ON BITCHING

What is a bitch? The noun has both a literal and a number of metaphorical meanings. Literally, it means a female dog (or fox, wolf). In past times it meant a lewd or sensual woman, though that usage is now obsolete. It has also been used to mean a man, as in Joyce’s Portrait of…

“Cultural terrorists”, Alan Partridge and “Up the RA”

It has been an interesting week for free speech where the Irish are concerned.  On 21 March, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland rejected a complaint about a discussion on the Tonight show on TV3, alleging that the presenter had used the phrase “cultural terrorists” to describe people interested in the Irish language. The discussants included…

The “extremely serious” sexual assault that wasn’t

Swansea Police now accept that what was dubbed an ‘extremely serious’ sexual assault didn’t happen. This incident has taken up public resources. However, the police have now said that the alleged incident has been fully investigated and that no assault took place. What on earth is going on? Why the previous hype, which alarmed locals?…

A note to my critics

When I publish criticisms of people, as sometimes I do, I take my responsibility to act lawfully very seriously. I have a number of deeply unpleasant, malicious and rather noisy critics. I also have my fans. So just to make it clear: if I attack someone who has publicly attacked me, I do so in…

SPAFFING AROUND

The gaffe-prone former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson MP, found himself in hot water again after he participated in a public ’phone-in on LBC radio. During the discussion, he criticised the use of police resources to mount historic abuse investigations: “And one comment I would make is I think an awful lot of money and an…

Robinson v Furlong: a case study in witch-hunting

I’m delighted to post one of my favourite pieces for spiked, which it first published on 19 November 2015. A Canadian historic abuse case still holds lessons for today’s witch-finder generals. On 12 November 2015, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) hosted a debate at its London offices called, ‘Have historical child-abuse…

Free Speech Wars – Caroline Farrow

The airwaves were buzzing in the last day or so, with the revelation that a prominent Catholic journalist and conservative social commentator, Caroline Farrow, was reported to the police for allegedly “misgendering” the adult child of a woman who is an ardent campaigner on transgender issues. The adult child is named Jackie. The name “Jackie”…