Let me just say before I begin that I abhor violence of any kind, and that I do not advocate inflicting any “justice” on anyone, be they Nick Griffin or not. And that is why I am writing this.
Despite some recent incidents with social media, I must say that it is a friend to me. Being white, British, attractive, young and able-bodied means that I fail to incur the wrath of the less savoury components of the internet. My only affliction, then, is perhaps being female, which results in quite a lot of hatred from quite a lot of hateful people.
Speaking of hateful people, Nick Griffin decided it was his place to hand out the home address of a gay couple, accuse them of “heterophobia” and suggest that “a British justice team” would give them “a bit of drama”.
I am not discussing here whether it is right or wrong to sue a B&B owner who doesn’t let unmarried couples share beds for being homophobic. You want my stance on that, ask me in person. No, I just want to point out just how pitiful Griffin has become.
I can’t imagine he led the “British justice team” he talked about. To be honest, I don’t believe there was one.
To give you a sense of the scale of Griffin’s support, he has 19,000 followers on Twitter. Since the tweets, over 44,000 people have signed a petition to kick him off the social networking site.
Tweeters tend to think he’s a comedy character, which, despite his tough talk and drooping baddie face, he is. @RevRichardColes called him on his rhetoric with a tweet of, “Nick Griffin says he is prepared to go to jail for Christians. I accept his kind offer.” @JournoMicky suspects that @nickgriffinmep “must be a parody account”.
His Twitter handle has been bombarded with comments such as “I feel I could punch a kitten to death in front of an orphanage and be better than you” and “the left side of your face gave up on trying to be face”, which I think manages to combine the hurtful and the absurd to produce a really obtuse political comment (he doesn’t like the Left).
This is, of course, a case of the stupid fighting the stupid and we should probably leave them to it.
However, Griffin appears to have done something which violates Twitter regulations, which is to post the address of other members. Whether his Tweet constituted a direct threat of violence is a matter of opinion- no doubt he knows that, and knew that when he wrote it.
He claims that he did not post the full address, but the Twitter guidelines state “street address”, which does not suggest that a full address is necessary.
So, what does Twitter do? Does it allow him to continue, provide him a platform for his “free speech”? Or does it accept that he violated the guidelines, and must be removed in order for them to maintain their integrity?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I hate trolls. I hate people who think they can say what they want just because it’s on the internet. It’s not a free speech issue.
No harm came to the couple, which we have to be grateful for. And so, in honesty, does Nick Griffin.
(Amusing side note: a comment labelling homophobes as cockroaches on the Daily Mail Online was downvoted 582 times. Which gives you some idea of the readership.)