Another day, another story of the forces of order hounding an innocent citizen for making innocuous remarks on Twitter. This week’s target was Rob Marchant, a centrist Labour supporter, who was chatting online with a few comrades. They all opposed Lutfur Rahman, the sly and to my mind thoroughly unappetising mayor of Tower Hamlets.
Labour had expelled Rahman, a frontman for Islamic Forum Europe, after he ran against the official Labour candidate to become mayor. Unlike many of the conformists and appeasers on the London left, Marchant and his friends believed that it is the job of leftists to oppose the religious right. Not everyone agrees with that admirable sentiment. The supporters of Ken Livingstone are constantly agitating for Labour to readmit Rahman: in part because they like anyone, even religious reactionaries, who are against “the West”; in part because they have the Tammany Hall politician’s respect for the ethnic bloc vote Islamic Foreign Europe can mobilise.
Musing on this theme, Marchant joked to his friends that if Labour were to readmit Rahman they would just have to kill themselves. ‘I will load the revolver and we can all take turns,’ were his precise words.
You can probably guess what happened next.