Thursday 11 November 2010

The Bad Guys Won, Folks (Redux) #twitterjoketrial

In light of today's unbelievable judgment in the case of Paul Chambers - the man who posted what was quite obviously a joke on Twitter - I make no excuses for ripping yards from an article penned here in July.

My middle eastern terrorist cousin, Al-Dicka Puddlicoteem, tells me that he has dedicated himself to destroying the lives of the western infidel by instilling fear in the entire population by way of jihad. He reports great success.

By contrast, my Irish provo nationalist uncle, Paddy O'Puddlecote, tends to sit in his braces and dirty wing collar shirt these days, supping warm Murphys and bemoaning the 'fecking English'. He's been a right bitter bastard since the 80s ended.

To explain, here is a map of Britain around about 1995.

Look at that. Proud, upstanding, full of life. Unbeatable.

Paddy O'Puddlecote blew up shopping centres; destroyed pubs in suburbia; bombed regiments and horses close to Buck House; raised merry hell in London on a regular basis. But the British people refused to buckle. We carried on as before, determined to make sure the bastards would never win. Our lives would not be compromised by a bunch of hideous psychopathic lunatics.

Our strength and resilience was respected throughout the world. Paddy hated that.

Here is the same country in 2010.

See what's missing? Yep. A spine.

The brave and colourful vigour and resistance has been replaced by an anaemic fearful cowardice, led by a cabal of uniformed dickheads and governed by the superlatively risk-averse.

Al-Dicka is ecstatic. All he has to do these days is fire a few ranty e-mails around, get some beardy lunatic to badly set fire to his shoes and the country goes into meltdown, gibbering in the corner like an extra from Carrie.
And now, not only are our feeble-minded authorities cowering in terror, they have also consigned our world-renowned sense of humour in adversity (and freedom of speech with it) to the proverbial dustbin recycling centre, as the Heresiarch points out.

If you don't instantly recognise that this is a joke, then you're probably not English. You'll be German, or possibly Canadian. I'm not going to analyse its comedic structure, or how it plays subtly on ideas of impotence, self-importance and bombast in the tradition of Tony Hancock, or how the exclaimation mark at the end is a dead giveaway. All that matters is that it's an instantly recognisable joke. (Though you can find a thorough linguistic analysis here.)
A joke. That's all. With no victim, no person offended, and no cost to the country except by those who have spent our taxes in pursuing Chambers in the first place.

Forget Chambers' joke. If I were a terrorist, tears would be running down my cheeks today as I hilariously watched the self-inflicted carnage to British mettle and way of life being played out for the world to see. I'd be ecstatic that my threats had reduced the country to attacking itself and destroying more fundamental liberties than I could ever dream of harming on my own. All without my dying and without even having to buy fertiliser or nails. I'd call it a big win. HUGE, in fact.

Not only that, it has also brought our system of justice into disrepute, as succinctly articulated by CharonQC.

[...] if our courts really think the tweet Paul Chambers posted on Twitter was a real threat and ‘menacing’ (Police/Airport staff did not appear to do so) then we really need to do some serious thinking about our civil liberties, our freedoms, and our stance on terror…

This is a disgrace and undermines my faith in our legal system…and, I suspect, many others will be of this view as well.
Yep. I'm there already, and the overwhelming consensus - from right, left and centre of the political spectrum - is of the same opinion.

In fact, the biggest joke in the curious affair of the Twitter joke trial is that the justice system itself - and most especially Judge Jacqueline Davies - has now become the joke to end them all (I could have chosen any of around a hundred tweets already).

If politicians had any sense, they would pull heavy strings in this case to restore faith and sanity to the judiciary, but since the vast majority of MPs are quite incapable of independent thought, that's unlikely.

So instead, today we have witnessed a crucifixion of civil liberties, freedom of speech, and trust in the judiciary to identify common sense and act upon it.

Victory, once again, to the bad guys. And yet further down does our national pride spiral.

Chambers is hoping to take this to the High Court, but that requires many crispy oncers. Donations are being gratefully received HERE.

UPDATE: Other less, err, 'tabloid' articles on the same subject:

Alex Massie - The Epic Justice Fail
Dungeekin - The Joke's Over
Crazy Elmont - Justice Isn't Blind, It's Retarded


David Chiverton said...

Thanks for the linkage fella, I'll add a new post in the morning with the details for Paul's fighting fund.

Smoking Hot said...

So all terrorists have to do now is sitback and take it easy whilst every now and then sending out a 'terror tweet'!

l feel as though l'm dreaming and caught in a Monty Python sketch.

Private Widdle said...

Donation made.

banned said...

That judge needs shooting, oops, sorry, only a joke, honest!

Reminds me of returning from a 3rd form school trip to Switzerland C.1970s; at Dover some wag called out "Oi John, that Paki is trying to climb out yer duffle bag", the Customs Officer smiled indulgently, one wonders what his reaction would be today.

Barking Spider said...

"If you don't instantly recognise that this is a joke, then you're probably not English. You'll be German, or possibly Canadian"

..... or a Lefty!

I'd like to stone that old bag myself..... every time she opens her stupid mouth!

Junican said...

Dick, you have been busy since you returned from Prague! I can see that you are refreshed.

(To reverse the usual circumstance in which this phrase is used).

But it is reasonable to ask how it came to be that a jury was convinced that this harmless joke was illegal - surely, that is the point. The remark was illegal.

It would be interesting to see what the judge's summing-up said. If I was a member of the jury, I would be extremely reluctant to convict, unless I was CONVINCED that a crime had been committed.
How was it that the jury was convinced that a crime had been committed? This is a serious question.

I do not know how to get a transcript of the trial. Do you?

JuliaM said...

"See what's missing? Yep. A spine."

The 'head' is a little too big, surely? Aren't we missing a brain as well?

"l feel as though l'm dreaming and caught in a Monty Python sketch."

Ditto *sigh*

Antipholus Papps said...

"If you don't instantly recognise that this is a joke, then you're probably not English. You'll be German, or possibly Canadian"

As a proud Canadian, I find this statement utterly offensive and, in honour of the brave soldiers who fought to defend our freedom, will have this blog closed down as an affront to everything decent!

Michael Fowke said...

Can you believe the judge said this about the tweet?: "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"

Dick Puddlecote said...

Michael: Yes, quite staggering, isn't it? One wonders what planet the woman has been living on.

Chuckles said...

Where is the mens rea?

Bruce Charlton muses on PC, and in so doing offers some intriguing thoughts.