Is freedom of speech really at risk?
Piers Morgan is claiming so after losing his job at Good Morning Britain, as we suggested he would here yesterday.
Freedom of speech, he said rather grandly, “is a hill I am happy to die on”.
That probably won’t be necessary.
The views in my inbox from both hacks and flaks all say a variant of the same thing: I don’t like him, but he should be allowed to say what he thinks.
In general that is obviously true; you can’t have free speech just for people you agree with.
But the context here is important. Racism, bullying and mental health have never been such high-profile issues. That’s a good thing.
We want to eradicate the first two, or at least shine a light on them, and allow people to speak openly about the third.
If a young woman says she has felt suicidal, it isn’t asking too much of us to take her seriously. Or at least not publicly accuse her of making that up.
Privately, Morgan can think and say whatever he likes about Meghan Markle.
I can’t see that it was particularly vital for him to do it in public, or that it is some important principle that he should be allowed to attack her because he doesn’t like her. (She stopped returning his calls, we read).
As a journalist, there might be times when it’s ok for me to say that I think so and so is a race-card playing liar with an absurd sense of self-importance.
And times when it is obvious I should put a sock in it.
Morgan wasn’t fired for speaking his mind, but for being an idiot.
I’m ok with it.
It costs UK small firms £1.7 billion each time they pay their staff, says this from Tide.
That breaks down as £300 a time, £3500 a year.
I don’t get why it should be this expensive. Tide thinks it has a solution.