Sunday, 11 May 2014

You are not allowed to read this blog


I've written about different things and different people, but surprisingly for a blog (which, let's face it, is pretty much the archetype of vanity publishing) I've never written anything about me.

Until now.

Yesterday afternoon as I was debating whether to continue watching some lame James Caan movie about midget submarines, I was disturbed by a police officer peering through my lounge window. I do live on the ground floor, so not as surprising as you may have imagined. I went to the door and there were two constables there. The first thing they said was that there was nothing to be worried about, they just wanted to come in for a chat. Not something that has ever happened to me before, but I showed them in and sat them on the sofa.

They wondered if I was the Michael Abberton on Twitter and I said yes. 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.

As they were getting up to leave I asked for clarification - was this in relation to possible copyright infringement - and they were very clear on that point. It wasn't, and they didn't see how it could be. And even if it were, again it would not be a police but a civil matter.

I'd like to be absolutely clear - the police officers were extremely professional and polite and I couldn't fault their behaviour in any way. But it wasn't until after they left that I questioned why they had visited me in the first place. A complaint had been made but with no legal basis. Not a police matter. So why did they come to my home in the middle of a Saturday afternoon? Also, seeing as my profile doesn't have my location - how did they know my address, or even the town I live in?

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.

Nevertheless, the story has gotten out and it seems people do feel (rightly) outraged by it.

If I had been abusive in any way, if I had been dishonest in any respect or if any of the sources had been fake rather than official party links, I could in some way understand it. But all I had done is promote the party policy using links to their own sources - no editorialising, no commenting. And in fairness highlighted those allegations I could find no evidence for. One of the sources was their current manifesto!

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?

142 comments:

  1. Why would you refrain from tweeting about the police visit? Or take down the poster? You are being bullied.

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    1. Exactly

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    2. You're a star! :-)

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    3. We're rather fond of free speech in this city. Think you'd be lucky to find anyone saying good things about UKIP in Cambridge:
      https://portal.opheme.com/url/D

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    4. Well done and sod the twat that thinks he is bigger than you. He is just a political snob and needs to be punished for reporting you to police. I would go for his/hers throat. Find them and take action on all sites to show them up.

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    5. What an extraordinary story. I think you're right; the implications are extremely sinister. And odd as well, if I read correctly that you were being supportive of the party in question. Whoever was responsible for the 'complaint' seems to have lost touch with reality on a number of levels. Keep up the good work. You have my whole-hearted support.

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    6. P S I couldn't give my name above because I don't have a URL. So I'm signing myself here: Lorenzo Bedini

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    7. The 'Thought Police'........are here, 'they' are there, , they are everywhere!.......................wait till we are all under a blue cloud.

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  2. Interested that you don't have a problem with the police's behaviour, given that they asked you to take down tweets and not to tweet about the visit, things which you have every right to do.

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    1. To be fair; they did also say they can't stop him doing so. That's pretty much them going "Hey, we can ask you too, we can't force you too." sort of thing - although don't get me wrong, still rather odd behaviour. But at least they were honest about it when he asked. I'd imagine they wouldn't like it any more than he does, but it's not like they'd think it'd be worth losing their jobs for.

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  3. surely if you take the stuff down and don't tweet about the visit, they have won?

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  4. I used to live in Manhattan and at one point I worked in an office in an old building on lower Broadway in the NoHo district. My boss told me that when they moved into the premises they were visited by the local mafia, who explained (very politely) that regardless of the free municipal waste disposal, it would be necessary to pay $100 a month for his crew to clear their garbage. They always did a very professional job and, as I said, were very polite.

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    1. Liar. In NYC the city does not pick up garbage for businesses. Only residents. It's been that way for many, many decades.

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    2. As someone who worked in NYC I can verify that some businesses get free refuse collection.

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    3. Private waste disposal in New York City and the Tri-State area has historically (and perhaps mythically) been associated with organized crime.

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  5. I am a libertarian and UKIP supporter - I have little respect for the police.

    I wouldn't have let them in my house - doorstep is plenty good enough for them.

    As you describe this, it sounds seriously shitty - do you have anything independent to back it up?

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    1. What is there to back up Paul? He created a poster which he knew contained false information and posted it on social media, that is a direct contravention of the Communications Act (2003) section 127, the fact he is obviously unaware of the law is not really a suitable excuse for breaking it, is it. Now he just seems to be intent on digging a far deeper hole for himself by claiming he has been victimised in some way. When I corrected him on the error of his ways his response was to block me rather than do the sensible thing and remove what he had done.

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    2. Marty, its not the polices place to give unsolicited advice outside of their responsibilities.

      If it happened, it is simply intimidation.

      The poster (if the one I saw) is obviously nonsense - rallying cry for existing anti-UKIPpers - anyone undecided will see it as. a weak attack and probably be more inclined to support UKIP

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    3. But it is the Police job to follow up and investigate any complaints and that is all they have done, I guess they will simply file a report to the CPS and then they will decide if any law has been broken. I certainly wouldn't be shouting about being a victim if I was in the same boat, just look at some of the past cases where people have been prosecuted under that act.

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    4. the poster didn't contain false information - it contained links to UKIP sources - what you mean is that it contained true information but an interpretation UKIP didn't like. And clearly UKIP used influence to put police pressure on this blogger. So someone somewhere within the party machine is guilty of both attempting to suppress freedom of speech and of an abuse of police time and powers.

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    5. Hey Marty, you're a fucking moron.
      Did you think it was an actual UKIP poster?
      Do you think an official UKIP poster would make comments ON THE POSTER that there are no sources available to back up a few of the claims made on it?
      Did you even see the poster?
      I wish someone would deport stupid cunts like you to an island filled with other stupid cunts where every single day someone gives one of the stupid cunts a loaded gun until eventually all the stupid cunts have killed each other.

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    6. No, he didn't create the poster.

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    7. Aloha Allano,

      I've just read this and I'm slow clapping you right now. Hahaaahaaahaaaa!! Awesome, pmsl ........

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    8. So clearly, most of you didn't read this article properly. He makes it very clear that he did NOT create the poster. He simply went through each point, highlighted the false claims and then backed up the true claims with UKIP's own manifestos. How can UKIP (and their supporters) have a problem with someone going through their manifesto? Surely that's the point of a manifesto. It's not this man's fault that UKIP are a ridiculous party with a mix of outdated, prejudiced and down right stupid policies.

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    9. At least you weren't taken off to the police station, or lost your job, over this free speech - Street preachers and christian employees haven't been so lucky (despite them having committed no offence either)!

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    10. "He created a poster which he knew contained false information and posted it on social media, "

      So when are the police going to knock on IDS's door?
      Or that of Ukip members
      Or Britain First

      That is if the information in the poster was incorrect.
      AFAIK it is not a police matter to discern the veracity of tweets.
      They don't have the resources to follow up burglaries.
      How the dickens can they chase after every comment on social media that may or may not be true?

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    11. "I wish someone would deport stupid cunts like you to an island filled with other stupid cunts where every single day someone gives one of the stupid cunts a loaded gun until eventually all the stupid cunts have killed each other."

      I thought the UK tried that in the 1800s.

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    12. Dave Langridge13 May 2014 14:35

      Mr Caine - Mr Abberton did not 'create' the poster - before setting out in arrogance to 'correct the error' of anyone's ways, ensure you are correct. It seems to me that Mr Abberton was very fair to UKIP in attempting to correctly source everything in the Tweet.

      Mr Perrin - I am glad that you register concern over this possible intimidation, but less pleased that you are so prejudiced against 'the police'. In the past I have held similar views, based on serious errors of judgement by some officers, but I have also had good experiences of the work of others.
      They, and we are all shaped by our inheritances, experiences and circumstances and trying to do our best. A seat inside is a small mark of respect for our fellow human beings, whatever their role.

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    13. Mr Langridge, I resent the suggestion that I am prejudice with respect to the police. My view is based on past evidence.

      A copper may not raid banks, nor always say the opposite of the truth, but when push comes to shove a copper will invariably cover up for another copper.

      Policing is institutionally corrupt - the evidence is everywhere - hillsborough, sick retirement on full pension to avoid diciplinary action, no convictions for death in custody (law of averages precludes there having never been any wrong doing). etc.

      My current understanding is that the police wanted to establish that the person in question had indeed created the poster (even if a derivative work of another) - he has confirmed this to be the case.

      As an campaign poster during an eleciton it (at the very least) requried an imprint - which it did not have.

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    14. You could say that about any group of people be they nurses, firemen, dockers, bankers etc - the worst offenders are the politicians, they are the most corrupt people in the world.
      A poster had been going around for a while and Mr Abberton tweeted it to show Ukippers what they were actually going to be voting for. Most of the wording was completely true with a small amount of sarcasm thrown in.
      How anyone from the likes of Ukip was able to send the police to his address and then write that he knew about the police visit to Mr Abberton is a total and utter disgrace, as well as a waste of police time which is against the law!
      It is bullying, it is trying to silence you and it is WRONG - and that shows you just how bad Ukip are.
      I wouldn't vote for such a pathetic group if my life depended on it!

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    15. Marty, if it was in contravention of CA2003 then it would have been a police matter. The police stated it wasn't a police matter. Which part is confusing you here? You appear to be making knowingly false statements merely to annoy this blogger, which is in contravention of the exact same section of CA2003 that you quote. Shall I call the police, or are you going to do it?

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  6. Hmmm. Well, I have Retweeted the Retweet that brought this to my attention and I hope that some of my followers will do the same. Mind you, as I have tried to explain in a recent blog, politics doesn't really do much for the people, does it? If that's right, then we've all been wasting an awful lot of energy going nowhere.

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  7. Which political party was this? People on Twitter claim it was UKIP, but you didn't say so, and you say you've quoted from the party's current manifesto, and UKIP don't yet have a current manifesto. I can't find you on Twitter, either, as a search on `Axe of Reason' only brings up references to this incident.

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    1. Johnny Boy Onions11 May 2014 23:17

      UKIP have a 'local election manifesto', so called. It's really an election leaflet/membership leaflet. But it says 'Manifesto' in big letters on the front. http://www.ukipplymouth.org/manifesto.html http://www.myukip.com/3/post/2014/03/ukip-local-manifesto-2014.html

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    2. Try harder.

      @MichaelAbberton

      His name's in the post and that's his Twitterfeed.

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    3. Yes, I found him when he was named in the papers. And I asked him about the `manifesto.' He changed his story and said it was a website instead. He said nothing about the leaflet `Johnny Boy Onions' claims to have seen.

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    4. "Waa Waa Waa!! Blah blah blah!! Deport all the foreigners! Beat-up anyone who challenges our hateful ignorance!"

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  8. That's crazy! I'm shocked for you. Surely they have more to do with their time? Unbelievable.

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  9. I am disinclined to believe this story. I have a reported about UKIP journalisticially and did once get a police visit over it. I should add that the police in the UK are extremely gullible about internet crime and all things electronic, which complainants often exploit for their benefit. Ordinary coppers have often have no clue about media/digital law, and I don't think it is necessarily malice. So, that is not the part I would disbelieve. It is the bit about them getting your address from nowhere that makes me suspicious, as they are usually very bad at that, and would need a court order. Could someone have known your address/name from public domain materials? If you have evidence to substantiate the story, I might be willing to look into it. Did they give you a card or did you note down their numbers?

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    1. So actually you're disinclined to believe the police's story, rather than the author's. Rather big difference! (And the police have confirmed the author's basic story, while hemming and hawing over whether they asked him to take down the tweet).

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    2. It's extremely easy to find out the address of someone who uses their real name online. Anyone can do it, all you need is Google and a little persistence. Unless that person has been very careful not to leave traces, you will find them, and in those cases the police would have very straightforward ways of finding out the necessary information.

      I have been abused and threatened by folks online - generally young men who are unable to deal with frustration or criticism. It's truly amazing to witness the speed with which they calm down and disappear when presented with their home address, workplace and telephone number (or for extra effect, a photo of their house courtesy of Google street view).

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    3. I'm disinclined to believe anonymous posters who claim that the Guardian is writing lies about UKIP.

      Cryptofascist says 'What?'...

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  10. I'm a security researcher and often chase real criminals who use Twitter. I can tell you that getting Twitter to react, and getting court actions for home details via the isp that hosts an email account/ip address used to register a twitter account - it's not easy at all and plenty of high profile cases remain unsolved.

    I'd imagine that a party member, or a hired security researcher has traced you via your social media footprint.

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    1. Or, since his user name is his real name, they could just have looked him up in the electoral roll (which I believe political parties get full access to, correct me ifI'm wrong) and found a possible address for him, and taken a punt on it.

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  11. They are trying to intimidate you! That's pretty bad!

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  12. It took me 10 seconds on one open access site to find only FOUR adults with your name in the UK. There might be one or two more if they are masking themselves from electoral roll searches. If I move on to a couple of other sites and also triangulate you from your digital footprint I can probably find your address. It isn't too hard.

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  13. Ridiculous waste of police time. Nobody - UKIP supporter or not - should be reporting someone for an image they made.

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  14. Yes, this definitely happened. It's been written in a blog, so it's 100% true. Meanwhile, whilst everyone is distracted by all the fake "UKIP don't like this RT" childishness, the Tories are actually causing people's deaths with their policies, right now.

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    1. I do hope your tongue was firmly in your cheek when you wrote that first sentence!

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    2. There is a post on the Cambridge police website which while not citing the blog, is certainly consistent.
      http://www.cambs-police.co.uk/news/newsitem.asp?NewsID=8191

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    3. Which rather backs up those that don't believe the trail of events as written...in that the police didn't attend. If this is the same story then they were asked to intervene but didn't, which if it's not a Police matter is rather more likely. That said, it's pretty poor of UKIP or whoever to complain about the poster to the Police.

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    4. I read the cambs-police report as meaning officers *should not* have attended, rather then *did not* attend.

      I still think the author did UKIP a favour by showing the references were not official UKIP polices from the UKIP website!

      See this...

      http://www.bloggers4ukip.org.uk/2014/05/the-real-rebuttal-of-those-labgreen.html

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  15. "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?"

    Have you *met* the UKIP? I'd call them a bag of dicks but the bag and the dicks have threatened litigation if their names are besmirched by association in such a fashion.

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  16. It is counter productive for political party's to intimidate the electorate.

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    1. I think that many victorious political parties would disagree with you.

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    2. Yet I regularly get UKIP supporters trying to do precisely that when I tweet links critical of UKIP. It very rarely happens with Tories, and never so far with Labour or Lib Dems.

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    3. If you were a supporter of a group of people that were constantly under attack from the whole establishment, you might become a little sensitive about people's lies, obfuscations and inaccurate epithets.

      Personally, I do not get offended, I get even.

      I do not use Twitter... I am a grown up.

      Is it a plural description of the people that use it or something? Or is it just a massive US corporation, that just want to get fat off of the backs of suckers?

      Oh and as you are a watermelon, I wouldn't have thought that you would approve of the Twitter servers requirement for electricity...

      If you were a proper watermelon you would be boycotting Twitter, its killing trees, poisoning the atmosphere, causing climate change, oh and its founders are probably very rich now... and all off the back of your sweat as you toil over your 140 characters in order to generate your astounding revelations.

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    4. I didn't understand a single word of that, right_

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    5. I don't suppose it is that unusual for you...

      Anyway, just do the best you can rad.

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    6. No, it genuinely doesn't make sense.

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    7. I am surprised that you are reading the Guardian if you are only at the "Janet and John" stage of your education...

      In Janet and John language then:

      UKIP is under attack, simply because it is showing signs of actually breaking into the LibLabCON cartel's hold on the electorate in this country.

      Remember the Gandhi maxim; First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.

      Naturally during this period UKIP people are likely to be quick to correct the millions of lies that are being bandied about by a very powerful cabal of establishment cronies.

      So that was my first point... Do you understand now?

      Second point:

      Lefties in general are against fat cats, they are against giant American corporations with shareholders, and they are against reckless use of electricity, I was suggesting that the Twitter servers are very thirsty. But you lot sit there day in day out wittering on telling lies and making scandalous personal attacks about ANYONE that disagrees with your spewings about a freely constituted club that happens to stand in elections.

      You don't HAVE to join UKIP, members of UKIP have to put up with something that they have no time for though, and the only tool they have to change that is to stand in elections....

      Who the f*** do you think you are?

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    8. You're the best anti-UKIP ad that anyone could ask for, right_writes!

      Are all UKIP members as ignorant, bitter, hate-fueled and stupid as you?

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    9. right_writes can i have some of whatever your taking ?

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  17. 'Anonymous' at 22:26 is right, the police are generally slow or going in the wrong direction, net-wise, unless someone is pulling their strings. I've had dealings with Gloucestershire constabulary for over five years, but they still regularly ask me for my address.

    Then, just this week, I complained that my MP had accused me of emailing him 'mostly abuse', (really, to test the principle that Glos police would act as Sussex police did against Tim Loughton MP when a resident complained of racial abuse) and I got this from a PC 1370 Thomas:

    'Dear Joe,

    I am aware that there have been lots of emails coming from yourself over a long period of time. I seem to recall from previous correspondence that you may not live in the county.' (this despite the fact that the MP would not even talk to me if I lived in another county).

    When I asked what correspondence that would be, a different [officer?], Matt Shutt, took over, ignoring my query.

    No, the police need to asked a lot of questions over this, but somehow, I don't think that's on the agenda in this particular case.

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    1. Not all the time. My brother disappeared from the hospital and the police came to my house. I had no contact with my brother or other family in over 6 years, yet they police were still able to contact me thinking my brother would come to my house due to the fact that I lived closer to that hospital than anyone else in my family.

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  18. I genuinely feel for the officers concerned. They were not visiting because they wanted to. It sounds like a complaint has been made (ie. Malicious communication) and they have had to respond. Probably without having seen the image or any Twitter messages at all. They've only come over to clarify the situation from the other side and result their own systems.

    Reading some of the comments above where people are quick to cast blame on the police, particularly the ridiculous one comparing the police in the UK to the Mafia, it just shows the ignorance that people show when it comes to the police.

    Don't bash them, they - in general - don't deserve it.

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    1. No, the police don't "have to" respond, they are paid and trained to assess a complaint & see if it is valid or nonsense or not. If the blogger's account is true then this is chilling example of the police acting in a political &/or bullying manner (however polite a police visit & a demand to remove legal material is bullying) and needs investigation by a Commons select committee. The blogger should urgently report what has happened to Keith Vaz MP, chair of the legal select committee for investigation.

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    2. What has it got to do with the police? Their job is to catch criminals and prevent crime, not hassle people in their own homes about their political views. They should have been elsewhere, dealing with criminals, not wasting our money in this way. They should be reprimanded for this intrusion and waste of time.

      This said, if the police had come to my house I would have asked them if I was under arrest, and having ascertained that I wasn't, I would have closed the door in their faces.

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  19. This needs to be investigated to find out the motivation of the police behind the visit, the nature of any complaint, the chain of command involved and the legality of the entire matter. On the surface it looks like an egregious misuse of police power over an innocuous graphic on your part.

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    1. Surely the investigation is into the original complainant who clearly wasted police time as well as the time of the blogger!

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  20. ODDLY this seems like the political dark forces are rampant!
    NOW as a pensioner and RIGHTLY dismayed at the state our once great country is in I have become vocal about it, so.....
    I am being marked on facebook as "unable to post comment" & thus unable to join many conversations I used to, after.... I asked on the facebook page of & about the abysmal behaviour of an MP one of those WHO manage the country, wrongly claimnig £thousands in heating the stables business on his constuency home (see the wiki re mortgage) http://www.stratford-herald.com/local-news/7357-stratford-mp-repays-mistaken-electricity-claim.html

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  21. I wonder if you can do a Freedom of Information request to the police to find how many man hours are wasted by visits where the police know that there is no police case to even investigate, and how many of those are politically related.

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    1. WHAT A GOOD IDEA ! Then the Chief Constable should send UKIP the bill for wasting police time .

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  22. Every civil dimension of our society is being taken over by the political class, who merely represent the gargoyles who pay them: bankers, media moguls, and multinationals plus most of the ISPs.
    The bureaucrats and security services know where all the bodies are buried, so they get to do what they want too.
    I'd love to form an alliance with the Left a la Spain in 1936 to stop this. But as usual, the Left is more concerned about its ideological syntax and sense of purity to actually engage with allies against a common evil.
    So well done everyone for moaning and then doing nothing from behind the gates of the stockade. Exactly what the reptiles wanted.

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  23. RevK, they'd only tell you that they don't keep that information...

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  24. my name is jacob dyer and i live in bristol. it is fantastic. i sound like barnaby bear. i like barnaby bear. one time he went to france. i went to france. but some kid burnt my neck. i didnt like it.

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  25. 'Anonymous' of 2:52, you're overlooking the possibility that these two officers don't exist at all, or that they do exist, but this scenario has been invented, as with Andrew Mitchell...

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    1. 'Joker' you're overlooking the possibility that none of us exist at all, or we do exist, but this blog post has been invented by yourself...

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    2. The Cambridgeshire Constabulary website seems to have a record of the visit.

      http://www.cambs-police.co.uk/news/newsitem.asp?NewsID=8191

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    3. do you want the blue pill or red pill joker ?

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  26. The problem is a truly horrific piece of law, which allows anyone who is annoyed by something on teh internets to complain and the writer may get 6 months in prison. It's the fault of the last Labour government and IMHO a damn good reason not to trust them with another term.

    "A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—(a)sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false ... A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months"
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/127

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    1. I don't see why that is such a horrific piece of law, if enforced in the manner it was intended. It doesn't have any influence on people sharing their opinions, nor people posting facts. Outright lies on the internet can be very hurtful, and there does need to be some way of addressing cyber-bullying.

      It shouldn't have had any influence here, because the 'offending tweet' was a mix of opinion, truth and debunking myths. I'm surprised UKIP didn't try to go after the original creator of the unmodified poster instead, but maybe they were harder to track down...

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  27. I was right with you until I read the word "gotten", then I lost all respect.

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    1. Yes...because the correct and proper use of English is the only thing that matters, especially when there's an important political aspect to the post. Clearly. Your command of the language is so much better, by the way...I was right with you until I got your point, then I lost all respect for you. I...have no idea what you lost respect for...

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  28. Michael Cross12 May 2014 10:29

    We also need to bear in mind the Representation of the People Act 1983: section 106 makes it a criminal offence to make or publish a false statement of fact about an election candidate with the intention of affecting how many votes they will get. The penalty is a fine of up to £5,000.

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    1. It's amazing that any manifestos get published at all.

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    2. Seems to me that the political parties are guilty of that all the time Michael.

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    3. Michael, where is a particular candidate referred to in the whole story. UKIP as a party is named, but not a UKIP candidate. The section you appear to be quoting (if in fact it is a quote) is irrelevant.

      Delete
  29. I had two local journos manage to track me down and knock on my door over something I posted on Twitter. It was only after they'd gone I wondered how they managed to find my flat. Another obliging journalist told me that they would most likely have used the electoral register.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Michael - I think I've seen the 10 reasons poster - just want to say excellent work - I've no doubt your followers will rise dramatically int eh wake of this post - it's an object lesson for anyone on the dangers of attempting to suppress material on the internet.

    As for the police - despite their good behaviour it's quite clearly wrong for them to have acted on complaints on this matter and the visit should be investigated - good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  31. UKIP' s worst enemy is its own manifesto and membership. If UKIP's potential voters had the first idea about what the implications if that manifesto were they wouldn't vote for the party. Just as Michael Portillo admitted on TV that people wouldn't have voted for the Tories if they'd told them in advance what they were going to do to the NHS.

    All parties should have to go on TV and set out their manifesto in clear terms and then undertake to stick to it, barring exceptional unforeseen circumstances. In order to diverge from said manifesto in any significant way they would have to conduct a referendum.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Similar thing happened here in Thanet but with reguards a Facebook Like I find it amazing. Ukip seem to be BNP in disguise maybe not Farrage he is on an ego trip and unable to notice he is like a flame to a moth at attracting closet racists and nutters. Maybe he is aware and the ego gets in the way of admitting it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. No wonder the police in the UK are fast becoming unliked and mistrusted by everyone. Who sent those two officers and why? What was this senior officer thinking that he or she would seek to get involved when there is clearly no criminal activity.
    I would make a formal complaint to the IPCC about this. And never let any police officer onto your property. Never.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think executing people in public, like Mark Duggan and Charles de Menezes might have something to do with that too.

      Delete
  34. Ever heard of the Streissand Effect? Where can I find this tweet?

    ReplyDelete
  35. So there's fairly conclusive proof that the police visited, but this doesn't mean they were justified in doing so, nor shed any light on the motivation of the complainant, whether they were truly acting for UKIP, or making a vexatious complaint to discredit UKIP.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/jonstone/police-investigate-man-for-criticising-ukip-on-twitter

    And after Plebgate, the motivation of the police themselves should be considered suspect, even when they do seem to have a clue.

    Or perhaps *I'll* get a visit for saying that...

    ReplyDelete
  36. Quite bizarre. I don't know the details of this situation but I wasn't particularly outraged by the police visit itself. Police often have to follow up complaints that they think are trivial (that subsequently transpire to be non-police matters) and it wouldn't surprise me if they wanted to be there less than you wanted them to be there.

    That said, when I read the paragraph about them asking you not to discuss this visit because it 'might appear prejudicial in light of the upcoming election' my jaw dropped. The results of the next general election have absolutely nothing to do with police operations. That was an incredibly suspect thing to say indeed.

    It's intriguing that you were contacted so soon after the event by a party member (most like the person who contacted the police in the first place). My guess would be that there is a third party who were able to provide the police with your exact address.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This isn't a waste of police time. It's worse than that.

    The police have a duty to uphold the laws and freedoms of the country, including the right to free speech. They had an obligation to refuse to speak to you, visit you or take action about this. Furthermore they should never have asked you to take anything down.

    Under article 10, you have the right to receive and impart information and ideas without state interference. The action of the police qualifies as state interference and, I would argue, was illegal. Even if they only politely requested that you take down material, they had no business being involved in the matter.

    You should republish the tweet asap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might also want to consider seeing if there are any lawyers who'd be willing to take this on.

      Delete
  38. Id like to know WHAT the POLICE did about the person threatening you After all you Didnt Threaten them, Only put On Twitter what is out there anyway..I Definitely Won't vote in light of this, I care Not for BULLIES and their need to Keep things quiet..

    ReplyDelete
  39. There is no way you should of backed down. The police and the establishment in-waiting, colluding of the highest order. Masonic dinosaurs.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Unknown12 May 2014 13:13

    I have to agree with this anon. Backing down, taking the tweet down and not tweeting about the police visit is implicit acceptance of the situation for the sake of "not wanting trouble".

    My opinions on the Police and UKIP aside, freedom of speech and civil liberties should be the primary target here and any sort of threat to either would be devastating to this country and its democracy. Whether UKIP like your post or not, if it isn't false, defamatory or threatening you have the right to post what you want. In addition to posting information, you would perfectly entitled in writing your opinion of UKIP and still be within the law.

    I think UKIP are a joke of a party with ridiculous views and a deeply entrenched sense of racism.

    If UKIP don't like my opinion they can **** off. I'd still post it on Twitter and if they made any threats I'd be the first to make the threat public.

    What kind of jokers think they can look for votes while threatening anyone who disagrees with them?

    ReplyDelete
  41. I tried to download the manifesto linked to above. The site demands a password.
    Strange that a manifesto should only be available to those on the inside with passwords and not to those who might want to vote.

    ReplyDelete
  42. The links added to the poster showed how bogus the orginal claims were - I think adding them did UKIP a service.

    The original poster was lies - and the depth that had to be gone to find links to things to twist to support those lies shows how big a lies they are.

    It was foolish to entertain the police... this video (despite being american) works for me 'Don't Talk to the Police' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

    ReplyDelete
  43. I have never heard of you before, nor read your blog. I heard about this incident via Facebook and the Guardian article. I am a former police officer who served in Scotland for several years. The laws here are subtly different but the essence is the same and there are very, very few things that are an offence in England that are not in Scotland and vice versa. I can think of no legal reason for the police to be at your door over this matter. Posting offensive (as in vulgarity not as in 'I don't like your opinion') or threatening tweets are an offence but political debate is not (as acknowledged by your two officers). If you haven't already done so I think you should make a formal complaint to your local Chief Constable. Feel free to point out that the officers were polite etc. but at the end of the day I believe they were not doing their job professionally and therefore your local Police Force has infringed against your rights.

    As a serving officer there were plenty of times when I received complaints about things that were not a police matter and in those circumstances my professional job was to explain to the 'complainer' that they could take a running jump (politely and professionally of course). My gut feeling on this is some councillor complained to some police inspector (or higher up) who told his or her sergeant to look into it and your two poor officers were dispatched to 'deal with the matter'. It is a tough call for the PCs to tell their sergeant 'no' if the inspector is behind it so they take the path of least resistance and come and lean on you. The PCs are partly at fault but really there is a system fault and corruption at the root of it. That is why I think you need to complain to the top of the tree and not try and minimise it by not wanting to get the officers into trouble.

    You are perfectly entitled to tweet or facebook or blog about your visit from the authorities. Please do so because this is the only way to keep them honest, above board and corruption free. Had you been spoken to about an actual offence then I might think differently but sometimes even here the word and spirit of the law often needs to be kept honest by exposing unworkable and unfair laws and regulations.

    This is a frightening predictor of what could come with UKIP in positions of power but it is also an indicator that even now our authorities are not above abusing their power, perhaps just to keep some local politician or big wig quiet and out of their hair. Corruption is not simply about accepting bribes but is about exercising authority with fear and favour, which is the opposite of what the police oath states. I saw that on several occasions when certain investigations were prioritised because of who was involved and who they were related to rather than the relative seriousness of their incident compared to others. This wrong and the only way it will be changed is by exposing each and every incident to the cold light of day.

    Hugh Wallace
    Aberdeen

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    Replies
    1. Like most Police officers you are far from being a barrister but then you were never expected to know the law inside out, your job was simply to enforce it. Have you any knowledge of the Communications Act 2003, Section 127. Its not a law I am comfortable with because people have been convicted and sent to prison for posting something on social media that was nothing more than joke but unfortunately that law is there, it is not one that we can simply ignore just because we don't like or think it is unfair. Now in Michael's case here, if it was to be proven that he had deliberately created that poster knowing the information to be false and published it on social media, he was in fact breaking that law. So the police were right to investigate the complaint. do you agree?

      Now Michael has clearly stated he did not make that poster, that is a lie, he has tweeted apologies for the links being so small and even pointed out how he made things bold, so though he may not have made the original, he certainly made the one with the links, Obviously by some of the points made, he knew they were false when he posted it on social media and that whether you like it or not is in fact illegal. Of course because it involves UKIP it is getting far more publicity than it deserves and I kind of suspect the media attention may just backfire on Michael Abberton.

      For anyone unaware of the Communications Act 2003 section 127, Google it, you will see it is in fact illegal to send by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false, it can lead to 6 months in prison.

      Delete
    2. You seem to have omitted a fairly fundamental piece of wording :-

      "2)A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—

      (a)sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,

      (b)causes such a message to be sent; or

      (c)persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network. "

      Delete
  44. A bit pathetic having a pop at UKIP there - a councillor (who happens to be UKIP) contacts the police and their whole corrupt police machine moves into action - as it would, and does, for anyone they think has influence or is 'important'.

    This whole thing seems unrelated to UKIP - its about police over-reacting and not treating people equally - I hope UKIP will abolish ACPO. LibLabCon wont...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So UKIP asked for it to be done, but it's unrelated to UKIP. Not convinced by your logic there.

      Delete
  45. Well I'd like to know how to contact the Police in respect of the 'Britain First' party. Just go and look at THIS - http://www.britainfirst.org/street-activist/ - clear breach of the Race Relations Act.
    But I wonder ... will they get a visit like Michael did? And, if so,what will they be told?

    ReplyDelete
  46. I once had a similar chat from an officer from Cambridgeshire Constabulary. He was incredibly polite and explained that someone higher up the foodchain had received a 'complaint' from someone inside one of the Cambridge Colleges which are viewed as having a lot of 'local clout' here. It was explained to me that I'd done nothing wrong and no action was being taken, and the officer was incredibly polite. It was simply that they wanted to try to appease the more powerful individual to prevent themselves being caused too much more inconvenience. Our Colleges own a lot of land and have a lot of power, on a par with local politicians; even where the police are concerned it would seem. I fully agree with to the supposition made by Hugh above that it is similar in this instance.

    However he told me that they'd be happy to investigate it as an incident of harassment as it seemed Mr Locally-Self-Important was trying to use the Police to cause me inconvenience.

    I understand that the Police have to maintain relationships with key stakeholders and local dignitaries, but I think Senior Police should be just as blunt as a no-nonsense PC would be if you tried to waste their time with a trivial difference of opinion. It seems the high-and-mighty like to take certain shortcuts and flex their authority to use the Police to help them get even higher and even mightier.

    [I should clarify that Cambridgeshire Constabulary have in my experience described here done nothing wrong; and that by telling me a groundless ‘complaint’ had been made took just a few minutes; versus the hours and hours which Mr Locally-Self-Important would have wasted of their time further on].

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. '[I should clarify that Cambridgeshire Constabulary have in my experience described here done nothing wrong; and that by telling me a groundless ‘complaint’ had been made took just a few minutes; versus the hours and hours which Mr Locally-Self-Important would have wasted of their time further on].'

      Are you actually Michael Abberton? It would help if you put your name to the comments on your own blog...

      I agree with the majority of commenters. However 'polite' these officers may have seemed, if the police aren't challenged when they waste the public's time, they will never learn, since management obviously aren't prepared to take on the task of educating them (all part of the slow but steady errosion of duties in lieu of maintain a decent level of pay that saw police no longer being responsible for dealing with illegally parked vehicles).

      So will you complain?

      Delete
  47. As a UKIP member who believes in free speech, I think being visited by the police was ridiculous. I do think you should be sued by the party, allowing you in court to prove your claims, of what our party policy is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So again we have UKIP trying to intimidate people out of legitimate discussion of their policies. 'Dare to disagree with us and we'll sue you.'

      Delete
    2. I'm sick and tired of this country being intimidated by UKIP trolls. UKIP is obviously a racist party e.g. conflating immigration with benefit claims, when there is no valid statistical link. Hope you're sued yourself at some point in the future when immigrants realise they can be protected from this kind of defamation. At least have the honesty to describe yourself as a racist party rather than cowardly hiding behind the "OK to talk about immigration" tagline. Justify your policies, rather than threatening to sue. PS And be honest about the millions of jobs that would be lost if your looney policies ever see the light of day.

      Delete
  48. Surely you will make a complaint to the relevant Police authorities? It defies belief that the police are happy to be messenger boys for a small political party that many consider to be a bad joke?

    ReplyDelete
  49. I've found this story incredibly disconcerting. As a commentor said on Facebook: "Just image what they'd [UKIP] be like if they got elected"

    ReplyDelete
  50. I have seen what looks like the poster discussed here... It's floating around amongst the less bright Guardian commenters.

    Most of it doesn't make any sense, but I can see how the idiot(s) that created it, arrived at some of their (oh so witty) conclusions.

    But hey, if you extend this to the other parties and do the same, it would look just as crass... Speaking of crassness... If the watermelons in the green party had their way, UKIP wouldn't need to have any policies at all, we would all be too busy tending to our horses (the only form of transport), and digging our allotments (the only remaining source of food).

    BTW: No manifesto or policies on the watermelon site, just a bunch of half baked ideals... Socialists are full of "jam tomorrow" and the greens are worse... "jam never".

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi Michael!
    I think we're all interested to hear why you chose to remove the tweets - you don't owe the UKIPs any goodwill, nor do I imagine you truly feel any to express. I understand that the officers who visited you were kind and professional, but this story is a credit to them and an embarrassment to their force, not vice versa.
    Thanks for sharing your experience,
    - Ed

    ReplyDelete
  52. Of course UKIP did this they are so obviously fascists. Secondly the UKIP guy that complained is probably in the same 'lodge'/ golf club/ round table group as the chief constable, hence two embarrassed PC's having to turn up and ask nicely. BTW I'll be reading more of your blog that's for sure; here's mine if you're into left leaning opinions;this one on up coming local elections: http://thejanglingdiscords.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/want-election-in-2014-think-farage.html

    ReplyDelete
  53. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/12/police-ask-blogger-remove-legitimate-tweet-ukip

    ReplyDelete
  54. The Huffington Post names the complainant and covers the story rather well here. The result of all this, of course, is that the story (and the list) is everywhere today, including in The Times. Thanks to the original complaint, millions of people will now have seen something that otherwise might have remained between a few people on Twitter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that Chris, I can now see why Cllr Reeve made the complaint...

      Hopefully he will succeed in persuading the police to take this suspected fraud seriously.

      I was under the impression that this spoof was just a little lefty Guardian prank, designed specifically to ensure that stupid Guardian readers looked even more stupid...

      But then I saw how it had been done... It was designed to look exactly like a UKIP flyer, and then the owner of this blog, decided to take it further and provide links between the flyer (NOT UKIP MATERIAL) and the UKIP website.

      Designed to make it look like UKIP electoral material and then taking that extra step of providing links, is misrepresenting the leading group in an electoral campaign.

      Throw away the key, I reckon.

      Delete
    2. You do realise that your attitude is not doing UKIP any favours?

      A bit like Cllr Reeve who found some negative publicity about UKIP and decided to make it go viral.

      Delete
    3. When an enemy of UKIP says you are doing them no favours... You know you need to keep going!

      Delete
  55. Chris Barclay13 May 2014 09:01

    'A blog to promote reason ... Definitely biased to the left.' This is a contradiction. Either you go where reason takes you or you adhere to your own political prejudices.

    ReplyDelete
  56. 'The Axe Of Reason'
    'Definitely Biased To The Left'

    Erm.... 'Reason' and 'Bias' are incompatible.

    Conclusion: Nothing to like or dislike here - Politics has become a matter of faith in which the gods are gladder, sadder and madder than Santa and Satan.

    Put your axe down and ponder this: Listen is Silent.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Cool!! It is Putin,s fault. 100%."The Olympic games in Europe. Figure skating. On the ice acts - sex couple blacks homosexuals. The audience loved it. All judges delighted put the highest scores. And only Russian whispers." Let skates have given them", than cause in itself allegations homofobii and the proposal to exclude Russia from the Olympic Committee." Hey Conchita Wurst!! The Caucasus is eagerly waiting for you in every village. Love each other tenderly Gayuropeans

    ReplyDelete
  58. We see a mote in other men's eyes when there's a beam in our own

    ReplyDelete
  59. Totally appreciate the civil way in which the matter was handled at your home by yourself and the police but I am afraid if the Police are allowed to get away with this without it being made public and them at least being embarrassed it will give the go ahead whomever complained to repeat the situation - we are not a Police State yet nor should the Police be at the disposal of any Political Party .Why have you not named them ? http://brokenbritishpolitics.simplesite.com

    ReplyDelete
  60. Look on the bright side. You got yourself another reader for this blog :-) Looking forward to reading some of your other posts.

    ReplyDelete
  61. If it is the poster that I think it is, then indeed it was full of rubbish. It stated stuff being in the manifesto that quite clearly isn't as anyone can check.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Nyah nyah nyah! Blah blah blah! I'm a crypto-fascist - and anyone can check!"

      Delete
  62. First mistake you made was letting them into your house. Never ever do that. From there they have you by the balls if that is their intention.
    However you got lucky this time.
    Learn subject matter jurisdiction before you talk to the police next time...and never ever let them in.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Why did you EVER delete any of the material they came to threaten you about?

    You only make yourself look scared - or "guilty"!

    Grow a backbone, man!

    ReplyDelete
  64. The problem here as I see it is that we have bad law, an authoritarian attitude on the part of some policemen, and a willingness of idiots to exploit it. I would date that to the (Tory) 1997 Act, an also to the various interventions of New Labour, and a policy which for years treated ordinary members of the public as terrorists and/or potential paedophiles by default. Ditto with the harassment of photographers.

    There is no shortage of people trolling the police to provide in practice a service to harrass their opponents. Here it's UKIP; elsewhere it is various lefties, criminals (see the other current case) etc - all sorts.There's a recent video of a preacher commenting on gay marriage who was arrested because a passerby asserted that they were offended.

    I'd see two answers:

    1 - We need to repeal/reform these laws and a whole raft of others to do with criminal offences committed because people say they are upset to reflect incite and actions only.
    2 - Somehow we need to re-edit the DNA of the police force.
    3 - And we need a constitutional right to freedom of expression.

    For the record, having read several Green manifestos I'd regard myself as an anti-Green. Big government Green-style is very much part of the problem.

    And I reckon they'd have got the poster publishers for libel, since it's full of misrepresentations.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I see the policies links on Keith Rowe's site have been taken down. Keep up the good work

    ReplyDelete
  66. Any voter has a right to complain about this; a complaint can be submitted here:

    https://secureforms.ipcc.gov.uk/Pages/form_complaint.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  67. martin brighton15 May 2014 12:15

    brightonmb - at - gmail - dot - com

    feel free to ask for supporting documents

    Government is Antoinesque.
    Politics is broken.
    Democracy is dead.
    Parliament is not fit for purpose.
    Government has become the enemy of the People.

    This government is corrupt.
    The corruption is absolute, lead from the top down, and out of control.
    Being rotten to the core and from the core, everything it touches it taints.
    Having neither the will nor ability to change, outside intervention is indicated.

    Any persons who fail to act appropriately when faced with corruption,
    or condone in any way the actions of those determined as corrupt,
    become, by definition, corrupt themselves.

    There comes a time when, for the sake of humanity, society and civilisation,
    it is not only the choice of a person to throw out corrupt governance,
    but a duty.

    The banksters are but one part of 'the establishment ' that depends upon corruption to exist.
    The inextricable entanglement is both endemic and systemic.

    It is those in power who are the terrorists, having destroyed our society from within.

    http://inquiringminds.cc/the-martin-brighton-articles

    http://simianpress.com/2012/11/03/the-martin-brighton-articles/

    = = = = = =
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AKoYH82whk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMRfSDw06cs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-3tdlxnYP8

    http://www.ukcolumn.org/video/uk-column-live-12th-july-2012

    http://www.rottenborough.org.uk/MartinBrighton.html

    ReplyDelete
  68. That is an amazing story

    I am against both UKIP and the Green Party - I would be keen to expose flaws in their policies and arguments - however I have seen lots of postings about political parties and the Government in particular that are just lies. We must defend the right of free speech and encourage healthy satire - we must also fight the lies and hate - Unfortunately the Internet can be used for evil as well as good - I don't think some of the "10 Reasons to not vote UKIP" are unfair and should not have been published - however there are still many more good reasons for not voting UKIP. I think which should all create our own versions (with evidence) and promote them
    .
    Nigel

    ReplyDelete