THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Am I alone? thinking that, once "hate speech" of any kind becomes a crime, we are doomed to tyranny by analogy? The advice given by a judge in a recent case exposes the idiocy of our present situation;

Next time, call him a fat bastard
Unless a Pakistani is inferior to an Australian or a Scotsman, why would it be worse to call someone a "Paki" than an "Aussie" or a "Jock?" There may (perhaps) be some argument for outlawing incitement to attack someone, but mere vulgar abuse should not be a crime.

Surely the only "racism" involved in the witch-hunts against some "Big Brother" contestants and Janet Street-Porter is the implicit assumption that the supposed "victims" are so pathetic as to need special protection from hurt feelings?

Are the people on the receiving end of naughty words diminished? Or are the people uttering them? The answer is obvious. So what evil is avoided by criminalising words? The "aggravated public order offence" with which Janet Street-Porter has been charged does nothing to protect anyone from anything. It only exists so that some politician can say he was "right on" on the subject of racism. A slight additional benefit is that a notable leftist prig has been hoist with her own petard.

Whatever happened to the advice we used to give crying children, to say;

sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?
By protecting certain groups against hearing bad of themselves, we are making them into permanent victims. Call someone a racist, a homophobe or an islamophobe in Britain and you have effectively shut down all discussion. These accusations are now so serious that people will go to great lengths to avoid them - even if that means steering clear of all who might make them.

That's why I believe the race relations industry has made the situation worse. After all, whatever heated words were really uttered over Janet Street-Porter's back fence, they would not have led to an arrest had her neighbour been white. She claims she has been falsely denounced. Whatever the truth of her situation - once you have "thought crimes" - false denunciations are a serious risk. Ask anyone who lived through Communism in Eastern Europe.

I have been accused of racism in the past few days on the pages of this blog. My contempt for the weaklings who resort to such techniques is boundless. Shouting abuse does not constitute an argument, whether you cry "Paki!" or "racist!" Those who resort to it are at best to be pitied and at worst to be despised. Sadly, in modern Britain, these feeble-minded slogan-yellers must also now be feared.

The inarticulate "celebrities" who, to the delight of the baying mob, will now probably be arrested on leaving the "Big Brother" house have been set up. Ask yourself cui bono? and the answer is clear. Endemol has rescued the ratings of its contemptible TV show. The show's producers granted the actress alleged to be the victim in the "Big Brother" case special privileges. They matched a beautiful authentic film star with a bunch of D-listers. They well knew it would stir resentments. The actress (accurately) called those housemates "ignorant". Their response was predictable. Endemol could not be happier tonight and will milk this story for all it's worth. The "right on" MP's who are wasting the legislature's time with calls for debate are putting money in their pockets.

The British working classes are not, as a whole, racist. I grew up among them. Treat them right and they will treat you right too, whatever ethnic group you may belong to. Call them names and they will call you names back. What of it? The real tragedy is that these women are inarticulate because they are uneducated. They are not uneducated because they are working class. My working class ancestors may not have had money, but they were polite and read real books. My working class colleagues in Russia read very serious books indeed. These ladies are uneducated because Labour destroyed our education system. They have been held to no standards of any kind and are proud of their ignorance.

Be that as it may, none of us should be held accountable for words uttered in heat. All of us have said things to our loved ones, in anger, that we did not mean. Should we hold people to a higher standard when dealing with strangers? Of course not.

I fear that the current stories will be used to justify yet more ridiculous laws; yet more aggressive witch hunts. The white working classes of Britain will be further demonised to justify more restrictions on freedom of speech.

The humane and intelligent Jewish comedian Jackie Mason expressed my view of these matters recently when interviewed about Mel Gibson's alleged drunken anti-Semitic outburst;

Let's be honest about it -- anybody who makes a life out of fighting racism in effect has to blow up racism in order to justify himself in his job he has. Otherwise he'd have to go to work. Otherwise he'd have to get up in the morning and get a real job



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James' point is well made. As Tom correctly alludes to, by blowing issues out of proportion we then allow groups to define themselves as victims.

In this case there is no harm, in other cases such as with militant islam it is important that we do not give them a status that they could use against us.

We don't need more laws or even more hand-wringing. We need common sense.

Tin Drummer

Indeed, Ian. Much as I love going out and getting tanked up on Stella then starting fights with people whose only offence is to look at me the wrong way, calling it culture is like calling a dog turd an aspect of canine creativity.

Ian Grey

An excellent posting well made with equally as astute comments.

Britain has gone downhill to the point where if we were all in a public space, we would self-consciously look around to see who was in earshot before raising such a topic.

My reaction to being told to celebrate diversity is polite indifference. I'll choose what I am interested in and wish to celebrate. I certainly don't want to celebrate an awful lot of so-called English Culture...

james higham

By protecting certain groups against hearing bad of themselves, we are making them into permanent victims.


Tom Paine

George, I don't think you could get a razor blade betwen us on this issue. I think you would be negligent (perhaps criminally negligent) to shout "fire" in those circumstances and would counsel you against it. You clearly owe a duty of care to the people who might be injured.

I am all for personal responsibility. I am however very much against the irresponsibility caused by politicians pretending to have the answer to every minor ill.

George Poles

Tom, I entirely agree that Jade and her acolytes should not feel the long arm of the law for what they've said. It would be a ridiculous overreaction (and what is more would risk stirring up sympathy for someone who frankly doesn't deserve it).

I do think there is a difference between calling a race "les fuckoffs" and calling an individual "fuckawallah" (glad to see no need for tabloid style asterisks on this blog) especially when the chief motivation for using the term seems to be the colour of someone's skin. Intent is important: when the French call the Brits les fuckoffs, I don't think the intent is cruel or vindictive, I think "fuckawallah" was both. I do think one is entitled to call abuse of this sort racist and to condemn it - socially, rather than legally - on that basis.

As to whether one should never outlaw mere words, I'm off to shout "Fire" in an overcrowded stadium and see what happens.

Tom Paine

George, politeness is good; rudeness is bad. Agreed. I also agree that Oprah Winfrey-style daytime TV pop psychology has a lot to answer for. But we must not confuse law with social convention. Street-Porter should not have been arrested. These chavs should not be arrested either.

It not a question of not "creating more thought crimes." We should be abolishing those we have created.

Logically, how is calling this person "Shilpa Popadom" any worse then some French people calling the English "les rosbifs?" How is calling her "fuckawallah" any worse than some French people calling the English "les fuckoffs?" We laugh at that. I stood at the foot of the Wallace Memorial in Stirling and heard a Scotsman explain its significance by describing the English to his toddler in terms which make these idiots sound like diplomats. That didn't degrade me as an Englishman. It degraded him - and him alone - as a primitive, ignorant man. I would not demean myself by asking for legal protection. I don't give a damn what that cretin thinks.

Are Indians so much more feeble than us? Isn't it actually "racist" to think they need protections we don't? Once you start legislating against words, you are doomed - as I put it - to "tyranny by analogy." It's better simply not to begin. The word "racist" has become a hate-word cast around carelessly at all who disagree with the leftist establishment. It is now completely meaningless. Large groups are deemed to be "institutionally racist" or "unconsciously racist" anyway, so there is no way for them to avoid the accusation - other than by steering clear of anyone who might make it. How does that improve social cohesion?

I suspect, as Germaine Greer has suggested, that this whole thing is entrapment, set up by Endemol for financial gain. These idiots have been used. I don't care about them, but I do think the reactions are disproportionate and socially divisive. The BNP are no doubt gaining almost as much as Endemol, because ordinary people are sick and tired of being demonised.

There is (or should be) a world of difference between social conventions and law. It is utterly, utterly ludicrous to criminalise low, rude people. This cabal would, in other circumstances, be just as vile and offensive about each other. Why should one form of offensiveness be outlawed? They are, after all, just words.


"Sadly, in modern Britain, these feeble-minded slogan-yellers must also now be feared."

The situation in which we now find ourselves is indeed fearful.

"Possibly the greatest problem with "political correctness" is that it has allowed itself to be called "political correctness" rather than politeness."

Silly. The greatest problem with political correctness is that it's political. A great danger, moreover, is that political types will succeed in re-labelling it as politeness.

George Poles

No, we shouldn't be in the business of creating new thought crimes (which is why, for instance, Germany is wrong to wish to outlaw holocaust denial throughout Europe). That doesn't mean people shouldn't be allowed to criticise racist behaviour. And if "she should f**k off back home" and "Shilpa Popadom/f**kawallah whatever" aren't racist phrases I'd like to know what are. Racism is at the very least a pernicious form of rudeness and rudeness isn't nice. Possibly the greatest problem with "political correctness" is that it has allowed itself to be called "political correctness" rather than politeness. In the past certain forms of rudeness (the word somehow doesn't seem strong enough but it is nonetheless accurate) were seen as permissible - you wouldn't refer to your boss as a "c**t" but calling the man next to you a "n****r" was fine. The victory won by political correctness was to make it clear that rudeness was not excusable simply on the basis that the terms were being used against someone of a different race/sex/religion. (It's also worth saying that idiocies like "Winterval" have nothing to do with a sensible application of politeness and everything to do with the patronising attitudes of those who come up with them).

The great difference between Shilpa and the cackling cabal of bullies isn't class or even education it is politeness. Jade, Danielle and Jo have been brought up in a society where anything can be excused on the basis that "I was just saying how I feel", Shilpa appears to have been brought up in a society wise enough to realise that such a claim excuses precisely nothing.

Jeremy Jacobs

You are not alone!


One might note that Pakistan means 'Land of the Pure' in Urdu, Sindhi and Persian, so the joke is very much on those using it with derogatory intent.


Tom, So well said, so articulate. When did all this start? Was it when we banned golliwogs? If you call me a Fenny, btw, I'll try not to be offended.

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