The reason for this post is my finding my blog blocked after writing a certain article yesterday. The post was deleted ………..
In 1988, I was expected to go along to the Royal Albert Hall and pick up my M.A. from HRH Princess Anne who, I think, was Vice Chancellor of London University at the time. There was never any intention on my part of going to the charade and a couple of years later I conveniently missed the opportunity to meet her brother in Munich preferring a few jars in the Atzinger to that dubious honour. You see, I come from a generation and a part of the world where we can even tell Kings, Queens and Presidents to “fuck off”. However, rather than show bad manners and do that, I just don’t go along and meet them. However, even if it isn’t really the trepidation that I might say something silly and nasty to them that deters me from meeting them it is at least this terribly democratic habit I have of addressing everyone I meet by their first name and standing there in a full Royal Albert Hall shaking Princess Anne’s hand, while accepting my degree and saying, “thanks Anne”, …. well, that is not really on either, is it?
As you might discern from the above, my habit of meeting who I want is usually accompanied by me saying what I want and this saying what I want extends to every activity of my life. Nevertheless, in the last couple of years I have become aware of limitations on this “freedom of speech”. About three years ago, I was with my young sister in Manchester and we found ourselves drifting towards a gay pride parade down in the canal area. Anyway, I said rather loudly but jokingly to my sister, “Am no gone tae see a loada poofters”. This was said in dialect and said more to transport me and my little sister back to the Glasgow of our youths. However, my sister was shocked and said, “James, shut up, for christ’s sake, somebody will hit you if they hear that.” Now I am neither homophobic nor am I a racist nor am I per se anti anything or anyone but gone are the days in “blightly” when you could call a spade a spade. In ‘the land of the free’, free speech has its limitations and maybe, just maybe, those limitations are no bad thing, they are limitations, that I am willing to live with.
….. and, at least, back in “blightly” you can write about why Wales should have more autonomy, if you want to, which I don’t, but then that is not the point, is it?