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"Crackling with exasperation" – Rod Liddle at The Freedom Dinner

The Spectator has published an abridged version of Rod Liddle's speech at the Forest Freedom Dinner:

It’s that time of year again. After Rod Liddle used the key address at the fifth annual Freedom Dinner to turn his attention to Labour’s Jew-bashing, the anti-Brexit mob and Tim Farron, he was invited back by popular demand to speak at the event this week.

At the annual libertarian bash, hosted by Forest, Liddle spoke frankly on a range of topics – calling out the ‘double think’ among the ‘metro-liberal left’, namely Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry.

See: Rod Liddle’s Freedom Dinner speech: Emily Thornberry, Diane Abbott and the metro-liberal left.

Oddly enough the speech works even better, I think, as a stand alone polemic outside of the context of the dinner.

As I hinted in my previous post about the event, I wasn't entirely convinced it suited an evening that is primarily a celebration of people's freedom to eat, drink and smoke without the nanny state governing our every move.

Nevertheless it was topical and like the best of his writing Rod brings an edge to his speeches that is great for the audience because you genuinely don't know what he's going to say next. Compared to most after dinner speeches this is extremely refreshing.

There were some moments during the speech when I felt slightly uncomfortable, but this was partly because I didn't know where he was going. I sensed that some members of the audience felt the same although several came up to me afterwards and said how much they agreed with everything he said.

Watching the video of the speech a few days later I can appreciate it so much more, not least because alongside the serious issues he was addressing there are some genuinely laugh out loud moments.

As a state of the nation address it's hard to beat. Enjoy.

Meanwhile Wharf News which, as its name suggests, features "news from Canary Wharf and the Docklands", has devoted a full article to The Freedom Dinner that is well worth reading:

Right-wing, left-wing, fond of tobacco, strong of word and opinion, they came. Many acquired tastes; cigarettes and cigars burning bright as the fires of their convictions.

According to reporter Jon Massey, guest speaker Rod Liddle "crackled with exasperation":

He used his time to slice into those who’d seek to constrain commentators’ freedom of speech, especially those linking recent terrorist attacks with Islam.

He brought glove puppet Sooty to satirise those espousing politically correct views he supposed would delight of the likes of Jon Snow and the Channel Four news team.

Tiptoeing indelicately through the daisies of press censorship, the cant and hypocrisy he finds in the left and the inherent doublethink of liberals, he reached the eventual conclusion his little yellow bear must be decapitated for the good of serious debate.

After Rod's speech Massey spoke at length to Ella Whelan, assistant editor of Spiked and a winner of one of our Voices of Freedom awards. She told him:

"It’s very nice, I wasn’t expecting it and I’m very grateful. I’d say to people they need to get serious in today’s political climate about defending freedom.

"I think Rod Liddle can be a welcome breath of fresh air because he challenges the current climate of censorship – his views on freedom of speech and the ability to speak out and say what you think are very welcome and a needed intervention into the ‘you can’t say that’ climate in politics at the moment.

"I disagree with some things he stands for but on the whole I think he makes a very good point about Islam that we need to challenge the prevailing very, very strong level of censorship around religion – the inability to criticise and openly talk about what’s going on at the moment.

"My position as someone on the left of the left is that the left is all consumed with identity politics at the moment and has been for decades

"So Spiked and myself are trying to make an argument for a genuine radical change in politics that shakes the status quo for social change.

"I’m an absolutist when it comes to free speech. It’s a principle and you don’t waver from a principle.

"People should be allowed to say and think whatever they like and the consequences of that should be free too."

Full report: Smokers and libertarians join for a celebration of freedom in Canary Wharf (Wharf News).

To view Rod's speech on YouTube click here.

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Reader Comments (1)

I am glad that Forest is here to provide a voice against the relentless tobacco control propaganda.. The 'second hand smoke kids' meme is false but it has been engrained in the common memory as a reality as a result of the relentless tobacco control propaganda and suppression of dissent. Even newspapers that have historically published balanced accounts and report about studies that dispute the propaganda appear to have no memory. The relent less tobacco control propaganda and their exaggerated and manipulated studies must be exposed. The persecution of smokers must stop.

Sunday, July 2, 2017 at 22:41 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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