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(not satire – it’s the Telegraph!)

Oh dear. Anyone know a good lawyer?

I’ll explain.

One of the Daily Telegraph’s main columnists –  Damian Thompson – has taken recently to countering Dr Eoin Clarke’s arguments against the privatisation of the NHS and other things – by making fun of the fact that he’s from Ireland.

See Eoin’s blog post here about it:

Why do the Daily Telegraph get away with directing anti-Irish slurs at me?

Now whether you agree with Eoin’s opinions or arguments or not, nobody can deny that he is always a gentleman when it comes to on-line communications even with people who disagree with him.

Which as you can see from what he has written in the Telegraph about Eoin – is more than can be said for Thompson.

But Thompson has just put his foot in it even deeper.

In reply to a separate enquiry to one of his followers on Twitter, Thompson (@holysmoke) said that the Telegraph has ‘zero tolerance for racist comments‘ and removes them ‘as soon as they’re identified‘.

Amazed by the hypocrisy of the Telegraph apparently having zero tolerance for racist comments from its readers while allowing its own writers to express open racism in their columns, I asked Thompson on Twitter why the Telegraph’s policy of zero tolerance towards racism didn’t extend to his own racism towards the Irish.

His reply?

Racism – in the context of the Irish – was just ‘self-pitying bollocks’.

Here’s the exchange:

According to the Malicious Communications Act, Twitter users can be prosecuted if their messages are found to be grossly offensive.

That’s according to Lord McAlpine’s lawyers by the way – who I believe are real experts on what may constitute an offensive tweet.

Well I don’t know about you, but a journalist being racist in a national newspaper and then dismissing racism on Twitter as ‘self-pitying bollocks’ grossly offends me.

Do you think if I asked them nicely, the Met’ would take a little time off from trawling through thousands of tweets on behalf of Lord McAlpine to investigate my complaint?

No – neither do I.


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