I've just noticed that the last published post was almost a year ago, although to be fair, I've also rediscovered getting on for a dozen drafts sitting there, half done and now not in the slightest bit topical...
1. I promised myself a while back, that I'd really make an effort to get back to the blog. In fact there's a plan to run a couple of separate blogs to attempt to separate the themes in a little more of a logical way as well as migrate this one away to a different content system and tart it up a bit (watch this space on that).
2. I'm sick (all say ahhhh) and sitting around feeling sorry for myself seems pathetic. But I can write a bit while the pills kick in.
3. Mrs. Thatcher - yes her.
...no, no not at all!!!
So, Mrs T, eh - that's what's got me blogging? Well, no, not really. I can only imagine how much has been written about her in the last week. Including some really good stuff but sadly most of it completely predictable, from both "sides".
But whether my thoughts on Thatcher would be interesting or cliched, it hardly seems worth adding any more to the clamour; especially on a blog with my tiny readership.
But - "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead".
I have to say, as offensive songs go, this one's a wee bit pathetic (unless we are talking in terms of musical quality, in which case it's right up there with "I should be so lucky").
And for once, some of the right's response was a little bit less than po-faced; trying to get "I'm in love with Mrs Thatcher" in the charts too. Although they've obviously missed the irony that it was, well ironic in the first place. That seems to be the way it should work. Both those who love and those who detest her can make their point...I seem to remember that's how free speech works.
But to ban it? Oh come on. And in such a cowardly way. The BBC are of course in a bit of a pickle. On the one hand they love to claim they are torch bearers for freedom of speech but on the other hand I'm sure the phone lines (emails, texts) between Downing Street (and their allies) and the DG's office were metaphorically red hot.
Well tough, that's the business you're in, aunty!
It's a pathetic compromise (in fact not a compromise at all). A snip of the song will still be played and a news item will talk about it - so the "right" can get even more offended. But at the same time they've upset the "left" by de facto banning it.
Well, if recent history has taught us anything about the modern BBC it's that it has no problem in putting its foot right in it.
But there is a serious point here. Free speech is free or it isn't.
The thing about censorship that so many people simply don't get is that subjects that are on the approved list today can be on the banned list tomorrow. I had several augments years back with fellow Christians over the "Jerry Springer Opera" . Some were trying to get me to sign a petition to stop it being shown and couldn't understand my reluctance to do so. Now frankly, if it hadn't been shown, it wouldn't have bothered me and I didn't watch it. If it really was trying to get us to take a critical look at a particular genre of reality TV, I didn't need to, I was there way before! Might it have offended me? I doubt it, but why bother putting myself in a position where I could be upset?
That begs the question of how many of the voices clmouring for the BBC to ban it would normally listen to the chart show and why those few that do can't simply turn off after the number 2 is played...
But my point was (and is) that it's dangerous to have the BBC (or anyone else) working from a list of what is an acceptable subject or position rather than the quality of the program (or record) itself when deciding what to broadcast. Fine, you might be happy this time but you have the possibility of something you hold dear being banned next year.
But then I'm not the son of a miner who saw his father thrown out of work and the community I grew up in destroyed by her ideology.
Agree or disagree there are millions of people who believe that, at best, she was careless of the damage done to whole sections of society by her government's policies. At worst, that she led a deliberate attack on them.
If the worst these people feel they want to do is have the odd party or get a silly song to number one, then isn't that a price worth paying? Aren't the tories always banging on about free speech?
After all, next week there's her funeral at which undoubtedly she'll be lauded as some sort of wonder-women; at our expense.
There are countless examples of the BBC broadcasting material that they knew would greatly offend groups of people. their attitude has generally been that if you think you'll be offended, don't watch or listen. So what's different this week?
To steal a phrase from the woman in question - "Afraid? Frightened? Frit?"