As you may have seen, I wrote a blogpost yesterday that criticised a columnist for joking that Donald Trump should be "kicked in the balls". I defy anyone to read that post and say it was in any way "misogynistic" - and if anyone did say that, I would certainly defy them to justify that claim in any credible way. I discovered a few weeks ago that some people seem to see "harassment" in their own shadows, but as I took great care not to even name the columnist in question, there is no conceivable way that the blogpost can be branded as harassment either. (And given that I was making a generalised point about the trivialisation of violence against men, the identity of the columnist wasn't particularly important in any case.)
It was, in a nutshell, a legitimate blogpost making a legitimate point about a comment made in a public space. People were free to disagree with the point I made, and to take issue with it as vociferously as they liked. But there was absolutely no excuse for abusing me simply for having written the post.
This was what I woke up to on Twitter this morning...
No, actually, I don't dish it out. This was a totally unprovoked, highly abusive, bullying attempt to shut down a legitimate point of view. I gather that Iain Robertson is a reasonably well-known actor (a Bafta winner, no less). Frankly, he could be the Pope for all I care, because this sort of thing is just not on. I want to take this opportunity yet again to make clear that I will not be intimidated into staying silent on certain topics. It's just not going to happen.
I have no doubt that all of the usual suspects will once again pile in and attempt to pathologise my response to Mr Robertson in this blogpost as 'weird', 'self-indulgent', 'creepy', 'ego-centric', 'obsessive', 'unhinged', etc, etc, etc, but frankly, I have passed the point of caring. I am not ashamed of standing up to bully-boy tactics when I encounter them, I am proud of doing so. If these people implicitly endorse Mr Robertson's words by attempting to deligitimise my right to reply, that's a matter for their own consciences.
There was an extraordinary moment elsewhere in the exchange when Mr Robertson theatrically produced a photo of the 1930s fascist leader Oswald Mosley being punched to the ground, and challenged me to say I had a problem with it - the implication being that any decent, right-thinking person would celebrate this particular form of political violence. My response was that if someone had punched Mosley in direct self-defence, that would be fine, but if it wasn't self-defence, why would anyone applaud it? This was Mr Robertson's retort-
Once again, I feel no sense of shame in saying that I am simply not that sort of person. I abhor violence unless there is no way that it can be avoided. I abhor the celebration of violence in all circumstances. That's one reason why just about my most fundamental political belief is opposition to the death penalty - a topic I've written about on this blog many, many times.
I must say, though, that it has been a genuine eye-opener for me over the last 24 hours to discover just how many supposedly progressive people are in favour of unprovoked political violence in the 'right' circumstances.