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The Leveson Test – separating the ‘Decent Left’ from ‘the Idiots’

22 October 2013

22 October 2013

If the Leveson Inquiry does nothing else, then it has at least provided a useful guide to the British Left for those of us on the saliva-speckled wastelands of British conservatism.

Political tribes are complex but occasionally one issue will neatly divide a movement into easily identifiable clans, of which press regulation is one. And on one side you have one part of the British Left, the liberal tradition that values the liberty of all as a starting principle, and on the other the radical tradition that sees press freedom as a way for the rich to monopolise power.

We might call them ‘The Decent Left’ and ‘The Idiots’; and while it’s not a clear-cut test, and there may be some Idiots against regulation and some Decents in favour, as a rule of thumb it works. Here is a rough taxonomic guide to finding out how is a Decent and who is an Idiot:

Do they see their opponents as evil, and with malignant motives? Do they start from the premise that their opponents have darker motives, and that this is start of some appalling slaughter of the innocents?

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Are their politics motivated by hate? So much of the vitriol against the Daily Mail is pretty weird, all these people shouting about how hateful the paper is and yet so full of hate themselves. If you hate your opponents it becomes much easier to deny them the right to speak or to force them to work in the fields where the shock of manual labour would probably kill my effete, bourgeois body.

Moral equivalence. Virginia Woolf was the grandmummy, equating Nazi Germany with the parliamentary democracy in which she was allowed to wallow in self-pity. The modern version is equating the crimes of Britain, Israel and the US (of which there are many) with fundamentally awful and violent organisations like the Taliban and Ba’ath Party. The Iraq War was a fairly good (although not perfect) test of Decents v Idiots, although in that case the Idiots were probably right in the outcome (sometimes the worst people turn out to be right).

Do the ends justify the means? If you think that lying and cheating and character assassinations are necessary for the greater good, your greater good will probably turn out to be somewhere with a lot of lying and cheating and assassinations (maybe real ones).

Power. For the Decent Left, the aim is to make society freer, fairer or kinder; for the Idiots it’s about power, which is why Leveson appeals.

Which leads us to freedom of speech. Do you respect your opponent’s right to a fair platform for his opinion, or do you define it as ‘hate speech’ to be vilified and ultimately criminalised?

Recently some leftist bloggers have been discussing the issue of political intolerance, some good reasons for which are given here, although I would add the powerful effect of political correctness in academia; plus the fact that politics has now taken on the same function as religion for many people, along with the righteousness and sectarianism that characterises believers.

We also forget that living peacefully with people possessed of vastly different opinions and worldviews is pretty unnatural (which is why the internet winds people up) and takes a great deal of effort. In most of the world it’s not tolerated, and that it is here took a lot of spilling of blood to achieve.

Man’s natural desire is to his crush his enemies, see them driven before him and to hear the lamentation of their women. That is good! Having to endlessly debate them is just annoying. And however much the Decent Left dislike the shrieking, unpleasant, perverse and contrary voices of our side, they appreciate that freedom isn’t the sound of butterflies in the field but the less pleasant but equally necessary drone of your opponent’s voices.


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Show comments
  • Tatty_D

    What a random, superficial facile article. And you are all really impressed with this, commentators. . And then many proceed to display the traits they claim not to like.

  • HS2

    George Orwell was quite aware of this distinction.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Spectator, are you planning to do a piece on the anniversary of the Battle Of Agincourt this Friday? The day chivalry died.
    Get back to me if you need some help.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • dalai guevara

    Excellent article – the decent left and the idiots.
    Who would the latter be then, not the fascist right in awe of the legend of Dolchstoss and the reality of Gleichschaltung perchance?

    • tastemylogos

      fascist right?

      people like you peddle this, rick from The Young Ones platitude, ‘you fascist’ without consideration.

      what does it mean? seriously.

      Isnt the core of fascist principle a central planning agenda in union with corporate interest?… ie, mussolinis diktat.

      ukip are right wing, ill give you that. but what is right wing about the French FN? is being nationalist, right wing? so what was galtieri, mugabi and mao, then? they were nationalists. but also for central planning, protectionism, egalitaire (for agreeable groups obviously).

      INDEED, CAN YOU EVEN CITE BY WHOS DEFINITION WHAT RIGHT WING POLICIES ARE?

      piinochet was right wing, i’ll give you that. but mussolini, stalin, hitler, mugabe, galtieri, castro, franco, mao… all of the central planning communitarian left i am afraid, fella. Some militarist, some internationalist, some protectionist… nonetheless… all of the left.

      you hating that fact doesnt make it less true 😉

      • dalai guevara

        Socialism is the socialisation of losses, which only the US, Australia and the UK really subscribe to and engage in.
        A conservationist is a conservative greenie.
        The fascist right are those who do not subscribe to Leveson, but a state controlled press (Fraser explained that to you).
        In my view, the article above is at least partly designed to recalibrate some of the definitions, of course in the end it is not radical enough.

  • Pier66

    You are using sensationalist examples to sway the argument in your favour which is typical of liberal lefties and Marxists, who rarely allow the facts to get in the way of their ideological crusade. Censoring graphic imagery to protect the vulnerable is completely different and a far cry from censoring free speech and ideas and suppressing the facts/truth in favour of or to protect agenda or individuals who have been corrupt or dishonest or criminal. We can all be informed and debate the atrocities committed by criminals

    Another Great post from PIP

    The problem is also here too much lefty!!
    Ynwa

  • Pier66

    I prefer to say its not about left verses right its about stupidity, naivety and gullibility verses intelligence, open mindedness and good sense and Libertarian values and desires.

    PIP Great post

    Well there will be many othere things, points
    of differents from Left and right labour or conservative..
    Ynwa

    • Icebow

      ‘Verses.’ ‘Differents’. Etc.. Gordon Bennett!

  • Pier66

    Decent left, idiots

    labour are all scum as ever!
    Ynwa

  • AlexanderGalt

    Maybe there is something in “man’s natural desire to crush his enemies”.

    Though it’s not civilised, hating works. Look what benefits it has brought the Muslim community vis a vis our more pacifically minded.

    There’s a brilliant post on the theme called: “Squadron 303 And How Hating Wins Wars” at:

    http://john-moloney.blogspot.com/#!/2013/10/squadron-303-and-how-hating-wins-wars.html

    • Colonel Mustard

      The problem is that “hating” is not on the left’s target list for promoting equality and fairness (a quite selective list as it turns out). The left are quite happy to deploy hatred when it suits their agenda whilst trying very hard to make any of the increasing examples of “hatred” they disapprove of (a very loosely interpreted criteria) a criminal offence.

      They start from a simple proposition that they are morally perfect and that anything they propose for the public good is of itself justified. It is the quasi-devotional characteristic that lines almost every inane, imbecilic “comment” from the inane and imbecilic telemachus. It is Marcusean and effectively denies political pluralism and diversity let alone the need to engage in political dialogue reasonably.

      In recent years the left have ramped up the rhetoric of real hatred against those they define as political opponents (q.v. the bigoted comments of telemachus) and have managed to sequester the power of the state to aid them. This wedge will only get wider because those representing the political right are already dancing to the left’s tune, appeasing them, allowing themselves to be defined by them and being intimidated by them. Breitbart is dead. Britain has no Breitbart, only a bunch of wet Tory grandees who can’t fight, won’t fight and a few bloggers/journalists whom the left can easily isolate and demonise.

      Decent people on the left? I don’t believe it. If there are any they must be there under sad delusions about the true meaning of liberty and freedom.

      • tastemylogos

        Great post, colonel.

      • Eddie

        Yep, and they call anything they dislike ‘right wing’.
        In their smug pompous vocabulary that just means ‘morally wrong and not occupying the moral high ground like fake working class heroes such as Owen Drones. There is no thinking involved in this: if something is bad, then it is by definition ‘right wing’ according to these ovine oafs, who baa whenever the Guardian tells them too, like good little sheep.
        For example, anyone opposed to the anti-integrationist idiocy of multiculturalism (which causes division), or against the backwards traditions in minority communities (forcing girls into marriage, wearing veils etc) is sneered at as being ‘right wing’ when they are in fact defending Enlightenment values against a modern form of fascism.
        (Plus, according to their definition, the French socialists – who are pro-integration, anti the veil etc, are now ‘right wing’ – work that one out! I bet they can’t…)

        • Andy

          Indeed so. The problem is that the Left, Fascist and not so Fascist varieties, have managed to move the public perceptions. They have done this by the simple means of the broadcast media. They dominate and control the BBC, which is perfectly clear in its news output. They also control what sort of drama is commissioned and broadcast. Note that the play which put Lady Thatcher in a good light over the Falklands War took near 20 years before they broadcast it, and only did so because it had become an embarrassment to them. How often do you see a play or a drama series that has a right of centre political message ? Almost never: they are drowned out by left-wing propaganda. And if we have so much diversity in our media why do we not have a Fox News Channel ? Of course the Left is able to do this because people have no choice – you have to pay for the BBC whether you like it or not. No freedom there then.

          • Eddie

            I was thinking exactly that when I watched Channel 4 news last night – as per usual, it obsessed about racism, more or less accusing the government of it for wanting to remove illegal immigrants and stop health tourism which costs this country billions (yet, what is wrong with that? It is not right wing or left wing or chicken wing – it is simply just, right, fair and honest to properly manage immigration and those who use our health service).
            Jon Snow of course is a silverback male from the upper middle classes; like many of this tribe he loves diversity policies and affirmative action for women and ethnic minorities, because he knows he is safe and secure in his job; no chance of a young white man getting a break on Channel 4 news however – half of its 6 trainees per year have to be ethnic (and it is not illegal to be racist like this for training courses).
            Plenty of people are sick and tired of the BBC and other media promoting the same pro-immigration, pro-Muslim, anti-Israel, anti-individualist message. The thing is, those in this cesspit don’t realise how much they stink – have no idea how biased and wrong they are.

            • Andy

              Oh I never watch Channel 4 News, nor do I now watch BBC News. If you watch BBC News and then Sky News you can see a huge difference. The BBC always ‘spin’ a story in a leftie way and it is just institutionally anti-Tory. Problem is the dominate the broadcast news media, so unless and until the BBC is broken up and we have more diversity there is no chance.

      • dalai guevara

        Colonel, all people want is a piece of the pie, they want a sense of belonging.
        Why accept year on year price rises of 9% or thereabouts whilst profits keep rising?

        • Colonel Mustard

          Rubbish. I just want to be left alone by government to continue earning my pittance. Loony lefties want power. Not just power over our bodies but over our minds too.

          • telemachus

            No-one wants anything from or for you

            • Colonel Mustard

              You do not speak for everyone you muppet.

              • telemachus

                Just the reasonable majority
                *
                PS you have become a pale shadow

  • Colin

    The British left is made up of three main constituencies:

    The Thick, The Naive and The Evil. That’s all you need to know.

    The fun part is mentally allocating various lefties into one of the three categories.

  • David Lindsay

    Do you believe in the sovereignty of Parliament? The concentration of media ownership in private, often foreign, almost invariably foreign-domiciled hands is incompatible with that, for such is the power of the media.

    If these people must be permitted to own British newspapers and other media interests at all, then that has to be subject to overall parliamentary control. The alternative is simply to ban concentrated, foreign, and foreign-domiciled private ownership.

    But no one who had to make a living in the London media for 40 or 50 years would ever suggest that. Meaning that it will never happen. Thereby making my point about the power of those media.

    • Wessex Man

      really? you worked in the London media fgor 40 or 50 years, what was it surely you can remember? what was your position? Headline teaboy?

      Get a grip and stop telling naughties.

      If the Westminster Village were control the press we would very soon have our own version of Pravada!

      • David Lindsay

        You can’t read English, can you? No wonder that you like the papers as they are.

        • Thor fenris

          How do you misspell a transliterated word?

          • tastemylogos

            ah. yep you saw it too. remarkable, isnt he?

        • tastemylogos

          lindsey, luv you cant misspell a phonetic transliteration.

          you are cringing.

      • David Lindsay

        If the Westminster Village were control the press

        What do you think happens now?

        • Icebow

          Perhaps he thinks that your so-obviously magnificent intellect should be a little less concerned with typographical errors.

    • Pip

      Put a Politician in control of anything and it will soon become corrupted and unfit for purpose.

      • David Lindsay

        What are media now, then?

        Mind you, they largely are run by politicians. In fact, in what sense are their editors and star writers not politicians?

        • Pip

          Indeed but they want to enshrine their control in law and expand it at the same time.

        • Andy

          Yes the BBC is run by politicians and Lefties like you. It certainly needs to be broken up.

      • Icebow

        But if one puts non-politicians in control of anything, will they not become politicians (especially given that they may be managers already)?

    • Abhay

      So your answer to the concentration of media power in a few hands is to concentrate the power in the hands of the govt?

      Undesirable as things are, I would not like to see govt tentacles spreading in the media with its ideology of ‘controlling and improving”.

      Fortunately, aside from the traditional media, there are enough (and growing) alternative media which too influence and inform (including commenters here). I would rather see that trend grow.

      No govt / bureaucratic intervention please.

      • David Lindsay

        The “alternative media”, and i do plenty of that sort of thing myself, do not matter politically. Not, at any rate, to anything like the same extent.

        The only ones that do are in fact arms of newspapers or of venerable magazines. Blogging and tweeting does not get one access to Minsters, and it never will.

        I’d require a plurality of ownership, something that could only be done by the Statute Law. But no employee of the present system could ever say that. So it will never happen. That is what I mean.

        • Abhay

          I am all for plurality of ownership and thwarting oligopolistic tendencies. Such tendencies should not be supported in any industry.

          By alternative media I don’t just mean blogs and tweets (I don’t read anyone’s tweets). It means a whole lot more – small newspapers, smaller publishing houses, internet channels on news and analysis, blogs by specialists etc. i read and watch a few and they colour my opinions.

          • David Lindsay

            Quite so. But they need protection. That can only be done by the force of law.

          • Icebow

            Hi Abhay. Please revisit the Lindsay crap!

            • Abhay

              Let me do that mate. Because I will have all that stuff in my email. Thanks for pointing out.

              • Icebow

                We’re doing everyone a service; a minor gesture under Karma Yoga.

                • Abhay

                  Here it is, Mr Lindsay’s original response. Just scooped it out from the graveyard of posts.

                  Quote

                  David Lindsay

                  The “alternative media”, and i do plenty of that sort of thing myself, do not matter politically. Not, at any rate, to anything like the same extent.

                  The only ones that do are in fact arms of newspapers or of venerable magazines. Blogging and tweeting does not get one access to Minsters, and it never will.

                  I’d require a plurality of ownership, something that could only be done by the Statute Law. But no employee of the present system could ever say that. So it will never happen. That is what I mean.

                  Unquote

                • Icebow

                  Excellent, as Monty Burns would say. Cheers mate!

        • Icebow

          ‘The “alternative media”, and i do plenty of that sort of thing myself, do not matter politically.’
          What ‘Minster’? York?

          (re previous comment)

          • David Lindsay

            Eh? It’s bit early to be this drunk already on a Tuesday.

            • Icebow

              I don’t know how drunk you are, though I may well be more so. Read yourself.

              • David Lindsay

                You are.

                • Icebow

                  Whether or not so, you first edited yourself in accordance with my comment; then, whether or not in response to my P.P.S., edited your reply to Abhay down to nothing but your name. Perhaps Abhay could oblige us all by republishing your comment (from his e-mail) beyond your reach.

    • tastemylogos

      aaaaaaaaaaaaand …… lindsey, luv is off again.

      after the mauling you got about a fortnight ago, i did notice youd gone quiet. thought you had re-calibrated a bit of the old zealotry… clearly not. oh well.

  • AdemAljo

    I think this a fantastic article because it attempts to clarify the difference between those groups on the left that some people, especially those online, would otherwise bundle together into the same bag of whack-jobs.

    However, being leftist (or rightist, for that matter) takes into account so much more than your views on typically idiosyncratic liberty, i.e. the freedom of the press. It’s about your view on culture, economic affairs, foreign affairs, etc. etc. You can’t just accept a whole group of people as being ‘Decent’ because they agree on one, single policy or idea.

    My experience goes thus: I spent one fine evening at the Sports & Social bar at the Houses of Parliament. A typically Labour-youth oriented bar, my chums and I went in for a couple of cheap bottles of wine or six and so began the evil glares and rude treatments, lack of conversational etiquette at the bar, total lack of interest in striking up conversation, let alone debate, and so we left, having had only ourselves for company.

    The (politically active) left is full of vile idiots, most of them, in fact. I dare say you might find one or two or even twenty leftists who agree with some policies, but their only option is to be represented by the Labour Party, the vilest and idiotest [sic] leftists of the whole bally lot of them.

    • Pip

      I prefer to say its not about left verses right its about stupidity, naivety and gullibility verses intelligence, open mindedness and good sense and Libertarian values and desires.

    • Icebow

      I think I’d have preferred ‘idioticest’, but never mind. Vile idiots, yes; as to a glass-case specimen, I’m torn between Owen Jones, Matthew Goodwin, George Galloway…oh, let’s just have a galleryful. Perhaps a whole bally museum.

  • Pip

    There is no such thing as ‘the decent left’ and only a liberal lefty would attempt to promote such a notion. A free and democratic society demands and needs a free press, warts and all and anyone who attempts to control the presses right to freedom of speech and expression is anti democratic and opposes freedom and that includes Mr Leveson.

    • mikewaller

      What simplistic tosh. Even the great Oliver Wendell Holmes said that the right to free expression does not include “the right (unnecessarily) to shout “Fire” in a crowded theatre”. Some limits have therefore to be set. Today, for example, Facebook is under fire for refusing to prohibit the unannounced showing of beheadings. Are we to assume that you stand four square with them. How about genuine footage of rapes and child abuse? What about “Trolls” driving young people to suicide? When you grow up you will find the world a much more complicated place than you seem to think it now.

      • Tom M

        Mmm. Are you saying then that it is or should be illegal to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre?
        I think that law makers have a great deal of trouble with degrees of culpability. For example when a speed limit is set that’s it a fraction over and you are guilty.
        Free speech is the same, it is all or nothing because it is almost impossible to draft a law that covers each activity. Everybody would have their own pet dislike that would need to be added to the proscribed list.

        • mikewaller

          Your own example destroys your case. The police very rarely prosecute for speeding offences of one or two miles over the limit as they know doing so brings the law into disrepute. As for shouting fire in crowed theatre, as I made clear that was an example given by Oliver Wendell Holmes, an outstanding American Lawyer. The reason why not is obvious: by doing so you could unnecessarily start a stampede in which large numbers of people could be killed. It is therefore right that hoaxers who, for example, use their powers of expression to issue bomb threats are sent to prison. Yet can you seriously doubt that that is a serious curtailment of freedom of expression?

          As I tried to tell dear old Pip, it is a very complicated world in which all or nothing rules usually prove to be a disaster. In short, we are actually called upon to exercise judgement. Tough ain’t it?

          • alabenn

            At the moment they prosecute 3 miles over, that the police have now proven countless thousands of times that they will corruptly change evidence, it would seem to be a certainty that they would calibrate their equipment so as to show less is more.
            That this has nothing to do with free speech shows you are as cavalier with the concept of what free speech really means, that it negates any reasoning you have produced.

            • Pip

              10% plus 2mph is the prosecution policy for speeding, not intended to give the driver any leeway but to prevent cases being thrown out of court due to the accepted fact that many speedometers become slightly inaccurate over time and the faster the speed the more inaccurate they can be.

              • alabenn

                My daughter in law was done by a camera van with 33mph on photo, this was up in Sunderland, Northumbria Police I believe.
                I had up till then thought it was as you say about 35mph.

                • mikewaller

                  I actually said “The police very rarely prosecute for speeding offences of one or two miles over the limit as they know doing so brings the law into disrepute.”

                  Although you seem to have broader shoulders than he does, in deference to dear old Pip might I politely suggest that a course in close reading might help!!!

                • tastemylogos

                  rude… again.

            • mikewaller

              Try eating more fish. Speeding was brought into the argument by the guy to whom I was responding. If you cannot keep up, don’t play with the big boys!

              • Pip

                insulting people never wins any argument Mike.

                • mikewaller

                  Given the quality of the Spectator this really ought to be an elite list with schoolboy reasoning getting the treatment it deserves. Certainly that is my policy.

              • tastemylogos

                ‘Try eating more fish’

                youre a very rude man. you can identify the proportion of intellectual to emotional capital one invests into an argument by the rudeness he dismisses those with a differing POV.

                to the unafilliated, Youre making a fool of yourself.

                • mikewaller

                  I think the technical term is “not suffering fools gladly”. That I have had to expend so much effort in driving home the very simple point that because it can conflict with other highly valued principles, judgement has continually to be exercised in determining just how far freedom of expression should extend. That we have to do this is highly problematic because of the very high risks of abuse. Nonetheless it is unavoidable.

                  Frankly, other than for the most extreme libertarians who would allow Jihadists, pedophiles etc. etc. free access to the air-waves on the basis that although what they were proposing was criminal, they still had an absolute right to express their views, I cannot see that there is another POV.

                  Indeed, given enough stick, most everybody to whom I have responded has finished up drawing this conclusion. So why are they wasting everybody’s time with this absolutist nonsense in the first place? I think that they are letting down the list and making fools of themselves by the sheer sloppiness of their thinking!

          • Tom M

            A slight misrepresentation mike. I didn’t say that if you exceeded the speed limit you would be prosecuted as you conclude . I said you would have broken the law.
            And I think we have just reached an agreement with your last paragraph where you say that we have to excercise judgement.

            My point, in relation to what should and shouldn’t be allowed to be shown becomes very quickly a matter of judgement and that is impossible to legislate for. As an example I seem to remember some long while ago, perhaps it was Mary Whitehouse, asking that Tom & Jerry cartoons be censored because she thought they were violent.

            • mikewaller

              Please explain to be how you can say in one paragraph “we have to exercise judgement” and in the next, leaving things as a mater of judgement cannot be tolerated not least because several decades ago May Whitehouse said something ridiculous which everybody ignored,

      • Pip

        You are using sensationalist examples to sway the argument in your favour which is typical of a liberal lefty. Censoring graphic imagery to protect the vulnerable is completely different from censoring free speech and ideas and suppressing the facts in favour of agenda or individuals. We can all be informed and debate the atrocities committed by criminals and religious extremists without having to make the video footage/photos readily available for gratification etc.

        • mikewaller

          You hang yourself with you own contradictions. As from the above you clearly agree, free speech is not an unmitigated good and the line between the unacceptable and the acceptable has continually to be fought over.

          But let me press you on the point. Even if we could set matters up so that people had to choose to see a video of a Westerner having his head chopped off by a fanatic, would that be OK by you, or should we do everything we can to close down access to such sites? What about sites that offer scholarly support for Jihads? What about sites that give explicit support for the killing of British military personnel at home and abroad? And, please, no cop-outs about not being able to stop it. The question is, if you could, would you?

          • Pip

            I refer you to my previous comments, censoring Graphic imagery from the MSM and Social networking sites is a completely different issue to censoring free speech, opinions and ideas. if you cant see that then that’s your problem not mine. As for sites that support and promote criminal activity then common sense dictates they should be taken offline, we don’t need censorship laws to enforce such actions, just sensible laws to prevent crime and terrorism. You are conflating issues and clouding the water, either intentionally or through your inability to separate such issues.

            • mikewaller

              Are you as daft as you seem? Taking down sites which contain views of which you disapprove is censorship!!!

              • Pip

                Not if those sites promote Criminal Activity or Terrorism its not censorship its good sense, you are confusing the issues intentionally or through lack of intellect. When you lower yourself to petty insults such as calling someone who doesn’t agree with you “daft” then you have already lost the argument. Anyone who believes that our Political Class who are renowned for dishonesty, venality and crookedness should have any control over the press is in fact part of the problem.

                • mikewaller

                  I was naive enough as to think that a few sharp words might kick your brain into gear. As that has clearly failed perhaps repetition will help. Not allowing people to say things you do not approve of may well be commonsense if what they are proposing is criminal or deeply injurious to others. HOWEVER it is still censorship. What most intelligent people understand is that deeply held values very often conflict and one actually has to use judgement in deciding where the right course lies. I have to say that in my day, most people who considered themselves in any way thinkers had this sorted out before they were twenty.

                • tastemylogos

                  ‘Not allowing people to say things you do not approve of may well be commonsense if what they are proposing is criminal or deeply injurious to others. HOWEVER it is still censorship. ‘

                  its unbelievable. you are surely taking the beezwax here.

                • mikewaller

                  To give further help – and no one can say that I have not tried – this is what my dictionary says:

                  Censor 1. a person authorised to examine publications, films, etc in order to suppress in whole or in part those considered obscene, politically unacceptable etc. 2. any person who controls or suppresses the behaviour of others, especially on moral grounds.

                  Censorship 1. a policy or programme of censoring. 2. the act or system of censoring.

                • tastemylogos

                  your definitions say nothing about criminality or the law. you really cant see a difference between a group of politicians telling the press what is and isnt ok to publish BEYOND the statute, and the law being upheld on grounds of actual criminal activity?

                  you are silly.

                • mikewaller

                  Do you not understand that “criminality” and the “Law” are themselves movable feasts which until we signed up with European Court were at the absolute discretion of the UK Parliament? Indeed the great joke now is that we have the deal old Daily Mail threatening to run to the European Court if the latest proposals are put in place and the restrictions they place on what parliament can and cannot do in respect of the press are very much MORE restrictive than the status quo.

              • tastemylogos

                oh god. how can you not see a difference between disavowing ALREADY illegal aterial and adding a political input into the press?!

                want an utter zealot? exhibit A for the unafilliated..

              • DanV

                Oh semantics, semantics…since when is a digital image a ‘point of view’ anyway ? And by the time I was twenty I had long since figured out that free speech is a fundamental principle of a democratic society, but that in order to protect that society it was necessary to extend it only to people who in good faith wish to be a contributing part of said society, rather than seeking to materially attack it or damage it. And yes, I know that the line between valid criticism of your society and destructive hatred of it can sometimes be difficult to find, but on the whole I think most intelligent people can tell the difference. If you’re here expressly to wind up the good people who read the Spectator, I can only assume you are a leftist – which means you need to muddy the waters of this debate in order to obscure the fact that deep under your ‘reasonable’ exterior, your main motivating emotion is hatred of your own society, brought about by the nihilistic rage of one whose Marxist god has failed…

                • mikewaller

                  When will you folks get your acts together?

                  Regarding
                  “And yes, I know that the line between valid criticism of your society and destructive hatred of it can sometimes be difficult to find, but on the whole I think most intelligent people can tell the difference.”
                  you are making exactly my point. And, unlike the suggestion of some clown whose comments I have just read, making such judgments is inevitable. Put another way, national security demands some degree of censorship. What people have to be prepared to die in the ditch over is the use of censorship improperly to protect sectional interests and “improperly” has to be judged on a case by case basis.

                  The people whom you think yourself so heroically defending start off by asserting, as you do above, “that free speech is a fundamental principle of a democratic society” then, when pressed, hang all sorts of qualifications around it, again as you do. What I am objecting to is not the position in which you finally finish up – it was my position in the first place – but your incredibly sloppy thinking before eventually arriving at it.

                  To give yet another example, your notion that digital images are not an aspect of free expression flies in the face of legal opinion that has developed here, the US and elsewhere in the free world. Thank God it has, for had you been in charge no really sharp political cartoon would ever see the light of day.

                  My final piece of advice is a very old one, updated: Engage brain before hitting the keyboard. One other thing, you could not not be more wrong with regard my politics. As I say, it’s the sloppy thinking which drives me mad!

                • DanV

                  Wow. I’ve read through your response a few times now, and under all the verbiage, what it seems to boil down to is: “We basically agree, but you are a sloppy-thinking idiot who has accidentally bumped into the truth, whereas I, mikewaller, am a cognitive genius who sadly has to devote large chunks of my precious genius-time to enlightening oafs such as you.” Well mike, I can only apologise for the fact that my sloppy thinking affects you so much, and although I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box I do know one thing – allowing yourself to be driven mad by other people’s opinions ain’t that smart…

      • Weaver

        I stand with Facebook.

        And don’t quote OWH if you don’t understand the principle of harm he was invoking, and the tests associated with it.

        • mikewaller

          That’s a shame because Facebook has just changed its stance yet again and even in its most liberal stance has a substantial list of things that it will not allow to be shown.

          Regarding, OWH, I actually illustrated the issue of safety which underpinned his remark. Do you struggle with reading?

  • Andy

    Why don’t you call a spade a spade ? What you term as ‘Idiots’ are in reality the ‘Fascist Left’. Unfortunately their intolerant and evil philosophy holds sway over far too much of the left of centre. Look ye well unto them for they are the enemy of Liberty.

    • Pip

      Well said…

  • Diogenes

    Where exactly would I find this ‘Decent Left’ of which you speak?

    • Andy

      He was being charitable.

    • Pip

      Same place he finds most of the nonsense he writes, in the dustbin of failed ideologies and inane notions.

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