Friday 31 January 2020

Do you hate speech?

My Twitter account is locked. I locked it after seeing the correspondence from Imran Ahmed to ‘Katy’, (I assume representing Twitter) and acknowledging a meeting on Tuesday. Time stamped  Wed 29 Jan 2020 08:52, the email says:

“Given the positive nature of the talks, we hope to see the following in the coming weeks:

1) A commitment to not just bring back the import/export facilities for blocklists but a commitment to work with CCDH on a new initiative to make it far easier for people to more easily share their blocklists so we can start to harness social power to collectively exclude hate actors from public discourse.

2) The banning of hate actors as we discussed in the meeting, including [redacted] and the people in the attached document.

3) A full review of both George Galloway and Katie Hopkins’ ability to use your platform to spread hate and a commitment to publicly publish the full decision with reasoning by March 13th (six weeks’ time) so that our society can have a constructive and evidenced debate on Twitter’s merits as a place for people to communicate, build relationships and find new information.

Could we schedule to reconnect on progress w/c March 9th? In the meantime, I will be on email and phone although some hours behind you in the States.

We think these are reasonable and constructive requests. We hope you agree.

Best wishes,

Imran Ahmed”

CCDH stands for the Center[sic] for Countering Digital Hate. Now, my opinion of hate is that is a visceral, primitive emotion which has little place in cool adult discourse. It is a word used by truculent children to hurt their parents. It is a word uttered in anger and frustration by those with no vocabulary to distinguish between dislike, antipathy, aversion, loathing or even simple preference. Increasingly it is used against people with a different opinion to the hate-detector, for this is what CCDH really is. Clearly of the left, this is an organisation with one purpose; to de-platform those with whom they disagree.

In setting themselves up as arbiters of what hate is they also get to impose rules about what kind of hate is permissible. For, make no mistake, the suspension of Katie Hopkins is motivated by the pure leftist hatred for anybody who gets in their way. If the fascists – limitation of free speech is an instrument of fascism – of CCDH get their way, Twitter will become a thought-free bubble of ideological consensus which uses the acquiescence of useful idiots to further an agenda as insidious as any they loudly proclaim to oppose.

I hear through the grapevine that my blog has restricted access under certain ‘safeguarding’ processes of the ISPs. I regularly see Tweeters I follow complaining that their reach has been limited, their tweets rendered invisible and their ability to follow others curtailed. I hear of shadow-banning and other practices which reduce the ‘volume’ of their voices. And I see, daily, members returning after short suspensions for the most innocuous of expressed sentiment, where clearly no ‘crime’ was committed.

They are of one mind, the banners, the mass blockers, the deniers of others’ freedoms. And they have one aim which is to create a sanitised ‘safe space’ where only the approved opinions may be promulgated. This is an extension of state education, where teachers quietly reinforce the ‘correct’ modes of thought and turn their charges against the politics of their parents. They speak of harm, where no harm exists. They pretend to openness and diversity, but brook no diversity of thought.

As with school, so with Twitter

Tonight, when we symbolically part company with a supranational exercise in restricting independent freedoms, I will unlock my Twitter account again; It is far too restrictive to remain behind self-imposed bars. How long I survive this hostile environment is going to be a matter of chance; no doubt I am already on a number of blocklists and if Ahmed and his brownshirts get their way that will be all they need to remove me from the platform altogether. Be careful what you wish for, you who see hate in every disagreement; be very careful indeed, for you may be next.

(If you have got this far and you agree, endorse, or just want to share, there is a link below which you can use to spread the word. Many thanks in anticipation.) 


  1. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others. Sums up the approach the lefties have always taken. Happy Independence day to you Batsby.