Why that infamous Rod Liddle blog had to be published

On Saturday Rod Liddle posted a short but nonetheless explosive comment on the conviction of two African-Caribbean teenagers for the attempted murder of a pregnant schoolgirl who they believed threatened their music careers. In it, he described the two c

On Saturday Rod Liddle posted a short but nonetheless explosive comment on the conviction of two African-Caribbean teenagers for the attempted murder of a pregnant schoolgirl who they believed threatened their music careers.

In it, he described the two culprits as 'human filth': no argument there, but then he went on to say: ''The overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community. Of course, in return, we have rap music, goat curry and a far more vibrant and diverse understanding of cultures which were once alien to us. For which, many thanks.''

Those comments prompted outrage from all quarters with Diane Abbott and Bonnie Greer accusing him of twisting the figures and his colleague at the Spectator, Alex Massie, threatening to resign over ''stale prejudice you can find in thousands of boozers across the country, or at any BNP meeting for that matter.''

Liddle was defended by his editor, Fraser Nelson, who said: ''The Spectator stands up for the right to offend; that's part of our right of free expression.'' So who is right? In short, both are.


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Bonnie Greer definitely had a point when she responded to the blog by saying that ''the overwhelming majority of paedophiles, murderers, war-mongers and football hooligans are white males,'' althought she somewhat sullied her higher moral ground by adding: ''and all we got in return was beans on toast and Top Gear.''

Alex Massie was also right to expose what Liddle tried to defend as an attack on gang culture as nothing more than thinly veiled racism. If Liddle's prime target really was culture and not race, he would have gone to greater pains to explain how one transcends the other (for every African-Caribbean wannabe gangster-rapper, there is a white public school kid from Harrow attempting to emulate his wannabe gangster-rapper heroes).

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Instead, he held a single race responsible for the importation and spread of a culture that he claimed bred murderers and rapists. So, how can Fraser Nelson also be right then? Because the only way I know I will always be free to write and say what I want is if I know that someone as extreme as Liddle is free to write and say what he wants.

The only alternative is censorship, where we allow a government to decide what we can and cannot say, resulting in a bizarre and inconsistent application of the law that sees one man, Rowan Laxton, whose crime was a racist remark while exercising in his gym, arrested for inciting religious hatred, just as Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, runs for public office.

But be warned, Rod Liddle, for as long you reserve the right to be intolerant of fellow British citizens from the African-Caribbean community (or any community), I will reserve the right to be intolerant of you - and say so loudly. To quote Mr Massie: ''This isn't a matter of being politically correct, it's a matter of behaving in a decent fashion.''

Tony Koutsoumbos

Goldhurst Terrace, NW6

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