Two leading columnists have been threatened with prosecution and bans this week, for the crime of expressing their ‘offensive’ opinions in the newspapers that employ them to do so.
Rod Liddle of The Sunday Times, the Sun and the Spectator has been reported to police and press regulators for making a ‘morally repugnant’ joke about Wales and its native tongue, with Welsh officials demanding new laws to ‘stop these comments… and to prevent language hate’. Meanwhile, the moral guardians of theatreland want Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail banned from writing reviews for his ‘blatantly racist attitude’, after the critic criticised a black actor in a Royal Shakespeare Company play.
The Middlesbrough-raised, Millwall-supporting Liddle, a Labour Party member for 40 years before he was suspended and then quit in a row over anti-Semitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s party, might appear to have little in common with Letts, a Cotswolds-born, public-school-educated Tory. Both, however, are reviled by Britain’s supposedly liberal cultural elites (the feelings are mutual) for their repeated failures to tow the Supper Party line.