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Do you fire someone for tweeting a call to murder?

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 7 January 2021

Earlier this year, a BLM/ANTIFA demonstration in Washington DC turned ugly, stores were being burned and looted, a church was attacked and a British DJ tweeted out about the demonstrators “shoot them.” Was she fired?

Actually, this did not happen but had it happened, you just know that Owen Jones, Ash Sarkar et al would have stirred up a Twitter mob and the station would pretty soon be issuing all the usual grovelling apologies for centuries of sins and the DJ would, indeed, have been fired.

Wind forward to yesterday when a mob stormed the Capitol in the USA. It was truly a despicable affair and, for inciting that mob, President Trump ensures that his legacy will be toxic. The LBC radio presenter Shelagh Fogarty, a woman with BBC training in her DNA, did indeed tweet “shoot them.” Within an hour, one, unarmed, female protester had been shot dead. I doubt the cop had been following Fogarty on Twitter so the events are almost certainly conjoined but not connected.

Fogarty also called, via Twitter, on the Police to use water cannons on the protestors before they went inside the building and to use it until the protestors were “gasping for breath” – a phrase that brings back awful memories of the late Mr George Floyd at the hands, or rather feet, of US cops.

Certain right-wingers on Twitter, folks such as Laurence Fox, are now calling for LBC to hand Fogarty a P45 and a black bag. The reason she is not being fired is the type of demonstrator that she wanted the cops to murder. The life of an unarmed Trump supporter storming the Capitol is worth far less than the life of an armed ANTIFA activist burning down a store and destroying someone’s livelihood. On that basis, I’d make a small wager that Fogarty will survive. She has deleted her tweet so she knows she sinned but the lefty is someone who, in such situations, is always forgiven, oft without actually having to apologise.

And I hope she does survive though her remarks were odious and, frankly, she talks shite on a range of issues. But we on the right should not ape little Jones and his Twitter pile on mobs in trying to get those with whom we disagree no-platformed. Surely we are confident enough in the strength of the case for freedom that we should allow folks like Fogarty to mouth off as much as they want, if only to expose themselves to greater ridicule and to reveal to all the toxic way in which they think.

If you don’t like Fogarty’s views, then make a conscious decision not to listen to LBC or to her show and, in the end, if enough folks agree, market forces will take her off air. But to try to end the career and silence folks with a social media pile on is surely beneath those of us who really do believe in liberty. It is, as I think Rowan Atkinson pointed out the other day, reminiscent of 1640s peasants marching through their village to drag out an old woman to face the WitchFinder General, Matthew Hopkins, and a certain fate.

Moreover, the case of those on the right can only be strengthened when folks like Fogarty let the mask slip and show us all how they really think, for what we get to see is not a pretty sight.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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