The town council of Dudley, in the British midlands, has banned further showing of Philip Ridley's play Moonfleece. It seems the play, which concerns a young man's decision to join the anti-immigrant, anti-gay, ultranationalist British National Party, is just too harsh on fascism.
According to the show’s website it has already been shown in some of the country’s most racially sensitive areas including London, Leicester, Birmingham, Doncaster and Bradford.
Producers say they deliberately chose those areas, which are considered strong BNP areas, to "start a conversation about the far right”.
The play, which has won rave reviews from critics, is set in an abandoned council flat, in East London with the main character, Curtis, haunted by the disappearance of his brother, Jason.
Boasting a multi-cultural cast it centres on a young, right-wing activist forced to reassess his personal and political beliefs as the brutality of the new-look BNP is exposed. It explores the rise of right-wing nationalism and homophobia.
Although the town now claims that the play, which was to be shown in a community theater, was not suitable for all ages, its producers claim they were told the production, which is highly critical, would hurt local feelings in an area that's known as a BNP stronghold.
Of course apologists might say that Dudley has banned this play due to fears that any depiction of the BNP might offend non-BNP members, or that the play is so controversial its showing might incite violence in a BNP stronghold. But Moonfleece has already been shown in other areas of the country where BNP membership is heavy, without violence. Whatever the apology, barring producers from showing the play is an intolerable restriction on speech in a country that once was famous for the liberty its citizens enjoyed.
Thank God I live in the United States, where our hearty homegrown fascists are so much tougher than the limpwristed English variety. When's the last time you heard of an American Nazi who ran whinging to the government because his feelings had been hurt?