WELCOME to the fray, GB News.
At a time when free speech is under assault by the dystopian cancel culture and political correctness, Britain’s first news network for 21 years is a breath of fresh air.
I have no doubt that the station’s independence will be irreproachable, with respected BBC veteran Andrew Neil at its head.
The viewpoint will differ from the usual, liberal consensus, but that is desperately needed.
Predictably, the programme was energetically smeared before it even took to the airwaves, as right wing and populist, despite being strictly regulated by Ofcom.
Goaded by online pressure groups, a number of corporations suspended advertising - the lifeblood of every independent news organisation - in the network’s first week.
The fledgling station could have been in grave trouble, which, unlike the BBC, is not cushioned by an annual £4 billion tax on viewers.
Instead, Mr Neil came out fighting, pointing out that IKEA, which announced that GB News was “not in line with our humanistic values and vision”, had been fined in France that very day for spying on its staff.
He also suggested that “woke nonsense” had reached the boardroom and, if advertisers wanted to see “real hate,” they should look at the social media postings attacking his start-up.
After a backlash, IKEA is reportedly reviewing its boycott, as are Vodafone, MoneySupermarket, Bosch and others, who are discovering that their customers reject this censorship, cowardice and lack of moral fibre.
Online hysteria is increasingly exposed as sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Mr Neil and GB News deserve to flourish for bringing us news that others fear, refuse or neglect to tell – the very essence of freedom of speech.
I wish them every success.