X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Leading article Australia

Great news, Blackadder!

19 January 2013

9:00 AM

19 January 2013

9:00 AM

Edmund Blackadder was always one of the more delightfully offensive characters to grace our TV screens, with a range of poisonous one-liners that ticked politically incorrect boxes as surely as they tickled our funny bones.

Blasphemy. Bigotry. Racism. Cross-dressing. Paedophilia. Chronic stupidity. Incest. Sodomy. No subject was out of bounds. ‘She goes like a privy door when the plague’s in town,’ was one such gem. Or: ‘As the good Lord said: “Love thy neighbour as thyself, unless he’s Turkish, in which case, kill the bastard!”’

This week, Barry O’Farrell announced a parliamentary inquiry into Section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, which concerns the criminal offence of ‘serious racial vilification’ and requires proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ for a prosecution. At first shout, one might assume the inquiry’s brief is to determine whether parts of Section 20D should be scrapped altogether. (Apart from the sensible provisions of incitement to physical harm or hatred on racial grounds being an offence, it includes the somewhat opaque definition of ‘severe ridicule’ as grounds for prosecution.) But no, Mr O’Farrell wishes to broaden the legislation.

To add a bit of luvvie spice to the proceedings, the Premier announced that the Left’s two great bogeymen — Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt — would be required to attend the hearings. While he’s at it, he may as well invite Mr Bean.

Quite what the two right-wing media personalities are expected to bring to these fatuous proceedings is unclear, other than satisfying the lynch mob in the Fairfax press and on the ABC.

Mr O’Farrell’s justification for broadening these laws is that nobody has yet been prosecuted under them. Come again?

[Alt-Text]


Any move to make it easier to prosecute under this legislation can only come at the expense of the pre-eminent liberal and conservative values of the right to freedom of expression and free speech. With free speech under attack on so many fronts — from Nicola Roxon’s sinister desire to scrap the presumption of innocence on any matters in the workplace that ‘cause offence’, to Stephen Conroy’s yet-to-be revealed plans to curtail the freedom of the press — now is not the time for a conservative government to be playing footsies with the latte Left.

Indeed, in Britain Rowan Atkinson — star of Blackadder and Mr Bean — led a campaign that this week won a resounding victory against Tory legislation that similarly outlawed ‘insulting words or behaviour’.

British Home Secretary Theresa May announced her government would ditch the words from the Public Order Act, on the grounds they ‘chill public debate and depress freedom of speech’.

Under the legislation, a man was arrested for saying to a policeman: ‘Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?’

Sounds like something Edmund Blackadder might have said.

World’s Greatest Treasurer, Part VI

We must beg our readers’ forgiveness for having neglected our duty to chronicle the innovative economic practices of the man dubbed by Euromoney magazine ‘the world’s greatest finance minister’.

Over the Christmas period, perhaps distracted by the festivities, we forgot to praise the widely-lauded ‘correction’ that our national finances demanded, namely a long overdue Return to Deficit.

Perhaps it was because we never actually believed that a surplus could be genuinely contemplated, let alone delivered, by a Treasurer whose every action makes the Whitlam-era Khemlani Loan Shark affair look like prudent economic management, and a government which long ago gave up any pretence of caring where the money to fund their extravagant, touchy-feely promises will actually come from.

Or perhaps it was because we knew that we wouldn’t have to wait long until another gem would come along, and we could bundle them up together.

We weren’t disappointed. The much-touted mining tax, for the second quarter in a row, will again be raising, er, zero dollars. Or at least, we think it might be zero but we’re not sure; Mr Swan and his wonderfully evasive sidekick Penny Wong aren’t ‘allowed’ to tell us, as their lawyers have conveniently discovered that to do so would be illegal. ‘The ATO’s current view is that disclosure of these data would breach the secrecy provisions of the Taxation Administration Act,’ they claim. Phew! The Disingenuous Duo now have a rolled-gold excuse for never again informing the electorate how much any of our taxes may or may not raise. Brilliant!

Sure beats the hell out of trying to cobble together a phony surplus.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close