by Niall Gooch
Wednesday, 2
December 2020
Response
15:00

It’s official: I’m a menace to society

A member of the EHRC liking my tweets has become a news story
by Niall Gooch

A man called Alasdair Henderson, a distinguished barrister and a member of the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC), is in big trouble with The Guardian. What has he done wrong, I hear you ask? Has he perhaps been recorded using racial slurs, or shown to be corrupt? Did he attend Rita Ora’s lockdown-busting birthday party? Is there footage of him kicking a puppy or stealing a Werther’s Original from a rosy-cheeked child?

No. It’s much worse. He has been reading my Twitter.

This past Monday a senior Guardian reporter broke the incredible scoop that Mr Henderson has ‘liked’ tweets that disagree with The Guardian’s editorial line. Two of these were mine. One, from June, questioned whether it was wise for the police to squander public trust by being so supine in the face of BLM protests. The other, from September, suggested that Tory politicians should be less scared of being called names by journalists.

https://twitter.com/niall_gooch/status/1301430135556579330?s=20

Truly terrifying extremism, I’m sure you’ll agree, and we can all thank this reporter for his brilliant investigative work, which must have required literally minutes of intensive scrolling and some courageous wilful misunderstanding.

The EHRC has said that there will be an investigation, presumably involving yet more scrolling through Twitter, which I’m sure will be an excellent use of everyone’s time and money.

On one level, it’s very funny. I’m no-one’s idea of a far-Right lunatic whose ideas should not be entertained by any respectable person. I’m a boring Volvo-driving family man who mostly tweets about Catholicism, trains, detective stories and minor British artists. I voted Remain and like ballet and poetry. As the man says in the TV show Father Ted, I don’t think I could devote myself full-time to the old fascism, the job takes up most of the day and at night I just like a cup of tea.

On the other hand, it is a pretty grim state of affairs that conservatives in public life are so often the subjects of these nasty little smear campaigns by the humourless and fanatical enforcers of progressive piety.

There is an amusing irony here. One of my problematic tweets was part of a thread; only a little earlier in that thread I suggested that I “honestly think there would be some mileage in a Tory advert that contrasted some cheerful people having a laugh with some hatchet-faced commissar scrolling through someone’s Twitter feed on the hunt for heresy”.

It is to be expected, of course; this government’s tentative steps towards taking on what has been called the Blob — the liberal permanent state of QUANGOs and advisory groups and pseudo-charities — were always bound to get some pushback. But that doesn’t mean it’s not depressing.

All that said, if I’m really honest I rather welcome The Guardian’s disapproval. I relish being recognised as a threat to, and enemy of, the modern progressive mindset. It’s a sort of backhanded compliment. So I’m afraid that — once my Advent break is over — there will be more Bad Tweets.

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Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

It’s a bit ironic how social media, the Internet itself for that matter, began as a wild west type of idea marketplace but has since devolved into a forum that demands conformity. And there are plenty of people willing to attack you or your family for perceived acts of heresy.

The idea that a person become a target for “liking” something is the most illiberal concept I can imagine, but the day is young.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I’m not sure it’s ironic at all. I think a lot of wokeness is a reaction to the edgy shock jockeys and snotty intellectual superiority of the early Internet. They’re stomping down so hard on nonconformity exactly because they remember what it was like to live in the Wild West, and they’d do anything to never have to do it again.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
1 year ago

I think that hypothesis is totally wide of the mark.

The young seem to be among the most censorious and conformity-demanding, and they have little experience of the early internet, and certainly no “political” experience of it.

They’re stamping down hard on nonconformity because they are spoilt, entitled and indoctrinated (and I don’t just mean the young here), which is a frankly terrible combination, because they aren’t able to recognise that there is no difference at all between their behaviour and that of all religious puritans that preceded them. They actually enjoy wielding this power, which becomes an end in itself.

They don’t realise that, however lofty your goal, merciless insistence on conformity turns people into monsters.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

I agree with your basic viewpoint but think you’re a little harsh on the Puritans.They were singleminded and some of them could be harsh. But generally they sought to exercise compassion and gentleness in their relationships with others. I think it’s unfair to compare them with the heartless woke thugs of today.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago

The classic anti-censorship text was written by a Puritan, John Milton.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
1 year ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Areopagitica!

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
1 year ago

I’m no expert on the Puritans, so I made sure to write the word with a small p.

Douglas Roxborough
Douglas Roxborough
1 year ago

Being disapproved of by the Grauniad is a pretty sure sign you’re doing something right. Keep it up.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
1 year ago

Do the people at the Guardian think it’s wise to behave like mouthpieces at Pravda, in the current media context where they are not in fact state approved media organ of a totalitarian regime??

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago

The real menace to society is twitter itself.

Ursa Mare
Ursa Mare
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

No, not Zuckerberg. It all started with Gutenberg!

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
1 year ago

I recently had an article written about me on the CBC (equivalent of BBC, but more left-wing batshit crazy). Google Chris Milburn College of Physicians ans Surgeons Nova Scotia to get it.

CBC didn’t bother contacting me to ask me any questions before writing the article. They went ahead and wrote it based on the CPSNS release on their website. When I contacted them to complain about several factual inaccuracies, their response was “we feel we’ve spent enough time on this story”.
The MSM is a joke. I was Trump-deranged when he first came around. Still don’t like the man’s personality, but some of what he said was very true, including the “fake news” trope.

Eileen Callaghan
Eileen Callaghan
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

I refer tp it as “Canadian Bull Crap.”

Ursa Mare
Ursa Mare
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

“I was Trump-deranged when he first came around. Still don’t like the man’s personality, but some of what he said was very true…
I like that!

Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
1 year ago

I don’t have a Twitter account and certainly never will. Not wanting to tar all Twitter users with the same brush but I’m guessing the majority of abusers are from the minority group of usual suspects eg. politicians, TV and film celebrities, journalists, political activists (left, right, up and down) and academics. There again maybe I’m wrong and we are living in a world where the masses enjoy the Twitter experience whether it be based on good or evil, love or hatred, sadism or masochism or just blind obsession!

Jim
Jim
1 year ago

Sir, you are an inspiration to us all. Congratulations.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 year ago

and what’s the daily circulation of the Guardian? About 110,000 I believe. Not one of your big hitters is it

peterdebarra
peterdebarra
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

… not hitting but flailing ” on the bedraggled BBC-Observer-Independent axis .

Peter KE
Peter KE
1 year ago

Niall, keep pushing against the woke thugs.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
1 year ago

There is something to be said for being defined by your enemies or, at least, those who consider you to be their enemy.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
1 year ago

“As the man says in the TV show Father Ted, I don’t think I could devote myself full-time to the old fascism, the job takes up most of the day and at night I just like a cup of tea.” Priceless!

Ursa Mare
Ursa Mare
1 year ago

“it is a pretty grim state of affairs that conservatives in public life are so often the subjects of these nasty little smear campaigns by the humourless and fanatical enforcers of progressive piety.”

It is a lot worse than that!
Long time ago the (people in) Western Civilization replaced “right” with “legal”.
And now more than half of (them) it is replacing “good” with “politically correct”, “progress”, “modern”, etc.

All of those leading to:
“I am a gender fluid person, looking for a partner to live together” being ok, “I am a male looking for a woman to f…” being wrong…
Being a homosexual jew and black if possible will give you all the rights, while being a white married christian… it’s a crime.
Etc.

The history is not at all “ending”, but will be divided (again) in “BCE” and “after”.

BCE – as in Before Covid Era!

…and not because of the COVID “per se”, but because the “pandemic” (let’s call it that way) triggered the new accelerated phase of… “the down movement”.

Movement that, coincidence or not, started, in fact, just as soon as the Russian Army left Berlin. (Fukuyama got it right! …if you read or heard about the last part.)

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
1 year ago
Reply to  Ursa Mare

“Being a homosexual jew and black if possible will give you all the rights”

Wokescum don’t like Jews.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

You really are a mong

Jon Blair
Jon Blair
1 year ago

Ok, so let’s drill down a little into your original tweet instead of simply indulging in name calling, satisfying as that may be.

When I check the standard OUP dictionary definitions of both misogynist and homophobe, frankly I see nothing that suggests that either reflects that they are “ideological propaganda terms” as opposed to “empirical statements about reality.” According to my OUP dictionary a mysogynist is “a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.”

I am sorry but which exactly of those words, or the entire definition, is ideological or propagandist?

And now let’s take a look at “homophobe. Here the OUP dictionary tells me that this is “a person with a dislike of or prejudice against gay people”.

Now we can of course argue til the cows come home as to whether any particular person holds these views, and if so, to what extent, and the degree to which they hold them is indeed a judgement call, but if they are found to hold views which can be fitted into either of those definitions, that is a matter of empirical fact not ideological propaganda. To put it in plain terms, you either dislike or are prejudiced against gay people, or you dislike, despise or are strongly prejudiced against women, or you don’t, and if you do, that is an empirical fact. In other words, your suggestion that either of these terms is not an empirical statement of fact and is instead some sort of ideological or propagandist construct, to use somewhat less than academic terminology which no doubt you will still comprehend, is absolute bollocks. If you want to set up a straw man to justify whatever views you may hold about leftists, liberals, Guardian readers or any other group you want to mock, by all means do it, but don’t pretend to any sort of intellectual coherence please.

James Wardle
James Wardle
1 year ago

Back when it was the CRE and DRA they were doing important work to improve the lots of disabled and ethnic minority groups, trying to make it a level playing field. It is now entering the arena of thought crime. Let’s say \I am gay but let’s say at a pride parade I find the dea of children feeding dog biscuits to two grown up men in fetish gear,( one on a lead pretending to be a dog) completely wrong and troublesome so post about that, is that a dismissible offence because that organisation supports Pride, I’m assumin?.
I did see that and Im gay and I think children shouldn’t see that on a Saturday pride parade. Just like not showing them pornography involving paraphilia.
Are you happy letting children see that?
If they sack Mr Barrister, wouldn’t they have to sack me too for going off message? Or would I get special treatment for being gay.
I suspect the latter and therefore it would likely be discriminatory, proving it another matter.
We’re starting to deal with terrorist organisations here. They don’t kill you, just vilify you and destroy your life potentially.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
1 year ago

He liked a tweet by Douglas Murray: Oh my God!!!! Douglas Murray said an objectionable thing 14 years ago.

The Gulag isn’t good enough. Straight to the firing squad.

I agreed with every Guardian-“problematic” quote by Henderson and every quote he liked. And they were all pretty mild.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
1 year ago

“I voted Remain”

Ew.

Banned User
Banned User
1 year ago

the humourless and fanatical enforcers of progressive piety

It seems clear that the demonization is very much mutual. Mr Gooch himself joins in the overblown ad hominem with gusto.

But perhaps his reasoning is something like: “I’m a conservative, I’m supposed to be nasty! But the progressives are supposed to be nice, which makes them hypocrites.”