Saturday, June 18, 2005

I won't say my mother-in-law's fat

The Equalities Board of Newcastle City Council, says the Guardian, has recommended that the authority bans from its venues "acts contrary to the council's visions, values and social inclusion agenda, and which conflict with its community leadership role".

Typical Labour PC nonsense you say with a shrug and turn over the page. Except that Newcastle upon Tyne is not a Labour council. It was won by the Liberal Democrats last May. You may remember Charles Kennedy hurrying there to be filmed congratulating the new council leader.

The recommendation arises from a call by Unison for Roy "Chubby" Brown to be banned from playing the City Hall. The Guardian says he has been appearing their for 20 years.

What I find objectionable here is the idea that every performance that takes place on council premises must be in accord with the authority's visions, values, social inclusion agenda and community leadership role. That sounds like the sort of policy that obtained in Eastern Europe before the Berlin Wall came down.

It is even suggested by the Guardian that the council may require comedians to sign contracts agreeing not to tell jokes that might offend minorities.

The paper quotes a Conservative MEP criticising the proposal. And he is right.

Some of the brighter young Tories have worked out that Blair's illiberalism is an area of vulnerability that opposition parties can exploit. We should not leave the field clear for a Conservative revival by apeing Labour's most authoritarian tendencies where we get into power.

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