An anonymous thug has threatened to cut the throat of free speech campaigner and journalist Toby Young and to rip out his tongue as retribution for his scepticism on government lockdown policy.
This is far uglier, more direct and explicit than the usual ‘death threats’ that media celebrities like to talk about.
Certainly, when Young reported it to the police they said it was something that should be taken seriously.
Young told me on the latest episode of the London Calling podcast:
“It was sent to my by email on one of my more public accounts. The sender purported to be surprised that I hadn’t had my throat slit in New York and said that at the very least I should have my tongue cut out. It ended by saying that this was a final warning — don’t expect any more warnings.”
After reporting it to the police, he was visited by a police officer who took a statement. She told him — not exactly comfortingly — that he should “take the threat seriously”.
The threat is symptomatic of a growing intolerance towards people who question lockdowns and mask mandates, which the government and its propaganda organs such as the BBC have done little to discourage.
Here, for example, are some recent tweets by an ambitious Conservative MP named Neil O’Brien who appears determined to ingratiate himself with Boris Johnson’s increasingly authoritarian administration by viciously attacking sceptics of government policy.
First, O’Brien attacks The Telegraph‘s cartoonist Bob Moran.
This cartoonist, who churns out extreme covid-sceptic nonsense, thinks the problem we face is not a killer virus sweeping the globe & overwhelming our hospitals, but "people working in frontline care who simply aren't that interested in helping people". https://t.co/b59Ic2Ncbr
— Neil O'Brien MP (@NeilDotObrien) January 3, 2021
Then he pours his vitriol on Toby Young.
Because you claimed the pandemic was over, on the basis of no evidence. Because you have been proved wrong at every stage of the pandemic, yet still pump out rubbish. Because if we follow your catastrophically wrong advice you'll get my constituents killed. https://t.co/43O8H7p4NA
— Neil O'Brien MP (@NeilDotObrien) January 3, 2021
Note the aggression and hysterical, inflammatory language: “killer virus”, “extreme covid-sceptic nonsense”, “catastrophically wrong advice”. In the second tweet, he is all but accusing Young of trying to kill his constituents.
These tactics are pure Saul Alinsky: “Pick the target, freeze it, isolate it, personalize it.” You’d expect them of a radical leftist like, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or a Corbynista Labour MP, or one of the famously unhinged and aggressive ‘Cybernats’ of the SNP. But from a Conservative MP, this is both unusual and worrying.
Traditionally the Conservatives are — or at least pretend to be — the party of decorum and good manners and open debate. Yet here, O’Brien is dragging the party into the gutter of vicious intolerance — deliberately whipping up a climate of hatred in which to question the merit of government Covid policy is an act akin to attempted murder.
To get an idea of just how over-the-top O’Brien’s behaviour is, consider his other recent target, the aforementioned cartoonist Bob Moran. What, exactly, did Moran do to be singled out by O’Brien as some kind of heartless monster?
Well, he dared criticise the inefficient, eye-wateringly expensive, sclerotic, out-of-control monolith that is the National Health Service. And he produces cartoons, like the one which recently won him the prize for Covid cartoon of the year.
Very pleased to announce that I have won the 'Covid Cartoon of the Year' award.
Thank you very much indeed to all those who voted for it. You can see my acceptance speech here: https://t.co/ADIOFA8DIm pic.twitter.com/h8LEdbsofw
— Bob Moran (@bobscartoons) December 17, 2020
Up until last year, Britain prided itself on its open-mindedness and willing to debate issues in a civilised manner. Since when did being critical of government policy merit Conservative MPs using their social media accounts to single you out for public shaming — and also to expose you to the risk of being bullied, or worse, receive death threats like the one sent to Toby Young?
The BBC is no better in this regard. In fact, it gives the impression of acting in lockstep with the government’s more draconian policies — whipping up the hysteria and climate of hatred and fear which persuade large sections of the public that these extreme measures are necessary and that people who object to them are The Enemy.
Here is a particularly egregious example. The BBC has found an onside hard-left activist who happens to hold a senior post in an NHS hospital prepared to stigmatise non-mask wearers as would-be murderers.
🗣️ “Anyone listening to this who doesn’t wear their mask – they have blood on their hands”.
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) December 31, 2020
Let it not be imagined for a moment that people like the man quoted by the BBC above are just innocent, scrupulously unbiased medics just doing their job.
A cursory glance at this Montgomery character’s Twitter feed gives the distinct impression that he’s a political activist. His feed is abundant with bleatings about the ‘climate emergency’, quote tweets of Greta Thunberg, anti-Brexit statements, demands for the end of fossil fuel usage, and so on.
Sure he has an impressive title — Professor of Intensive Care Medicine, UCL — but that doesn’t mean that when he accuses non-mask wearers of having “blood on their hands” we should all go and lynch the first person we find with his face uncovered because a top expert has warned he’s a killer. All it means is that someone is exploiting their credentials for political ends.
The climate against lockdown sceptics is getting more hostile, and my suspicion is that this has been deliberately orchestrated.
Big Tech, certainly, is on board with this censorship and marginalisation of sceptics — as we’ve seen just now in YouTube’s decision, without warning, to shut down the channel of one of the few UK media outlets to question government Covid policy, talkRADIO.
These are worrying times for free speech. When the founder of the Free Speech Union gets a death threat merely for running a data-driven website, you know the world is in trouble…