By Ben Pensant
The one positive side-effect of Brexit was the way it inspired the British left to double-down on their commitment to defeating free speech, reserving particular censorious scorn for the Tory press and their evil plan to turn the public against Lily Allen by repeatedly asking her how many migrants she’s adopted: We’ve seen Student Unions up and down the country striking a blow for liberal values by banning The Sun; Section 40 and Stop Funding Hate’s brave use of corporate blackmail to stop right-wing tabloids saying stuff they disagree with; Professional victim Jack Monroe taking The Daily Mail’s Katie Hopkins to the cleaners for getting her mixed up with a different professional victim and not saying ‘sorry’ for it.
Happily, these are merely the tip of one huge, illiberal iceberg, as barely a day goes by without a fresh case of pearl-clutching puritans being whipped into self-righteous fervour by points of view they don’t like. And the most recent case was perhaps the sweetest yet as Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson melted SJW hearts by reporting obnoxious Sun columnist Kelvin Mackenzie to the police for writing nasty things about Merseyside FC soccerballer Ross Barker.
Unsurprisingly, free-speech fascists responded in typically contrarian fashion, with more than one noting that Anderson had achieved the impossible and made himself look like an even bigger prick than Mackenzie. But this warped line of thinking demonstrated startling ignorance of Barker and his background, the same ignorance which informed his unfounded attack on the plucky Red.
To the uninitiated, Barker is a gentle young man who also happens to be mixed-race, a fact apparently lost on Mackenzie but blatantly obvious to those of us who didn’t have a clue who he was until a week ago. But boy, do we know now. For thanks to The Sun this marginalised millionaire has probably spent the last week crying into his footer jersey at the horror of being compared to a Gorilla by vile fascist Mackenzie.
Predictably, the contemptible hack claimed he didn’t know Barker had a Nigerian grandparent, as if one look at the young quarterback isn’t more than enough to ascertain his ethnicity. Many have even shamefully defended Mackenzie on the grounds that because most football fans had no idea of Barker’s family background there’s no reason a tabloid columnist should. Sick. Because anyone with eyes can see Barker’s West African heritage is as clear as Mackenzie’s bigotry. The fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that he either knew this or would be stupid enough to compare a black man to a Gorilla are neither here nor there. Because if Mackenzie’s past form has proved anything – from blaming Sheffield Wednesday supporters for causing their own deaths to accusing Freddy Starr of eating Kevin The Gerbil – it’s that he is something of a cunt.
Such a cunt, in fact, it would be absurd to argue back, prove him wrong or – god forbid – use our free speech to point out what a cunt he is. No, that simply won’t do. Hence Mayor Anderson’s hysterical reaction not only resulting in the removal of the abhorrent piece from the Sun’s website and Mackenzie’s suspension but also the glorious spectacle of police officers utilising their vital resources to investigate an obnoxious journalist for writing something nasty.
Because in our grim post-Brexit wasteland this is the only way to win. You can’t simply disagree with what Mackenzie wrote: you have to claim he was being racist. You can’t merely be offended at his perceived racism: you have to demand he’s suspended for it. And you can’t just be content with his suspension: you have to call for him to be fired and arrested for committing a hate crime. Because as we all know, the greatest weapon in the fight against people saying stuff we don’t like is criminalising people for saying stuff we don’t like. And you can prise that from our cold dead hands, righties.
All of which delighted all manner of regressive leftists, many of whom have never forgiven Mackenzie for the way The Sun reported on the Hillsborough disaster. But this isn’t really about Hillsborough or the city of Liverpool, which is handy as most of us regressive leftists know bugger all about either. And it’s not even about soccerball, as anyone who’s ever read the BTL comments on a Guardian piece about hooliganism knows all too well. Indeed, last summer Britain’s leading left-wing propaganda sheet was awash with decent, tolerant liberals sneering at England fans as a small number of them went on a violent rampage in France during the Eurovision World Shield. But as ever, it wasn’t just actual hooligans who prompted such middle-class concern. No, they had the ordinary England fan in their sights too, as detailed in an incendiary column by Tom Walker titled ‘I Was In Marseilles and I know: all England fans bear some blame for the football violence’.
Not that he literally meant all England fans. England fans such as Tom and his impeccably mannered children get a pass as they shop at Waitrose and were nowhere near any ghastly violence. Indeed, while thugs were throwing bottles at riot police he was ‘buying scented soap and eating ice cream’. No, when he says ‘all’ he means ‘everyone else’. You know the type: drinking beer, singing songs, eating pies, waving flags and – most heinously – taking their shirts off. Leave-voters in waiting, basically, and I bet Tom’s not the only educated England fan who’s wondered how different the last ten months could have been if he’d only packed a gun.
As one of hundreds of supportive posters below-the-line put it when a twisted lone voice suggested the vast majority of England fans are well-behaved: ‘Only if you class people who hurl abusive songs and boo national anthems as well-behaved’. Because the last thing we need is football fans bantering, trading insults and generally acting the way they have since long before stadiums became populated by the kind of people who report players to the police for swearing and would never have dreamt of going anywhere near a match if it wasn’t for Nick Hornby.
But as the reactions to Mackenzie’s column and the Hillsborough anniversary showed, the modern left’s empathy for football fans is quite remarkable, especially when you consider contemporary liberal opinion of them is almost identical to that espoused by Mackenzie and co. in the ’80s. Indeed, back then everyone from Ken Bates to Maggie Thatcher viewed working-class football fans with the same fear and disdain the likes of Polly Toynbee and Tim Farron reserve for working-class Leave voters today. So I can’t be the only one who beamed with pride when I saw brave liberals rallying in defence of working-class northerners in the wake of Mackenzie’s hit-piece on Barker, the same working-class northerners they’ve spent the best part of a year calling thick, uneducated racists. See? We’re so compassionate we’re willing to put aside our revulsion for the proles to show solidarity with them when they’re under attack. But only when they’re under attack from right-wing journalists, obvs. We can’t go around defending them when they’re patronised by Owen Jones or sneered at by Giles Coren. They’re still thick bigots; it’s just sometimes they’re useful thick bigots.
But we all know who made them thick bigots: the right-wing press with their racist mind-games and incitements to violence. Us educated sophisticates may have the intelligence to resist such brainwashing but it’s much harder when you’re the type of person who wears a shell-suit and thinks S-Town is a boyband. It’s not Mackenzie who should scare us but the people he inspires to assault migrants and eat their young; the impressionable mob who’ve destroyed the lives of decent people who believe freedom of speech only applies to speech they agree with.
All of which will no doubt delight Kelvin Mackenzie. But luckily it appears his reign of terror may soon be over, his right-wing filth consigned to the dustbin of history. Because allowing dodgy views to be seen, debated, mocked or attacked is no good for anyone. They must be buried before the denim-clad masses get their hands on them and make them their own. Gone are the days when we simply didn’t read newspapers we didn’t like; it’s never been more vital to stop other people reading them too. Thank god for publications such as The Guardian and The New European who would never dream of attacking football fans, sneering at the working-class or printing a front page which literally calls 17 million people ‘idiots’.
And while we’re at it, thank god for Theresa May. No, really. I never thought I would type those words but yesterday’s announcement of a snap general election was music to the ears of Corbynites, delighted that the fabulous day we’d pencilled in for May 2020 has been magically brought forward by three years. I can’t decide which sight will give me the most pleasure: Jezza cruising into Number 10, beret in one hand and bulging list of dissidents in the other; or Mrs May back where she belongs, selling cakes at the village fete and sucking off choirboys in her dad’s vestry. Glorious.
And thank god that the right-wing rubbish spouted by Mackenzie will be no more, as indeed will any newspaper which has ever said anything bad about Corbyn. Because if Justin Trudeau can make criticism of Islam a crime then we can sure as hell outlaw taking the piss out of the Dear Leader. Though word from Momentum HQ is that Jezza may show leniency towards The Guardian in recognition of their sterling work indulging terrorists. Concerns have been expressed that Viner and co. may not be willing to co-operate, but given the G’s proud history of appeasement it shouldn’t take much to get them on board. And if they put up any resistance the public executions of Nick Cohen and Zoe Williams should be enough to convince them.
All of which points to a fantastic future. Unless Corbyn loses, in which case it will be the Tories’ fault for not giving him enough time to prepare for a general election. Indeed, social media is already awash with liberals aghast at May’s decision despite the fact they’ve spent months whining that she has no mandate. Because two years is nowhere near enough time to convince the British public that a man who’s spent his career supporting people who hate Britain should be Prime Minister of Britain. Add to that the pernicious influence of the PLP and the Zionist lobby and it’s a wonder the Dear Leader has any chance of winning it all. But win he will and it’ll take more than Kelvin Mackenzie, Theresa May and the millions of Britons who would rather vote for Abu Hamza’s hook to stop him.
Bring it on.