Friday, 12 April 2013

Music Censorship - Yes or No?

Those that know me know that I am a passionate music lover and will also guess, as a Conservative, that I am something of a fan of Margaret Thatcher and what she achieved for Britain.  I don't support everything she did, but in my view she moved this country from a point where it was a near laughing stock in the Western world to a position where we were thriving and respected.  The difference between where Britain was in 1979 and where it was in 1990 when she resigned is massive, we should never ever forget that transformation.

So, when I started to see the song "Ding-dong the Witch is Dead" being promoted after her passing it sickened me.  In fact the YouTube clip was posted on a Hard Rock music site I belong to and I was really, really angry, to the point where I tried to get the post deleted because it was so utterly disrespectful.  I have not changed my mind about it being disrespectful, there can be no doubt that this is the intent, but it did make me reflect on whether censorship was the right response.

That reflection became morepertinent during the debate about whether the BBC should choose to censor the very same song during its chart show this weekend.

The point is, music is supposed to be rebellious; it is a perfect vehicle to express views, challenge the status quo and, indeed, to show dislike, even if it makes politicians like me uncomfortable.  It has been thus for some time and the punk rock revolution of the late 70s (which you will remember originated during the time of Harold Wilson's failed regime) is the perfect example.

I would much prefer people used music to make their point than react in other ways, even if it is through buying a song to make a point in such a disrespectful way.  In fact, I was one of the many, many people who bought "Killing in the Name" by "Rage Against the Machine" a few Christmases ago in a successful attempt to stop another Simon Cowell monstrosity getting to number one.

The truth is  our mainstream music scene is stale because of the huge influence of people like Simon Cowell.  I would hate censorship to contribute to that and I do not support amy refusal to play "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" in its entirety.  The BBC fudge of playing just a short excerpt is a poor and typical BBC attempt to please the whole world.Every time I hear that song now I will cringe at the disrespect and I will cringe at the lack of understanding that people have about Margaret Thatcher, but I would prefer that to unnecessary censorship.

Thankfully, an alternative solution has arisen.  Those who appreciate what Margaret Thatcher achieved are supporting a campaign to get a punk song by "The Notsensibles" called "I'm in Love with Margaret Thatcher" into the charts.  If you feel like I do, the best way of showing it is not to campaign for censorship, but to download what is, in any case, a classic punk song and make your point. The fact that it is a punk song, from a genre that originated in the mid 1970s when Labour massively failed Britain makes this response all the more appropriate.

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