The Daily Wail is up in sanctimonious arms about a “notorious internet troll” they have exposed. Why is the Wail’s blood up? Because uncompromising blogger Old Holborn verbally slaughtered a couple of sacred cows that no one dare tell bad taste jokes about. And it caused the twatterati to descend into a frenzied virtual lynch party.
This is the face of one of Britain’s most notorious internet trolls.
As his alter ego Old Holborn, Robert Ambridge is responsible for a series of vile and offensive Twitter posts that have brought him death threats.
Apparently death threats are not as vile and offensive as taking the micturation out of a taboo subject.
Thousands were outraged when Ambridge, who appears on his Twitter page with his identity disguised by a plastic pig mask, tweeted about the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. He posted a picture of two overweight women and claimed ‘this is what crushed the 96’.
Whereas the millions who have never heard of OH and are too busy having a life to tweet probably couldn’t give a stuff.
Moral outrage. The most persistent bane of our post normal society. A dangerous threat to free speech. Is OH offensive? I’d say yes, having read his blog on and off over the years. Sometimes I agree with what he says and on other occasions I think he’s a git. I wouldn’t issue a death threat to shut him up though no matter how offensive his remarks. Nor would I be insisting that “something must be done” to silence him. If he wants to be a git making gittish remarks designed to annoy authoritarian gits then that’s his prerogative.
Ambridge, 51, a recruitment consultant and father of six from Braintree, Essex, also made disgusting comments about the murder of James Bulger which deeply upset his mother. But an unrepentant Ambridge claims people who are offended by his comments have only themselves to blame.
Yes, being offended on the behalf of someone you’ve never met has become a full time sport for the perpetually affronted brigade. My reaction? OH is being a controversial git gleefully poking what he knows is going to be a hornets nest to provoke a reaction. The adult thing to do, if you are offended by him, is ignore him, not give him the oxygen of publicity. But it seems we are not dealing with adults and that includes the journalists and the police.
‘It is not my responsibility what other people find upsetting. I didn’t target anyone. I didn’t send an email. They chose to read what I wrote. If they don’t like it, they should turn it off. I don’t care what people find offensive.’
Because making crass remarks might be offensive to those prone to outrageous bouts of herd apoplexy but it is not an offence in law. It certainly isn’t a hound ‘em and flog ‘em out of gainful employment offence. Oh wait, yes it is. People have the right not to be offended. By anyone or anything. Anywhere or at any time. And the authorities will be there to mollycoddle wounded feelings and take names. All in the name of social inclusivity and clamping down on naughtiness to make the world a better place for everyone who is happy being a touchy-feely herdthink drone.
Justifying his tweet about Hillsborough, he added: ‘This is dark humour. People might not like my humour but I think it is funny and it gets a chuckle.’
So where is all the outrage about taking the mickey out of fat people? Don’t they deserve to be treated with sensitivity? Well no, because it is socially acceptable to believe that all fat people are greedy and stupid and deserve all the derision they get even when they don’t. Unlike Merseyside’s tragically deceased they aren’t a protected species when it comes to verbal abuse or offensive jokes. Either everyone is a target or none at all. I’ll settle for everyone because none at all is a tyranny.
This week, the self-proclaimed ‘satirical terrorist’ will seek to justify his vitriolic internet posts in an ITV documentary called Fear And Loathing Online.
Well yes, OH can be quite loathsome when he puts his mind to it. However the only fear in this particular Wail story comes from the death threats of the morally outraged. OH hasn’t actually threatened anyone, merely piddled them off. Not the same thing. So how come he’s the only pariah in town right now? Have the thousands of column inches dedicated to our not bombing Assad being wrong, wrong wrong, finally run out of steam?
Ambridge agreed to be filmed without his pig mask, although his face was not shown. But The Mail on Sunday traced Ambridge to his dilapidated Victorian home in Braintree.
Matthew Hopkins journalism at its most odious. I’ll assume that howling mobs, pitchforks and flaming torches were optional extras not available on expenses.
With an appearance more akin to Coronation Street’s hapless cafe owner Roy Cropper than a cutting-edge satirist, he initially denied he was Old Holborn.
So what is a “cutting-edge satirist” supposed to look like? And who wrote the benchmark specifications for the physical appearance of one? Fatuous journalism at its most infantile.
But later, speaking at the wheel of his battered Toyota vehicle, gap-toothed Ambridge said: ‘I am there to upset the apple cart. It is a form of entertainment. Trolling is like putting a fishing line in a shoal of fish and seeing what you can get.’
I can see a pattern building here. It’s not just OH’s opinions that are low rent. His dilapidated house, battered Toyota and crooked teeth are proof that the Wail is dealing with a lowlife scumbag who needs to be put in his place – six feet under if the Twatter mob get’s its way. He hasn’t broken the law. The fact that he’s overweight, white and middle aged isn’t a criminal offense although the Wail is trying to build a case on those shifting sands of stupidity. He has six children. So what? I am led to believe he has worked hard to bring them up instead of relying on the state to do it. That isn’t a crime either.
Ambridge worked for Alchemy Recruitment in Braintree until April, when he was first outed as a notorious online troll. Following his Hillsborough comments, people bombarded the firm with phone calls and threatened to burn down its offices.
OH is a blogger who stirs the smelly stuff with a big spoon and then muses upon the fruits of the fall-out. He’s certainly not everyone’s cup of cha. Internet trolls lead the unsuspecting into an ambush which isn’t OH’s modus operandi at all. But then, given the inferior, poorly informed and lacking a shred of research dross that passes for journalism these days, I suppose the confusion is understandable. After all the newfangled blogging media has only been around for a decade and a half – give or take. Not enough time for the legacy media to catch up.
However, the ancient practice of witch-hunting is alive and well in the twenty-first century. Anyone associated with someone possessed of
free speech a penchant for controversy an aversion to political correctness the Devil’s evil forked tongue and tail is fair game and must be purged for the good of society. Don’t you just love this popular resurgence of a deeply unsavoury hysterical historical custom?
An investigation was launched by Essex Police over tweets relating to the Boston bombing, as well as the Hillsborough disaster and the Bulger murder. Ambridge has since left the company.
So are they going to investigate everyone who believes OH is entitled to his opinion no matter what sacred cow he’s tipped? Are they also going to investigate the death threat tweets and emails he and his former employer received? If not, why not? Or is it now legal and acceptable to put someone in fear of their life for upsetting the herd or because they employ someone who has?
Police said the CPS is considering whether to pursue a case of criminal communication through social media involving a 51-year-old man from Braintree.
Clearly there is a certain demographic that never found its way out of the infants playground. It is not the job of the police to nurse bruised sensitivities and pander to the chronically indignant. Their job is to investigate, arrest and charge actual criminals, not harass people who upset the mores of self-indulgent, social puritans. So OH caused offense with his crass and very black humour. So what. It’s not like he was caught red-handed molesting kiddies, drowning kittens or mugging old ladies for their bingo money.
I was disgusted by the people who happy-danced at a certain old lady’s funeral a few months back. But they were entitled to do that. I was content to mutter “gits” at the TV screen. I certainly wasn’t motivated to hunt them down and send them death threats on behalf of the bereaved family. Nor do I expect the police to “investigate” the matter as a possible “hate” crime. Yes there was hate. A lot of it. But was it a crime? Hardly.
* It seems the Wail doesn’t know the difference between a controversial, politically incorrect blogger and a troll, notorious or otherwise. Hence, Trogger.