Political and social satire in print in the UK is tame. Private Eye is about the most radical publication we have - replete with lengthy anorak articles on the way in which Mudbridge Borough Council has ruined some Victorian Gothic brickwork, and gentle, intellectual cartoons that poke mild fun at the establishment. It may rank alongside France's Canard Enchaine but cannot be compared to Charlie Hebdo.
Brendan O'Neill at Spiked (H/T Rod Liddle on the Speccie) provides a brilliant breakdown of how the publication of a Charlie Hebdo in the UK would be halted. Bloody students. In my day we used to protest FOR the right to shock, challenge and disturb - just how the Hell does an entire caucus of young people come to be so opposed to these things? Of course they're nowhere near as clever as we were - we were the 5% elite, not the 50% of nascent burger flippers. And Rod is spot-on in his comment on the BBC's utter mis-take on the root cause of the troubles, by insisting that the events in Paris have nothing at all to do with Islam. This particular stupidity, subscribed to by our own PM, is echoed by Elise Vincent in the Observer, who has the chutzpah to write with a straight face that "First, we must remember that there is, in France as elsewhere, no direct link between Islam and jihadism".
We did of course, briefly, for a few years in the 1990s, have our own Charlie Hebdo. Scallywag was run by a misfit called Simon Regan. It was forced to close after being sued by John Major over a story it published that he was having an extra-marital affair. He was, of course - but Regan got the identity of Major's sperm-dump wrong, naming a caterer rather than than the egregious Currie.
But the real reason Scallywag was not saved was that it published a whole series of utterly improbable articles that absolutely no-one believed; the stories were about a paedophile ring with links to the cabinet, MPs and senior establishment figures, who abused boys in care with the full knowledge of the police and security services....
All the back issues of Scallywag are HERE. The May 1995 edition's piece on Dolphin Square could have formed the script for a BBC TV news report last month - sans the real names of course, not all of whom are quite dead yet. That's the British way; let the guilty die naturally first before their crimes are admitted. Doesn't hold much hope of ever putting Blair under the spotlight, does it?
Perhaps we should leave this democracy business to the French.
UPDATE 10.10 - Church of England sides with killers
On the 8th, the call went out to London classical musos to bring their instruments along to the Queen's parish church, St Martin in the Fields, for a free public rendition of Barber's Adagio. Then the CofE got cold feet and banned the event - on the grounds that it would create a 'security risk'. The concert went ahead outside anyway, but it's useful to note that a part of the State church has already capitulated to Islamic terrorism. NB a million people are gathering in Paris today for another 'security risk' rather more pronounced than any that faced St Martins.