Nature, so it goes, abhors a vacuum. Both old and new media follow the same rule, and so when Christmas turned out to contain no nasty news surprises, someone somewhere had to make something up to fit the gap. Sadly for those expecting any kind of entertainment, the someone stepping up to the plate was Mid Bedfordshire’s Tory MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, whose ability to open mouth and insert boot knows no bounds.
So it was that she declared earlier today “Left wing snowflakes are killing comedy, tearing down historic statues, removing books from universities, dumbing down panto, removing Christ from Christmas and suppressing free speech. Sadly, it must be true, history does repeat itself. It will be music next”. The oppression of free speech is so severe that it has had no effect whatever on her ability to Tweet rubbish, but hey ho.
I missed the rest of the supposed oppression, too: nobody wished me a Happy Mas this year. What the fragrant Nadine might also have missed is that the Daily Mail article she is citing in support of her outburst might not be the wisest choice when presenting her defence: reading it might have saved her blushes. So what’s the problem?
Ah well. The piece Ms Dorries cites is headlined “Oh, yes they are! 'Snowflakes' are killing panto with their political correctness, claims Christopher Biggins as producers bin smutty gags in wake of Harvey Weinstein scandal”, and goes on to tell “Panto star Christopher Biggins slammed the censorship of panto”. Then comes the bad news.
Because it then says “Stage legend Christopher Biggins has slammed those who are trying to censor pantomime … The 69-year-old's blistering response comes after theatre bosses removed a Dick Whittington sketch at the London Palladium where a male actor looks up a female character's skirt”. And this is mere “snowflake” behaviour?
There is more. “Managing Director of Qdos Pantomimes, who manage the show at the London Palladium, cut the sketch after allegations made against Harvey Weinstein … He told the Daily Telegraph: 'I have cut that. Last Christmas it was in nearly every panto in the land, including the Palladium, but this year it just feels wrong’”. And yet more.
“'What I have not done and what I won't do is change any jokes, as I don't believe there is a link between sexual harassment and pantomime … ’Nobody touches anybody in pantomime. And as far as somewhere like the Palladium goes, of course the show is full of innuendo because we are working with Julian Clary’”.
So all that has been “censored” is a moment in a panto which might make any number of theatregoers uneasy, especially after recent revelations not just against Weinstein, but also against those who try and sneak upskirt photos of women without them knowing. To remove the suggestion that this is somehow funny is hardly “snowflake” behaviour.
Of course, Ms Dorries may not have been paying attention, which is entirely possible, and then just sounding off for the sheer hell of it. But she is supposed to be an MP, and therefore someone who should look first, before leaping to conclusions.
It looks like she’s goofed yet again. And for a public servant, that’s not good enough.