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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Fifty years on, it's time to raise the barricades again and pile the pavé

In 1968, fifty years ago, I was on the cusp of starting Big School. The magnitude of this event was somewhat diluted by a very palpable Zeitgeist around the Vietnam War and what was subsequently termed the Summer of Love. We lived then in the garrison town of Colchester, place of my father's final posting but also home to the newly built University of Essex. One of my lifelong comfort odours is what I call 'army smell' - open the canvas tail-flap of an army Landrover newly serviced and inhale. A mix of storm-proof canvas, paint, gun oil and clean metal. Years later I went to an auction at an army stores and almost missed the event as I stood in the shed just inhaling nasal lungfulls of the glorious smell. It was the smell of my dad's stored kit, the smell of safety and belonging. Colchester in 1968 was a mix of army smell and patchouli oil, of crop-headed lads and tie-dyed hippies. 

In the years that followed, into the '70s, as my social and political consciousness grew, I was a passionate and vocal supporter of what I shall term (with upper-case) Freedom. The Lord Chamberlain had still back then to approve each and every line of each and every stage play - Spike Milligan was almost prosecuted for departing on stage from the officially approved text. Kenneth Tynan's epic battles that led eventually to this censorship being overturned are well documented. We fought against the Establishment, against bent judges, thieving politicians, censorship and repression in every form. We read Private Eye, in those days an anti-establishment magazine, and celebrated the exposure of official cant and hypocrisy. I stood beers all night when Jean, Cardinal Danielou, the church's vocal spokesman against all we stood for, died of a stroke in a French brothel. 

The Pythons and the Cambridge footlights crowd were tame, but played their part. We preferred Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (I have only to ask "What's the worst job you ever had?" these days to see who references Jayne Mansfield and who looks blank) whose samizdat albums were played so often the grooves wore out. 

Fifty years on and the bastards are back. Labour's Noncefinder-General Tom Watson, almost as  repugnant a man as Lavrenti Beria, is seeking today to take us back to those pre-1968 days with a press censorship so draconian that Boris Pasternak would wince. Leveson I was bad enough, institutionalising the private press censor funded by the sado-masochistic sexual deviant Max Mosley but now Watson is seeking to implement phase II. Philip Johnston in the Telegraph (£) calls them the enemies of a free society, and so they are. 

Well, we fought those battles once, fifty years ago, and if need be we'll fight them again. We'll tear Labour's repressive knouts from their brutal fists - our press won't be cowed or beaten by these authoritarian bigots. 

If you've got this far you deserve a prize. Here's Peter Cook satirising the summing-up of the bent judge at the trial of Jeremy Thorpe, the Liberal leader who attempted to murder his gay toy-boy



Stephen J said...

Well the last time, there was a torrent being held back by these establishment types, it was about sex and drugs and rock'n'roll.

This time it is about politics, the only trouble is, there doesn't seem to be a torrent other than a bunch of ordinary folk, with no hands on any available tiller.

If we lose, it means we are stuffed for the foreseeable future.

If we win, it is war.


Scrobs. said...

"What's the worst job you ever had..."?

Well apart from crustacean removal, the best job I ever had was reroofing and recladding the R.E.M.E workshops...

£350,000 was quite a big scheme for us in the early eighties!

jack ketch said...

"What's the worst job you ever had?"

Toss up between being a professional alcoholic or body-guarding a small time drug dealer-with some 'enforcement' on the side. "If you want to I'll change the situation.."

Best job was as a 'Tankwart' (petrol pump attendant) on the Autobahn A3...back when Service stations still had pump attendants.

rapscallion said...

@Michael "crustacean removal" How wonderfully vague. Could be anything from crabs to Jayne's favourite - lobsters! Lovely girl apparently.

Of course we must fight it Radders. Watson really is an odious reptile, he makes the NKVD look like a girl guides outfit.

Like Brexit - it will be permanent war between those who love freedom and those who prefer subjugation.

Worst job I ever had was pulling dead cats out of the oggin in HMNB Portsmouth

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's not only press freedom - it's always about the power of the state.

If it were not so dangerous I would be amused by one thought.

In the 60s it was 'the Left' that took on the job of ridiculing and defeating the power of the church;whether good or bad - that's another debate.

It now seems that it is the Left - with their Common Purpose/Political Correctness fascism - who seem to be bringing back blasphemy laws and a cowering down to religious rule.

I do sense though that the natives are getting restless - and the more, the better.

Hector Drummond, Vile Novelist said...

Labour: so much choice as to who's their biggest arsehole.

dustybloke said...

I would point out that the monies paid to Mr Watson by the Champion of Press Censorship, Mr Mosley, have had no influence on Mr Watson.



Absolutely none at all.

Yeah, right.

James Higham said...

Oz Schoolkids Edition.

Prawn Sandwich said...

Jayne Mansfield. Now famous for the Mansfield Bar attached to rear of semi-trailers. The busty actress met a gruesome end under the Back end of a trailer.

Anonymous said...

Worse job I ever had?

The summer before I started my engineering apprenticeship I worked at the Ryvita factory in Dorset. For a full 6 weeks I was tasked with looking for weevils (Curculionidae) under the ovens - and sweeping them up. It was 103F under there and most of us passed out at least once per shift. Still, it paid for a new air rifle and a couple of snazzy tank tops.

Derek and Clive Live - Jump

As I was walking down the street one day
I saw a house on fire
There was a man, shouting and screaming at an upper-storey window
To the crowd that was gathered there below
For he was sore afraid.

Jump! You fucker, jump!
Jump into this here blanket what we are holding
And you will be all right
He jumped, hit the deck, broke his fucking neck
There was no blanket

Laugh?! We nearly shat!
We had not laughed so much since Grandma died
Or Auntie Mabel caught her left tit in the mangle

We are miserable sinners
Fi-i-ilthy fuckers


I've still got it on vinyl.


Demetrius said...

One of my mates did time in the Military Prison. It took him twelve years to do his National Service. I had tried to advise him that disagreeing with the Sergeant Major was one thing, but attempting to murder him quite another. Later in the 70's I was at the East Anglia University talking at a conference and it reminded me of a badly run holiday camp of the late 1940's.

Nick Drew said...

One of my soldiers did time in the Military Prison. He wanted 'out' but didn't have the wherewithal for buying out, so he devised a cunning plan. He volunteered to man the bar at the Squadron summer BBQ. At the end of the evening, he cashed up, put the money in his pocket and walked off - hoping in due course for Dishonourable Discharge when the inevitable happened and his theft was discovered

... but he actually got 6 months in Colchester and soldier-on


Caratacus said...

I am not, by nature, a violent man, but is it just me or does Tom Watson have one of those faces that you just can't stop hitting once you've started?

Anonymous said...

You’ll be delighted to know if failed by all of 9 votes.

jack ketch said...

... but he actually got 6 months in Colchester and soldier-on Nick Drew

I shouldn't laugh, I know, but...that was almost 'baldrick-esque'!

Scrobs. said...

Thanks Raps!

Please, please please don't mention Winston Churchill, I've not had breakfast yet...

Anonymous said...

Public Order Offences Guidelines Consultation

People promoting “hostility” towards a religion or the transgendered online could get much harsher sentences, of up to six years in jail, especial if they have a large online audience according to new proposals.

All religions or only protected "religions"


Anonymous said...

All religions or only protected "religions" DP111 at 11:12

Silly question. The law is only to protect those who ... ... You know, I'm at a loss to know how to complete that sentence without being accused by the perpetually offended of committing an offence of offending them.

And if I were to add a comment about the suggestion that we all will be required to carry mobile phones with GPS position location running, my apoplexy would be complete! [See: ]

Ted Treen said...

Indeed, being a 1950 model myself, in the 1960s, '70s, & 80s, I too "read Private Eye, in those days an anti-establishment magazine, and celebrated the exposure of official cant and hypocrisy."

Having become disenchanted with it over the last decade or so and even more so with Have I Got News For You when I saw Hislop's smug dismissal for anyone who voted "Leave" as a closet racist little-englander throwback, I realised that the establishment has very cleverly dealt with the matter of Private Eye, which was a thorn in their side 40 years ago. Instead of meeting them head-on, they cleverly, slowly and subtly assimilated it rather in the manner of an amoeba ingesting its food. The publication now reads like the in-house magazine of a provincial accountants firm; almost a caricature of its former self.

anon 2 said...

@ Ted Treen 00:53 -- Interesting -- because that's exactly what the franco-germn claptrap artist (deconstructionists) have done to the UK as a whole. That IS their emmo.