The Spectator reports:
After terrorist outrages like the one in Brussels, our leaders always say the same thing: ‘We must defend European values against these evil killers.’ It seems the Metropolitan Police didn’t get the memo. For they have just arrested someone — actually arrested someone — for tweeting something unpleasant about the Brussels attack, in the process trampling their coppers’ boots all over what is surely, or at least ought to be, the most important European value of all: freedom of speech.
The arrested man is one Matthew Doyle. He went viral after tweeting about a run-in he had on the day of the Brussels attacks: ‘I confronted a Muslim woman yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said “Nothing to do with me”. A mealy mouthed reply.’
Now, if this encounter really did happen — and many have their doubts — it was a rude and ugly thing for him to have done. But to bearrested for tweeting about the incident, on suspicion of ‘inciting racial hatred’? To be locked up for hours, as Doyle has been, for saying something silly to a woman in the street and then tweeting about it? That is outrageous. The awfulness of his tweet pales into insignificance in comparison with the awfulness of his having been arrested for it. If you’re still shocked by his tweet rather than by the fact that 21st-century Britain arrests people for what they say, then your moral priorities need urgent rearranging.
Mr Doyle is a pillock for going up to a Muslim woman and demanding she explains Croydon. It’s like going up to a random Catholic and demanding they explain what a paedophile priest has done.
He’s a bigger pillock for tweeting about it. His stupidity is near legendary.
But the response to his stupidity should be to mock him, to point out how stupid he is, to even reason with him.
The response should not be to arrest him. That is appalling.
He has now been released as the Police broke the law in arresting him. The section he was arrested under, needs the permission of the Crown Prosecution Service. But regardless it was shameful judgment on their part that they arrested someone for being a pillock on Twitter. Sure if he had made actual threats against people, that would be different. But what he said was nowhere near that.