Matt's view: Dieudonné's ban and Davidson's Celebrity Big Brother win a sad reflection on Britain
PUBLISHED: 08:54 09 February 2014
I spend a fair bit of time in France, and as a result am familiar with the dubious talents of Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala.
Well known on the other side of the Channel for spouting anti-semitic nonsense, the controversial comedian (I use the term comedian very loosely) has seen his profile in this country grow since his buddy, footballer Nicolas Anelka, performed the quenelle – Dieudonné’s trademark anti-zionist hand gesture – during a televised match at the end of December.
It was an action that led to Anelka getting into hot water with the Football Association, while Dieudonné was refused entry to the UK earlier this week when he tried to enter the country and speak on the West Brom striker’s behalf.
Dieudonné says some properly nasty stuff about Jewish people and The Holocaust, so I’m not shedding any tears for him. But I don’t agree with banning people from the country because you don’t like what they have to say.
It seems to me that if Dieudonné had wanted to come to England a couple of months ago, he would have got in with no problem. He was still a nasty piece of work then, but of course no-one here knew who he was, so I doubt the red flags would have been going up at the Home Office, which justified its decision by saying it banned individuals if there were “public policy or public security reasons”.
Not particularly enlightening, I’m sure you’ll agree. When governments start banning people they don’t agree with, it makes me feel a little bit uneasy; freedom of speech should be just that, not just freedom to hear what someone in powers deems is ok for you to hear.
Ironically, the Home Office decision comes in the same week that Jim Davidson, a comedian known for making jokes a little near the mark, and one who admitted in his autobiography that he was violent towards one of his ex-wives, is voted the winner of Celebrity Big Brother. The awful Davidson had, mercifully, all but disappeared from our screens before CBB, but will no doubt receive more work and more cash as a result of this baffling decision from the viewing public.
Apparently it’s ok to be a controversial comedian, as long as you’re one of our controversial comedians.