The Sight of Free Speech

In which The Author isn’t the victim of an April Fool’s joke

Back in the good old days of Punk, the seminal DIY band Crass released their first EP/maxi-single/mini-LP/whatever, entitled The Feeding of the 5000.
The initial release (of five thousand copies) came out on the Essex-based Small Wonder label. Unfortunately for everyone’s favourite anarcho-hippies, the pressing plant refused to handle the content of the first track, ‘Asylum’. As a result, the record hit the shops with about two minutes of silence before ‘Do They Owe Us a Living’ kicked in. The band subsequently referred to this John Cage tribute song as ‘The Sound of Free Speech’.
I found myself in a similar position yesterday evening, when I had a phone call at home. The local Labour group had taken exception to something I wrote in this blog a couple of months ago, and had gone to the Western Mail about it. I agreed to delete the offending posting ASAP – although I couldn’t do it last night, for obvious reasons (no Internet access at home, and no library access at 6 p.m.).
I thought about it afterwards, and realised that it was only two paragraphs in an otherwise innocuous discussion about housing estates. It seemed like overkill to remove the entire entry. I would have had to delete all the subsequent links, and alter quite a bit of the external content as well. It would have been the blogging equivalent of sending Crass away from Southern Studios at the outset.
I headed straight to the library this morning and read the article for myself. Martin Shipton, the chief reporter, had also emailed me yesterday to ask for my thoughts on the subject. I’ve just emailed him back, explaining that all views expressed in my blog are entirely my own (unless I’m quoting someone else, obviously). They don’t reflect the opinions and policies of any political group with which I may (or may not) be involved at any level.
I also pointed out that there’s a considerable amount of criticism of the ruling party scattered throughout the last eight years’ worth of content. It’s funny that they’ve never picked up on my entries about the declining library provision, or the public transport cutbacks, or the antisocial behaviour in our town centres, or any of a dozen other issues I’ve mentioned over time.
So I decided on a compromise. I’ve just redacted the post in question, in the way that redacted documents appear on NCIS. Instead of being able to read slightly jaundiced and tongue-in-cheek comments made in a personal capacity, you’ll now be able to enjoy the sight of free speech in the one-party state of Rhondda Cynon Taf.
It looks like this:
twas brillig and the slithy toves
did gyre and gimble in the wabe,
all mimsy were the borogoves
and the mome raths outgrabe

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