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Friday, February 16, 2007

Always look on the bright side of life

I had a tremendous sense of deja vu this morning when I read in the Western Mail that a small Welsh group of self-appointed guardians of our morals have reacted angrily to plans to turn controversial comedy Life of Brian into a musical.

When the original film came out I was a student at Swansea University and was outraged that it was both banned in my adoptive City and in the area of my birth, Wirral. As a result it was some years before I saw it.

When I was elected to Swansea Council, I made it my business to ensure that the Council could never ban films again and was instrumental in the motion that removed that power from Councillors. However, I could not muster enough support to overturn existing bans on the Life of Brian and the Last Temptation of Christ. Thus Swansea gained a reputation as one of the most reactionary Councils in Britain, the City which sustained the world's longest-running ban on the film.

People like Christian Voice can by all means protest but they should not prevent adults making their own choices about what they watch. This knee-jerk reaction of seeking to ban anything controversial belongs in the middle ages. As my late ward colleague, Rev. Wynford Thomas, once said of the Councillor Richard Lewis referred to in this article, "he would have been happier living in a time when they still burnt witches".
I recall that some time later Swansea Council was the only council in the UK to ban the The Last Temptation of Christ.I don't know if you were you on the committee that pushed this through but I have every faith you would have voted the right way!
As I recall the decision to ban 'The Last Temptation of Christ' was taken by full Council. I went along with the other Councillors to watch it and then argued strongly not to ban it. Despite the fact that Councillor Rev. Wynford Thomas pointed out that the film was theologically sound we did not have enough votes to stop the reactionaries embarrassing the City once more.
I have just one request … moviemakers who purposefully target very young audiences with "Bambi Effect" movies should be required to eat a school dinner serving of apple pie and custard “with bits in”.
The late Rev. Wynford Thomas might be enlightened to learn that the previous favoured past-time of burning witches was a carbon neutral event.
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