Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Scottish cops, stop policing our tweets

Last Friday, using the hashtag #thinkbeforeyoupost, the Greater Glasgow division of Police Scotland tweeted an image of the acronym, THINK:

Leaving no doubt that these were commands, not suggestions, the police accompanied this image with the following text: ‘Think before you post or you may receive a visit from us this weekend. Use the internet safely.’

It seemed, initially, to be a bad April Fools’ joke. But the 12 o’clock deadline had long passed and, in any case, the Scottish police have form when it comes to pre-emptively threatening Scots for social-media speech-crime. These are no empty threats, either. Only last month, a man from Inverclyde was arrested for offensive social-media comments about Syrian refugees. In the words of one Dunoon inspector, this was calculated to send ‘a clear message’ that the Scottish bobby takes ‘offensive comments on social media’ very seriously indeed.

What’s striking about this latest example of Police Scotland authoritarianism is the astounding lack of self-awareness. Here we have a bunch of policemen threatening to ‘visit’ you over your tweets all in the name of kindness and keeping you and the internet ‘safe’. What could be more unnecessary, unkind and unsafe than having a police force so mind-bogglingly illiberal that it considers off-colour tweets worthy of a ‘visit’?

If this talk of safety and being kind to people sounds familiar, it’s because the same thinking underpins most modern-day censorship. Whether it’s politicians calling for Twitter to get rid of ‘trolls’, or authoritarian student leaders banishing from campus anyone they deem ‘unsafe’, the hypocrisy is the same. To rid ourselves of unkind people on Twitter, we must be unkind to them and lock them up; to turn campus into a Safe Space, we have to make it unsafe to think or speak in a certain way. To achieve this tolerant utopia in the future, runs the argument, we must be profoundly intolerant in the here and now.



Bird of Paradise said...

When liberals and politicians try to think there's a perticular oder in the air the smell of a smolderering bicycle tire

Anonymous said...

Who gave the police the right to decide what is free speech? Unless there is a direct incitement involved they should keep out of it. It's not their place to interfere in social commentary.

Anonymous said...

The police must have a lot of time on their hands to dedicate to this - oh that's right REAL crime is too difficult to bother with much!

Anonymous said...

Ya think the Scotch are Draconian?

Many years ago (about 18) the Irish police (Garda Siochana) without any legal direction from the courts or governmebt went around to numerous retired "Defense Force" personnel and without any explanation confiscated the "until then legal" handguns. I knew one of the people who had their weapon taken.

Nothing was done. To this day they're either in a safe in Dublin or more likely have been melted down and made into a hideous statue residing on Grafton Street.

Birdzilla said...


Anonymous said...

The police do what their masters decree or become unemployed. To blame them for this is like blaming booze for drunk driving. Oh, that right, by progressive mantra booze is responsible for drunk driving, humans (conservative do not qualify) are blameless for their faults.


Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

The United Nations was never ever created for World Peace just World Goverment