Yesterday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, a minor aristocrat called Rhodri Philipps, who is also the 4th Viscount St Davids, was found guilty of sending menacing messages on Facebook. The plain English translation of this is that he was caught posting threatening and racist sentiments about Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, and others. The presiding magistrate told Phillips he can expect a custodial sentence.
The outpouring of bigoted bile was as spectacular as it was jaw-droopingly vicious: Phillips had offered “£5,000 for the first person to ‘accidentally’ run over this bloody troublesome first generation immigrant”. As the Guardian has reported, “He described Miller as a ‘fucking boat jumper’ and added: ‘If this is what we should expect from immigrants, send them back to their stinking jungles’”. And there was more.
“The judge also convicted 50-year-old Philipps for comments he made after reading an article about a migrant, Arthur Sube, who was reported to have turned down a five-bedroom council house for his family of eight children … Following the publication of the article about Sube in September 2016, Philipps wrote: ‘Please will someone smoke this ghastly insult to our country? Why should I pay tax to feed these monkeys? A return to Planet of the Apes is not acceptable’”. He wasn’t finished yet.
No mention of this today ...
“In a second post, he wrote: ‘I will open the bidding. £2,000 in cash for the first person to carve Arnold Sube into pieces, piece of shit’”. But guess what? “Philipps - who also holds the titles Lord Hungerford, Lord de Moleyns, and Lord Strange of Knockin [!] - insisted he is not racist … ‘I know a number of Muslims who are dear friends’”.
This case has, to the credit of the EU-bashing tabloids, been reported comprehensively. What has not been so much as mentioned, though, is the abuse and incitement that was directed at Ms Miller, particularly by the Mail and Sun, over her challenge to the attempts by the Government to dispense with consulting Parliament over triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. None of that gets a look-in today.
So we don’t get reminded that the Mail went into meltdown, calling Ms Miller a “Guyanan-born ex-model … married to a millionaire financier” and “Nicknamed 'Mrs Wham Glam' by friends, she has now been branded 'woman of the century' by Remainers”. The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre got Sarah “Vain” Vine to pen a hatchet job, telling readers how Ms Miller was out of touch (I know, Sarah Vine calling out of touch on others).
... and no mention of this, either
That coverage spawned a series of unpleasant and threatening social media outbursts aimed at Ms Miller. Meanwhile, over at the Murdoch Sun, while their hacks protested that their attacks on those in the media who had incurred their displeasure was merely the exercise of free speech, those same hacks didn’t see fit to extend that free speech concession to Gina Miller. And this is where it has all led.
Fortunately for the Europhobic part of the Fourth Estate, no actual act of violence, no physical harm, resulted from their vicious campaign against Ms Miller. The problem is that it will take that kind of outcome for them to stop and think. And that’s not good enough.