Incitement to Murder – No Joke

Posted by chdot on January 2, 2008

Of course people who cycle get used to abuse. There’s always someone (often in a car) who seems upset that you are on the same bit of road.

There are highly paid newspaper columnists who think that a rant against ‘Lycra Louts’ will amuse their readers.

Then there’s Matthew Parris.

“A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists.”

His piece in The Times (that was the first sentence) rants about people “chucking their empty cans of hi-energy drinks into hedgerows”. It’s far from clear if he knows that any were actually discarded by cyclists – chances are that some were thrown at riders.

Of course it’s easy to think ‘ha ha, very funny, what a prat’ and move on. The problem is that there are people who string wire to catch cyclists. No doubt they think it’s just a laugh and don’t really intend to cause serious injury. (There have been a few incidents on cyclepaths in Edinburgh). The perpetrators are unlikely to be Times readers.

No doubt they will grow out of it, perhaps helped by a visit from the Police. Whether Mr. Parris will grow out of his stupidity remains to be seen. A visit from the Police does seem quite likely.

This story is getting wide coverage on the internet and people are already reporting him to the Press Complaints Commission (on-line form), The Metropolitan Police (on-line reporting), and direct to the Editor of The Times (e-mail).

2 Responses to “Incitement to Murder – No Joke”

  1. I am horrified and angry at Matthew Parry’s tirade. He is not only clueless at how cyclists refuel en route (they use water bottles that are reusable and rarely carry hard, disposable supplies). He is also enciting murder – the wire across the cycle track prank was successfully carried out on the Bristol/Bath sustrans route with disasterous effects a few years ago.
    Perhaps a permanent job picking up litter would be better for him?

  2. Tempted to say “Parris should be strung up with the wire”. Shouldn’t sink to his level, though.

    I too am very concerned about a posting on a blog by a Lincoln’s Inn barrister saying this regarding Tony Blair:

    “Why oh why oh why oh why can’t the useless rag-head pillocks in Al Queda assassinate him? It would be great PR for them: many of us would revise our low opinion of them if they could do us this one small service. Their ineptness is proof that the terrorism ‘threat’ is laughable.”

    There are few regulations yet as regards complaints on online incitement to kill, as far as I can see. The Police website is VERY limited, requiring a local address of the “offence”. And with no section for online offenders.

    Newspapers complaints, as with Parris, can go to the Press Complaints Commission website.

    They should be inundated by complaints from cyclists groups and others.

    My battle, against incitement to terrorism or to murder, might be a tougher task. Especially since Brown’s government seems happy to push aside issues like this, for politically correct reasons. Such as freedom of speech, not upsetting the politically correct brigade – and who KNOWS what other reasons!

    Anyway we’re going to hell on the back of tandem, and facing backwards, imho.

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