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The World According to Laurence Fox

Some thoughts about recent news stories and the issue of free speech

By Matty LongPublished 9 months ago Updated 9 months ago 5 min read

I’ll level with you from the outset; I’ve never really liked Laurence Fox. Well, that’s a lie, as I always enjoyed his portrayal of Sgt Hathaway in Lewis. I wish he’d stuck to that sort of thing. Ever since his foray into politics with his car crash of an appearance on Question Time, he just hasn’t been my cup of tea. Which is interesting because he’s often put into a “camp” of sorts with people who I do have a lot of time for, i.e. those who believe in free speech, old-fashioned liberalism, challenging authorities/narratives, scepticism, disdain of all major political parties and how they’re so similar to each other etc. etc.

Some of the people in this camp, who I do admire, don’t seem to mind Laurence Fox all that much, so as a result I’ve been subjected to him via my socials, podcasts etc. on several occasions. And I don’t understand how anybody could interpret his ignorant, brash, and privileged attitude as a sensible approach. I would give him the doubt sometimes and just assume he isn’t that smart, I just don’t know why so many other people didn’t think that. And I’ll be fair. Once in a blue moon he can be alright. I remember publicly calling him out on twitter when he was one of the first to jump to conclusions following the murder of Sir David Amess, after which I was promptly attacked from all sides by his fans who I can only describe a cult in their approach to rationale. I did, however, make a point of liking his tweet shortly after where he praised the actions of the Muslim community following the murder. I do try and be fair.

But he’s only got worse and worse since then. His recent misogynistic, vile rant about Ava Evans was just the tip of an iceberg that’s reliably consisted of ignorant, childish and over-the-top remarks about bloody everything. He criticises the modern left for their overreactions and complaints about everything – yet he does the exact same thing and can’t see it! He twists stories into his own narrative. He goes on and on about the spirit of proper debate and yet he is the shouty angry privileged whinger he claims to despise.

Not only am I disgusted by what he said, I’m disgusted (though not unsurprised) by his subsequent actions. He refused to back down, threw many of his friends and colleagues under the bus for “virtue-signalling” when they expressed support for Evans and denounced his remarks, and then finally offered a pretty pathetic non-apology apology before bemoaning the loss of free speech because he had been suspended from GB News.

In a subsequent interview with the podcast Triggernometry, following criticism by the hosts over his comments, he explained that he is an emotional person, and that he was hurt by the way she had appeared to make light of men’s mental health. He said, and has said before, that he believes his reaction (though to be fair to him admitted his language was wrong) is what’s needed in these times.

Now, anyone who has read my blogs and columns before will know that men’s mental health is something that matters to me too. Fox and I can agree on that. I’ve also written about the importance of emotion and a human side to political debate. I don’t think hard facts is the right approach and have written a whole blog about how a Holmes-and-Watson approach is my preferred style. But Fox is the opposite, he’s a fully blown Watson, where emotion takes centre stage. And a foul-mouthed, arrogant version of Watson at that. His character Sgt Hathaway would never behave in such a manner! Fox isn’t the only one like this, it’s becoming quite common among right-of-centre public figures, and I think it’s a problem. They’re becoming what they apparently criticise.

Which brings me to my final point. During the Triggernometry interview, the hosts (which I’m not entirely sure Fox was expecting) said that they fully supported GB News’s (probable) decision to sack him. The thing is, GB News, for all its editorial beliefs, is still a television news network, subject to Ofcom, with a code of conduct. And he broke that. It’s called accountability. It’s not “cancel culture.” Nobody’s putting you in prison Laurence, you’re facing the consequences of your own actions. And that’s life.

Now, I do believe cancel culture exists beyond the law getting involved where they shouldn’t. But I think this applies more to people being judged for saying/doing things that clearly weren’t meant the way they are interpreted, the shut down of actual debate, or the removal/criticism of art/individuals or institutions based on yesterday’s beliefs. Or indeed, trying to force a whole channel off air for the actions of one presenter. However, making vile comments on that channel about a woman and facing the full court of public opinion and your employer, is not cancel culture.

Laurence Fox may think that isn’t fair. He laments that he will struggle to find work now. I find this laughable for a man of his privilege. And no, that’s not because he’s a straight white male, it’s because he comes from an established family, and has and probably will always be financially comfortable. Now, maybe that’s not everything, but I think it’s a fair criticism.

But consequences are part of the free speech that he claims to believe in. In fact, they’re an important part of it. Take several recent examples of football fans being charged for vile obscenities during games. I don’t believe they should have been charged as criminals, and as an advocate of actual free speech, can see that as an issue. I can’t pretend I’m not glad they have been though. And, although they probably won’t face prison time, the Sheffield Wednesday fans who mocked Bradley Lowery, the Sunderland fan who died from Cancer aged 6, in my opinion, deserve so much worse. But that’s what they deserve, I don’t think it’s up to the law to give it to them. Much like I think many people deserve the death penalty, but it isn’t our place to issue it to them.

What they do deserve, and I'm fine with, is everything else that is happening to them: bans from every stadium in the country, bans from pubs and bars. Hordes of people on social media telling them they’re vile and grotesque. And if I heard that they happened to walk into an angry mackem’s fist, I can’t pretend I wouldn't feel they had it coming. By Laurence Fox’s analysis, that part is cancel culture. It isn’t, it’s consequences of being an absolute bellend.

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About the Creator

Matty Long

Jack of all trades, master of watching movies. Also particularly fond of pizza, country music, watching football, travelling, and tea.

X: @eardstapa_

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Comments (1)

  • HandsomelouiiThePoet (Lonzo ward)9 months ago

    Nice job on this article ♥️📝✌️💯

Matty LongWritten by Matty Long

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