We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The limits of free speech

The contributors and most of the commenters to this site actively defend the free speech rights of fanatics, bigots, blasphemers and pornographers. Where the shield wall falters, that is where we go to fight. I think we have the right to be proud of that.

But I wonder if even we do not still have our sacred cows – sacred cows that need to be slaughtered.

I am fully aware that the disclosure I am about to make may cause outrage even among people who think of themselves as absolutists when it comes to free speech. I must apologise in advance to Perry and the others who have extended me the hospitality of this site for what may seem to be an abuse of it. I realise that there are some people who may think that, having said in public what I am about to say, they can never associate with me again. Forgive me. I feel I have to say this.

“Mornington Crescent” is not a real game. The rules and strategies you hear quoted by players are made up on the spot. Its only purpose is to have a laugh at the expense of those not in the know.

28 comments to The limits of free speech

  • Tuscan Tony

    Sorry, but no amount of persuasion will ever convince me that Mornington Crescent isn’t a real game. I was talking about it with Father Christmas a few weeks ago – he and the elves play it all the time in fact. He’s promised me the rule book too, next time he visits me.

  • GCooper

    Nice try at a double-bluff, Ms Solent, but it won’t wash. Everyone knows there’s a real Mornington Crescent game, but that only members of the Illuminati are allowed to know the rules.

    My turn, I think?

  • Oh, you win. Earls Court.

  • No, under the “East Anglia advantage” it is actually my turn:

    Ealing Broadway

  • You bitch. you heathen unbeliever. Take this post down within 20 days or you’re dead.

    Everyone knows that it is blasphemous to write down the rules. Or draw cartoons of Mrs S Trellis of North Wales.

  • Rich

    What, like

    “if a player moves to such a location that there are less than two occupied bases between the location played and the next but one Shift Zone, Morton’s Convention being in play, whether the Loop has been vectored from either Diagonal or not… then that move is declared under-struck”

  • Julian Morrison

    If you don’t know the rules, you’ve already lost, and the game’s playing you.

  • Colin

    What’s that quote about how any sufficiently advanced alien technology will seem indistinguishable from magic. That must have an analogy here. Just because you can’t comprehend the rules, you invent this ‘rationalisation’. It’s quite laughable that you think even Tim Brooke-Taylor capable of such an act.

    PS Where’s the post on sewing?

  • Colin?

    You’re not on yet: It’s Mornington Crescent we’re doing here, not “The words of one song to the tune of another”.

    they always said you were useless.


  • RAB

    Brilliant Natalie!
    Sucked me right in and spat me right out again!
    Um, Edgeware Road.

  • Frogman

    Sometimes you British are . . . odd. Entertaining, though.

    Euston Square.


  • Paul Marks

    As there is no such thing as objective truth, according to our masters, a law should be passed to prevent you trying to undermine the faith in the believers in this game by claiming it is not real. As you there by hurt their feelings and undermine their self esteem.

    Of course claiming that laws should be there to protect such feelings is a an objective truth claim (the claim that it is objectively true that there should be laws to protect people’s feelings).

    But there you go.

  • veryretired

    I had a shronk just the other day, and only needed a queen for a Royal Fisbin, but it wasn’t Tuesday, so I lost.

    The odds have never been calculated.

  • Nick

    Blasphemy! Persecute the unbeliever!

  • Ed

    You might want to view the movie “Bang The Drum Slowly” for the origins of your game.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    How about this for bursting a sacred cow:

    “Lord of the Rings” is crap.

  • RobtE

    I suppose the next thing you’re going to tell us is that Samantha isn’t real either.

  • Samantha

    Of course I’m real, Samantha, NW1 7RD

  • rosignol

    “Lord of the Rings” is crap.

    Yes, well, Bakshi ran out of funds and had to cut some corners, y’see…

  • michael farris

    How dare Natalie make this assertion without years of study of the game, which would prove that the rules do indeed exist (and are quite simple which no one can deny). Free speech is fine and good but not when it bothers me! NYAH NYAH NYAH!

  • Freedom of expression must be absolute otherwise it’s not truely free.

  • This post is Obviously a disguised Ongar denial, so the game is now in Strick.

    Very well, if that’s the way you want it.

    I expend a Viridian Podume, lowering potential by -5 keV and changing the mutability to involute.

    Bayswater, and your turn.

  • OK, I’ll bite. What’s “Mornington Crescent”? (Although it’s pretty obvious from the above comments that no one really knows.)

  • It is a real game…I have played it.

  • Robert: Of course we do. Dagenham Junction.

  • I don’t recall anyone saying that junctions were wild, Michael. You’ll have to miss your next turn.

    Parsons Green

  • That’s perfectly true, but none the less I tricked you. The Crozier-Livingstone rules (by which I assume we are playing) specifically allow the playing of stations on lines that are under construction. And preparatory works have begun on stage 1 of the East London line extension (which will extend the line from Shoreditch to Dagenham Junction) but not on stage 2 (which will connect the East London Line to to the North London line). Therefore, for Mornington Crescent purposes Dagenham Junction is playable but not technically yet a junction, and is therefore wild.


  • As it’s now Wednesday local time, by the Intenational Dateline 72-hour rule, I can invoke an involute lateral arabesque, but only on a dead thread. I’d set that one up a few turns ago. Didn’t see that, did you Michael, or your obvious counter-move would have been Piccadilly, or a more subtle Bank. Anyway it worked,

    Mornington Crescent.