I doubt I have seen a more vile, cowardly thing.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a sick, and sickening, incident in which a ‘Cure the NHS’ (Cure) member or sympathiser had attempted to blackmail a university into silencing one of its students, who had been drawing attention on Twitter to the weaknesses and inconsistencies of Cure’s claims and behaviour.
This student has a criminal past – one not to be proud of, and of which he is not proud – consisting of a single, and now spent, conviction. But it’s a past which is absolutely irrelevant both to his studies at the university and to the validity of his comments about Cure’s claims and behaviour. But a letter was sent to his university, threatening to ‘out’ the case to the media if the university did not muzzle the student.
I called this tactic malignant and cowardly – as it unquestionably is. But it started a debate via the comments function on the article, in which a couple of individuals took issue with my condemnation of the tactic and tried to browbeat me into accepting that I was wrong to consider that a person’s history has no bearing on the rightness of their comments.
One in particular had an especially poisonous feel to it. These comments (on a couple of Cure-related posts), by someone calling themselves ‘Loki’, made assertion after assertion and claimed that I had not answered his (or her) questions even when I had, and tried to get me to reveal the names of witnesses whose identities I had promised to protect.
In the last few days, this same person has materialised on Twitter (now styling himself ‘the reluctant Loki’), similarly asserting that I am wrong and criticising me for not apologising. The exchange quickly became poisonous, and ended with an obvious threat. But before we look at that, let’s look a little more closely at this Loki character.
Loki is the name of a god from Viking mythology, a god of mischief, but of a particularly malignant type. It seems evident that this person had that intent when he (or she) created the account a couple of weeks ago, as this Twitter comment, made to another person, shows:
Then there were a few provocative messages to me on Twitter today, leading to a barely-veiled threat. First this:
To which I responded, and then the threat:
I answered ‘Sounds like a threat’, to which there was no response. But this evening, the student contacted me. A reporter from The Sun newspaper (or excuse for one) had been knocking on his door before leaving a note
asking me if I would contact him to explain if it was appropriate for someone with my previous convictions should be researching
his subject of study.
It appears that this ‘Loki’, who had taken exception to my comments, decided to lash out ‘more publicly’ by contacting an odious rag of a newspaper to ‘out’ someone who has done nothing worse to Cure than challenge its opinion. Mischief is not the word.
When I first read this, I was so livid I could barely speak that someone could stoop so low simply because he’s unable to win an argument by reasoned debate. But now I feel a rage as cold as ice.
This ‘Loki’ – according to his email and IP addresses a doctor based in the north-east of England – is a pathetic coward who is beneath contempt and who has to hide behind a fake name in order to find the courage to voice his vile opinions. Unlike myself or the student, who make our comments under our real identities.
I challenge this coward to come out of hiding and to reveal his identity, so that we can express our contempt to him (or her) directly, and that the student victim can decide whether or not to pursue legal remedy against him.
And I challenge Julie Bailey and Cure the NHS, via Twitter and/or the comments section of this article, to unequivocally and publicly repudiate the actions of their supporter. If they fail to do this, then we can only assume that they condone or even encouraged this weak, nauseating individual in his (or her) despicable course of action.