I take it that Corinna Ferguson is an employee of Liberty.
Jon Gaunt win marks Ofcom's card
Liberty believed Ofcom breached Jon Gaunt's right to free speech – and we'll continue to keep a close eye on the regulator
'Gaunty' has today won the right to appeal over his sacking for stating the obvious.
The councillor came up against a host filled with rage, against – as he saw it – interfering do-gooders who would deprive a child in care the chance of a loving home. Long story short, Gaunt called the man a "nazi", "health nazi" and an "ignorant pig".
Quite right too.
If you're new to the case, his remarks were aimed at Redbridge Council's Michael Stark, who was defending his authority's position on banning smokers from adopting.
Note it was not banning adoptive parents from smoking around the children. It was banning smokers. Period.
As such, Gaunt's comments, being adopted himself as a child by a smoker, were intensely personal, heartfelt and arguably accurate.
Now, as Longrider points out, TalkSport are entirely within their rights to sack Gaunt.
Freedom of speech does not apply on private property and the radio station is not obliged to allow a free for all if it doesn’t want to, so actually, Gaunt’s freedom of speech wasn’t curtailed. There is nothing wrong with a broadcasting code in principle and nothing wrong in principle with it being enforced, or the station dismissing an employee who breaches it.
True enough, but in TalkSport's case, it's rather hypocritical when they still employ a knuckle-dragging berk like Alan Parry, who spouts equally offensive shit but targeted at smokers rather than those, like Michael Stark, who would prefer kids rot in an institution than be cared for in a home inhabited by someone who enjoys a legal product.
And it is still legal, by the way, in case you were confused with the messages being sent out by this bastard government.
Interestingly, at the time of Gaunt's sacking, a BBC Northampton DJ was also making offensive remarks on the same subject.
Subject: Redbridge Council’s decision to ban smokers from fostering. As usual, it was a lively debate. Neil was taken aback, however, when presenter Bob Walmsley compared smokers to alcoholics and stated that smokers are unfit parents.
He was later forced to apologise.
"I gave an opinion comparing alcoholics to smokers. This was an unfair comparison to make and if this has caused offence I am genuinely sorry about that. It was not my intention."
Walmsley avoided sanction, yet Gaunt, who also apologised, was hung out to dry.
Both attracted complaints to OFCOM, both apologised, yet only the one who defended smokers was sacked.
What's more, Guardian fuckstick Roy Greenslade didn't believe Walmsley should have been made to apologise at all.
Smoking is addictive. Unlike drinking alcohol, even in moderation it can cause problems for both smokers and for those who inhale the smoke. So Walmsley was quite right and should not have been forced to back down.
So what we have here is a man, intrinsically familiar with the issue of adoption and smokers as adoptive parents, being punished for a stance which he found personally offensive and which he saw as potentially damaging to kids who are in the same position as he once was. One might assume that his anger would be quite legitimate under the circumstances.
Then, we have a BBC DJ who has none of the same personal involvement, merely a bigoted and judgemental viewpoint, making equally offensive remarks, backed up by a similarly ivory towered bigot from the Graun whose arrogant hatred of smoke obscured his objectivity ... if he possessed it in the first place.
And neither OFCOM nor the PCC were bothered with either of them.
The fact that the Guardian are offering a spot for Liberty's Corinna is laudable, and the comments appended are encouraging at time of writing, yet the fact still remains that the Guardian back this government, have afforded the execrable Greenslade space for his ill-informed and vindictive comments, and as such are complicit in policies which have led to kids being denied loving homes on purely dogmatic grounds.
It's too much to ask that Labour might call Redbridge Council and tell them they are a bunch of heartless cunts and that they should change such a divisive, and damaging, policy (they didn't do so at the time so were obviously quite happy about it). It's also laughable to believe that ASH will lose a wink of sleep over denying parentless kids a home, which they have effectively done purely out of selfishness and spite.
If anyone should have been sacked back in November 2008, it should have been Michael Stark, who wilfully restricted the future life chances of parentless kids as a result of ignorance and prejudice. He is a 'health nazi', of that there is no doubt. His decisions WILL adversely affect children in his care.
Gaunt was arguing for kids in care to be helped instead of hindered by ideological nonsense. Those who complained about Gaunt's understandably brusque demolition of Stark have nowhere near the same motivation to object. They are merely offended. And as Corinna quite rightly points out.
But there is no right not to be offended.
One might argue, however, that it is the right of parentless kids to be given a home if one exists, regardless of whether they are adopted by a smoker or not.
Yet again, the selfishness of anti-smokers is astounding in its ability to destroy lives on a whim.
Me. Me. And thrice, me.