What they will not allow you to see online

Jona Lendering writes about censorship in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Royal Library is currently making available online all newspapers from the Second World War, which includes Nazi propaganda. Now the Dutch department of Justice has advised the library not to make digital versions of these publications, because it is possible that the Public Prosecutor might accuse the Royal Library of distributing publications that incite hatred.

Jona rightly excoriates this nonsense.   What need to  fear “Nazis” if you adopt Nazi policies, supposedly to prevent them?  

UPDATE: All of which nonsense led me to muse on black shirts and the like, and thence to P. G. Wodehouse, “The code of the Woosters”, p.54 of the Vintage paperback (1990) where Gussie Fink-Nottle explains to Bertie Wooster about a fellow guest at the house party.

‘Don’t you ever read the papers?  Roderick Spode is the founder and head of the Saviours of Britain, a Fascist organisation better known as the Black Shorts.  His general idea, if he doesn’t get knocked on the head with a bottle in one of the frequent brawls in which he and his followers indulge, is to make  himself a Dictator.’

‘Well I’m blowed!’

I was astounded at my keenness of perception.  The moment I had set eyes on Spode, if you remember, I had said to myself, ‘What ho! A Dictator!’ and a Dictator he had proved to be.  I couldn’t have made a better shot, if I had been one of those detectives who see a chap walking along the street and deduce that he is a retired manufacturer of poppet valves named Robinson with rheumatism in one arm, living at Clapham.

‘Well I’m dashed!  I thought he was something of that sort.  That chin … Those eyes … And, for the matter of that, that moustache.  By the way, when you say “shorts” you mean “shirts”, of course.’

‘No.  By the time Spode formed his association there were no shirts left.  He and his adherents wear black shorts.’

‘Footer bags, you mean?’

‘Yes.’

‘How perfectly foul.’

‘Yes.’

‘Bare knees?’

‘Bare knees.’

‘Golly!’

‘Yes.’

4 Responses to “What they will not allow you to see online”


  1. judith weingarten

    Well I’m blowed too.

  2. Roger Pearse

    It’s just the natural consequence of bureaucrats being given too much power to interfere. In a free country a man may do as he pleases, so long as it is not explicitly forbidden. In an unfree country everything is forbidden which is not explicitly allowed. It is clear what sort of the country the Dutch officials think they live in.

  3. Andy Hilkens

    You’ll be glad to know that they’ve decided to put everything online anyway.

  4. Roger Pearse

    Good news – thanks.