Society of the Perpetually Offended


Unless you’ve been asleep for the last month you can’t fail to have noticed Stop Funding Hate breaking the internet after self-righteously hounding Paperchase and Pizza Hut for doing promotions with newspapers they don’t like. As a result, they’ve been recruiting new supporters daily, some of whom have even read up on the campaign, and SFH’s stated aim of political censorship-via-corporate blackmail.

Luckily, these brainiacs are in the minority and most of the liberals pledging solidarity with SFH know precisely zip about them. Which, judging by the warm words from progressive misogynist Owen Jones, Orange ad funnyman Steve Furst and Nick Heyward out of Heaven 17, is still twice as much as their celebrity backers. That a writer, a comedian and a singer are happy to laud a movement fundamentally opposed to free speech shows how thoroughly this moral crusade has enchanted the great and the gullible.

So I can’t have been the only leftist who went to bed giddily excited on Tuesday night.

But what was I excited about?

Well, Stop Funding Hate had tweeted that at 7am the next morning they’d be making an important announcement. As I clasped my chalky pink Momentum duvet, one possibility whirled around my head – had SFH followed golf-loving author John Niven’s lead and arranged a mass newspaper burning? As beautiful as this sounded, the truth was even better. For SFH had done what all liberal activists eventually do and started asking people for money. It was all I could do to stop myself rifling through my grandma’s purse in excitement.

Because there’s no irony more delicious than a group called Stop Funding Hate asking people to start funding their hate. And no better way to flatter censorious do-gooders than asking them to donate to a worthy cause. Luckily, few causes are worthier than SFH, who announced that the money raised would cover the wages of a new ‘Community Organiser’. So not only are SFH expanding their campaign and creating a full-time job, they’re also asking you to pay for it. I’d scream ‘take my bank details now!’ if I hadn’t been banned from opening an account.

By Thursday the total had passed £20,000, with all manner of bearded craft beer enthusiasts and non-binary performance artists telling the world how much they’d donated. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as proud of my fellow progressives. Because it takes brass balls to publicly chip in to a stranger’s 30-grand-a-year salary when you’ve spent the last 18 months telling Leave voters and tabloid readers how gullible they are.

And how the SFH campaign has pushed on! Publishing daily lists of companies advertising in the right-wing press and exposing the NSPCC for having the temerity to think asking Mail readers to help vulnerable children is more important than the fact that they once ran a cartoon comparing jihadists to rats. And it doesn’t matter that the majority of migrants in the drawing weren’t rats, a point the very people traumatised by the sketch repeat endlessly. What was equally heinous was the crude suggestion that men from the Middle-East often have beards and wear sandals. That a so-called children’s charity could endorse such dehumanisation is beyond the pale.

But before anyone suggests SFH may be undermining their own campaign by repeatedly pointing out that the Mail and other media behemoths carry adverts from pretty much everyone, SFH are one step ahead. Because they know fine well they’ll never achieve the widespread censorship they crave: like all the best virtue-signals, the joy of this campaign is its utter futility.

While their commendably deluded supporters live in an upside-down world where Vodafone and Sony actually give a shit what people on the internet think, Richard Wilson and the rest of Team SFH are far more interested in broadcasting their integrity by badgering people for not being as tolerant, progressive and downright authoritarian as them. Hence The SFH Lists, which conjure not only romantic images of brave Stalinists but also the Bottom Inspectors from Viz, a beacon of decency in an otherwise offensive northern hate-rag. You can see their influence all over Wilson and co, whose favoured method of shaming and spying is pretty much the SJW equivalent of bursting into proles’ homes and shining torches up their situpons to check if they’ve wiped properly.

A job which SFH’s high-profile cheerleaders would carry out with gusto. Not least Owen Jones, a man who combines earning a living expressing opinions with praising a group whose entire raison d’être is to stop people expressing opinions. And he’s not the only pro-censorship Guardian scribe, with Dawn Foster appearing on Sky News last week to bang the drum for restricting press freedom despite her livelihood depending on …err…..unrestricted press freedom.

Because every good liberal knows that when we talk about press freedom we don’t mean the frightful Tory press with its habit of making social workers nervous in Waitrose. As a recent Guardian editorial put it while defending internet regulation, ‘…we are wedded to the idea of free speech’, despite the evidence suggesting The Guardian are about as wedded to free speech as ISIS are to free love. But what they actually mean is ‘the idea of free speech for people they agree with’. Which makes perfect sense.

The insidious influence of the Mail is plain to see in every Brexit-voting dump in northern Britain. And recently they’ve been getting sneaky. Only yesterday I had to stop myself glancing at the Mail in the paper-shop in case I was overcome with the urge to set fire to a mosque. And the paper-shop.

Still, as a liberal I’m always trying to Do Better, which is why in future I intend to avoid looking directly at The Sun just in case it incites me into committing an angry sex-crime because there are no longer tits in it. Also, to stop my brain turning into a racist, I’ve decided to end my ten-year boycott of all things work-related and apply to become Stop Funding Hate’s Community Officer. I’ve heard the money’s great and the job involves nowt more than sending the odd outraged tweet to Marksies or Stannah. Pretty much a busman’s holiday for me.

Ben Pensant is a Country Squire Guest Writer. His writing is housed here.