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Fucking thin-skinned syndrome…

spiked editor Mick Hume's Notebook in The Times (London).

Mick Hume

Mick Hume
Columnist

Topics Politics

This is a bit of random text from Kyle to test the new global option to add a message at the top of every article. This bit is linked somewhere.

  • What sort of society are we creating when a freeborn Briton cannot swear at his own television set without having his collar felt?

Or more specifically, when our Edinburgh-born British Prime Minister cannot shout ‘Fucking Welsh!’ at his TV without being reported to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and the North Wales Constabulary?

Then again, who started it? The Prime Minister has overseen the creation of ridiculous laws against thinking of anybody in a ‘racially/religiously aggravated’ fashion, and countless codes outlawing ‘offensive’ language, looks and leisurewear.

Tony Blair has now been hoist with his own ‘respect agenda’, the fucking Scot! When I read the headline ‘Blair cursed the Welsh’ this week, I imagined for a moment that Mrs Blair and her friend Ms Caplin had been waving their magic crystals and chanting in the direction of the Principality.

Instead Lance Price, a former Downing Street spin-doctor, claims to have witnessed Mr Blair’s outburst in 1999, as they watched TV news coverage of Labour’s disappointing results in the Welsh Assembly elections.

There does seem something authentically Blairite about the stunted formulation ‘fuck*ing Welsh’ (not ‘the fucking Welsh’, or ‘fucking Welsh sheepsnoggers’), reminiscent of that semi-literate election slogan, ‘Forward, not fucking back’. The episode also points up an old/new Labour contrast. I recall Neil Kinnock declaring himself glad to be among ‘real people ‘ in his Welsh constituency as his 1992 general election defeat was confirmed. As opposed, presumably, to the fake fucking English people who had voted Tory.

But why give an expletive about what anybody shouts at the TV? Blair’s pathetic opponents should be nailing him for what he says and does in public today, not trying to get him in trouble for rude words used six years ago.

That such an unexceptional outburst can now become a political issue confirms how oversensitive Britain has become under new Labour. North Wales police, for instance, have revealed that senior officers spent almost a hundred hours investigating some weak Welsh-baiting jokes cracked on TV by Anne Robinson. Nor is this problem peculiar to the Welsh. Imagine the reaction if Mr Blair had been overheard shouting ‘Fucking Muslims!’ at his TV over the election of George Galloway. Thin-skinned syndrome is becoming a British disease. Perhaps that old boy who mumbled ‘nonsense’ at Jack Straw was thrown out because organisers thought he was being offensive to the foreign secretary community.

A modest proposal for the respect agenda: why not try respecting freedom of speech and the right to be offensive? For fucking everybody.

  • Thirty years ago, I watched the teenage Jimmy Pursey miming to Elvis songs on stage at the Walton Hop.

This week, I felt I was watching history repeating itself as farce as the Prime Minister danced on to the platform at the Labour conference to the strains of Pursey’s punk band, Sham 69, singing their 1978 anthem If the Kids are United.

Whether or not this bizarre choice was supposed to be a call for unity between Messrs Blair and Brown (or ‘the kids’, as they are now known), we can surely agree that they could have selected a more appropriate song to promote ‘respect’. How about Sham 69’s hit singles Borstal Breakout or Hurry Up Harry (We’re Going Down the Pub)? Or the classic Sunday Morning Nightmare , with its lyrics about how ‘I’ve been drinking too many pints of lager/I’ve been getting into too many bleedin’ fights’, and a chorus that captures the essence of new Labour more succinctly than any platform speech: ‘Don’t do it, They won’t let us do it/ Don’t do it, they won’t let us do it/ Don’t do it, they won’t let us do it/ Don’t do it, they won ’t let us do it.’

Perhaps the Home Secretary could just mime to it, like Jimmy at the Hop.

  • So to the big story overshadowing all else this week.

A discredited leader, living off past glories, but who won’t consider stepping down. His anointed successor waiting dourly at his side, promising that nothing will change, regardless of what their supporters want. Meanwhile, the entire outfit drifts further on to the middle ground of mediocrity.

Mick Hume is editor of spiked
This article is republished from The Times (London)

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Politics

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