It seems Owen Jones, not content with his successful campaign to get Katie Hopkins sacked from LBC following her “final solution” tweet, is now calling, via Facebook, for her to be sacked from Daily Mail Online, too.
A quick recap for those who don’t know who Jones or Hopkins are. Hopkins is a right-wing journalist with a reputation for speaking her mind and a willingness to offend just about anybody. Jones is a left-wing journalist who, a number of years ago, wrote an arguably rather decent book called “The Establishment” in which he lambasted all the ways the system is rigged against the ordinary citizen – but who discovered during the Brexit debate that he’s rather fond of the ultimate Establishment body, the EU, and now appears to spend his time agitating in favour of the Establishment, and denigrating anybody who dares to offer an opinion that does not conform to strict Establishment lines.
Hopkins, in the wake of the Manchester bombing, wrote a tweet in which she called for a “final solution”. She didn’t mention Muslims, and she hastily deleted and posted a modified version of the tweet once it was pointed out that her tweet could “only” be interpreted as a call for genocide. However, the damage was already done.
Jones, always one of Hopkins’ greatest critics, promptly led a campaign for her to be sacked from her weekly phone-in show on LBC Radio and her columnist position at Daily Mail Online. LBC bowed to pressure and sacked her – however she is still writing for Daily Mail Online.
Now, given Owen Jones is so meticulous about policing social media activity of those with whom he disagrees, one would assume that he is equally meticulous about ensuring he doesn’t post anything untoward.
So how, then, does Jones explain this Facebook post (since deleted), in which he not only reveals the location of the Prime Minister while on a private visit to the community in which the Grenfell Tower tragedy took place, but also calls for “everyone who can” to gather outside and call for her immediate resignation as Prime Minister?
If we are to believe that Katie Hopkins’ tweet was calling for genocide, then I don’t believe it’s a stretch to interpret Jones’ Facebook post as calling for the overthrow of the government, by violent means if necessary. The last time I checked, that was treason.
The fact that he mentioned people should gather “peacefully” is no defence – he had to have known that with the public mood being as volatile as it was, at least a few members of the public would turn up with not-so-peaceful intentions. For all he knew, some nutter could even have turned up and tried to assassinate Mrs May. And could even have succeeded.
So why has there been no call for Jones to be sacked from his positions writing for the Guardian and the New Statesman? Well, largely, I suspect, because Jones has a high level of support among the left-wing, Corbynista elements of society who would quite happily see Theresa May forced to resign over an incident that was not of her making, and who refuse to accept the result of the recent general election, believing that the fact that Corbyn won seats where May lost, is sufficient to declare a win for Corbyn, regardless of the fact that May still won a significantly greater number of seats than did Corbyn. None of those Corbynistas are going to call for Jones to be sacked – in fact they’re probably gleefully egging him on.
On the other hand, the rest of the country, those with either more moderate left-wing, or right-wing tendencies, tend to believe in democracy. And sadly, with a belief in democracy, comes a belief in free speech. So although we can read Jones’ Facebook post and be outraged by it, and maybe secretly hope that the police might turn up on his doorstep and ask him some very pointed questions about what the hell he thinks he was playing at, we’re not usually minded to go after his job, his livelihood and his reputation. After all, why would we bother? He appears to be doing a good enough job himself, of destroying his reputation as a journalist, without any help from anybody else.
It turns out the democracy that Jones clearly holds in such contempt, is what is allowing him to continue to use his public platform to call for the overthrow of a democratically elected government. The irony is just too great for words.