Public back Queen Camilla in fury over woke attempts to rewrite Dahl
Roald Dahl: Ruth Langsford slams ‘dangerous’ changes to books
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An exclusive poll by Techne UK for Express.co.uk has revealed that three-quarters of Brits (73 percent) agree with Queen Camilla that rewriting the much-loved children’s books by Roald Dahl by Penguin is wrong. It comes as the publisher has had a rethink of its plans in the wake of the Queen’s intervention and agreed to continue to keep publishing the original texts as well as politically correct versions.
Fewer than one in ten (nine percent) said it was right to make books more palatable to sensitive readers.
Two former teachers who are now Conservative MPs, Stoke North’s Jonathan Gullis and Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke Smith, were critical of the attempts to “brainwash children” by “woke warriors”.
Mr Clarke-Smith, the new chairman of the Blue Collar Conservatism Movement, said: “The Twits in the book are nothing compared to those who want to rewrite our history and these classic literary works.
“For many of us who grew up reading Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda or many of the other wonderful books of Roald Dahl, it’s great to have our own champion of the world to defend freedom of expression with Queen Camilla.”
Mr Gullis added: “It is welcome that we have an ally against the appalling woke agenda in the Royal Family. Well done to Queen Camilla for saying what needed to be said.
“The Techne poll shows that the vast majority of the country is with her and those of us standing up for free speech and British culture.”
Mr Gullis went on: “As a former teacher I know how important books are to children and teenagers. Roald Dahl’s books have opened new worlds and imagination for millions of children.
“When you rewrite them you change the meaning and dilute the original text. Young people need to be challenged, not brainwashed or cosseted. Shame on Penguin for even considering this plan.”
Chairman of the influential Common Sense Group of Tory MPs Sir John Hayes was also livid about Penguin’s plans.
He mocked them suggesting they would be looking at titles like “the differently abled people” instead of the Twits; or “Charlie and the Confectionary Factory of Indiscriminate Nature”; or “James and the Differently Sized Peach”; or “the Big Friendly Individual of Exceptional Stature”; or “the Better than Average Gender Neutral Fox”.
Sir John said: “No childhood is complete without reading the works of Dahl, Tolkien and the great Enid Blyton.
“These woke warriors are insulting the intelligence of children and people in general if they think they cannot tell the difference between fiction and fact.”
He added: “The philosophy of these woke warriors is indescribably foolish and blinkered”.
The polling showed that there was a consensus against the rewriting of Roald Dahl’s books across all ages, socio-economic groups and political positions.
Even eight out of 10 of the two parties with the most woke members – Labour and the Greens – opposed the move by Penguin.
The rejection of woke censorship by the 1,633 adults polled was similar across all age groups and the political spectrum, although younger adults and those who vote Labour or Green responded more strongly that books should not be rewritten
The poll found 76 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds and 77 percent of those aged 35 to 44 thought it was wrong, compared to 69 percent of those over 64.
Free Speech Union founder Toby Young said: “The reason Roald Dahl books are still enjoyed by children is that his prose is so good.
“If Puffin’s sensitivity readers think they can write better than him, they should have a go at writing children’s books themselves, not try to improve on words that have withstood the test of time.”
Puffin, the children’s publishing wing of Penguin, announced on Friday that unaltered versions of his 17 books would now remain in print through Penguin titles, alongside the revised versions.
MD Francesca Dow said: “We’ve listened to the debate over the past week which has reaffirmed the extraordinary power of Roald Dahl’s books and the very real questions around how stories from another era can be kept relevant for each new generation.
“We recognise the importance of keeping Dahl’s classic texts in print.
“By making both Puffin and Penguin versions available, we are offering readers the choice to decide how they experience Roald Dahl’s magical, marvellous stories.”
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