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Ding Dong! Is free speech dead?


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There was a time when the phrase “ding dong” conjured up images of a flirtatious English gentleman spying an attractive member of the opposite sex. This week it has taken on a whole new connotation.

Despite raging debates about Margaret Thatcher’s impact as Prime Minister, it is not 1984. But, then again, is it?

If George Orwell’s 1984 prophecy had been fulfilled, the Thought Police would now be rampant, surveilling our thoughts and controlling our minds.

It might not be possible…quite yet…but it has to be asked whether or not the BBC’s refusal to play Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead has sounded the death knell for free-speech?

Unless you are a member of a coven, there is absolutely nothing in the lyrics that can be considered even remotely offensive yet the BBC only aired a five second soundbite on the basis that they deemed the song to be “distasteful”.

leslie phillips
Leslie Philips – “Ding Dong”

Political persuasion aside, it is astounding that an ‘independent’ establishment can express their disapproval of the context in which a song was bought by denying the music-buying public of their right to have their opinions heard.

Apparently, though, this censorship is only exercised under certain circumstances with the Notsensibles’ anthem, I’m In Love with Margaret Thatcher, being played in full on the broadcaster’s UK chart show.

Surely freedom of expression and freedom of speech are cores value of democracy? If this doesn’t extend to the comparatively trivial act of listening to music, what hope is there for us in retaining a free press?

It will be a very sad day when the bells of free speech are silenced. I hope that we never see that day.

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