Nick Cohen’s timely polemic exposes the myth of freedom of expression in Britain with great insight and verve

Review of You Can’t Read This Book
By Denis MacShane
The Observer
ne of the comforting myths of our times is that we have seen a massive expansion of freedom of expression. Perhaps a price has been paid in the explosion of inequalities between and within nations and in religious wars harking back to the 17th century. But, what the heck, these are regrettable side-effects of a much freer, better informed world.
Twitter and Facebook, together with fearless journalists and human rights lawyers, have massively expanded the boundaries of freedom, so the argument runs. Look at Iran, Egypt, Libya or China. Surely social media and the inventors of Google and Wikipedia have dumped the censor in the dustbin of history.
Nothing could be further from the truth, argues Nick Cohen in the latest of his counterblasts to conventional wisdom. Cohen is the most stimulating – if at times infuriating – columnist in our national press, largely because you never quite know where he is going to end up. He lashes the stupid left as much as the smug right. He ferrets about in the lower reaches of politics to find disturbing symptoms of what should not be happening. He has a sense of history and literature, in contrast to the dominant political generation of PPE graduates who have read every page of the Economist since they were at Oxford, but have never opened a novel.
Carry on Reading

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