There is Nothing Wrong with Wanting to Punch Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the Throat

Flamboyant, flaxen-haired Conservative backbench MP Mike Fabricant has got himself into trouble for something he said on Twitter.

"I could never appear on a discussion prog with I would either end up with a brain haemorrhage or by punching her in the throat"

I've re-read the tweet about dozen times now but I still can't work out what the problem is.

1. He's talking about Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, almost certainly the most irritating socio-political commentator in the land. Her wittery voice is annoying; her prim, de haut en bas twittery manner is annoying; her views are annoying. She's the living embodiment of almost everything which is most maddening about the left-liberal chattering classes. That's why she gets to appear on TV such an awful lot. 

Mostly, she's recruited because the grisly pinkos who commission TV news programmes share her noisome progressive outlook. Sometimes, as Martin Durkin ingeniously did on his recent Nigel Farage documentary, she's wheeled on as a cunning ruse to show just how incredibly smug and patronising and wrong lefties can be. Either way - as I'm guessing even Alibhai-Brown must dimly be aware beneath those layers of professional victimhood - it's good for her brand. As with Piers Morgan, punchability is part of her USP. For Yasmin Alibhai-Brown or her fans to deny this is a bit like a dairy farmer claiming it's a vile calumny to suggest that milk comes from his cattle's udders.

2. Have you seen the interview she did on Channel 4 with Cathy Newman and Rod Liddle? Well, have you? If you are capable of watching the video to the end and not reacting in the visceral way that Mike Fabricant did, then you are frankly weird or so incorrigibly left-liberal/rampantly feminist that you have completely lost touch with what it is to be human and normal and honest.

3. Far from being censured, Fabricant ought surely to be praised for illustrating in his tweet the wise restraint which forms the basis of civilisation. There is violence within us all, the legacy of our savage ancestors. But rarely, if ever, do many of us, in the West at least, succumb to these visceral urges because our rational brain controls our animal instinct. Thus, in this case, Fabricant is offering an eminently practical solution to the problem of his beast within: he is vowing never to come within interview distance of someone as intensely irritating as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown for fear of what he might do.

4. It's immediately obvious when you read the tweet that Fabricant is outlining a hypothetical scenario. Hypothetical scenarios, by definition, may never happen. And in this case - see 3. above - Fabricant has ruled out it ever happening. So it seems bizarre, to say the least, that Fabricant should be censured or forced to apologise for something he hasn't done and will never do, but merely for something he thought and then rejected.

5. The people we should be condemning are the people who can't see any of this. Or rather, who won't see any of this. This is not really about Fabricant. Nor is it about the content of his tweet. It's about an increasingly shrill, co-ordinated, left-leaning, professional grievance lobby which exploits confected outrages like this in order to destabilise its enemies and advance its politically correct agenda. The aim is to create a climate in which no one feels quite safe to speak their mind any more or say anything at which someone, somewhere might conceivably take offence. 

This grievance mob will dress it up as sensitivity towards the feelings of others; or they'll pretend it's part of the "war on women"; or they'll claim to have been threatened by the language of violence - not because they actually feel threatened but because it's a damn good way of getting the police involved and turning a harmless aside into a possible criminal prosecution. But their real problem is that they don't like free speech.

6. I said in the title, there's nothing wrong with wanting to punch Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. It's healthy, normal, natural and a sign of intelligence and discernment.

Actually punching Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, on the other hand: now that would be illegal and wrong and punishable by imprisonment - and rightly so.

But if our culture is entering a phase when it is incapable of making a distinction between committing a crime and fantasising about a scenario in which you might be tempted to commit a crime, then maybe it's about time some of us had our heads examined.


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