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Is This Collusion With Corruption In UKIP By Police Institutionalised?

Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 12/05/2014

Is This Collusion With Corruption In UKIP By Police Institutionalised?

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Is This Collusion With Corruption In UKIP By Police Institutionalised?

It does seem to be more than coincidence particularly when you consider the various examples.

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Police ask blogger to remove tweet about Ukip

Ukip support placards in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire
Ukip support placards in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire. Photograph: Julian Eales/Alamy

Police have asked a blogger to remove a tweet that fact-checked Ukip policies but did not break any laws after receiving a complaint from a Ukip councillor, prompting concern over attempts to stifle debate.

Michael Abberton was visited by two Cambridgeshire police officers on Saturday. He was told he had not committed any crimes and no action was taken against him, but he was asked to delete some of his tweets, particularly a tongue-in-cheek one on 10 reasons to vote for Ukip, such as scrapping paid maternity leave and raising income tax for the poorest 88% of Britons.

Abberton, a Green party member who writes a blog on science and green politics, described the incident on his Axe of Reason blog.

“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.”

However, to show goodwill Abberton removed all instances of the offending tweet.

A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: “A Ukip councillor came across a tweet which he took exception to. The name of the person on the tweet was identified and that individual was spoken to. We looked at this for offences and there was nothing we could actually identify that required police intervention. Clearly, the councillor was unhappy about the tweets. If every political person was unhappy about what somebody else said about their views, we would have no politics.”

As for being told not to tweet about the visit, the spokesman added: “I don’t know if he’d have been told that. It’s certainly not the advice I would have given him. A gentleman has a right to free speech – absolute total right to free speech – we can’t tell people what they can and can’t say on the internet, as long as it’s within the law. We certainly don’t go to people’s houses and say: ‘You can’t tweet about this’. This is not 1930s Germany.”

On his blog, Abberton made it clear that the two police officers were extremely professional and polite, but he did wonder why they had visited him at all.

“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? … 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?”

Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, who was contacted by Abberton, said he was awaiting a detailed response from the police.

“It seems astonishing for the police to get involved, there was nothing abusive or threatening in the tweets so I do want to know why they acted, and I want to know why the police told Abberton not to tweet about the visit.”

Huppert said he was pleased that Ukip’s policies were coming under scrutiny.

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green party, said: “This police action is both disturbing and surprising. That an apparently general complaint from a political party about not liking what was said about them could have led to a police visit that many would find intimidating is an extremely serious incident that demands immediate investigation. Free speech is a precious right that we must defend.”

Bennett said the party’s only member in the House of Lords, Jenny Jones, would write to Theresa May, the home secretary, to ask her to investigate.

“What a waste of police time, energy and resources,” Jones said. “Their job is to investigate crime and catch criminals, not restrict free speech.”

To view the original article CLICK HERE
The author of the blog featured in the article above is known as Michael Abberton & he wrote his comments on the incident:

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?

You will note that a simple search on Twitter brings one to the following posting:

10 Great Reasons to vote . I don’t know who made it – so I referenced it from official websites

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Regards,

Greg_L-W..

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