Nickname Nick responds

We believe in free speech and both sides of the story here on Whaleoil, and we were pleased last night to see Nick’s response to my article. Here it is in full.

Well golly gosh, I never expected to attract such (fleeting) fame! If I may (and keeping in mind I am well aware of the rule about explaining) have a few words, I think you’ll end up appreciating what I have to say.

Firstly, you do misrepresent me somewhat by not posting the complete ‘collection’ of my tweets on this and the related matter. The main thrust was actually trying to get Franks to acknowledge he picked up that nickname from this website. For him to suggest he came up with the exact same nickname for the exact same person and in the exact same context as used on this site was implausible. To the max, brah.

You can tell me I’m wrong (I doubt anyone would own up to it) but I do believe that many (most? some?) WO contributors do attach a racist undertone to the term, and have that fairly and squarely in mind when they use it on her. You won’t convince me I’m wrong, I won’t convince you I’m right but hey…I won’t feel the need for police (sorry, I mean Armourguard) protection if you say nasty things about me when disagreeing.

Which gets me to the main point of my series of tweets on the matter.

I believe Golriz’s views on hate/harm speech absolutely are a menace to our freedom to say what needs to be said.

I also believe the response to Seymour’s comments is an example of hyperbole and a disgraceful attempt to smear an MP doing their job: calling out problematic political positioning. I’ve seen over many years and 3 different administrations actual threats (mainly to Ministers). This is a very, very low bar to set for supplying PS security staff, and smells of trying to pivot from the real issue.

Hell, if THAT is the new threshold then why don’t all ministers travel in the security of the professionally driven, security trained and government provided Crown limos? Trust me…the so-called “secret Facebook” threats are BS and bluster. And the police know it. That’s why so many Labour and Green Ministers still happily walk around, take Ubers and put themselves right in the (unprotected) public line-of-sight.

I digress.

I think the problem is that there is confusion and conflation between “hate” speech and “harm” speech. People who are motivated enough to pick up a weapon in order to injure or kill don’t listen to “hate” speech for their motivation; they listen to “harm” speech. That is, speech which specifically (and unmistakably) directs people to harm others. And we already have enough legislation to counter that.

We were able to change the conversations around how people spoke about homosexuality. It’s arguable we’ve arrived at the end of that journey. But these days you are far more likely to get talked to, frowned at or even argued down, than encouraged, if you refer to gay people in derogatory language. How did that happen? Not by banning speech or passing new laws (although there are some legal tools that can be used). No, it happened by engaging, debating and shaping public opinion. By talking.

Anyway, thanks for checking in on me. I feel the love from here! If you do check out my tweets, yes, you’ll see I’m not too complimentary about this site. But I don’t think you’ll see me advocating shutting it down (although I’m sure I’m as likely to anyone else tweeting to be embarrassed by my own words).

But you’ll also see me call out hypocrisy from the left as well. Now, I’m sure some will try and catch me in a nicely framed bit of hypocrisy…I am human after all.