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Friday, November 12, 2010
Do NOT stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
I repeat- do NOT stone Yasmin Brown whatever you do, and more importantly do not under any circumstances suggest that I told you to.
Birmingham councillor Gareth Compton made a poor joke (although who am I to judge the quality of somebody else's humour?) by Twittering the following:
"Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell
Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really"
He has been arrested and released on bail. Whether he will be charged remains to be seen.
I do think that this affair raises questions about being offended and freedom of speech, as does the case of accountant Paul Chambers who texted jokingly about blowing up Doncaster Airport when it closed because of snow and lost his job as a result.
Here's a few questions that spring to mind:
1) If a comment is clearly not a serious threat (ie if Gareth Compton doesn't make a habit of calling for his opponents to be murdered and Paul Chambers' flat was not filled with explosives, detonators and books urging terrorist attacks) then should they really be arrested and have their careers ruined?
2) Is there a difference between comments made in private and those made in public?
3) If so, then where does the boundary lie? Where do emails, letters, blogs and Twitter fit into this?
4) Did the Police arrest these men for inciting Allah to burn British soldiers yesterday?
5) What will I do when all the people I've written nasty things about send the Police round to take me away?