Poles, Politeness and Politics in the age of Twitter

I sometimes think that when I die there should be two graves dug: the first would be the usual kind of size, say 2 feet by 7, but the other would be much, much larger. The gravestone should read: ME AND MY BIG MOUTH.

I suspect most of you will have heard of the shitstorm that howled about the head of Jan Moir, a journalist who wrote a beastly article in the Daily Mail about the death of Stephen Gately the day before his funeral. I don’t propose to stop and pick over the carcass of that epically ill-judged piece of gutter journalism. Its malice, stupidity, incoherent illogicality and crass insensitivity have been superbly anatomised by many others and besides, too much time has passed, a whole 24 hours at the time of writing and for the online world, which is still a child, a year is a decade and a day a whole month.

If I were to express sympathy for Jan Moir here some of you might think I had gone soft in the head. And yet I do feel sorry for her. There are those, there will always be those, who believe that she knew exactly what she was doing and that she is relishing her notoriety, that the sight of her name topping the Twitter trend lists will give her nothing but frissons of pleasure. I do not believe this. Yes, I expect that she will, in time, revisit her disaster. I dare say she will write the inevitable Vulnerable Frightened Piece in which she tells the world just how tyrannised, terrorised and victimised she felt; piling on the image of the concerned mum (if she is one) who was just trying to ask questions; the honest (and perhaps naive, yes, she’ll admit to that) journalist who sowed a doubt and reaped a whirlwind. Such articles always end with Serious Questions, in this case concerning the Future of Democracy Itself if it is to be left in the hands of the firebrands, hysterics and (Dark Hints) possibly sinister forces that patrol and control the internet. It will all be silly, distressing, disingenuous and ignorant, but then she is a tabloid columnist and that is her job. The reason I feel sorry for her is not that she is a journalist, or that she writes for the Daily Mail, I am quite sure she can do without my pompous, patronising sympathy. I feel sorry for her because I know just what it is like to make a monumental ass of oneself and how hard it is to find the road back. I know all too well what it is like to be inebriated, as Disraeli put it, by the exuberance of my own verbosity.

Poland

Only a week and a half ago I was asked to appear on Channel 4 news to comment on the Conservative Party and their decision to ally themselves in the European Parliament with the Polish Law and Justice Party, a nationalist grouping whose members have made statements of the most unpleasantly homophobic and antisemitic nature. I usually decline such invitations, and how I wish I had done so on this occasion. I think I accepted for the achingly dumb reason that I happened to be in the Holborn area all that day and the ITN news studios were just round the corner, so it seemed like an easy gig. The more probable explanation is that, as my father and squadrons of school teachers correctly reminded me throughout my childhood and youth, “Stephen just doesn’t think.” Anyway. Words tumbled from my lips during that interview that were as idiotic, ignorant and offensive as you could imagine. It had all been proceeding along perfectly acceptable lines until I said something like “let’s not forget which side of the border Auschwitz was on.”

I mean, what was I thinking? Well, as I say, I wasn’t. The words just formed themselves in a line in my head, as words will, and marched out of the mouth. I offer no excuse. I seemed to imply that the Polish people had been responsible for the most infamous of all the death factories of the Third Reich. I didn’t even really at the time notice the import of what I had said, so gave myself no opportunity instantly to retract the statement. It was a rubbishy, cheap and offensive remark that I have been regretting ever since.

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235 comments on “Poles, Politeness and Politics in the age of Twitter”

  1. SimonGill says:

    Last week it was Jan Moir, this week its Nick Griffin, But i think i am turning into a serial complainer, It will be interesting to see OFCOM are as useless as the PCC, if anyone else wants to complain about question time feel free to do so…http://www.ofcom.org.uk/

  2. GNMartin says:

    Well you would (get harsh feedback), wouldn’t you?! When I lived in Poland I discovered I was living just a few miles from Oswiecin and wasn’t sure I wanted to visit. It was compulsory for school children then. And underneath all that were some very raw nerves about whether the catholic nuns in the convent next door had indeed turned a blind eye. In the end I did go – with a German friend who was staying with me at the time. He did want to go. There was complicity, and anti semitism. We need loud mouths like you to blunder into these things now and again. Probably a good idea to apologise, all the same…

  3. Tristen2006 says:

    I want to give you a piece of advice that my choir director gave me when I was a freshman in high school. He said “Take it with a grain of salt and try not to dwell on it.” That is my advice to you. You are in the awkward position of being famous so when you say something that offends someone the repercussions of it are more profound. I only just read your blog, this being my first time on here, and I don’t really know what you said. I’m sure things will die down again. Try not to think to much on it. My girlfriend has bipolar disorder, just like you, and we just watched your BBC documentary on it. We are both sick in bed with horrible colds. Wisconsin winters are horrible. Anyway, I really think that by watching your documentary she understands a little better that there are other people in this world that are going through the same thing. She was having a rough go after she got diagnosed. She was diagnosed only just this year at the age of 21. She’s on medicine for it now and she’s adjusting. There are still some bad days but we get through them. She’s more worried about scaring me away than anything else but I’ve assured her it won’t. I just wanted you to know that we are thinking of you and we hope things are getting better for you.

    Katie from America.

  4. Margretjane says:

    Does being part of the three quarter of a million Fry flock make me woolly headed? Certainly I watched him on that Channel 4 news and was even slightly startled by the Polish comment, but thought Stephen Fry knows what he’s talking about re the holocaust, probably the situation regarding collaboration was much the same as in The Netherlands……..

    Then I forgot about it til I came here to be amused by frivolous tweeting and got embroiled in reading the six page blog, following the links (gave up on Oscar Wilde after about eight paragraphs)and then spent a couple of hours reading up the history of Poland in the twentieth century.

    So now I really am confused! Feels like I’ve swallowed nasty medicine. Not sure its going to make me better. But thanks, for the blog and all your other writings!

  5. lare says:

    As far as Moir – and indeed Griffin – are concerned, Voltaire and I are in accord.
    ” I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    And Mr Fry, if I may be so bold, “A witty saying proves nothing.”

  6. Robin Rowlands says:

    ****

    Stephen,

    What do you think i should do? -

    Upload it to ( http://wikileaks.org/ ) – thx Guardian

    Will it change anything

    Even if it is uploaded there – the Newspapers cant acknowledge it or cover it.

    Beyond that has society come to a point where nothing can stir them.

    Do those that already know really care or is it some new and naughty game.

    The countries elite despise ordinary people, and simple values.

    How do you define decadence – how do you break free of it.

    Robin Rowlands

    ****

  7. Robin Rowlands says:

    ***

    Stephen,

    Apologies dont bother posting the last or this.

    I suppose a degree of dispondancy in a sick world is a sign of a healthy person.

    The letter will do its thing in its own way.

    Robin R

    ***

  8. the_sleepy_muse says:

    Everyone says stupid things. Some stupider than others. But you’re still my hero.

    The Sleepy Muse

  9. the_sleepy_muse says:

    OK that sounded really sycophantic but it’s true.

  10. cprobert38 says:

    To plagarise a sentiment given by your good self ‘so you’re offended, so fucking what’.All the best Stephen and don’t beat yourself up about it,much love.

  11. toriamcplum says:

    I think we all have in our time wished we could turn back time, be it a drink and dail moment an illicit liason with a stranger or a gaff!

  12. Farrell Grayson says:

    “But maybe the very fact that I have so many followers now disqualifies me from stating the sort of opinions all others are free to…”

    Yes. Yes, it does. But is that an entirely *bad* thing?

    The rest of us are allowed to express opinions that stem from misinformation and misinterpretation. We have the luxury of being able to spew forth into the world opinions based on little more than knee-jerk reaction. My opinion on U.S. foreign policy may be the result of too much Fox News and too little actual thought, but I’m free to share it with anyone who will listen and am not immediately faced with global condemnation for it.

    You, on the other hand, must carefully consider what you really think and/or feel about something before you hold forth on the subject, because you are doing so in a very public forum and people (lots of them) will hold you accountable. Twitter, for you, can be a kind of blast furnace for your ideals. “Do I value this opinion enough to take the heat for expressing it? Just how important is this to me? Am I sure enough to say this and damn the consequences?”

    Yes, the rest of us can get away with shoddy thinking and you can’t. Unfair? Probably, and I don’t blame you a bit for being resentful about it. But it can be USEFUL, so I hope you can keep the resentment in check enough to gain what you can from all this.

    And now, I’m off to do laundry. The one constant in an ever-changing world, in a bizarre kind of way.

  13. agazed says:

    Stephen,
    Thank you for this article (the Poles piece). No matter what, I will always be your fan.
    Agnieszka, Warsaw, Poland

    PS We really dont like the Law and Justice (PiS) party here

  14. michelle23 says:

    Dear Stephen,

    Thank you for your honest and clearly heartfelt, post ‘foot-in-mouth disease’ blog. It is much appreciated by this non-Polish, slightly-disturbed-by-the-comment fan.

    I think there is a difference in expressing opinion / view / thought on different platforms. I would be much less forgiving of a thoughtless, throw-away comment on a news interview, compared to on Twitter. I think it is because I still want to believe in the integrity of the Fourth Estate, as a forum to reflect thoughtful, honest opinion, by which I can then form my judgement of them and the issues (last week’s QT case in point). Which was what made your comment so disappointing – not because it was offensive, but because it was unthinking and throw-away.

    Twitter, on the other hand, to me, is precisely for off-the-cuff, on-the-hoof, spur-of-the-moment 140 character comment. I’ve been struggling for 23 years to start a diary but have no difficulty tapping out these little life-snippets. I do it not because any reads it (I have single-digit followers…), but because I am hoping I can look back on them and see life moments in years to come.

    For that, you work Twitter brilliantly. Don’t ever be apologetic for anything you put on there. If people take offense, that’s what the un-follow button is there for.

    (Which leads me to another point: I abhor it when the press quotes Twitter feed in news articles. Not just because confuses the two platforms, but also because it is simply so lazy!! A journalist quoting Twitter – Is that the best he/she can manage??)

    Thank you for putting yourself ‘out there’, it’s been a privilege to enjoy your work (Last Chance to See and the Harry Potter audiobooks are particularly brilliant) and to follow you on your blog and on Twitter.

    Keep well, michelle x

  15. RonaldM says:

    Dear Mr Fry,

    Your Fifth Estate paragraph was most interesting. I know your often coming and going whilst juggling thising and thating but should you ever find a few moments you may enjoy this article called ‘The Rise of the Fifth Estate & the Guardians of Democracy’. It is by no means up to your titan like authorial standards, but at worst it might make you giggle. I would perhaps categorize it as the opposite of adapxagraphy.

    http://bipartreport.com/2009/06/rise-of-the-fifth-estate-the-guardians-of-democracy/

    Tallyho,

    R

  16. fidelbistro says:

    Thank you for your support of the triple launch on the evening of Thursday 22nd Oct for Southampton Dada by Nick Rogers, my independent publisher CANT BOOKS (based in Norwich) and Henry Layte’s brand new independent bookshop THE BOOK HIVE, 53 London Street Norwich. It was wonderful to meet you and discuss Twitter as the new “fourth estate”, experimental fiction and of course…the implosion of capitalism represented by a cherub peeing into a bottomless well… It was incredibly generous of you to also read an extract from Nick’s book which made our evening perfect in every way. Thank you again, you may well be too kind for this planet. Best wishes from Dan Pounds , Founder and Editor of CANT BOOKS http://www.cantbooks.co.uk (aka “fidelbistro” on Twitter)

  17. Ferry says:

    Dear Stephen,
    As long as you learn from your mistakes, it is not the end of the world to make mistakes. Or as Søren points out: “Live must be lived forwards, but it can only be understood backwards.” Don’t be too hard on yourself.
    Ferry

  18. JamesFrobisher says:

    Mr F’s thought leadership has the curious effect of imbuing many of his more obsequious twiterati with the notion that they are obliged to respond in their master’s Wildesque, verbose yet effortlessly mellifluous style. Oh God, I’m at it now…

  19. Kathy Williams says:

    Your apoligy was truly sincere. You and I were both born after WWII. I know I was well informed how horrible Poland and the people suffered during that war and I am sure you were too. We all have blurted out things without thinking and not knowing at the time how it would be perceived by others and the consequence. I have just a smidge of Polish blood, but I know you didn’t mean what you said. I also know you have a soft heart. I am concerned that since you have been berated by the press that you will form a bitter taste about Twitter and use it less. I’m one of those who chat and tease with you often and really enjoy having you on there. I am handicapped and sit alone most of the day and you are a mega-spark to my day. I am also very thankful for the fun you have brought to Twitter such as Fry’s Quiz and parties you have had on there. Please forget all the the burrs and thistles and just enjoy yourself on Twitter. You can even use it anonomously.(LOL)Take care and see you again on Twitter. Kathy Williams (B.S.107)

  20. scottbcsmith says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Don’t beat yourself up too much for making a mistake! Yes, sometimes saying things without thinking first will get you into hot water. But if you had to go through life always carefully considering what to say, weighing up what people might think, you’d be a politician and that’s no way to live. Please don’t stop blurting things out. People for the most part will understand if you sometimes make an arse of yourself.

    You must occasionally feel like the lead in “Life Of Brian”, everything you say or write being taken as the Word according to Fry. But give people credit (I’m sure you do). The majority of us who like hearing your opinions will occasionally disagree with them, occasionally be offended by them, but will still love you and keep coming back for more.

    You’re not the Messiah, you’re a very naughty boy.

  21. sentienc says:

    Just registered to say: Please don’t stop being a twit ;)

  22. Jellybeanangel says:

    We all say things which we regret upon reflection. It’s a part of being human. A lot of the time the press in this country are unkind because it gives them something to say and write about. Don’t let it get to you. Be true to yourself.

  23. nana says:

    Dearest Stephen,
    I just want to let you know that I have read this blog over several times, and each time I come away with the feeling that you take everything so much to heart, and that you truly hate conflict, unkindness and aggression. Now you are being hurt by some of the thoughtless and unkind comments made by some silly people on Twitter.

    I noticed that you had not tweeted much over the past few days, and because I know from my own experience how quickly one can slide into depression, I have been concerned about you. Your comments on Twitter today confirmed my fears.

    Like many others, my first thought about you leaving Twitter, was a purely selfish one – no, please don’t leave, we all love you! Of course we do, and sometimes your tweets make me smile even when the rest of the day is pretty dreadful. But on second thoughts, I know that you must do what is right for you. I know that when I am depressed, everything hurts, everything is so much bigger and so much worse than when I am feeling well. And the last thing I would want is stupid, inane comments from people who don’t understand.

    All I want to say, Stephen, is that you are very special to many of us. You set a high standard for behaving with kindness, honesty, sensitivity and compassion. And when you foul up – just because you are human like the rest of us – you have the courage to own up, and to apologise. In a world that seems to be drowning in waffle, you are such a breath of fresh air. Please try to find strength in all the support that is out there for you. I am a 65 year old grandmother, and not given to ‘following’ celebrities or anything of that sort – but since I read ‘Moab is my Washpot’, I have felt such a kinship with you. In some strange way, your story somehow resolved, or threw light on, or just echoed things from my own past.

    Take time to care for yourself. If that means staying away from Twitter, then that’s OK. You have given so much support and hope to others, but for now you need to think about what is best for you. I am afraid I am not terribly good about being witty and clever, especially when I care about something or someone, but I do so want you to know, for what it’s worth, that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Many hugs,
    Jane

  24. ftjt says:

    Dear Stephen,

    I read nana’s comments, and would like to add to them – in a forum which perhaps carries less stigma for you, and certainly allows for more eloquence. Not that I’d pretend to it myself.

    Unlike nana, I’m 21 years old. Your work and your humour predates me, and has surrounded me as far back as my memory permits. And my experience of your work has been different from hers.

    Blackadder, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, and QI have all been, at different stages, important and unshakeable parts of my youth. Above them, though, was the importance of The Liar.

    The Liar, to me, was perhaps what the Naked Lunch was to young Adrian. A wonderful, confusing, enlightening piece of secret literature, mine and mine own. Even if it was my parent’s copy. At 12 years old, coming to terms with my sexuality – something I didn’t exactly fear, but didn’t completely understand either – this was validating, and liberating, and perhaps even life-saving. And it wasn’t for the unabashed homosexuality; it was for the wit and the confusion and the insecurity that were part of its tide.

    You were the first important person in my life, and you’d never know it.

    I don’t really pay attention to twitter. I don’t update my own account, I don’t check up on trending topics. But you do. And for some of those million people following you, you’re a very important person. And through this, you’re close to them.

    When I was twelve, I would have loved to say something tremendously fatuous to you and have you reply. It would have had me buzzing for months, maybe even years, to have warranted or simply to have recieved ten seconds of your time. So, on behalf of bewildered, enchanted youth across Britain and the world: ignore the Neanderthals and the soft-headed armchair critics. You’re smarter, you’re better, you’re more important.

    I appreciate you may never read this, but the hope that you do, and the faint idea that you might take from it some measure of the self-worth and self-belief you lent to me, make this an important twenty minutes of my time to post.

    With regards and great affection,
    Andy

  25. ElizaRoberts says:

    Hi Stephen,
    Just to say, I love reading your blog and tweets. I know from my own experience how just one hurtful remark can send you plummeting to the depths when you are already feeling so low. You often brighten up my day with your tweets, but now you have to look after yourself for a while. Get better soon, you will be in my thoughts.
    Lots of vertual hugs.
    Eliza

  26. boxerphil says:

    one mistake (admittedly a real doozie) but weighed against the sheer volume of delightful things you have said in all the places you have said them, heard and rejoiced in by all the people over all the years, all those millions of gladdened hearts….Stephen, come on….forgive yourself hey…..its not that big a deal.

  27. homophobe says:

    Personally I agree with Jan Moir’s article. How anyone could say that Stephen Gately died in ‘normal’ circumstances is crazy … and I don’r even know how he died. If you disagree, please explain to me how a 33 year old can die ‘normally’ in 2009. Can you then define what the ‘normal’ life of a human being is? Admittedly, this is tricky in today’s world of facebook and big brother. However, I think most of us can remember the world of our childhood when thinks were more … respectable? Jan Moir is saying it like it is and good for her.

  28. Marketa says:

    Dear Mr. Fry,
    I am fairly new to Twitter. I started following a few celebrities I thought I might like, but you are the only one of them I am still following today. I am much more interested in the ‘trivial core identity’ of twitter, I suppose. I didn’t know about your Polish faux pas until I read your blog post. The world is a strange place and 20th century European history especially. My granfather fought in the Czech legion under the Red Army, was injured in the battle of Dukla and had many stories from the front. As a Czech, I always felt ashamed how easily we gave up the fight against the Nazis after the Munich treaty – about us, without us – and understandably despised Chamberlain’s claim ‘I have brought peace’. Equally I have always felt outraged at the Russians occupying my country since 1968. At the same time, I am ashamed at the Czechs letting the Theresienstadt, a transition camp for Jews, to operate under the fascist rule. I was made to go there on a school trip. I worked on a documentary with a Czech cameraman who shot (as in ‘filmed’) the people in the camp for a Nazi propaganda trailer in 1942 – his story touched me greatly. Equally ashamed I am of the Benes decrees – moving ethnic Germans back to Germany after ww II. My grandfather moved into and raised his family in one of the vacated houses he was ‘entitled’ to as a war hero and my mom was born and grew up there. Today I have German friends with whom I can freely talk about our nations’ interconnected pasts. We are friends, eventhough our grandfathers would have killed each other, I think that is fantastic. What you said was geographically right, Auschwitz was in Poland – in a country that fought bravely but was sentenced to no international support in the name of ‘higher’ peace, when countries like mine and yours gave in.
    Ultimately, I feel, we are all haunted by our pasts – I know I am. I enjoy reading your tweets and I am sorry I have gone into such length.

  29. Alan Pearce says:

    Stephen, you are the voice of reason. You help keep us sane. And don’t ever give any of it up. You have the power for positive change. You can make a major difference in so many ways. Have a look at http://whosesidearetheyon.co.uk/

    Heartfelt – Alan

  30. maja_a says:

    Very interesting commentary, and clearly very current and relevant.

    Have you seen the work being done by the Oxford Internet Institute/William Dutton on The Fifth Estate?

    See
    http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/project.cfm?id=57

    and

    http://people.oii.ox.ac.uk/dutton/2007/10/16/the-fifth-estate-through-the-network-of-networks/

  31. carphi says:

    I suppose twitter is named perfectly, it is alot of twitter isnt it? I am glad you were able to make up with the person you had a bit of a twitterspat with. I havent ventured to Twitter myself I have Facebook where everyone I know is and Myspace where some people I know are, only so many passwords and accounts I can keep track of. But its good to mend bridges when we can- I dont even know what it was about but nevertheless, in a few words- We have all been there. Takes a gentleman as you are to put it right,takes the better man/woman to forget it, forgive and just plain move on.

  32. ElaineSk says:

    I know this is probably moving of the topic of the article but in a sense its to do with politeness. Many months ago I, like many of Stephen’s fans opted to follow his twitters, I didn’t use twitter much and just liked following the twitters of those I chose to follow. I did wonder why very shortly after I clicked to follow Stpehen that there were none of his twitters for me to follow, when I clicked on his twitter it looked like I wasn’t following him so I clicked to follow, a message came up saying I had been blocked by Stephen yet I had never insulted him or even twittered once to him so why did he do such a rude thing. I felt sorry for him after this guy saying he was boring but then I reminded myself how rude he was to block me when I had done nothing to offend him…..unless he doesn’t like middleaged Scottish women whom he may have read my page and found boring. I was hurt that he can accept almost 950.000 thousand twitterers yet not mine. I clicked on it tonight months after seeing he had blocked me in case it had been a twitter glitch but no, I’m still blocked. Maybe someone can ask why he blocked a woman who had never twittered him nor caused any offence to anyone on Twitter. Seems to me he can feel upset when someone upsets him yet he can cause upset too to a person he has never met.

    Message from the producer of stephenfry.com

    Dear Elaine. You have not been deliberately blocked. In February and March this year, a glitch occurred on the Twitter site that caused many followers of other people to be blocked. Let me know what your Twitter username is and you will be unblocked. There is also a blog posting by Stephen on this site which explains that it wasn’t his fault. That may also enlighten you. Best wishes, Andrew Sampson

  33. Robin Rowlands says:

    A of A,
    Whilst I disapprove of drugs such as ecstacy and where they lead i am also aware that rewriting scientific reports also leads us into trouble.

    It is official – UK
    Scientific advice and advisors whose research and reports clash with Governments other needs or broader view are to have their reports and research suppressed or rewritten and consider themselves obliged to withdraw from the broader scientific discussion and not share their knowledge with their peers or the public.

    David Kelly died for nothing. Those bloated politicians Neo Labour and Neo Conservative want us all under the heel.

    You will notice the BBC article raises questions over how BSE has been handled.

    A of A

    Confirm that my letter is being suppressed.
    Confirm the panic in both the British Parliament and US Congress over the letter.
    Tell of the pressure brought to bear against the media both UK and USA over the letter.
    Do not publish the letter yourselves you are too vulnerable for that.

    Rupert Murdock likes to think his empire can be the guardian of the worlds Democracies and replace / supplant the BBC.
    The Murdock media empire should stand up or shut up?

    The EU which was set up to protect Europe from the likes of the Nazi’s and New Labour has failed.

    I have informed the BBC World Service who of course can’t report it that I shall be formally submiiting my letter to all the other EU leaders via their London ambassadors.

    Needless to say most of them are already aware of the letter and preparing for the fallout on its publication

    Robin Rowlands

  34. ElaineSk says:

    My apologies to Stephen, Andrew, I did wonder at first if it was a glitch but when I was blocked I no longer read Stephen’s twitters or his blog so did not read about the confirmation of the glitch, this was the first of me returning to his Twitter to find I was still blocked when I clicked to follow. My twitter is same as my username here. Thanks.

  35. Robin Rowlands says:

    Stephen,
    It would appear that the DA Notice applied to my letter has now been reinforced to cover my blogging on UK sites. Since your site is based in USA – ‘land of the free and the brave’ might I claim politcal refugee status once again.

    Ps. Nothing like a good bust up to get rid of the blues.

    Posted BBC gavin Hewitt’s Europe – Cameron shuns ‘Euro bust-up’
    At 11:13am on 05 Nov 2009, mrrobinrowlands (awaiting moderation)

    It would appear that the Conservative Party are lying to the British People and betraying all those who died protecting our Nation and Democracy.
    New Labour promised the British People a referendum ongiving further powers to Europe and were elected on the back of that promise. Having broken that promise to the nation their ratification of the treaty lacks the necessary authority and is worthless.
    The Conservative Party now propose to use their election as a pretext to retro validate the treaty, whilst pretending that they can undo the damage later, this is a disgusting lie.
    The Conservative Party should declare Britains validation of the treaty an unconstitutional fraud which puts no obligation on any future British Goverment.
    If the Conservative Party do not make clear in their manifesto that they consider Britains ratification of the treaty constitutionally and legally invalid and non binding, then their election will valididate the treaty whatever other hogwash they choose to wrap it up in.
    It is doubtful that The Conservative Party could not have beaten New Labour without the support of my letter and the Daily Telegraph, who in effect handed the election on a plate.
    Having chosen to collude in the suppression of my letter they are now being openly threatened by the other EU states when they gnomically refer to the Conservatives as been Autistic.
    If the Conservatives are determined to betray the will of the people and not state clearly in their manifesto that their election in no way validates Britains ratification of the treaty which they deem to be constitutionally and legally invalid and non binding, they give me no choice but to attack.

    PS If the BBC fail to post this blog I will upload snapshots of all blocked blogs to other internet sites outside the reach of the extended DA Notice on myself.

    The Gloves are off

    Robin Rowlands

  36. Robin Rowlands says:

    The Daily Telegraph,
    The Daily Mail,
    The Times,
    The Independent,
    The Guardian,
    The Observer,

    All are sitting on a letter sent to them back in April.
    A letter that must come out for the good of the Nation and the World


    A letter every word of which is true and they know it.
    A letter that tells of the shamefull things that have happend.

    A letter they know full well if not revealed will ensure much worse to come.
    A letter that raises grave issues the politicians will never address.


    These Newspapers their Editors and Propietors have a duty to the people.
    They have a moral duty to print the both the letter and the DA Notice.

    Robin Rowlands

  37. buttercup says:

    I think my epitaph will be ‘under this sod is another sod’.
    Words cannot say how the gutter press portrayed the death of such an innocent . I do not want to offer any diverse comment as this would only give credence to their pitiful lies.
    Big hug x

  38. eugenie says:

    Dear Stephen,

    I subscribe to a genealogy site and if 1888 would be the right year I have the details of Ernest Pring’s conviction. anne x

  39. moondyne says:

    I’m slightly Jewish. Jewish-flavoured, anyway. First generation Australian, English mother, Dutch father, Jew-folk on both sides.

    I also have a horrible case of foot in mouth syndrome. As I get older, I am more likely to speak without thinking. And today I can forgive Mr Fry anything, really.

    I live in outback Western Australia, and I’m not really a fan. I remember Stephen’s Blackadder performances and other gigs where I can point and say ‘oh yeah, that guy’. But tonight – a record breaking three years after production – we’ve been hit with Stephen’s production about manic depression, which has just gone to cable TV.

    Friend Stephen, I’m married to a manic depressive person. Also work with young people with ‘issues’. I have some hiccups of my own, including an insane workload, too many children, anxiety disorder. And the programme I just watched just left me convinced that this will go down as your ‘defining work’. I don’t know if you think that’s a good thing, but the foot in mouth issue is probably going to just make someone put ‘controversial views’ in your obituary at some point. I am making this post just to say thank you – because for a number of people, you’ve made a difference.

    Thank you, Mr Fry.

    As a postscript – I was incredibly amused to find (upon Google stalking you to leave this comment) – a lengthy and detailed Wikipedia entry about Mr Stephen Fry. Good God. Who are these people? Do we really need to know that you are allergic to both champagne and bumblebee stings?

    PPS – Twitter sucks. Try Facebook. Its far more civilised.

  40. Robin Rowlands says:


    The Governments of Europe and the USA might argue that my letter must be suppressed
    as it will bring their democracies into severe disrepute and trigger
    widespread and possibly uncontrollable riots.

    The newspapers might argue that if they expose the truth they will be held to blame and account.

    Those who serve the realm, that realm that politicians should stear clear of,
    make no attempt to oppress or suppress me – they have formed their judgement.


    Clearly the current Conservative Party have a lot to learn, New Labour on the other hand
    are evil beyond words it is not enough that they loose the next election that mindset must be erased.

    Those on the fringe of the New Labour might be considerd ignorant however for those in the thick of it, there can be no quick foregiveness or political reconcilliation.

    My letter is coming out – Europe needs to stear well clear of unwanted associations, unless they too suffer from a bizarre “form of autism”,
    after all you wouldn’t want to be the victim of an unfortunate and ill conceived translation.

    Robin Rowlands

  41. ingridkooyman says:

    Hello,

    I’m from Belgium and I’m completely new at this sort of thing. So I will need some education ;-)
    No real comment at this stage, just to let you know I’ve joined the club.

  42. dorota says:

    Stephen,
    I have just seen you on BBC arguing that the Catholic church is not a force for good- you were brilliant as usual :)I’m Polish and although I haven’t heard your ‘Polish faux pas’, I’m sure you are too kind to say a thing like that deliberately.Loved ‘Moab’, by the way- one of the most memorable books I’ve ever read. Keep up the good work!

  43. Robin Rowlands says:

    Andrew Neil’s Blog
    BBC – This Week
    At 20:59 pm on 7 Nov 2009, mrrobinrowlands wrote:

    BBC Moderator – Please remember that all blocked blogs are Snapshot and kept as proof of the non existent DA Notice to be posted in the land of the free and the brave as and when I choose.

    Andrew,
    Remember you did invite me – and I take it I am now allowed to mention the DA Notice on my letter – or should I stick to USA sites such as ‘Age of Autism’ and ‘Stephen Fry’ for that.

    What can I say every Titanic has its Iceberg – God’s to blame.

    Robin Rowlands
    (open sesame)

  44. Robin Rowlands says:

    Guys – Grab it if and whilst you can !!!

    Robin Rowlands

  45. Robin Rowlands says:

    Steven,
    Letter to be released today.
    Send Email

    Robin Rowlands

  46. Robin Rowlands says:

    Letter to be released today.

    “I will not be afraid of death and bane, Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane” – Macbeth

    David Starkey you know full well – you were freed to speak – at her command.
    Birnam Forest stirs to a roar that few will hear.

    Robin Rowlands

  47. Robin Rowlands says:

    Andrew Neil’s Blog
    BBC – This Week

    At 9:23 am on 8 Nov 2009, mrrobinrowlands wrote:

    BBC Moderator – Please remember that all blocked blogs are Snapshot
    and kept as proof of the non existent DA Notice
    to be posted in the land of the free and the brave as and when I choose.

    David,
    Her majesty
    Her Citizens

    Her Secret Service
    Her Armed Forces
    Her Civil Service
    Her BBC

    Her Parliament
    Her Church

    We are all her servants – As she is the Nation’s
    Not yours – Not europes

    Neither you or Gordon Brown have a mandate to change this.
    You are acting like terrorists and criminals
    You are no better than the Banks

    We live in difficult and fearful times
    As a democracy we are a mess
    As a member of Europe a disgrace

    Most of our European Neighbours put us to shame.

    The road to Hell however is paved with desperation and good intentions,
    if what has happened here in the UK, happens to a European Superstate – What then?

    Robin Rowlands

  48. Robin Rowlands says:

    Steven,
    How long are you going to stay in the US of A.
    The Sunshine, The Food, The Freedom.

    You are coming back, arent you –

    The drizzle suits Britain
    Cooking lessons are now compulsory ( The French will die laughing ) as indeed are sex lessons – Sarkosy’s wife led the way ( Touche ).
    As for Freedom as long as it doesn’t involve abusing children ( Mitterand ), and foxs ( David ) I think we should go for it .

    Robin Rowlands

  49. Robin Rowlands says:

    Stephen it appears the DA Notice or Nerves have kicked in at the BBC again.
    Whilst the letter covers my Son – it is verily but the vehicle – for vengent veracity.

    —-
    —-

    Well that brings us to that Health file. – (THE MIDDLE PART OF THE TALE – AS IT WERE ) the scaly middle part of the tale that stuck out of the cage and gave forgetful David such a fright…Hmmm

    —-
    —-

    Apparantly Rupert Murdoch – is happy for others such as the BBC to go point in defending Democracy and Freedom.
    Are we to hope he might cover your back – or has he other plans.

    —-
    —-

    The Letter

    Mr Nick Wilson,
    Head of Surrey Education,
    Room 165 – County Hall’
    Penrhyn Road,
    Kingston Upon Thames,
    KT1 2DW.
    Surrey
    Tuesday 30thth March 2009
    Dear Sir,
    Whilst as a husband and parent I have a singular and particular duty and obligation to my family and in this case my son Merlin, I am none the less somewhat self conscious of pressing for my sons rights. However I recognize that such sensitivities and compunctions are effete and in standing up for my son I also stand up for the values I hold dear in a civilized society that are under threat from a singularly insidious and twisted political elite.
    It would be very easy to put all the blame for the collapse of morality and propriety within the City and the Civil Service on New Labour, but as after the war the German people had to come to terms with their blame for the atrocities of the Nazi’s, as a nation we will have to recognize how our fear and greed allowed the Nazi’s of our era that are ‘New Labour’, to go unchecked.
    In Britain’s schools a whole generation and culture have been taken for a warm shower and all but lost. To blame the ‘teachers ’or ‘head teachers’, ‘senior management’ or the ‘Whitehall mandarins’ would be unfair, the absence of a meaningful democratic opposition (deserted by the electorate after their own extremism), meant the zealots of New Labour could run unchallenged. Post Thatcher, ‘New Labour’s’- thugs descended on the schools, indoctrination not education was required, the next generation would be shown the righteous and ruthless might of the New Reich, humble school teacher and hapless University intellectual alike would be put under the heal, the children would see it all and learn the lesson.
    The terrible harm that has been done to a generation and people and the consequences that will flow from it in the hard times that lay ahead, leave those of us with other sight that see beyond the surface and paint beyond the canvas, much concern.
    No doubt the civil servants caught up in this pogrom of New Labour found themselves in a similar position to the Auschwitz guards, whilst some would have been true zealots proud of that which went on behind the barbed wire, and many would have been indifferent only too happy not to be on the Russian front, for the most part they were probably pretty regular people disgusted by it all, only too aware that they could not stop it and would only bring themselves and their loved ones to harm if they tried. One would like to think some made a stand however futile, but as in our times such men probably ended up propped up in some silent corpse with their wrists cut, not so much as a note on their end.
    At this point I would have thought it unnecessary to cast myself yet again as some Don Quixote, after all – is not the fetid wind of New Labour fading – the monstrous horde of aligned windmills ever more languid and listless, is it not the way of such things – eventually the unstoppable come to a stop and the renewal begins. Which brings us for better or worse to the Conservatives, who like New Labour, will have no meaningful opposition for many terms to come and a free hand to either, rebuild a Nation, as it would appear Barrack Obama may well do for the USA, or miss the moment to create a single nation, proud of its values and at peace with itself – truly worthy of the world’s respect.
    Well whatever course, the ‘Conservatives’ set in due time they will be judged and held to account as they were last time, hopefully they will not slip back into their hunting reds and laissez faire indifference to the less fortunate in society. However having been handed by New Labour a financially and morally bankrupt nation awash with self loathing and mutual hate, matters could get very bad quite quickly if the right man with a decent set of values does not step into the void and save this Nation from the looming apocalypse of social meltdown.
    However, let’s get back to my Merlin and all the other children like him whose parents are unable to pay or pray for a proper education in keeping with his needs and potential.
    If as parents we were to withdraw him from school once again in September, which given that I am an Architect and could well be unemployed by then we could do, you would be required to ensure that I was meeting my legal obligation to provide him an education fit to his needs and potential, quite frankly I don’t have the facilities or competence to do so, but then again if I were to allow you to send him to a school so clearly unsuited to his needs and potential, I would just as surely be failing my fatherly and legal duty……. If forced I will withdraw my son from school and force you to, in effect, to take yourselves to Court and allow a fascinating and potentially somewhat toxic insight into the Education and Health Service during New Labour’s reign, just in time for the next election.
    As a family with a problematic child we have not been able to stand clear of the horror within the Education System and on the contrary have been obliged to see it all. How needy children are propped up at the back of the classroom in some sick parody of supposed inclusion and provision, no concern for their isolation or proper care, merely a club for New Labour’s self righteous propagandists to beat Thatcher’s children. Not surprisingly far from tolerance it created a complete hatred of any parent bringing yet another problematic child to a school especially those with empty churches to fill, New Labour revelled in the carnage, they would teach us a lesson we would not forget.
    Having returned Merlin to school an awesome mind free at last of his autistic shackles I had foolishly hoped for better times unfortunately the vagaries of the current admissions process have condemned him to a truly awful school forces me into the saddle once again. I would have hoped that it was not necessary for my family to walk through the fire, but I am aware that I can only help my child if I also help all those other children like him failed by the immorality of the current educational system. Who knows perhaps some hidden hand has brought this to pass, I can understand those who would be horrified at New Labour possibly winning another term, when so much needs to be done and quickly, and if need Don Quixote and his entourage will do their bit.

    Well what of education in Surrey.
    We are not ignorant of how New Labours, policies on Education have robbed Surrey of any meaningful control over the allocation of students to suitable places, the administrative fragmentation and apartheid, have the usual dishonourable and reckless hallmarks we expect of New Labour’s third way, and allows New Labour as usual to circumvent and bend European Law on Human Rights to their own convenience and twisted ends.
    Having put ourselves through the appeal procedure before with Holy Trinity, a Christian and Beacon school no less, at a time when Merlin was only just coming clear of his problems inflicted on him by a Government who lied to the General Public about the safety of the MMR vaccine which they knew full well inflicted a particularly severe and high level of brain damage compared with other vaccines. Let’s not hide behind semantics of course we accept that the MMR vaccine does not cause Autism as such which after all is a genetic and degenerative disease, unlike the brain damage inflicted by MMR which though similar fades in time oft as not.
    We were not to amused to find ourselves in the appeal meeting being told that this Beacon School was not in the business of taking on any more problematic kids than they had to and were only too pleased that they had managed to avoid taking on three special needs kids by taking on a child with a wheelchair that year. Would you expect us to have any faith in your appeal procedures which from personal experience we know are little better than quasi – official vigilantes with little interest in fairness or facts or the needs of the child before them and a singular concern that their school should be a little paradise in the hell that is all around us.
    That unwholesome and incestuous relationship between New Labour and the Neo Christians and the subsequent establishment of a system of religious apartheid within state education, shows a level of insanity beyond belief. Such a position is completely at odds with all that Europe stands for and seeks to secure and given our experience of Northern Ireland quite astonishing, indeed suicidal.
    Then there’s the waiting list, but you know what do you say to a third class passenger on the Titanic? You wait here while I go and find out… Well I have no desire to be locked below decks and left to watch my family drown on a sinking ship or stand like some fool on the quarter deck listening to the band and left with my family to wash over the side, whilst those responsible slip away along with the corrupt bankers.

    —-
    —-
    Well that brings us to that Health file.
    What are we to make of a Health Service true to New Labour’s third way, where most of the Senior Consultants, are too busy escorting New Labour’s premium clients past NHS hidden waiting lists, only too happy to take those BUPA bonuses and ignore those who stand in queue at that other door wondering if there will be space enough for them and whether they will make it home.
    What are we to make of a Government that chooses not to even try and protect its largely vegan Hindu community from nvCJD, but on the contrary open its door to all and sundry in a desperate attempt to soften the feared mortality curve.
    In such a corrupt Health Service, it should come as no surprise that a hospital and health authority instructed by government to disregard clear and specific European directives and continue to purchase and dispense contaminated medications despite the risks, should be so, foolish as to insist on government guarantees of impunity that in law are worthless and only prove complicity.
    After all were the Government not free to ignore the pregnant wives of Hindus / Vegans, when nvCJD , had probably compromised the drinking water, and surely given the lack of any proof that the water table was compromised clearly they had no duty to warn the new wave of East European immigrants of a theoretical danger. Anyway it was all just too awkward and desperately poor they would have come anyway and risked it, though admittedly they might have thought twice about bringing their kids.
    But come on Labour does what’s best and the truth whether it’s about MMR or nvCJD is there business and not the general public’s concern. Those trouble makers who question their conduct can take that long yellow brick road to Europe and let the Government get on with it. All things considered in the end like the Health Minister I too decided it best to spend time with my family.
    —-
    —-
    Where does this lead us?
    Whatever problems we have had with Merlin’s education in the past, currently my son is at a brilliant school, not because its results are so brilliant but because it is run by a dedicated set of people who genuinely care about every child, and one has to admit much to our surprise, Merlin currently receives help beyond a parent’s wildest dreams.
    Whilst Merlin has had his difficulties he is a wonderful and brilliant child with able and dedicated parents whom, given a fair wind will fly. European Law in requiring you to meet his need and potential recognizes that for some school is little more than a play pen while they await adulthood with which they all too quickly become bored and angry, for others it is the first step towards a professional career or a life dedicated to learning and self discovery. Barring tragedy as parents Brigitte and I can already see that our children will out shine us and be our gift to the future, our concern is that in the real world not every school can cater for such children, certainly, the school you are trying to force us into (which it would be wrong to name here), would destroy him. Whilst I understand your difficult position you would not expect me to stand back whilst my son is led away.
    What should we expect the head of Surrey Education Authority to do, when Government hands them a moral and legal duty to provide for the educational needs of every child, whilst simultaneously and deliberately denying that authority the control over the state funded schools needed to meet that task as yet again New Labour’s third way comes into play, schools are cut free and put beyond control and European Law so that New Labour’s premium clients (the better healed and the pious) can be allowed on the other side of the bus ( the grammar schools with top up fees and faith schools with your local clerics approval ) whilst the rest of us are left watch.
    The problems of Education go far beyond fair and equal access to appropriate education supposedly guaranteed in our European rights. New Labour’s, ludicrous and schizophrenic desire to pander to the aspirations of its premium clients whilst simultaneously seeking to create a level playing field by lowering the overall quality of the education given across the board to some common low, beggar’s belief. An education system, which by European standards was never that good has become truly deplorable, universities forced to drop subjects vital to this nation’s future for shortage of suitable applicants, focusing instead on lowbrow subjects and degrees that can be handed out like so much confetti, that lead us as a nation nowhere.
    The truth is that for the bulk of the population education is not that important or relevant they will get along quite nicely without it, for others it is everything. Whilst in years past the division at the young age of eleven between those who went to Grammar School and then University, whilst it missed late developers or those lacking home support, for all its failures, it at least ensured that kids who showed potential where directed to a school that would nourish it and were not buried alive in schools that led nowhere.
    Since my days at school the standards of education and discipline have collapsed and even in a county as full of itself as Surrey, the bulk of schools struggle to maintain basic discipline and don’t begin to provide a serious education. In such schools, children with potential are dumped by an education system and government without shame or basic common sense and left to rot.
    Whilst I like to think of myself as a humanist who looks for the best and understands the worse in people and society as a whole, I find New Labour’s manner and approach to people and government deeply disturbing and destabilising. New Labour have brought this country’s welfare state and democracy into the deepest disrepute in the eyes of dreamy intellectuals; the ordinary hard working solid guy in the street and the younger generation that might not be that lucky.
    After years of New Labours abuse and division a broad and deep disillusionment in our political elite who’ s pious sermonizing stands so at odds with their own conduct, has set in. the failure of New Labour to recognize, what is and is not acceptable and permissible in Government, has created a nation for whom common cause and allegiance are perceived as belonging to other times if things turn bad that loss of common cause and allegiance, and the respect and duty that flows from it, so necessary to sustain any healthy democracy will be critical, how many will turn their back on our collapsing democracy a political elite they have come to loath and learnt to ignore will enough step forward to save this county from implosion?
    Which brings us to yourself, no matter how sick and crazed those in power, just like the Auschwitz Guard, you are morally and legally answerable and should consider how you personally will live with yourself and be judged in years to come, if you standby and look at your boots. Surely you are not deaf to the horns that sound beneath our feet and the blood of those young men from so many shores that still flows through Normandy’s sands and calls the valiant, to take action against an evil that has for too long held sway and made a mockery of their sacrifice.
    For my part I have had enough and have decided that the declining values in the governance of this country must be dealt with head on and across the board.
    So we ask the question?
    Can you as head of Surrey Education fulfil your obligation to provide my son with a school that meets his needs and potential as required by European Law?
    After the fragmentation of the Admissions process – Do you still have a coherent and controllable admissions process to ensure you meet your legal obligations?
    After the loss of the grammar and religious schools – Do you have sufficient and suitable schools to call on, with which to fulfil your legal obligations?
    Is not the current haphazard system of allocating schools a farce the so-called appeal system a shameless and pathetic sham?
    Given the shoddy state of affairs do you feel that you are still under a duty and obligation to meet my son’s educational needs, or having lost the means to meet such an obligation do you consider yourself freed from the responsibility?
    When parliament votes for’ Religious Apartheid ‘ in state schools in clear and direct contravention of European Law indeed everything Europe stands for, have they not finally crossed the Rubicon and exposed themselves to legal challenge?
    Are you prepared to do nothing while Education goes the way of the Dental Health Service, when you could take the matter to Europe and have the current absurd and abhorrent setup declared illegal?
    Do you not have a duty unto Europe under law to take the matter to the European Court, do you need me to demand it of you?
    Are you not concerned that, evil cloak snatched by Thatcher’s bastard child, from her dying grasp should be allowed to pass on yet again, do you have no sense of foreboding how the smouldering resentment at the injustice and oppression will come to the fore in the hard times ahead and unleash with such pent up hatred it will sweep all before it?
    And what are you going to do about my Merlin, is he to be just another bright kid failed by parents who couldn’t pay beyond their taxes and wouldn’t pray for heaven on earth, and then had the naivety and gall to ask for a decent and fit education for their son anyway.
    I await your answer.
    Yours Sincerely

    Robin Rowlands.

    Robin and Brigitte Rowlands,
    Parents of Merlin Rowlands

    cc Her Majesty – Queen Elizabeth
    Gordon Brown – Prime Minister
    Minister of Education

    His Royal Highness – Prince Charles
    David Cameron – Leader of the Conservative Party
    Shadow Minister of Education

    cc The Editor of the Daily Telegraph
    The Editor of the Daily Mail
    The Editor of The Times
    The Editor of the Independent
    The Editor of the Guardian
    The Editor of the Observer

  50. Robin Rowlands says:

    15:10 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 16:10 UK
    BBC News Magazine

    Tomorrow never knows… if you’re a rat

    Who are they talking about?

    Good thing we dont live in China – then again – maybe the Chinese Government will let them see this – might make the chinese population more understanding of their Govenments nerves in joining the rest of us – after all these years we still havent quite got a handle on this Democracy thing.
    Mind you – it’s the way forward for China – not easy – seriously difficult actually, but the way forward none the less.

    Robin Rowlands

    Robin Rowlands

    It would appear that in the Age of Twitter – D / Da Notices are dead as a dodo

    Robin Rowlands

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