Bring back Binns!

Campaign for sacked radio comic – and hear the contentious broadcast

A prominent republican group has called for Ivan Brackenbury creator Tom Binns to get his radio job back after he was sacked for criticizing the Queen.

Binns was fired by a network of Midlands stations including BRMB after cutting short the royal Christmas Day message with the line: ‘Two words, bor-ing.’

Here is the controverial broadcast:

Now pressure group Republic, which lobbies for the abolition of the monarchy, has called for the 39-year-old to be reinstated.

Their letter to the station follows a straw poll by a local Birmingham newspaper which found 70 per cent of readers backed 39-year-old Binns, who made his comments after the station inadvertently aired the Queen’s broadcast.

The campaigners said: ‘The first measure of any democracy is that citizens and the media alike must be able to offend, criticise and challenge our leaders and representatives, and challenge prevailing points of view about the nature of our society.

‘Republic has asked [programme director David] Lloyd to acknowledge the importance and meaning of free speech and accept an error was made in sacking Mr Binns.’

Group spokesman Graham Smith said: ‘This is a serious matter of free speech. The Queen is not above criticism, it is vital that we can engage in a free and open debate about the monarchy, including through humour which may at times cause offence to those who support the monarchy.

‘Without a guarantee of free speech on this issue we cannot have a serious and open debate about what sort of democracy Britain should aspire to be.’

Lloyd said Binns – whose comedy character is an inept hospital radio DJ –  ‘misjudged’ the situation and ‘made inappropriate comments surrounding the Queen's speech’.

Some of those who complained said it was disrepectful of Binns to interrupt the Queen while she was speaking of the troops in Afghanistan – though she had long moved on from that subject by the time he stepped in.

Published: 6 Jan 2010

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