Ms Hartley Dooda teed him up. Should Hepple have been sacked? “No. And I’m really worried about where this is all going [you shouldn’t be, Bren, it means more paycheques for you]. I think we have a situation now which is almost McCarthyite [there is no nationally broadcast denunciation of individuals because of their political views, either] where you can be sacked from your job for having the wrong opinions”. There was, sadly, more.
Was Hepple a racist, though? “I detest racism … BUT [yes, it’s a big but] … I would also defend people’s right to hold racist views [that wasn’t what got him sacked]. That’s the nature of freedom of thought and freedom of speech [no-one is saying otherwise]”. OK, hold it right there. The Spiked Online Twitter feed has summed up O’Neill’s views thus: “Employers should not punish workers for their political opinions”. They didn’t.
The totality of what Paradigm Precision laid before Jake Hepple is not known, and rightly so. But what we do know, because it is out there in the public domain, is that he not only said “Thanks a lot, no apology will be coming out as I’m not apologising for stating that white peoples lives matter as well”, he also dealt in forthright racism.
Jake Hepple - sacked this week
On top of that, he was a former EDL adherent and supporter of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson. Yes Brendan, he was free to make those affiliations, and it was not illegal for him to do so, BUT [as the man from Spiked might have put it] Paradigm Precision cannot afford to have employees bring the firm into disrepute.
And there’s the rub: while O’Neill, aided and abetted by Julia Hartley Dooda, rambles on about people being free to have abhorrent opinions and talks about “thought Police” and “identity politics”, businesses up and down the land have to face the reality of the modern world - which is that old school racism is out of order, and out of time.
Brendan O’Neill wouldn’t understand that, though. Cos he hasn’t got a real job.