Mark Dolan: The woke takeover of our institutions means people are already self-censoring

‘No one's got a right not to be offended'

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Just when you thought government didn't have enough control over your lives, locking you down for a year and a half, telling you which boiler to buy, which car to drive and how much meat goes on your plate, the latest assault is on your mind.

The so-called Online Safety Bill seeks to criminalise any materials shared on the Internet which may offend others. Which is a hellishly dystopian idea that offends me mightily. The censorship of the population has been a growing cancer for years now, with woke institutions and corporations clamping down on free speech. But now control of what you think and say will be at the discretion of her Majesty's government, and a meat headed cop in a control room deciding whether your tweet is a joke, fair comment or hate. I didn't realise that all the other crime had stopped in this country.

I didn't realise that burglaries, sexual assaults, knife crime and antisocial behaviour has been eradicated. Forgive me. I didn't get the memo.

Censorship is everywhere and soon it will be law.

Universities are de-platforming guest speakers whose views may expose students to uncomfortable truths or give them a different perspective, surely the very point of university.

Book publishers are hiring sensitivity readers – professionally woke snowflakes - whose job it is to read manuscripts of books to find troubling passages and have them removed. Isn't the best bit of any book the troubling passage.

As an economic liberal I believe in fewer taxes, not more. As a political liberal I believe in less government not more. And as a social liberal, I believe in less law, not more. Are you telling me that our courts and our judicial system isn't already clogged up with far more pressing cases like murderers and drug dealers rather than a comedian that's written are close to the knuckle joke, or a journalist with a lively and provocative take on a news story of the day.

I think all of these hate laws have to go. If someone stalks, harasses you, threatens violence or god forbid attacks you for who you are or what you have said, we have laws in place to make sure that those people are apprehended and in serious cases locked up. Rightly so. But this Online Safety Bill is anything but safe, as it threatens the values of freedom which are bedded into the DNA of this country. And who the hell decides what is offensive? Are Les Dawson's comedy routines about his mother-in-law hate offensive?

What about Rod Stewart? Is “do you think I'm sexy” triggering to its audience?

What about all those voluptuous Renaissance paintings? Perhaps it's time to put Michelangelo into the dock.

Britain's great success in the history of the world has been its openness, its creativity, its inclusivity and its freedom. A nation of shopkeepers and entrepreneurs Britain has always been a free market economy supercharged in the 80s by Mrs Thatcher's economic revolution. It's been a haven for the borderline pornographic genius of DH Lawrence, the horrifically entertaining murder scenes in Shakespeare, the delicious, unapologetic sexism of the Rolling Stones, the revolutionary zeal of the Sex Pistols.

The woke takeover of our institutions – universities the media and big corporations - means that people tragically are already self-censoring and we are currently losing the fight to preserve what this country is about.

People in the workplace, for example, are keeping quiet about their views on lockdowns, on the Covid vaccine, on Brexit, on Boris, all for fear of criticism, attack or even the fear of losing their job. Well this self-censorship is about to become law. We stopped being physically free months ago with lockdowns, at times a police state and the horrific threat of Covid passports.

With this legislation, it’s another nail in the coffin for freedom. No one's got a right not to be offended. I'm a national television broadcaster and I get plenty of attrition online. Almost all positive, I’m grateful to say, but occasionally negative. Goes with the job. Part of me loves it. I was called a Tory t**t online recently. Well two things – firstly I'm not a Tory and secondly, whether I'm a t**t is the judgement of you, my amazing audience.

I get called a numpty, an idiot, dangerous, heartless, hypocritical, stupid and wrong, d******d, lanky fool, plank, loser and waste of space. And my personal favourite – a recent one - curly comb over. It’s all real I promise you. And each and everyone of those individuals is entitled to their view and they're entitled to say these things. Because I’m on the box every night, sharing my views. I’m in the public eye and you have to accept the gig, and take the rough with the smooth. It's just a digital version of what people used to write on the walls of public lavatories.

Delightfully most of those people who make these remarks do so in response to the show. They're watching. And it's great to have them on board – it's a broad church this programme. You disagreeing with me is healthy, and it’s what I want. I love it. Serious harassment and physical threats are a no go, but above and beyond that, it should be alright to say what the hell you want in this supposedly free country.

No one's got a right not to be offended. And if do you think you have a right to be offended, and you want send someone innocent to the tower for expressing a different view or doing something that you didn’t like, you can bog off.

I do hope that wasn't triggering