We have a voice, but use it wisely

On whichever side of the newly reopened political divide we sit, we should all, as communicators, ponder the insights left by the death of Baroness Thatcher.

Ian Monk: 'The raucous debate reignited by Mrs T's death is putting debate and choice back on a more diverse political agenda.'
Ian Monk: 'The raucous debate reignited by Mrs T's death is putting debate and choice back on a more diverse political agenda.'

The first issue is the philosophical one that censorship in a democracy is almost always self-defeating. Calling for the BBC to ban Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead, as many newspapers did, was misguided.

Apart from being a catchy tune, it deserved airplay simply to illustrate the mindset of those who sought to promote it as a mark of disrespect to a newly deceased 87-year-old stateswoman.

Ironically, one of Mrs T's errors as PM lay in banning TV from airing the voice of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Her government's argument, at a time when IRA gangs were killing and maiming British citizens, was that censorship was necessary to deny Adams 'the oxygen of publicity'. It was a fallacious argument in 1988, which helped a partially gagged Adams achieve a measure of unearned martyrdom.

In another way, the Iron Lady's passing struck a blow against the even more insidious form of censorship imposed by the current stifling political consensus. Today's political apathy owes much to voters' belief that 'they're all the same'.

The raucous debate reignited by Mrs T's death already shows signs of re-energising politics by putting debate and choice back on a more diverse, less homogenous, political agenda.

Then, as always, there were the lessons of Twitter.

Just a week after inanely incontinent tweets by youth police and crime commissioner Paris Brown, Thatcher's death provoked the outpourings on the world's favourite social media site of police sergeant Jeremy Scott. He believed her passing came 87 years too late and hoped charmingly that it was 'painful and degrading'. Almost certainly it was less so than his resignation as Scott became the latest Twit to emote in haste and repent at leisure.

Order, order? No more! Ding dong, tweet, tweet. We've all got a voice now.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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