Happy Victoria Day to all Mark’s fellow Canadians. He has a couple of fine Victorian movies here, and will have a Canadian song on tonight’s Mark Steyn Show at 8pm BST/3pm North American Eastern. If you’re in the Antipodes, you may prefer to watch at 5pm Aussie Eastern via our partners at ADH TV.
Close of business on Friday was the deadline for the Ministry of Truth aka Ofcom to issue a substantive response to my solicitors’ letter on their “ruling” against me for my coverage of the Covid vaccines. (That’s their creepy HQ at right, looking like a Kafkaesque insect crawling up a building.)
Instead, the UK media censor got back to us with some crappy stalling letter saying they’d be needing another week to reply.
The “statute of limitations” for suing Ofcom is three months from the date of its “verdict“, which is really quite short. Thus the lame-o stalling tactic seems designed, fairly obviously, to run out the clock. So we informed their commissar that we did not agree to the extended deadline, and therefore will be going ahead and issuing proceedings at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, calling on the King’s Bench Division of the High Court to quash Ofcom’s “verdict” – because, aside from anything else, it’s illegal.
As far as I can tell, I’m the first presenter to sue Ofcom since LBC’s Jon Gaunt almost a decade and a half ago. Everyone else just “assumes the position”, as Rush used to say. Or as Kathy Gyngell puts it, after the second “ruling” against me:
Since they didn’t have the guts last time round it’s unlikely the easily bullied GB News will be challenging it. Instead, we can expect them to obey their summons to the Ofcom headmaster’s office for a carpeting. So it’s left to Mark Steyn, whom GB News let go without a fight, and his guest on the show that day, Naomi Wolf, who was also ruled against, to take on what may well prove to be the most important broadcasting battle of the decade – specifically over Ofcom’s covid misinformation ‘policy’ and the censorship of any broadcasting departure from the official covid narrative (or threat of), and broadly over the principle of free speech.
There are occasional stirrings against Britain’s thought-police. For example, Brian Monteith in The Scotsman, back in 2021:
Ofcom’s mission creep is a major threat to our liberty
But far more common is the approach of Fleet Street’s new castrati, who take it as read that it is perfectly normal in a free society for hack state bureaucrats to warn TV and radio stations to “behave themselves“:
Adam Baxter, director of broadcasting standards at Ofcom, told the Voice of the Listener & Viewer spring conference on Thursday that it will not take action against the broadcaster “if in future GB News behaves itself”.
GB News is minded to comply. The word from the channel is that on-air staff are now being asked to sign the same contract that management attempted to inflict on me – whereby I would have had to accept personal liability for all fines issued by Ofcom. I took legal advice, and was advised that such a clause was illegal – for the very good reason that the only contractual relationship with Ofcom is GB News’s, as the license holder. So I – and now, apparently, Nigel Farage, Dewbs et al – would be liable for the fines without having the right to mount any defence.
Which is another reason I’m suing Ofcom.
At any rate, if you thought the post-Steyn GB News’s descent into a 24/7 Tories’n’trivia channel couldn’t get any lower, you’re in for a treat in the weeks ahead.
Two years on, Brian Monteith’s rare pushback in The Scotsman is well worth reading:
The long arm of Ofcom became even stronger in the debate about what constitutes a vaccine (now redefined to accommodate the Covid vaccines) and whether or not under-50s or even teenagers should have them to the desirability of enforcing passports. Reporting of negative reactions and deaths have, unsurprisingly, been limited generally to newspapers or private social media channels except when other countries raised concerns where Ofcom’s writ could not run.
As Laura Dodsworth’s book, A State of Fear, explains Ofcom’s role has been effective, but now the UK Government intends to give it more powers so it can now monitor and restrict digital media directly, effectively closing down free speech on the internet it does not like.
How craven are the UK media when it comes to Ofcom’s power grab? So craven that when its chief commissar attended Klaus Schwab’s annual Spectre board meeting at Davos, the only chap who even attempted to interview her was my friend Andrew Lawton from London – not London, England, but London, Ontario, whose reporters evidently have more gumption than today’s Fleet Street toadies:
Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes defends “free and frank and open conversations on any topic” when asked in Davos about Ofcom’s investigations of networks over discussion of vaccine injuries. pic.twitter.com/6hOUDdMLis
— Andrew Lawton (@AndrewLawton) January 19, 2023
The Ofcom Effect, as enforced by Lord Grade, Dame Melanie and their shadowy commissars and anonymous judges, has been a disaster for freedom of expression – and needs to be crushed like the giant wall-crawling bug it is.
~Many readers, listeners and viewers have inquired about ways to support this important lawsuit in the High Court. Well, aside from anything else, Ofcom’s double-conviction of me seems to be doing wonders for five-star reviews of my new book, The Prisoner of Windsor. UK reader Mr Chris Baker raves:
What a legend
Buy this book and support Mark Steyn against the Ofcom tyrants.
However, there are other methods of support, including:
a) signing up a friend for a Steyn Club Gift Membership;
b) buying a chum a SteynOnline gift certificate; or
c) treating your special someone to a stateroom on this summer’s Mark Steyn Cruise. They will love you forever.
In the first two cases, one hundred per cent of the proceeds and, in the last, a significant chunk thereof go to a grand cause – and you or your loved one gets something, too.
~Speaking of The Prisoner of Windsor, set in a strange land that may nonetheless seem oddly familiar…
If you absolutely can’t live without your full-price hardback being personally inscribed, that we can do.
However, if you disdain my John Hancock, Amazon is selling the book at a discount – and the shipping will be rather less, too. Likewise, if you order from Amazon Canada. (An alternative option north of the border: for a hardback direct from the University of Toronto Press, click here.)
For digital versions of the book, please scroll down the page.
~If you enjoy The Mark Steyn Show, we’ll also be doing it live at sea during the 2023 Mark Steyn Cruise – and with all of your favourite guests, including of course Eva, Leilani and Alexandra. More details here.
~Notwithstanding my one-step-forward-two-steps-back health, we had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with a farewell to our Durham Report orgasmic anticipations on our Clubland Q&A. Rick McGinnis’s Saturday movie date plumped for Denzel Washington in Devil in a Blue Dress, and on Sunday Tal Bachman played up, played up and played the game. For Victoria Day we closed out the weekend with a quintessentially Canadian song.
If you were too busy spending the weekend wondering why none of your neighbors had heard of John Durham, we hope you’ll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
~Finally, if you are way beyond print copies of books, The Prisoner of Windsor is also available in digital format.
For Nook, see here.
For Kobo, see here.
For the Kindle edition around the world, please click below: