I find myself sitting in a hotel room, reading ARRSE - a bracing dose of mixed imbecility, insight, intelligence and sheer madness, all of which helps me cope with Ramadan in a dry Muslim country. I'm reflecting on the Doreen Lawrence thread and all the hurtful things being said about ARRSE over on Mumsnet and am actually slightly cheered, having read the Mumsnet thread all the way through, to note that ARRSE, while it may be vile and unpleasant sometimes, makes no effort to decree what is and is not acceptable to debate, provided a careful course is steered through the British libel laws, of course. Mumsnet seems to operate in a very hierarchical way - the original poster in the thread over there chose to use a sock puppet, rather than her usual username, as she did not want to be bullied - and all through the thread there is a distinct whiff of Queen Bee style passive-aggressive disdain for any statement which doesn't reflect the MN consensus that: a. ARRSE is full of misogynistic racists b. Doreen Lawrence is a saint I have no particular view either way on b. although it seems to me that she has done what any mother would to seek some sort of justice for the appalling murder of her son. I don't think anyone would argue that the investigation of his murder could have been done considerably better, whether her work justifies a peerage is not something I feel particularly qualified to judge. On a. above, I think there's an element of unfairness. There are racists and misogynists on ARRSE, of course there are - there are also vicars, doctors, lawyers, homosexuals, persons of colour, wimps, coward, imbeciles, heroes - all sorts of folk. Many of them (although probably not as great a proportion as ten years ago) are either serving or former soldiers, with a bracing infusion of Booties and sailors and a thin pale blue streak of simpering homosexuals from the paramilitary wing of British Airways. What there is on ARRSE, of course, which you don't find on MN (admittedly based on my very brief sampling), is free speech. I like the fact that you can say pretty much whatever you like on here - you'll probably get abused roundly for it, but no-one will suggest that you're not entitled or allowed to say it. I've been hanging around ARRSE for over ten years now and sincerely hope to keep doing so for at least another ten (assuming the Embassy No 1 or the motorbikes or the jihadis don't get me in the mean time). Long may it flourish and congratulations and a manly clap on the shoulder to the COs both, Bad and Good, for creating the monster which is ARRSE. Long may it continue to annoy the Guardian-reading classes, long may it continue to be nowhere near as good as it used to be, long may it continue to have more no-mark civvy scum than soldiers. Hell, I'm even charitable enough to say "long live threads about Baron Castleshortt".