Blooger "Axe of Reason" who identifies themselves as leaning to the left side of poilitics ("A blog to promote reason & science, internet freedom and Green politics. Definitely biased to the left. You won’t like it." - blog description) has posted a story regarding the police coming to his house over comments made over Twitter against the alleged racist UK political party, UKIP.
The story goes that following some posts made regarding UKIP on Twitter, the blogger received a visit from the Police that went as follows (edited for length):
The first thing they said was that there was nothing to be worried about, they just wanted to come in for a chat…Then they said this was in relation to a complaint that had been made by a certain political party in relation to tweets I had published about them and one tweet in particular which talked about ten reasons to vote for them. The PC wanted to know if I had made that poster. I explained that I hadn’t but it had been doing the rounds on Twitter for a while, and so I had decided to see if these claims could be verified. In doing this I set myself strict rules - nothing second hand, nothing from a newspaper, everything from an official party source as much as possible. Some I could find no basis for, and I highlighted these in bold. The only thing I quoted which did not come from an official party source was the parliamentary voting record. I explained all this to the police in some detail - also that on several occasions I had simply sent people the link to the official party manifesto. The police explained that I hadn’t broken any law - there was no charge to answer and it really wasn’t a police matter.
They asked me to ‘take it down’ but I said I couldn’t do that as it had already been retweeted and appropriated, copied, many times and I no longer had any control of it (I had to explain to one of the officers what Twitter was and how it worked). They said that they couldn’t force me to take it down anyway.
I asked if I could tweet about the visit. The straight answer was ‘no’, as this might appear prejudicial in light of the upcoming election and the police must appear to remain neutral. But they couldn’t stop me from doing so, as I had Freedom of Speech. Incredulously, I said, “…but you must realise how this looks!” One shrugged, the other looked embarrassed.
Following this, the story takes a slightly sinister turn:
About fifteen minutes after they left I received a threatening tweet from a party member I had had an exchange with earlier in the day. Though appearing to be no more than a party supporter, he seemed to know that the police had been involved. I copied the tweet and sent it to the police.
I contacted some people I’d had exchanges with involving this party. One of them put me in touch with a solicitor and a journalist and advised that I contact my MP, which I’ve done. And whilst acknowledging the fact that the police had no right to censure my posts, in order to show goodwill I removed all instances of the poster where I’d sent it @someone, and have not tweeted about the visit or about that political party since.
It certainly raises interesting questions, as AxeofReason goes on to say:
Why would a political party, so close to an election, seek to stop people finding out what their policies are or their past voting record? And is it not a matter for concern that a political party would seek to silence dissent and debate in such a manner?
Some have raised the question as to whether this is a true story or not, so we’re asking you what you think. Do you think UKIP would pull a stunt like this? Is this story believable? Share your thoughts with us.