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Pretending to be scared

Remember Paul Chambers?

Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers loses appeal against conviction

The man convicted of “menace” for threatening to blow up an airport in a Twitter joke has lost his appeal.

Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old accountant whose online courtship with another user of the microblogging site led to the “foolish prank”, had hoped that a crown court would dismiss his conviction and £1,000 fine without a full hearing.

But Judge Jacqueline Davies instead handed down a devastating finding at Doncaster which dismissed Chambers’s appeal on every count. After reading out his comment from the site – “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” – she found that it contained menace and Chambers must have known that it might be taken seriously.


As for the tweet at the centre of the case, she called it “menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.”

Has Judge Jacqueline Davies ever met an ordinary person other than in the courtroom? They have usually got over wetting the bed coz he said scawy fings mummy by the age of three.

This particular form of infantile behaviour is everywhere. There is a second example reported in the papers just today.

Tory councillor arrested over Alibhai-Brown ‘stoning’ tweet

Police in Birmingham today arrested a Conservative city councillor who sent a Twitter message saying that the newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown should be stoned to death.

The message – now apparently deleted – said: “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”

Alibhai-Brown, who writes columns for the Independent and the London Evening Standard, said last night she regarded his comments as incitement to murder. She told the Guardian: “It’s really upsetting. My teenage daughter is really upset too. It’s really scared us.”

You’ve brought her up to be as big a baby as you are, then.

“You just don’t do this. I have a lot of threats on my life. It’s incitement. I’m going to the police – I want them to know that a law’s been broken.”

She added that she regarded Compton’s remarks as racially motivated because he mentioned stoning.

“If I as a Muslim woman had tweeted that it would be a blessing if Gareth Compton was stoned to death I’d be arrested immediately. I don’t think the nasty Tories went away.”

Waaaah! Make the nasty Tories go away! Hard to believe this is a woman in her sixties talking. The childishness she displays is pitiable, if genuine. However I rather think that along with the hiding-under-the-blankets stuff she is displaying another form of childishness – that of flouncing around in a strop and demonstrating semi-voluntary control of the tear glands.

18 comments to Pretending to be scared

  • I might suggest that this does demonstrate why trial by jury remains a good thing (when it happens), as having people who have met ordinary people outside a courtroom involved in the justice system in such a way does improve things.

    People who have not find it hard to see this though.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    A lot of this comes down to the definition of incitement, as it stands in the law. For instance, if a person makes a threat, such as in print or some other medium, there has to be a reasonable expectation that such a threat can be, and will be, carried out. And the seriousness of the threat is surely established if, for instance, a person issuing threats against a particular person or institution includes things such as addresses, dates and times for the threat, etc.

    Of course, much depends on a judge exercising basic common sense. And alas, much of our judiciary contains the likes of Tony Blair’s wife, drawn from the ranks of people infected by the identity group politics and post-modernist mindfuck of their time.

    It goes without saying that little will change under the present administration. It could even get worse.

  • The Sage

    Context on the YAB issue


    and links therein.

  • I just commented over at the Lib Alliance bolg, that I recall during the Death Of A Princess furore that Not The Nine O’Clock News did a joke about sending them a couple of our princesses. This joke is much the same. Times have changed, have they not?

    Presumably nowadays they’d be arrested for a death threat against the Royal Family, or some such thing.

    My country is a disgrace. It makes me ashamed to be British, it really does.

  • Johnathan-

    It could even get worse.

    It will continue to get worse. That is a certainty. The anglosphere model is for policy to be constructed in an infragovernment and implemented by politicians, who are the infragovernment’s bitches. There won’t be any change in policy until such time as that infragovernment can be smashed apart, which looks rather unlikely in the immediate future. The infragovernment is the gaggle of academics, NGOs, major pressure groups, quangos, etc needless to say. Politicians are effectively entirely powerless to change policy, because they exported their moral authority, willingly, to it, a very long time ago. They pass the laws they are required to pass by what Marxists call the “ideological hegemony”. A change of government has negligible practical effect.

  • Correction to the above. The politicians didn’t “export” their moral authority, because they didn’t initally have any. Rather, in the nineteenth century, the politicians agreed that the role of Government should be the pursuit of moral virtue, and then agreed that the decisions as to what is morally virtuous should be made by what became the infragovernment- initally charidees and reformist pressure groups. Basically an undeclared agreement was reached that moral decisions would be made by outside groups, and those decisions would be implemented as laws. E.g. housing reform, sanitation movement, public health movement, temperance, obscenity and decency laws, etc etc etc.

  • MarkE

    One has to wonder whether YAB ever told her precious daughter “I’ll kill you” in a moment of stress, as all parents have. After all, if we take everything we say so literally…

    Silly me, of course she didn’t, and the nanny would have been sacked for even thinking it.

  • Gareth

    She added that she regarded Compton’s remarks as racially motivated because he mentioned stoning.

    “If I as a Muslim woman had tweeted that it would be a blessing if Gareth Compton was stoned to death I’d be arrested immediately. I don’t think the nasty Tories went away.”

    Stoning as a punishment pre-dates Islam. It’s in the pigging Bible! Would it also be racist to mention circumcision?

  • John K

    As luck would have it, I too caught YAB’s Radio Five Live interview which so incensed the unfortunate councillor, and I too found my self wishing, as her insane bleatings infected my space, that someone, anyone, would shut the stupid bitch up. But perhaps I shouldn’t have thought that. Anyway, I don’t do twitter, much too dangerous in this pussy whipped shithole of a country. Sorry if I’ve offended anyone by these remarks.

  • Derek Buxton

    Not at all, John K, we have I’m sure all felt the same. What I do find a little strange is when I recall the Muslim protesters after the publication of the cartoons. I seem to recall they all called, in writing, for the death of all infidels. Was anyone arrested even, let alone charged?

  • RW

    YAB has made a profession out of being outraged. A lot of the poisonousness of our race relations is due to people like her constantly stirring the pot and making mountains out oif molehills which most people would take in their stride.

    MarkE: I tried the advice of Terry Pratchett’s Susan character in relation to my own two small children. A threat to rip arms and legs off went down really well, being taken as funny but serious. Much better than a non-threatening “shut the fuck up” would have done (and no, I would never have said that to them).

  • Millie Woods

    Who are these idiots who post stuff like this on web sites on view to anybody and everybody. The Tory in question deserves all the trouble he’s caused himself for such a flagrant display of lack of judgement. As for the sixcty something lefty female columnist my advice is- put a bag over your head and refrain from opining until you acquire some wisdom.

  • Tedd

    This is a hard one for me because, as much as I support a very broad interpretation of free speech, I absolutely loathe the way some people’s rhetoric seems permanently stuck on eleven. Do I loathe it as much as I loathe that some people are spring-loaded to the panic position? It’s about a wash, I guess.

    But unless the speech is plausibly threatening the sanctions are worse than the act.

  • John W

    This is the same Alibhai-Brown who said on BBC radio that the only reason white people didn’t murder brown people is because the law forbids it – no racist assumptions there!

    Hear the outrageously offensive racist smear(Link) for yourself.

  • bgates

    Am I to understand that a judge read a statement in open court indicating a desire to destroy an airport?

    “After reading out his comment from the site” – yes, she did! That’s every bit as threatening as some typing on a website. This is an official of the state presenting in her own voice the intent to commit an act of terrorism.

    It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person hearing her would understand her to be planning to take an afternoon off work, drive to an airport, and blow it up for no apparent reason. Everybody knows judges are equally as dangerous as accountants. There’s simply no other reasonable explanation for that sequence of words to leave her mouth. Lock her up.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Gareth, stonning is still going on, in the Muslim part of the world, especially in Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Bible Belt does not practice stonning.

  • Paul Marks

    These people are not really scared of comments that are obviously jokes – what Mrs Brown and co are doing is to use the whole thing in order to get the state to attack people, in order to have a “chilling effect” on free speech.

    In short Ian B. is largely right – especially about politicians who just “go with the flow” of P.C. ideology (and the various groups that support it) rather than have a strong set of counter principles.

    However, the 19th century is when more people (than normal) questioned the idea that the role of government is to enforce moral virtue (as opposed to protect the bodies and goods of people from attack), certainly one can find lots and lots of people in the 19th century who supported restictions on free speech and so on – but their influence was actually less than it has been normally in human history.

    Even many of the social reformers in the 19th century were very strong supporters of freedom (even the sort of freedoms the Personal Rights Association was set up to defend) – they are just not the people that modern P.C. historians tend to write about (or if they do write about them – they leave out their opinions).

    Also the stress on the “AngloSphere” is mistaken – actually the English speaking world was the area where government as the creator of moral virtue concept was least strong in the 19th century (not most strong).

    Ideas (both in Britain and the United States) for a more active government (both in the economic and moral areas) were to some extent imported from the German speaking world. There had always been such ideas in the English speaking world – but Germanic political philosophy (or rather the statist parts of it) gave them added strength as time went on (especially in the very late 19th century and in the 20th century).

    It is true that the French speaking world also had a strong tradition of a more active state – but this was largely in economic (rather than moral) matters, also French ideas just had less influence among English speaking statists than German ideas did.

    The ideas of the German speaking statists go back to the very complex and important “Cameralist” tradition of thinkers – of the 18th and even 17th centuries, it is from them that the modern philosophical defences for the “welfare state” as a general part of the moral as well as economic “police state” come from.

    Of course they were opposed by other German speaking writers – but their importance is still very great.

    Also the structual factor should not be forgotten – the Geman speaking world was politically divided, if taxes (or economic and moral regulations) became a very heavy burden people would tend to migrate to other Kingdoms (or city states) were they were less of a burden. This meant that, inspite of collectivist ideology, there was a strong practical limit on the growth of the state in the German world – at least till the Unification process of the 19th century.

    Otto Von Bismark was not just some Germanic minister pushing Cameralist policies. Thanks to unification (which he, more than anyone else, made a reality) he was able to operate with the resources of a vast nation.

    Last point – there were still strong institutional factors (traditions, customs, and the local authority of the various Kings, lords and city states) limiting statism in the Germanic world, the new Empire was far from a unitary state. And the practical effects of this institutional factors can be seen in the area in which Ian B. is most interested – statism in personal life (such as the eugenics movement).

    The “socialists of the chair” (the academics) may have constantly stated their loyality to the old monarchies in Imperial Germany (they could not hold their positions otherwise) but in practice they were often in a state of rage about the survival of insitutional walls (as well as customs and traditions) in the new Empire – indeed their ideas (via their English speaking students) sometimes had more impact in parts of the United States than they did back home in Germany.

    For example getting rid of “moral defectives” did not exactly go down well in Catholic Bavaria – but the Progressives could not even get it into effect in Junker dominated Prussia, getting such legislation through the three house Estate dominated Prussian Parliament was a tall order – Prussian lords did not have to worry about being denounced by Progressive newspaper, they kept their seats whatever “enlightened opinion” thought of them, statism was a nice idea if it meant a bigger army or more farm subsidies – but all this moral stuff was just a bit strange (the typical Prussian Junker would take instruction from his King-Emperor [although there were limits even on this – in PRIVATE many Junkers regarded Bill II as a weirdo], but not always from academics or journalists – very unlike a modern British M.P. who treats the words of the intellectual elite as widly important).

    However, with the rise of first the Weimar Republic and then the National Socialist regime, all traditional limits on statism (both institutional and that of custom and tradition) collapsed. The dreams of centuries of intellecuals could be put into practice.

    Perhaps the most clever trick of modern intellectuals is to teach that the National Socialist movement was anitintellectual (the other trick is to pretend that the Nazis were “socially conservative” – see Jonah Goldberg “Liberal Fascism” and Michael Burleigh “Sacred Causes” on the absurdity of that claim) – on the contrary vast numbers of intellectuals (academics, student activists, teachers and so on) supported it.

    The traditional autonomy of such institutions as church and family (the state was your true father – even more so than with Italian Fascism, due to the racial element of National Socialism) would be no more – the state would be all in all (just as so many of the mainstream intellectuals had desired for centuries), and not just for a transitional period (the official position of Marxism is that state tyranny is only a period – leading on to stateless Communism) but FOR EVER.

    The dream of Plato and so many others down the centuries.

  • Case strikes a chord. Here in Ecuador, a former hospital manager is currently in jail for having jokingly suggested that the President should be given cyanide, while the latter was holed up in his hospital during a minor police tantrum last 30 Sep. he is accused of conspiring to murder the President. On a small and no doubt irrelevant point of curiosity, I find myself wondering whether cyanide is normally stocked by hospital pharmaceutical departments. More to the point, I also find myself idly wondering what percentage of the Ecuadorian population will have uttered those exact words in the past couple of months or so.