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Anorak | Paul Gascoigne becomes an anti-free speech role model

Paul Gascoigne becomes an anti-free speech role model

by | 22nd, September 2016

Paul Gascoigne is not in the best of health. This we know because the tabloids love to feature Gazza in various stages of trouble. He’s back in the news for the criminal offence of telling a joke. At Dudley Magistrates Court, the former England footballer’s joke was appraised. It was found wanting. Gascoigne was deemed guilty of using ‘”threatening or abusive words”. Those words also cost him a £2,000 fine.

By now you all want to know what Gascoigne said. What does a £2000 joke look like? At An Evening With Gazza at Wolverhampton Civic Hall last year, the show’s eponymous star told a black security guard, Errol Rowe: “Can you smile please, because I can’t see you?”

Anyone heading to an evening with Gascoigne, a man who seemed to run on nervous energy, is unlikely to attend expecting a night of coherent thought and incisive wit. Nonetheless, District Judge Graham Wilkinson was outraged, telling Gazza, “it is not acceptable to laugh words like this off as some form of joke… We live in the 21st century — grow up with it or keep your mouth closed.”

The 21st Century looks a a draconian place. Gascoigne’s joke was sad, weak and, worst of all, unfunny. And that’s crucial to the crime. The advice is that if you’re unsure of what is and what is not acceptable to the state, you should not speak. You should censor yourself lest you cause the State to be offended.

And take care not to be famous and unfunny. Wilkinson told Gascoigne that his punishment is a warning to us all. “A message needs to be sent that in the 21st century,” said the Beak, “such words will not be tolerated.”

Intolerance will not be tolerated. How’s that for freedom?

PS: If you want to look for racism. you can find in a pathetic joke, if you want. But what about in the judiciary?  Wilkinson told Gazza: “”It is the creeping ‘low-level’ racism that society still needs to challenge.” And what about the institutional racism?

Dame Linda Dobbs opines:



Posted: 22nd, September 2016 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Reviews, Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink