Richmond Park’s deeply unpleasant Tory MP Zac Goldsmith made a disturbing discovery this week: one of his constituents, he claimed, was in receipt of an anonymous death threat. The crude and ungrammatical letter was printed; there was apparently no handwriting. But it had one most fortunate bonus: it was from a Remain supporter, and therefore meat and drink to all those opposed to Britain’s membership of the EU.
Zac Goldsmith tries, and fails, to show the common touch
The letter begins “We were born in Britain. We live in the UK. We are European.” It then haltingly tells “If you attempt to take away part of someone’s identity. There are consequences.” Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes? “We have watched have [sic] you have stoked the fires of Brexit and led us to this moment. You can no longer be tolerated. We are coming for you. We are going to kill you”. How nice.
Behold the arbiter of reality and decency. Allegedly
It is signed “THE REAL 48 PER CENT”. Goldsmith wasted no time in Tweeting out the news: “This morning my 80-year old constituent received this note”. Then, by the most fortunate of coincidences, Matthew Elliott, like Goldsmith, of no discernible principle, piped up in reply “I'm aware of someone else receiving the same note. It's sickening”. Elliott’s awareness did not, sadly, extend to displaying the note discussed.
And then the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog chipped in. By this point, Goldsmith’s assertion had become established fact as The Great Guido told “Remain Loons Send Death Threat To 80 Year-Old Brexiter”. The post was signed off with the sneering and knowing “Remember when Remainers used to claim they were the voice of ‘kindness, openness, inclusiveness, tolerance, and togetherness’?”
It was all most convenient. And someone out there had concluded that it might just be too convenient. After all, it was not clear that either Goldsmith or Elliott had reported the threat to the Metropolitan Police, which might be the least one would expect. But the Fawkes massive did decide to go off the end of the pier in no style at all at Peter Jukes of Byline Media, who had suggested all was not as it seemed.
In a bizarre hatchet job, Fawkes teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham bleated “Jukes And Byline Claim Rees-Mogg Protest Staged And Zac Death Threat Faked”, trowelling it on with “Guido is sad [that much is true] to report that Peter Jukes and his Byline Media outfit have finally gone off the deep end … he is now suggesting on Twitter that the death threat sent to Zac Goldsmith’s 80 year-old constituent was faked”.
Someone is trying a little too hard with the punishment beating ...
Jukes had not in fact claimed that, but Wickham did not get his nickname for nothing. What he did do was to Tweet “So this looks like some kind of campaign @matthew_elliott @ZacGoldsmith. That's very serious … I'm reporting this tomorrow to @metpoliceuk … Please preserve all the evidence and don't delete or amend anything … Thanks. This is too important to play political games with”. Fair enough.
... including a most creative interpretation of Twitter feeds ...
Now, Zelo Street does not speak for Peter Jukes, who can do that himself, and frequently does. But what is clear about this strange story is that Goldsmith has Tweeted out evidence which should in the first instance have been handed directly to the Police. The MP did not initially confirm that this was done. Nor did Matthew Elliott.
That is no mere detail; it is critical to the clear need to locate the source of the threat. There will be tell-tale marks on the letter(s), and potentially fingerprints. Also, where are the envelopes in which the letters were delivered? These, too, will contain significant clues as to the sender’s identity. All should be preserved and handed to Police.
... over what is a very reasonable request
Moreover, as Matthew Elliott is so sure of his ground, he too must track down the recipient of this heinous threat, ensure they preserve all the evidence, and hand it to the Police straight away. And as Goldsmith has told the Murdoch Sun “It’s very shocking for anyone to receive a letter like that, let alone a lady in her eighties … I have handed it to the police who have assured me they will do what they can to identify the vile person behind it”, I’m sure the Met will be able to confirm this in due course.
Plus, of course, I’m sure the Murdoch goons will have figured out how an 80-year-old pensioner could be identified as a Leave voter so long after the referendum before coming out with headlines like “80-year-old woman is sent vile note from pro-EU trolls threatening to KILL her for voting for Brexit”. Likewise the Mail and “Zac Goldsmith reveals Remainer trolls sent pensioner, 80, vile note saying 'we will kill you' because she voted for Brexit”.
Such actions will dispel any thoughts that the Fawkes rabble are jumping to comment a little too quickly, as two of their number unwisely did over the Brooks Newmark “sting”, which then enabled observers, including this blog, to trace the whole saga back to The Great Guido and his less than merry men.
And if the Met are looking to trace anonymous letters, I have a whole stack of them, plus envelopes, which originated in the London area. All defended the Fawkes blog, or its pals. I’m sure that has nothing at all to do with the Goldsmith example.