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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Somewhat unlikely!

An excellent editorial in this morning's Western Mail on the banning of Patrick Jones' poetry reading at Waterstones:

“Do we live in Iran?” asked a bewildered Mr Jones.

No, we do not, and this censorship should not have been allowed to happen. Waterstone’s must have been aware of the content of Mr Jones’ poetry – it is still for sale in their shops – so someone must have been satisfied that the work was appropriate for a public reading.

Stephen Green, the man behind Christian Voice, has a right to object to the contents of Mr Jones’ work, but Mr Green and his followers do not have the right to prevent others from reading, buying or listening to it. Mr Jones invokes the example of Iran; there are plenty of other eerie historical parallels that spring to mind.

One of the pillars on which our way of life is built is that the free exchange of ideas allows opposing points of view to be put and argued in a public or a private arena. The strength of an idea can be enough for it to carry the day – and even to go on and change society.

Mr Green may feel he has right on his side: the way to test this is through discussion and debate, not through disruption. If he thinks his ideas are the stronger, let him put them in a reasonable and calm manner.


Mr Jones should read his poems at the Senedd. Mr Green and his organisation should protest outside, if they so wish, without trying to disrupt the event. Both men will then be exercising rights that previous generations fought and died for – free expression and the freedom to protest.

I am a bit bewildered at the description of myself as a 'somewhat unlikely figure' but I suppose that you have to take the rough with the smooth in this business. It is the sort of description you might use for a fictional or mythical character.

Yes, on this particular comment I am not being serious so please do not take it as if I am.
waterstones have scored a massive own goal in caving in to religous fundamentalists in the way they have.

Stephen green and his ilk represent the lunatic fringe of evangelical christianity in britian and for a bookseller with such a good reputation for openness as waterstones to succumb to threats from fanatics like green is deeply worrying!!!!.

The so called christian voice and its self appointed 'leader' stephen green do not believe in evolution, they believe the earth is just 4,000 years old and that the dinosaurs are 'mistakes of creation'.

They also believe 'creationism' should be on the school syllabus!!!.

They would imprison homosexuals, outlaw all forms of abortion and ban children from reading harry potter!!!!!

They really and thankfully i should add represent very little in modern day wales or britian.Which makes it all the more astonishing waterstones should have cave into these lunatics. Think it wil be a while before i peruse in waterstones again - and i suspect im not the only one thinking that!!!!

Leigh Richards,

I also hear that they going to outlaw bad grammar and spelling. Hope you have some plane tickets handy.

If they were handing out degrees in self publicity, Patrick Jones would get a PHD!
Here's a challenge:- Why not publish Patrick Jones' poems on your Blog Site here Peter? That is if they do not contravene the rules you set. I'm sure the poet would allow you tpo do so.
This is not about the poems but his right to read them in public without being shouted down.
Well done, Mr Black! If it is only to show that bigotry (of whatever stripe) must never be allowed to get in the way of free expression, your gesture will have scored well. The whole issue has, of course, got bloggers busy, myself included: I've dealt in detail with this in five posts you can find here, and a new one that praises your own part in the saga here. You can also find coverage on the Freethinker's site here. For my own part, I've had seveal emails from the poet himself now, and from the publishers, Cinnamon Press of North Wales, who have obviously felt supported by the actions of the likes of you, Mr Black, and us bloggers. I hope the event goes well on 11 December. We'll be watching out for Christian Vice – sorry, Voice – of course!
Patrick Jones seems to think that the freedom of speech is a convenient shield to be used when under attack for being offensive. In exercising that freedom, and in respecting it, we should do so responsibly. I do not believe that AMs should be wading into the debate by hosting a reading. It is a mistake.
Jonathan, freedom of speech is the freedom to be offensive subject only to the constraints of the law and personal responsibility.

Who determines what is the 'responsible exercise of that freedom'? It is at that stage that you bring subjectice values to bear and spawn censorship.
On the subject of being offensive....I see that Llynfi Labour have been up to their own dirty tricks.

Lets put the record straight: Martin Plant resigned because of ill health, so why did the Labour Party in the Llynfi Valley choose to put out a leaflet saying "Mystery still surrounds the shock resignation of Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Plant...This has forced a by-election that will cost the Council Tax payers of Maesteg thousands of pounds"

Martin's resignation letter was read out at the town council meeting, in front of Labour Town Councillors, in the letter, Martin sights ill health for his resignation!!!

It would be really unfortunate if one of the Labour Councillors had to resign due to ill health, if any of them fall ill, don't come looking to me for sympathy, because I'll be laughing my c*ck off!

Gary Lewis
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