When Free Speech isn’t free

13 March 2014

BBC3’s Free Speech programme is a good example of why the channel deserves to be shut down. Aimed at giving a voice to young people it is endlessly dumbing-down, seeks validity through instant Twitter reactions and all in all is a very degrading programme to appear on. I know because a couple of years ago I was on the first series and spent an evening at an ice rink in Doncaster debating the key issues of the day with a ‘Page 3 model’ and Owen Jones. Even now it makes me shiver.

Anyhow – last night the show came from outside the Birmingham Central mosque. The panel included Mehdi Hasan and Julie Burchill’s friend, Paris Lees, who complained in the early part of the show that nobody had given her a job. But the interesting thing is what happened later in the show when discussion was due to turn to what the presenter said ‘had caused the most comments on the audience question page’. This is usually the nirvana of the programme. But the short film that followed came from ‘Britain’s first and we think only gay Muslim drag queen’.

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What followed was interesting, finishing with the film’s subject asking pertinently: ‘one question I would like to ask the Muslim community is “when will it be right to be Muslim and gay?”’

If anybody thought that BBC3 would relish the moment to discuss just that, there were other ideas. The short film finished and the presenter, Rick Edwards, said: ‘We were going to debate that question but today after speaking to the mosque they have expressed deep concerns with having this discussion here. The mosque were happy for us to play that video and we will talk about it on our next programme on March 25th.  So we’ll move on to our next question’. And on it all moved.

The next question was about a totally different topic and constituted an underarm bowl to Paris Lees, self-styled ‘equalities campaigner’, who used the opportunity to claim that rich middle class white men are ‘running the show’ in this country. You might have thought an ‘equalities campaigner’ would use such a moment to ask why there is anywhere in this country where genuine homophobia is not only possible but so de rigeur that nobody in the studio would even bat an eyelid when somebody says they don’t want homosexuality to be debated outside the mosque, never mind inside. But no – like the idea of ‘free speech’ itself, ‘equalities campaigners’ tend to be deeply selective in what they raise or rail against.

I do hope BBC3 closes. Its comedy was never funny and its Free Speech isn’t free.

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Show comments
  • Gwangi

    If a white atheist man expressed the views expressed – and held so fervently – by so many Muslims, he would be called a bigoted dinosaur at best; a racist, hatemongering, violence-inciting gay basher at worst.
    But hey, Muslims (usually) have a dark skin + a minority religion, and that equation = perfectly acceptable and always to be defended, in BBC world.
    But why the surprise? The BBC has been like this for years, always defending and tolerating the intolerable, so long as the bigots have a dark skin and a religion (and their fave is Islam of course). They’re been ant–Israel for years, unquestioningly supporting the Islamist terrorist Palestinians whose anti-Semitism makes them attack those innocents in the only democracy in the Middle East – not to mention supporting Islamists in Syria, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.
    Sadly, the BBC mirrors so much of the muddled Left in this, and assume that they have to support anyone with a dark skin and a minority religion, no matter how vile and intolerant their values.

  • Max Jalil

    Another case of the BBC manufacturing it’s own “news”?

    I was sad to hear of the apparent censorship of the gay Muslim debate on BBC 3’s Free Speech. I WAS AT THE FILMING as I wanted to ensure that my tolerant integrationalist views were heard, however the only controversial issue “When will it be accepted to be Muslim and gay?” was not discussed out of “sensitivity for the mosque”. It was apparent from this morning’s Today programme that it was unclear who (if anyone)from the mosque was sensitive to this issue and asked for the discussion to be pulled. At best this is misguided self censorship along the lines of modifying the words of the nursery rhyme “baa baa black sheep” and at worst it is a CYNICAL AND DIVISIVE MEDIA STUNT like the publishers of the Danish Mohammed cartoons desperately trying to find someone to take offence so that discussion can be pulled, the issue can become one of free speech and the BBC stereotype of Islam as an intolerant religion can be perpetrated.

    • La Fold

      I think youre crediting the BBc with too much intelliegence.

    • James Lovelace

      “at worst it is a CYNICAL AND DIVISIVE MEDIA STUNT like the publishers of the Danish Mohammed cartoons desperately trying to find someone to take offence so that discussion can be pulled, the issue can become one of free speech and the BBC stereotype of Islam as an intolerant religion can be perpetrated.”

      You mean a cynical stunt, like the one where Maajid Nawaz faced death threats for saying he was not offended by a cartoon of Mohammed? The stunt where no muslim organisations organised protests in support of Nawaz’s freedom of conscience?

      You mean a cynical stunt, like the one where the BBC and Channel 4 censored that image (as they did with the Danish cartoons in 2006)? The stunt where no muslim organisations organised protests against the media creating such a divisive stunt?

      You mean a cynical stunt, like the one where the BBC’s “Free Speech” programme had Tommy Robinson deprived of his freedom of speech. An act which no muslim organisation protested, and which the Left universally applauded.

      You mean a cynical stunt, like the one where muslims attacked Peter Tatchell for supporting them in their anti-EDL protest?

      You mean a cynical stunt, like the one where muslims blew themselves up on London’s underground?

  • shebamurphy

    I made a point of watching this show, and it was a load of drivel. I have to say that things seem to have changed since I was a boy. The panel was made up of left-wing, semi-literate prats, and if the audience discussion was anything to go by, today’s yuff don’t seem to share an interesting thought.
    Wouldn’t you think that Julie Birchill’s mate would have led a mass walk-out following the announcement that the BBC had acquiesced to the Mosque’s request to shut down the question of when it will be alright to be gay and Muslim?
    I agree with Douglas. The channel deserves to be shut down.

  • MikeF

    Just a little indicator of how when the chips are down the ‘liberal-left’ will side with Islam against any other of their client groups. One day the ‘gays’ may even realise that being a ‘preferred’ minority is a precarious thing and that their best interests are served by a society in which everyone enjoys basic freedoms as a matter of principle and not selective preference – and hopefully before it is not too late for them.

    • La Fold

      well said that man!

  • JoeDM

    The islamification of the UK continues……..

  • Whyshouldihavetoregister

    Are you using ‘nirvana’ in the belief that it is a synonym for ‘nadir’, by any chance?

  • andy_gill

    Kowtowing to Islam is becoming a national sport. Liberal institutions are vying with each other to see how obsequiously they can scrape.

    BBC3 is a good bet to finish in the top three. The Guardian, the Quakers and the Church of England are also in the running.

  • Ed_Burroughs

    Please, don’t insult the ‘Page 3 model’ by grouping her with Owen Jones.

  • Chris Bond

    Can we please stop pretending the Modern Liberals are anything other then Marxist racists in the same vein as Nazism?
    They merely replaced the Jewish hegemonic conspiracy with a white person hegemonic conspiracy.
    White privilege, multiculturalism, quotas – can we please call a spade a spade, this is all Marxist racism.
    (whether they are aware the Marxism element is first hand, or it has been passed 2nd or 3rd hand)

    • La Fold

      “They merely replaced the Jewish hegemonic conspiracy with a white person hegemonic conspiracy.”
      You know I have never thought about it like that but that is a revelation. Thanks.

      • global city

        I agree… well said Chris Bond.

    • global city

      Yes. ‘Progressive’ Liberals have poisoned the liberal and libertarian field with their scumbag left wing evil.

  • Shazza

    I wish it was not just BBC3 that is being axed.


  • La Fold

    All those involved in this are either complicit, craven or both.

    • tastemylogos

      You’re just bitter that beyond a comment section, you aren’t deemed articulate enough for your voice to heard in a far wider forum…. unlike Douglas.

      • La Fold

        And youve obviously misread my post you utter toby!

        • tastemylogos

          Douglas mentioned he took part in the debate, you need to make yourself clearer.

          • La Fold

            Douglas mentioned he appeared in the first series, at an Ice rink, in Doncaster.
            That is a bit removed from a mosque, in Birmingham, last night. Maybe you should learn to read something properly.

            • tastemylogos

              The article was referring to the BBC and this particular program. Without mention of a mosque you left the impression that you were talking about the program. Be clearer.

              • La Fold

                Turn it in. You had a knee jerk reaction either because you never read the article or my rersponse properly.
                Any matter, no harm no foul, it happens on the internet.

                • tastemylogos

                  I’m not the one exuding passive aggression sonny jim. Look, I read the article and Douglas did not have any issue with the show being held in the mosque. Indeed, the mosque was secondary to his beef, ie, the lack of freedom of speech on a show ironically called ‘Free Speech’.

                  You made no reference to the mosque in your reply. If that was the subject of your post, state it. I cannot read your mind. Now if you reply just apologise or better still, do what any normal person would do and simply ignore it. Moral of the story = be clearer.

                • La Fold

                  Passive agressive? Hold on a second, you were the one that came haring on and calling me inarticulate and bitter because you, yes you, misread my post. And not only that I have said fair play, it happens due to the nature of the internet, but you still cant let it go.
                  Are you one of those people thats heard of “wrong” but never been there?

                • shebamurphy

                  Fight! Fight! My money’s on tastemylogos.

                • gerontius

                  You lost your money.

                • shebamurphy

                  I don’t know. I think my man might come back.

                • tastemylogos

                  Your support is much appreciated, Murphy. Indeed, the letters I have received have kept me going.

                • shebamurphy

                  I knew I’d backed a winner!

                • gerontius

                  I dispute that!

                • shebamurphy

                  On what basis pray?

                • La Fold

                  Pfffft! Wouldnt even entertain having it on the cobbles with this sigh. I’m not a bully.

                • shebamurphy

                  Hmm. I’m not so sure. And, by the way, I do believe that cocker spaniels are quite intelligent.

                • La Fold

                  Leave it out, tastemylogos realised he’d made a right mug of himself.

                • shebamurphy

                  Do you think so? Well, who knows. You may be right, but I live in hope.

                • tastemylogos

                  You’re in denial pal.

                • tastemylogos

                  You’re still continuing. I didn’t misread your post… nope,, still no mention of a mosque. You weren’t clear. Now chill out, man. It aint the end of the world.

                  Moral of the story = be clearer.

                • Wessex Man

                  no, you are up to your elbows trying to make a fool of La Fold and failing badly!

                • La Fold

                  Cheers, sometimes i think this is me


                • tastemylogos

                  If only I had said it was the Jews fault, I may have garnered your support Wessex. Damn it.

                • La Fold

                  Another thing, my point wasnt about it being in a mosque but on the character of the people who still agreed to take part in this “debate” after they swerved discussing the gay muslim issue.
                  A cynical man could assume you were trying to put words in my mouth.

                • tastemylogos

                  Not words. Just a figurative peni s

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