Douglas Murray Douglas Murray

Don’t tell me what I can read

At least none of us will have to pretend that we read Woody Allen’s memoirs. This week the publishers Hachette took that little responsibility away from us. After a staged walkout by staff in New York and Boston it was announced that the book (titled Apropos of Nothing) would be pulped rather than published next month. Allen has been accused of historic sexual abuse and the subject of allegations from his daughter and glassy-eyed son Ronan Farrow. No charges have ever been brought.

Hachette’s announcement followed a number of other choices that have similarly been taken from us. The UK public did not get to choose whether to see Roman Polanski’s latest movie. British distributors decided not to screen An Officer and a Spy (about the Dreyfus affair) because of the sex crime Polanski has confessed to back in the 1970s. It was the same for students at Oxford University this past week who had a lesser question (‘Should I or should I not attend a lecture by Amber Rudd?’) decided for them. The verdict was anti-Amber. Also in recent days was the matter of whether or not we should be allowed to read the words of Suzanne Moore in the Guardian.

At this point it is easy to get the wood and trees muddled. For there can be few pleasures in life equal to that of watching the Guardian-reading left eating itself. I’m told the arrival of one’s first-born is comparable, but I don’t know. Nevertheless the bigger picture deserves attention.

When I disagree with something said by a fellow writer I do not gather signatories to destroy them with me

The Guardian recently gave Moore space in its opinion pages to publish a column which failed to fit into today’s precise leftist orthodoxies on trans. You might have thought that when it came to the question of whether or not our society should drug some children, then give them a mastectomy for their 18th birthday, there might still be room for discussion.

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