There was another story that shames modern Britain over the weekend.
Most of us have heard of the fairly eminent historian David Starkey Abrasively outspoken, he is forever expounding what are sometimes vaguely uncomfortable ideas, but like the rest of us he is theoretically entitled to his views. After all, Britain has proudly been proclaiming its freedom and the rights of its citizens to free speech for a very long time.
What a load of nonsense that claim has become.
Back in July of this year, a young broadcaster and journalist from County Durham, Darren Grimes interviewed Starkey on one of those podcast programmes and it was not exactly the historian’s finest hour.
When asked about the Black Lives Matter movement and whether their claims that slavery was another form of genocide are in any way justified, Starkey responded with words to the effect that slavery was not genocide because there were still ‘so many damn blacks’ both in Africa and Britain.
Not unexpectedly, the historian was roundly condemned for what was described as a ‘deeply offensive comment’ to many people. His publishers Hodder and Stoughton withdrew publication of his latest book – part two of his autobiography – various honorary degrees from multiple universities were cancelled and his reputation was thoroughly shredded by public opinion. I do not expect to see or hear him speaking on the BBC or other broadcasters for some time, if ever again.
Perhaps that is as it should be although he is surely entitled to his opinion but in an Orwellian twist of fate it is Darren Grimes who finds himself in the dock. He is now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred under the Public Order Act and has been summoned to a police station to make a statement under caution.
How can that be for God’s sake? What are our esteemed Plod playing at? The very idea that any broadcaster or interviewer should be held responsible for the views of their programme’s subjects is, of course, completely nonsensical. By that token you would have to prosecute Louis Theroux for giving airtime to the lunatic views of far-Right extremists or investigate the editors of BBC’s Question Time for giving a platform to former BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Indeed, you could even argue that Grimes was doing us all a favour by exposing Starkey’s true feelings. Isn’t that, after all, what journalism is all about – uncovering the truth, however unpalatable? And yet this young man is in the dock and Britain is now officially a country where the police investigate journalists for asking questions.
This happens in African states and under other totalitarian regimes, but this is Great Britain damnit! With Bunter Johnson’s misuse of the Covid Act and now this travesty of legal bullying, I fear that the very notion of free speech and independent journalism has been knocked right out of the proverbial window.
Back to that song and ‘Britons never never shall be slaves.’ What a load of tosh that is proving to be! At the moment we are all slaves to a small but vociferus mob, led or at least tacitly encouraged by our revered leader and his little coterie of yes men.
Meanwhile as if emphasising the us and them divide in modern society, the Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier has said that she will not resign despite a growing backlash over her repeatedly breaching Coronabug rules by travelling after developing symptoms.
Earlier this month, Ms Ferrier admitted to travelling from Glasgow to Westminster while awaiting a Covid-19 test result and making the return trip when she knew she had the virus.
Both the Poisoned Dwarf, Nicola Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford have called on Ms Ferrier to stand down over the incident, while the Scottish Labour Party has launched an online petition calling for her to resign. Surely, they should just fire the woman or would that go against some arcane parliamentary rule?
Yet in an interview with The Scottish Sun this weekend, the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who has had the SNP whip withdrawn over the saga, said she had no intention of standing down.
She told the paper: “This has been an awful experience but I’ll keep fighting for my constituents because that’s who I am.”
What a virtuous lady she obviously is and I write that with my tongue in my cheek!
She added that she has received support locally in the wake of the incident and has ‘owned up and apologised profusely.’
Ms Ferrier revealed to the paper her reasoning for travelling to Westminster after taking a Covid-19 test was ‘wanting to represent her constituents’ and take part in a parliamentary debate – something which could not be done virtually. But Madam, what about the many people you came into contact with while travelling. Consideration for your constituents is undoubtedly admirable but other folk deserve to have the same consideration paid to them.
Ferrier also spoke out about the level of criticism she has received over the incident, adding: “You feel you are getting a lot of criticism from people you thought were your colleagues or friends who’d understand it was an error of judgement. I’m not denying that.
‘People may be saying, ‘You should have known better, you’re a public figure’ but at the end of the day it still hurts. You then think about all that hard work and dedication – is that just wiped away?”
What utter hypocritical cant. This woman was very vocal when the Cummings Creature made his own ill advised journey a few months ago and at the time, she demanded that he be fired.
Sauce for both sides of the goose family immediately come to mind but it seems that British politicians are becoming ever more overbearing and selfish. After all, Bunter J tells us that ‘we are all in this together’ but he is talking twaddle I am afraid. If that were so, surely our MPs would forgo their £3,360 pay rise which takes their basic salary to a cool £85,292. That is about four times the pay of a care worker – and they don’t get to work via virtual reality and Zoom.