THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Thought-Crime or mere Expatitis?
How far are we from the bottom of this slippery slope?

Does Lord Lucan know where freedom of expression went?

BBC News - ITV's Lord Lucan drama criticised by victim's son.

I returned to live in Britain in April 2011. It was a while before I began to notice some of the changes since I left in 1992. Heraclitus said
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man
Healthy societies change all the time. It would have been surprising if I had found the place just as I had left it.
I had stayed in touch with the changes at some levels. At first I had read flown-in British newspapers at great expense. Then as online news sources developed I had become more involved, starting this blog in March 2005. Still, I had not noticed many changes in attitude and the linked article provides a good example. Here is a man who thinks it wrong to present a TV play based on real events because
The programme is not entertainment. They are profiting from my mum's death
Ignore for the moment the schtick about profit being intrinsically bad. Let's assume that he earns no money himself. Perhaps, for all we know, he lives on unicorn farts harvested voluntarily by fair trade fairies of working age. Perhaps he works for the super-ethical Co-operative Bank.
Please also ignore the weirdness of a middle-aged adult, adopted in infancy, speaking schmaltzily of a 'mum' of whom he knew nothing until he was 40. Indeed of whom he still knows nothing except for what he can learn from the writings of policemen, lawyers, journalists, authors and now playwrights all 'profiting' in his terms from her death.
Does he really believe that his private emotional response to a play he refuses to see is of any importance to the world? Does he really think free expression should be curtailed because of his feelings? Mary Whitehouse was laughed out of this life by people understandably amused that she felt her feelings gave her a right to prevent others seeing shows she didn't want to watch. How is his attitude any different? 
Yet he's part of a disturbing pattern. He belongs with the woman who asserted with menaces a right to prevent her car being filmed obstructing traffic. He belongs with the head teachers who prevent parents filming their children at school sports days for fear some pervert may get off on the images. He is at one with any group with a 'respect' agenda that seeks to curtail criticism of its beliefs or lifestyles. He is at one with the celebrities who want the law changed so tabloids can't service the public's salacious interest in their coke-fuelled encounters with whores. He belongs with the police officers who presume photographers are up to no good. Perhaps he even belongs with the men who murdered a disabled man because he took photographs of youngsters he suspected of vandalising his hanging baskets. 
This has been going on for some time. Margaret Thatcher sagely observed that
One of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.
I fear that those in power are merely responding however to the mindless sentimentalism of the masses. When I flew into London shortly after the death of Princess Diana I was sickened by the ludicrous emotionalism. How could ordinary people be so inarticulately distraught over the accidental death of an aristocrat? I remember gagging as I watched a woman vox popped on TV during the funeral coverage saying (I kid you not)
No-one can explain the deepness we feel
I was angered by Tony Blair shedding crocodile tears for "the people's princess". Yet his personal stock rose with the public, while that of the Queen fell because of her measured, more English, more rational response.
Modern Brits over-rate the importance of their personal feelings. They tend to sickly sentimentality unmoderated by reason, religion, taste or manners. They also dangerously fail to distinguish between the private and public domains. They demand new laws in response to any private misfortune - even if compliance with existing laws, prudence or plain commonsense would already have avoided it. Some of the most dangerous words in the British media come from angry parents demanding a change in the law so that their child "did not die in vain". That hard cases make bad law is a wisdom lost forever. That some misfortunes are mere accidents and do not justify violent restrictions on the lives of others (which is what all laws are) is never considered amid all the tearful emoting.
Where does this sense of entitlement to control others on emotional grounds come from? More importantly, as politicians increasingly strive like fakely-tearful Blair to capture the cry-baby zeitgeist, where will it lead?


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'Inappropriate' is another useful word lost to English. Thank goodness for the redundancy built into a huge language with lots of synonyms. All 'inappropriate' tells us now is that the speaker is a prig.


Great post!

See also Scottish Police investigation of 'an inappropriate Tweet' about the Glasgow heli crash.

Not 'illegal'. Inappropriate...

Where did England go? I miss it.


Individualism - and the idea that individual ideas and rights must take presidence over socially accepted rules - has led us to where we are now.

What utter nonsense. It has done nothing of the sort. A diet of infantilising binge legislation and expectations (nay, demands) that we should "respect" every daft belief system or not cause "offence" is nothing whatsoever to do with individualism, which is about self reliance, not crying to mummy every time someone says something we dislike.


There has always been two types of people in life those who wish to control others and those who wish to be left alone and get on with their life as they see fit. The former are now in the ascendancy so that now we have the bansturbator bleeding heart do gooders interfering in every aspect of our lives. There are also another two types of people those who view the world rationally and objectively and those who have a subjective and emotional view of the world. The latter are also now in the ascendancy so that now society has to give priority to their views above those of the former's wiser more reasoned ones. This situation of course is not sustainable and where it will lead us is anyone's guess except we can say with certain the outcome will not be a happy one. Small minded blinkered people like Mark will of course not recognize the dangers as he no doubt falls into the categories of the former in the first case and the latter in the second. It would not surprise me if he was a committed socialist the rise of which has allowed the current situation to come about.


How insulting to those supposedly controlled to suggest that the control of capital involves the control of others. People are not chattels to be bought and sold - at least not in my philosophy which is based on self-ownership. I was recently approached by a billionaire who wanted me to join his family office and help manage his wealth. I said no thanks. Did he control me? If I had found the idea attractive and said yes, would he have controlled me? No because it would have been my free choice.

My modest capital was all saved from post-tax earned income and is now deployed to create work for others who - unlike you - want it. I have no guilt about that so you are barking up the wrong tree there, mate. You are the one who should feel guilty for responding to your own situation only with proposals to steal the work of others. Where's your plan for self-improvement? Where's your polished CV or your business plan to create goods or services of value to your fellow man? No, you just whinge and make demands for others to support you while you fish.

I do not see how my or anyone else's individualism led to sub-rational creatures moved by their 'feelings' to a sense of entitlement to power over others. Centuries of human advancement by enlightened self-interest in the pre-state era got us to here. People sitting in subsidised idleness plotting to take more wealth by force will add nothing to human happiness. Quite the contrary.


Individualism - and the idea that individual ideas and rights must take presidence over socially accepted rules - has led us to where we are now.

Isn't it rather ironic that the arch libertarian should bemoan the situation that his own *attitude* (if not specific policy prescriptions) have wrought.

To answer your question - what would you do if you were these people?
Where does your right to control capital (and hence other people) come from?
If you had no capital and no hope of ataininf it... what would you do?


Shakespeare, "Coriolanus", "Thou boy of tears..."

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