Columnist: Mary Whitehouse deserves an apology

A newspaper columnist has said that the world might now be a better place if Mary Whitehouse’s views had been taken seriously.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Sarah Vine said Whitehouse, a devout Christian, “deserves an apology” for the “liberal snobbery” she endured.

Whitehouse rose to prominence in the 1960s for taking a stand against the declining moral standards on television and radio.


Vine reflected: “Perhaps if we had listened a little more and sniggered a little less, we might have understood that the boundaries she fought so hard to protect were not repressive — they were precious.”

“If we had been able to suspend just a smidgeon of our liberal snobbery towards Mary to take in even a tenth of what she was telling us, we might well be living in a better world today.”

Vine highlighted Channel 4’s Naked Attraction, as an example of television’s slide in moral standards.

The nude dating show allows participants to select a partner based on their physical features.

Post-moral age

The columnist continued: “Today, when we look around and see a society so free of restraint that it barely merits to be called civil, it sometimes seems as though we are living in a post-moral age.”

Vine added: “She deserves rehabilitation. But, most of all, Mary Whitehouse deserves an apology.”

Whitehouse passed away in 2001 at the age of 91.

Concerns justified

Vine is not the first person in the media to suggest that Whitehouse had been right.

Back in 2010, Dame Joan Bakewell – a long-term opponent of Mary Whitehouse – said Whitehouse’s concerns about the sexual liberation of the 1960s may have been justified.

Writing in the Radio Times, Dame Joan criticised the commercialisation of sex and the sexualisation of the nation’s children.

“I never thought I would hear myself say as much, but ‘I’m with Mrs Whitehouse on this one.”

‘Race to the bottom’

Last year, Channel 4 broadcast ‘Married at First Sight’, where complete strangers marry each other and then decide whether or not to divorce five weeks later.

In response to Married at First Sight, The Christian Institute said it is “horrible for broadcasters to be experimenting with people’s lives in this way”.

Simon Calvert, The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director for Public Affairs, said: “It’s disappointing that producers seem to be in this constant race to the bottom and this is just another idea that denigrates marriage.”

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