out of 'I'm not part of your cosy liberal metropolitan elite'-edness.
So those who choose to use their 'freedoms' (provided in tandem by me) to denigrate others cannot and should not expect me to surrender more of my freedoms (almost inevitable now) in the pursuit of their assailants.
Sorry pal, if your gonna poke a bees nest, your on your own.

Would it be churlish to advance the idea that perhaps if we in the West hadnt subjected most of the middle east to almost permanent war since 1990 perhaps we wouldnt be reaping these thorns?
As you say CU the latest burst of anger is indeed predictable. As is the latest burst of self-righteous, self-pitying indignation from the usual suspects.

Again, if your gonna poke a bees nest, your on your own.

Satire? I almost laughed.

CityUnslicker said...

EK - fair comment. The pic was from the companies own website, today at least I feel that is more appropriate. Overall, your comments are on the money as to the UK approach post-Rushdie.

Electro-Kevin said...

My Stop it Name

I dislike satirists. They are imbued with far more power than they deserve and a quick poke is NOT a reasoned debate, in my view. Though it scores far more highly.

My own people are suffering from the satarist's quick right now.

Our attempt to correct the democratic deficit in Britain is being held in check not by reasoned debate (an eminent politician was made to look a fool saw his party relegated to fourth place when he tried that) but by sniding.

Cheap little comments against Ukippers. Nasty little lies about us being bigotted and stupid.

And of the real bigots ? The murderous ones ?

They dare not joke about them. They feel free to joke about us though - precisely because were NOT bigots nor are we murderous.

So I'm a little bit with you, My Stop It Name.

Don't risk it, Mr Satirist. But at the same time don't pretend to be something you're not and DON'T pretend that we're something we aren't.

Truly free speech ended yesterday and this is clear in that people will not carry the cartoons in defence of it. They are too scared.

Ukip are not the ones suffering from hysteria here.

Bill Quango MP said...

I never found the CH cartoons very funny. Too radical for my taste..
But then French humour is a bit odd. To draw a comparison with Hislop is a little unfair too.

Private Eye would be happy to print a picture of Cameron in a greasy spoon. The caption might be something like
"A glass of passable Merlot and some lightly grilled sole. With mushy peas.."

Charlie more likely to have a picture of Hollande tucking into a turd on a plate.

The BBC doing their repetitive and empty UKIP jokes isn't the same thing. That is just gentle a gentle lampooning. The same as they might do about Tories. Or Farmers. Or Boris. Or The M25.

French extreme satire has always been very edgy. Ours, always, more restrained. Peter Cook openly lampooning Macmillan is still quite disturbing 50 years later on.

But having said all that,the cartoons that were produced in sympathy yesterday were some of the finest cartoon art I have ever seen.
Poignant, biting, concise, sympathetic and powerful.

BE said...

CU, as you say, without the proper freedom to criticise, discuss, debate, present arguments, and mock, send-up etc. there can be no holding of authority to account.

Thus, in my view, that freedom ought to be as close to absolute as possible. I would draw the line at incitement, but recently in the so-called "liberal" countries we have erred towards criticising anything which *may* be offensive.

Of course, true liberalism requires us to allow other people their freedom as well. And that means we have to tolerate things which we may not like.

The challenge in many contemporary liberal societies is that we have people who take full advantage of the freedoms afforded by liberalism while also trying to suppress people they do not like.

There are fanatics everywhere, constantly trying to shut down debate. We see it every day.

The trouble with fanatics is that they know they are right, and so cannot be debated. They have a set idea of perfection, and will never be satisfied by reality.

Fanatics come in all shapes and sizes these days. The only possible reaction to fanatics is to laugh at them, and to not to over-react.

Let us hope that developed countries do not react to these backwardseekers by withdrawing from the world.

Budgie said...

Mystopitname said: "Again, if your gonna poke a bees nest, your [sic] on your own."

So your view is that poking other people is ok, just not if they are bees nests? In other words hypocrisy is your watchword. I think that says it all really.

Nick Drew said...

Criticism of satirists for cowardice or whatever is a strange turn of events: so far as I know, Hislop has not taken any state-funded commission* to be rude to everyone at all times

he does what he does & will probably contnue to do so

a 12-year old kid being bullied by 16-yr old thugs often has to rely on intervention by teachers or other adults

a family intimidated by drug gangs on a sink estate may need to rely on the local authority or the police

a newspaper in a free society may have to seek protection from the state - and I hope it will get it, though there are grounds for pessemism

* BTW, we do know an organisation that has taken a state-funded commission to communicate on our behalves, it is the BBC, which sees fit to broadcast Frankie Boyle ...

Electro-Kevin said...

It isn't gentle lampooning, BQ. Farage is hated - loathed.

Didn't you hear Ms Purple Hair ranting at him on QT (and allowed to do so) ? Where did that come from ?

The 'gentle' prodding you hear hourly on R4 and any BBC panel show isn't gentle when you're the one feeling it - and though no-one is challenging Ukip with reasoned debate their gains are slowly ebbing away.

Do you wonder why that is ?

Don't you think that the persistent levels of satire are taking their toll ?

Private Eye wouldn't have to do much prodding to exact fearful retribution. Merely publishing a front page cartoon with the Prophet Mohammed in it could do the trick.

"Ah. But that's religion - not politics."

The CofE has suffered all sorts of 'gentle' lampoonery over the decades (by the most affable of chaps, Michael Palin no less) look at the state of the CofE now !

The Muslims won't be putting up with any of that. They know just how corrosive and lethal gentle lampoonery is.

And that's why we're destined to become a Muslim country whether we want it or not.

I'd rather we were a jocular country once more - but let's face it, the limits on humour have been imposed by the leftists far more than the Islamists.

In fact there is very little that you could joke about on Twitter without being arrested or losing your job, excepting, or course, white Englishmen, old people, Ukip, the CofE and our Monarchy.

It's not me that started getting all serious about things. Really. So when people start sniding about Ukip without offering a good, sound debate to it then I'm going to take a leaf out of the minority's book and start objecting to it.

Otherwise democracy really has ended. One ideology is exempt from rational critique where others are ridiculed mercilessly.

The lampooners are not clever. They've become unwitting agents in the furtherance of true bigotry.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a single one of the UK's crop of highly paid, self-regarding edgy comics who would DARE to tackle the elephant in the room that is Islam.

And it may be that whilst most of them are genuinely cowards, there remain a few who would have a go, if they weren't even more afraid of the social stigma amongst the left of being branded right-wing.

Electro-Kevin said...

I hope my last comment makes things clearer, Nick.

France will become the same as Britain after the dust has settled. They will back off Islam and the satirists will make fools and bogeymen of non-bigots so as to justify their livings and make themselves seem relevent. If they are going to be intimidated into accepting boundaries then hey ! I'll be fucked if I'm going to just stand by and let them take the piss out of my beliefs.

If I don't then I risk becoming a second class citizen in my own country.

This is to skew democratic will away - as Budgie rightly says - from people who are decent enough not to keep bees in a crowded neighbourhood.

Including Mr Hislop here is not a strange turn. He, after all, calls himself a satirist so it is useful to compare him with those in France who seem to be a lot more current and edgy.

He's good at poking fun at my cause at the moment. Let's see him poke fun at something that bites back then.

Frankie Boyle too.

DJK said...

Ian Hislop does what he does. In a free society there is no requirement for him to be even handed in his satire.

But I would hope is that the BBC and national newspapers reprinted the French and Danish cartoons, so that we could all see what the fuss was about. Or how about David Cameron holding up a copy of the cartoon on live television and saying that we believe in the freedom to publish these things, rather than the wishy-washy platitudes his press secretary wrote for him to say.

BE said...

I find it quite interesting to see who it is who is campaigning for the repeal of fundamental rights as currently legislated for in the UK.

Article 10 would not be enforceable in the UK if these people were allowed their way.

I don't think it is the "lefty" "metro" "elite". Just saying.

Electro-Kevin said...

DJK - Of course not, DJK. But we are entitled to notice the subjects that Mr Hislop steers clear of.

He's going to have to comment on this assault on his trade, however. I doubt it will be funny or that he will be taking risks.

Whereas lampoonery would be entirely the correct response from a satarist in defence of free speech.

At the time that this country needs Mr Hislop most you can guarantee that he won't be there.

Electro-Kevin said...

UK lawyers are what the people fear most, BE. Even though they might not realise it.

(Through the fear that lawyers strike into the hearts of our employers. It's certainly the case with me.)

Budgie said...

E-K is correct, a diminutive middle aged English white guy (Farage) can safely be poked with a stick - he's not going to murder you in return. But poke the bees nest of Mohammed? No, that's not allowed. So the LibLabCon and their hangers on are now exposed for their cowardice and hypocrisy.

Electro-Kevin said...

Thank you Budgie

And at risk of hijacking this blog from our generous hosts...


Nick Clegg misses the point made by Nigel Farage about multi culturalism in Britain today.

Britain is no longer a country at ease with itself. The BBC and the Daily can't even bring themselves to publish the cartoons so that we can assess for ourselves what the fuss was about.

Islamic Britain could demonstrate their tolerance by not getting upset by this at this time.

We are told that publication will not be allowed so as not to cause offence. We all know the real reason and that is that the executives of these organisations fear both legal and physical reprisal.

And they call Ukippers easily wind-up-able ???

Nigel is right. This is no longer a free country at ease with itself.

Nick Clegg thoroughly deserves being wiped off the political map. And he will be. He is completely out of tune with public sentiment.

Electro-Kevin said...

Daily Mail

Peter MacFarlane said...

"As British, we do not even register with anyone in authority."

For how long?

CityUnslicker said...

EK - you have mounted a good defense here today.
The politico's this afternoon has as ever circled the wagons against UKIP.
But it is sad that no one will print the cartoons or satirise islam when there is no compunction about UKIP, Catholics or the CofE or even the monarchy.

We are not quite the totally free country we would like to imagine. I think a constitution, so derided by many, would at least have the advantage of first amendment style rights.

Steven_L said...

How many of you would walk through certain parts of West Yorkshire, the North West or the Midlands wearing a t-shirt with such a cartoon on?

I'd be too afraid for my own safety.

And of course the government should protect law abiding cartoonists from nutters with automatic rifles, unless you believe the state should 'butt out' and let Tesco stock M16's. Where is DK these days anyway?

DJK said...

EK: I would say to you, as to adherents of minority religions: don't be such a cry-baby, and remember what your mother told you about sticks and stones. And on a practical point, UKIP probably benefit from the sneers of North London bien-pensants.

That said, Mooslims are clearly now a protected minority in a way that kippers are not. Several police forces are actively monitoring social media --- and I suppose this counts --- ready to drop the proverbial ton of bricks on anyone deemed to have incited hurt feelings. Against that, noone in the media or government is brave enough to re-publish the original cartoons. V. sad.

Timbo614 said...

Some did publish and be damned

Electro-Kevin said...

DJK - You contradict yourself entirely.

Admitting there is a grave tilt in the democratic playing field towards a culture which threatens violence against free speech. Even British moderates have said of the Charlie Hebdo incident "Oh they didn't deserve to die - imprisonment perhaps."

Pardon ??? (As they say in France)

I'll leave others to judge whether I've been a cry-baby (I'd like not to think so) and If I had been I'm pretty sure that I'd have reacted badly to you calling me a cry-baby rather than offering you a thoughtful response.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

There are NO moderate muslims. There are (not many!) secular people who do not practise islam who were brought up in it. The rest are biding their time. Did you hear the muslims from High Wycombe on R4 this morning?

Farage is absolutely 100% correct. We have a 5th column in our midst - and the MSM and the LibLabCon pols are either too stupid or too terrified to
A) admit it
B) do anything about it, because it means either deporting them back to Mirpur or surrendering in 50 years time when they are half the population.

Electro-Kevin said...

DJK - I've given more thought to 'cry-baby'

Yes. I was concerned that I was coming across so.


There are very few targets whom I could mock on Twitter without:

A) Losing my job

B) Being investigated by the police for hate crime

And, in the case of Islam

C) Having a fatwah issued against me

I want a country in which people are free to insult me - but where I am free to insult them too. You missed my point entirely and do not seem to understand the gravity of the situation.

We simply cannot have the will of the great majority of the British public suppressed by law. politics and satire; certainly not to the point that to justify their existences - and satisfy their impulses to fight for something... ANYTHING - they have made bogey men of white English while one particular strand of religion is treated with utter reverence for no other reason than it so readily resorts to violence.

Far from being a 'cry-baby' I'm being very adult about this. (Though I am risking becoming a blog hog and bore)

Aaeron Arantovich (spelling ?) and Richard Littlejohn have (by coincidence) offered identical but far more articulate explanations than my own.

Bill Quango MP said...

Ek. Look at guido Fawkes site today. And the seen elsewhere section. There is a link to what you are talking about. "Attacking Farage shuts down debate."

I'd post the link but it's a pain from a tablet.