Fellow blogger and member of the awkward squad, Olly C, has as I'm sure many of you already know, been slapped with a custodial sentence as a result of calling a Bexley councillor a "cunt" on twitter. There's a lot of history here and I've already seen some lightweights casually dismissing it because they believe the council's line that he was "harrassing" them. For a short readable version, pop by Max's place. For a lengthier treatment, go to Spiderplant - which gives a fairly detailed and dispassionate breakdown. If you're unfamiliar with this case, Olly or Bexley council, then you really owe it to yourself to dig deep into this and as such just have a quick browse through Bexley is Bonkers for examples of mendacity from the council that are legion. The blogs just for April will give you enough of a taste. Rather than add my own summary of the situation, I'd rather highlight some particularly striking points from the 'Bexley is Bonkers' site.
First, however I would like to speculate on something. And I'd ask people to please share this speculation far and wide. Remember though, given how easily speech - especially online - is criminalised in this country, it is only a speculation.It goes as follows: Olly is due to be sentenced at Bromley magistrates court on May 9th. WOULDN'T IT BE AWFUL if Bexley council, and certain councillors in particular, were on the receiving end of a "mass cunting" on that day. That is to say - that they were inundated with emails, tweets and phone calls indicating that many of the general public considered them - well - "cunts". Spread the word about this speculation......I'd be interested to see if it comes true.
Secondly I wanted to highlight that the story is now being picked up by as diverse sources as Reddit, Stephen Fry and Sunny Hundal. That's good. These censorious attacks - especially in online media - have got to the point where they are simply beyond belief. I certainly wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me 10 years ago that this would happen. So a cross-partisan left-right shitstorm in response is exactly what we need, as we've had on (too few) occasions in the past such as when left and right blogs joined forces to support Craig Murray against Schillings.
Now - those two points I wanted to highlight, lifted verbatim from the 'Bexley is Bonkers' April 2012 blogs:
"When Eric Pickles’ department wrote to all councils in February 2011
telling them “citizen journalists” should be allowed to Tweet and film
in council meetings even the most hard line of secretive Conservative
councils like Barnet and Westminster caved in. Bexley however changed
its Constitution to exclude all forms of recording at meetings. All
their Agendas repeat the prohibition and when questioned they say it is
to protect members of the public from appearing on tape. They sheepishly
offer the excuse that permission may be granted on request but not a
single request has been approved, not even for an audio only recording
at a meeting where the public is not allowed to speak."
And as to why / how the judge on friday effectively threw the book at Olly:
"the charges were those prepared from the original false allegations
that included flaming torches, pitchforks, petrol bombs and Olly writing
on Bonkers. All of that was untrue; made up and distorted stories by
Bexley council aimed at getting both Olly and me in trouble. The
prosecution could find no evidence for any of those allegations which is
what you might expect since they were all false and Olly was found not
guilty last December. All the nonsense invented by Bexley council was
put before the new Judge as fact. Worrying."
Did I mention that the judgement against Olly was made at a court in Bexley?
Time to consider this a war footing I think.
And my personal message to Bexley council is: