If you enjoy our Q&A sessions, well, we also do them live at sea on the Mark Steyn Cruise. If you've got a headscratcher you'd like to pose to me or Eva or Mr Snerdley or the rest of my guests (see cruise promo at right), we hope to see you on board.
But, if you missed today's Clubland Q&A live around the planet, here's the action replay. I took questions on a variety of topics, big and small, but we also found time to look at the long cultural reach of an operatic tenor and to thank, again, my tremendous French nurses.
As you can hear toward the end, I'm still recuperating from my heart attacks, but I managed an hour and a quarter of what we think is well worth a listen. You don't have to be a Mark Steyn Club member to listen to the show, so please click away. But, as always, we thank Steyn Clubbers for many excellent questions. And we may pick up a few of the ones we didn't get to in Mark's Mailbox, now back on The Mark Steyn Show.
~As I mentioned, Toby Young has been arguing on multiple platforms that I got what was coming to me. One of those Ofcom apologias appeared in The Spectator last week, so I thought I ought to reply. This week's Spectator has published most of my letter, but left off the last paragraph and the PS, along with various other excisions. So here is the full thing:
You're entitled to your opinion, as they used to say, even in Britain. And Toby Young is entitled to his, regarding my recent departure from GB News. However, I was struck by his summation of my show:
'Great television, but not always Ofcom-compliant television.'
How does he know this? Ofcom, the grisly UK media regulator, has been 'investigating' me for a year and has reached no such determination. They have launched three 'investigations' into the show. The first they abandoned: I beat the rap. The second has been running since April and the third since October. Toby's breezy assertion of my guilt is clearly prejudicial.
Given his confidence in my non-compliance, perhaps Toby would like to give Ofcom a heads-up on which rules I've broken, because they seem to be having trouble getting the goods on me – which risks giving the impression that these leisurely 'investigations' are a racket: Producers and presenters of daily TV shows are expected to confirm that they're in 'compliance' in the hours before airtime, but the fellows who wrote the rules need ten months to figure out whether I broke them?
It is odd to find Britain's supposed free-speech champ cheering GB News's decision to play Queen of Hearts – sentence first, verdict whenever. As Toby has semi-conceded elsewhere, the clause I was being asked to sign is illegal under English law, which tells you something about whether or not this was a good-faith contract negotiation. But, more importantly, on the broader free-speech question, GB News is self-censoring and conceding to Ofcom far more authority than the law demands.
Some years back, I ran into a similar situation with Canada's censorship law – Section 13, which had a conviction rate Kim Jong-Un and Saddam Hussein would envy (100 per cent). The difference then was that, unlike GB News, the suits at the corporation and our estimable QC, Julian Porter, were all in agreement on the end-game: getting the law repealed and the Canadian state out of the censorship business. It was a tough fight, but we won: on June 26th 2013 the repeal of Section 13 received Royal Assent, and that was that.
That's what should happen to Ofcom's powers over editorial content.
It is pathetic that the General Secretary of the soi-disant Free Speech Union can make no more stirring battle-cry than 'Free speech – as long as it's approved by government regulatory bodies!'
PS If Toby's so hot for Ofcom's 'due impartiality', why did he contact only Ofcom and GB News for his story and not me?
As I've said, I believe (as do my doctors on both sides of the Atlantic) that the GB head honcho was consciously trying to bring on a third, fatal heart attack. I am so grateful to Eva, Leilani, Alexandra and other Steyn Show guests for not taking the side of those homicidal whackoes.