i hope you get cancer™

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What was that about freedom of speech?

So the famous "tolerance" on which Middle England prides itself has limits. Say what you like about muslims, foreigners, religion, but leave Winston Churchill alone. The statue of the wartime leader wearing a straitjacket, erected by a mental health charity to highlight the stigma surrounding depression, with which he suffered, has been quietly removed following a chorus of complaints from his family, the good people of Norwich and the Daily Express.

In stamping on the charity's freedom of expression, critics of the statue have performed a valuable service. Not only have they given the lie to all that "freedom of speech" bollocks trotted out by racists last month, they have also articulated perfectly the point the charity was trying to make in the first place. Namely that the stigma surrounding mental illness remains as strong in 2006 as ever. We now know that certain people regard a public reminder that a revered figure such as Churchill suffered with depression as an insult; would the outrage have been the same had the issue been cancer?