Friday 9 December 2016

Having the right to offer a different opinion on a matter of concern is a pillar of freedom

Kevin Myers

Published 20/10/2009 | 05:00

'I GATHER a repulsive nobody writing in a paper no one of any decency would be seen dead with has written something loathesome (sic) and inhumane," tweeted Stephen Fry to the 850,000 sad souls who follow his misspelt twitterings.

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The "repulsive nobody" is 'Daily Mail' journalist Jan Moir, who on Friday wrote a column about the late Stephen Gately which dissented from the general media encomium that surrounded the Boyzone musician. And why should she not? We must surely allow room for someone to take issue with generally agreed pieties. Having the right to offer a differing opinion, sensitive or otherwise, on a matter of great public concern, is a cornerstone of freedom.

Stephen Fry clearly does not agree. As a celebrity, a luvvie, a Jew and a homosexual, he is untouchable, Princess Diana, the Queen Mother and Oscar Wilde rolled into one. No doubt in his moral cosmos it is sinful for a "nobody" -- that is, a mere non-celebrity like Jan Moir -- even to offer an opinion that differs from his. No doubt this also makes her "repulsive". The fact that she writes in the 'Daily Mail' is, of itself, an indictment according to same "liberal" world-view of his. And that he had not troubled himself to read that dissentient view ("I gather ... .") will, of course, not lead to any criticism of his conduct.

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