My writing is now being censored for being controversial. Generally, I live within the mainstream of society’s opinions although there are a number of areas where I could be swimming close to the bank. Many of these were explored in my novel, Blah Blah (https://www.brovary.co.uk/blah-blah/) but surely not so controversial that I should now be banned and censored?
Maybe the name of my female heroine, Scunt, was a little edgy, but that is easily defended. She is an inhabitant of Scunthorpe.
I also openly disagreed with the proposed new UK laws about brothels. At the moment prostitutes can legally work alone but if two or more work together then that is called a brothel. I am sure prostitutes would be safer if they worked as a collective with shared security. Also, then, authorities would find it easier to ensure that none of the women was underage or being trafficked.
Then I suggested that UK drug laws should change and reflect that drug addiction is a medical and social issue whereas now it is thought of as a crime. I have no direct experience but I would like the Government to consider a policy that prescribes drugs, not methadone, to the addicted. It is not so radical because this is exactly what the NHS does with prescribed painkillers. If other addicts were supplied directly by the NHS there would be two impacts.
First, we would have a chance to help many more addicts into treatment. Secondly, it would also mean that many of the crimes associated with funding an addiction would be eliminated.
It is very difficult to get data on the value link between drugs and crime. The National Crime Agency on their website (although not dated), say that drug trafficking to the UK costs an estimated £10.7 billion per year.
DrugWise, again undated say on their website that, examples of users needing £15,000 to £30,000 a year to fund drug habits have often been given. While they think it may be exaggerated they add, this has led some people to suggest that up to half of all acquisitive crime is drug-related and that the market value of goods stolen involved could be between £2-2.5 billion each year.
The UK Drug Policy Commission point out that at least 1 in 8 arrestees (equivalent to about 125,000 people in England and Wales) are estimated to be problem heroin and/or crack users, compared with about 1 in 100 of the general population.
Moving on I also agree with Scunt who says that we are far too illiberal in our attitudes and laws. I have no interest in sunbathing naked in the cold of the UK but if I wanted to then I see no reason to ban it. Taking your clothes off is not a privilege. I was quite cross when Stephen Gough, popularly known as the ‘Naked Rambler’, was arrested and then rearrested. In 2004, he walked the length of Great Britain naked but was arrested when he did it again in 2006. But quite cross was as far as I could go.
But I am moving off the point. These are all reasonable if not generally accepted opinions, I am not sure they could ever be thought of as controversial.
Maybe, now you can start to imagine my surprise when one of these daily gentle blogs was rejected by EzineArticles for being too controversial. If you wanted to read what I could possibly write that would upset a mainstream site, here is the link https://www.brovary.co.uk/2018/03/26/hard-but-fair/
If you don’t have time to go and look, it was a piece titled, Hard but Fair, talking about the Australia ball tampering debacle in South Africa, and how it unfolded. If you remember it the Australian cricket Captain Steve Smith owned up to the crime along with the two other participants, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. I was talking about the impact on Australia when their national sport is demonised by its heroes.
Imagine my surprise when I received this email:
We are not able to accept articles that contain negative language in reference to any particular product, company, individual or group.
For example: “Australia are playing South Africa in a cricket test match and the Australian rookie, Cameron Bancroft was spotted by one of the many cameras tampering with the ball to roughen one side with some yellow tape. He knew he had been seen as he quickly stuffed the offending tape down his underpants!
Please focus on the general issue rather than parties involved.
I wrote back
Apart from the delay in publication that has removed the topicality of the piece, the request is ludicrous.
The article is about cheating in top-level sport. At the time it was a real issue. How can I avoid naming the individuals when they were all over the press?
Your article has been placed in problem status because we do not accept articles that contain controversial and/or negative language in reference to any particular product, company, individual or group.
Your articles should be where you share your own expertise about a given subject. Provide tips, techniques, commentary and/or other useful information to the reader. You do not need to name specific people or companies in your article to get your message across to your readers.
We would recommend focusing on general topics or issues, rather than parties involved.
I responded with even more incredulity and EzineArticles came back with
I’m sorry, but you will need to update your article in order to get it accepted. We are not a news source and typically do not accept press releases or controversial language. You do not need to name specific people in your article to get your message across to your readers.
Also, some of the articles on our site had to be deleted due to the content. We need to adhere to guidelines from our advertisers, so we had to remove content in article categories such as News & Society: Politics and Pure Opinion.
And that is where we now stand.
I don’t know how I have done it but EzineArticles, at least, consider me as controversial. I am subversive, a revolutionary and probably a political dissident. If I lived in Stalin’s Russia I would already be on the way to a gulag.
My next step is to send them the link to this piece and see if they have any comment. I might also send them a photo of me typing. Possibly I might just have something in common with Stephen Gough, but you will never know. I have been banned😊.