Europe has never been friendly to free speech. In 2001, the European Court of Justice ruled that the European Union can suppress criticism of its institutions and its leaders. Back then, the Court had the British economist Bernard Connolly in its sights, whose book The Rotten Heart of Europe it found “aggressive, derogatory, and insulting” and “akin to extreme blasphemy.” Today, it’s the comic Jan Böhmermann, who faces criminal prosecution—yes, criminal prosecution—in Germany for writing a satirical poem about the Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Thank goodness for Douglas Murray, who organized a competition in The Spectator for the best offensive poem about Erdogan. We are pleased to report that the former Mayor of London Boris Johnson won the prize with a suitably ribald limerick. To see how Boris rhymes “Ankara,” you’ll have to look it up.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 34 Number 10, on page 2
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