On Friday the UK Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Digital Censorship and banning any speech that isn’t both Sharia compliant and politically correct, Tom Watson, issued a chilling public letter to the Chief Executive of Google (YouTube). He put this out as an image (which is annoying as hell) but I’ve turned it into text and will publish it in full here with my comments back to Mr Tom Watson.
Dear Mr Watson
Dear Mr Pichai
I am contacting with you regard to the use of your YouTube platform by a violent, racist, Islamophobic campaigner called Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known in the UK and globally as Tommy Robinson.
I’ll skip over the grammatical issues, as usual you appear to make a big deal out of Tommy Robinson’s “real name”. Most people quickly come to terms with why people stepping into the public eye chose to use pseudonyms. This is especially true when others who have challenged Islam have been murdered or are under continuous death threat (Pim Fortuyn or Salman Rushdie are just two examples). Tommy himself has had a number of serious attempts to take his life with multiple Islamic terrorists currently in UK prisons for attempting to blow him and other to kingdom come in the past.
On Tuesday Facebook and Instagram removed his page, related pages and materials from their platforms for breaching their “Organised Hate” policies. However, as is quite clear from the comments threads on stories documenting this decision, Yaxley-Lennon supporters are transferring over their virulent hate to YouTube.
This paragraph is also filled with grammatical disasters, we’ll just take it as read from here that this letter is something I’ll be showing to my kids as an example of how not to write. Yes, Facebook caved to far-left pressure and deleted Tommy Robinson’s wildly successful Facebook page 24 hours after the posting of his devastating Panodrama documentary and it reaching more than 1 million views on Facebook. Why did this devastating exposé of the BBC trigger such a swift response from Facebook?
Yaxley-Lennon had 294,000 subscribers as of Wednesday. Since then, with YouTube his only remaining platform of global significance, his subscribers have leaped to 325,000. Recent videos he posted have been watched by between one and two million people. He is also using YouTube to move his supporters over to a website www.globalaim.co.uk and encouraging them to make donations to keep his movement alive.
Instead of becoming the UK’s new thought police, do you want, perhaps, to consider why so many people in the UK and world wide are eager to hear what he has to say? You’ve got a problem now: if you truly believe Tommy Robinson represents an ultra-extreme position, why are so many people watching his videos so soon after they’re published?
YouTube’s policy on hate speech prohibits content which promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on attributes including religion, race, immigration status or nationality. Many of his videos are clearly in breach of this policy.
Which videos on his YouTube channel today breach policies? Why haven’t they been taken down already? Clearly, if you believe it to be “many” you’ll have found them and will be able to provide them to us all as an appendix to your letter. I will be calling your office on Monday morning and asking for this list. I am in touch with Tommy and will take up any complaints you have directly with him and consider if any of his videos should be withdrawn.
If you believe Tommy Robinson has breached any of the UK’s draconian, anti-free speech laws, which have been enacted in recent years, why has he not been arrested? As you well know, I’m sure, he was wrongly imprisoned for speaking outside Leeds court. That case was overturned by the highest court in the land, last year, and his wrongful conviction quashed.
I understand YouTube suspended all adverts on his channel in January, cutting off significant revenue stream. I am now writing to implore you as a matter of the utmost urgency to follow the lead that has been, belatedly, set by Facebook, and remove forthwith all “Tommy Robinson” and related pages from your YouTube platform.
Advertiser friendly and contravenes YouTube’s community standards are two totally different categories, for now. Rational people who value free speech hope this remains so.
As the UK’s Shadow Digital Secretary I have recently been making the argument that the social media companies have failed to regulate hate speech and harm on their platforms. It is clear, as I am sure you are aware, that UK legislators are now moving rapidly towards introducing legal regulatory powers to deal with this those who seek to use the garb of freedom of speech to, instead, preach violent hate with the aim of damaging and undermining our society.
I hope UK voters can see that however bad restrictions on what was once considered “free speech” by the “mother of parliaments” are under the current Theresa May Conservative regime, they would be much worse if your Jew hating, Corbyn Labour Party ever seized power.
It is also the case that 30% of Tommy Robinson’s YouTube views come from outside the UK. What right does an out of power politician from the losing political party at the last UK general election have to determine what viewers in America can see?
The public interest is demanding an end to the laissez-faire approach to regulation not just in the UK but globally. However that should not mean that the social media firms avoid their responsibilities in the meantime to take action where it is clearly and vigorously required.
It would appear, seeing as how the Labour Party lost the most recent UK election, the last time this proviso was actually tested before the electorate, they chose the least bad option with regard to destruction of the necessary freedoms for maintaining a recognisable democracy. Freedom of speech, even unpleasant speech, is absolutely necessary to a functioning democracy. The freedom to challenge, with speech, a violent and aggressive ideology would appear to be a basic right you wish to remove from UK citizens like Tommy Robinson and the millions who wish to watch and share his videos.
I would ask that you immediately close down all of Yaxley-Lennon’s sites on YouTube before the virus of his views grooms countless more followers via your platform. I should also inform you, as a matter of politeness, that I will be releasing this letter to the media.
Fortunately the truth is sometimes a particularly virulent virus while the lies you peddle (such as “Islam is a religion of peace” for example) must be reinforced by draconian laws and repeated until the slaves understand the cost of challenging them is too high. Fortunately a few brave people exist to challenge your totalitarian dictates, people like Tommy Robinson.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Tom Watson MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
I hope Google has the sense to resist this, I don’t have a lot of confidence. I look forward to hearing all the specific details of videos on Tommy Robinson’s channels which you have painstakingly identified to be “hate speech”. I shall be contacting your office by telephone on Monday (I’m working here on Sunday in Israel because we Jews start our week while you’re still in Church or at the mall). As a matter of politeness, I wish to inform you that I too have released this letter to the world.
Dr Brian of London
Indigenous Jew, Israel