I defend Paris Brown.
The Daily Mail embarked on an utterly disgraceful and pathetic trawling exercise, doing its usual trick of being a “female friendly” paper which barely hides its contempt for women. This wasn’t the Daily Mail being a journal of facts for the good people of Kent; this was a spiteful and horrible act of vandalism against this young woman’s future employment opportunities.
Trust me, I know what it’s like to press “Update Status” on Facebook and then subsequently regret it. I have those wounds on my back, memory and soul. There’s not much I can offer by way of finger-wagging, the kind of teacher knows best nonsense which comes from the likes of Keith Vaz, never knowingly pleased with his own opinions.
Paris Brown was two years younger than now when she made certain tweets in the height of the moment. She’s no more racist for using the term “pikey” than someone is a terrorist for threatening to “blow this shit up”
It’s beyond parody that the Decency Corps. is on the march against Brown, as their hatred reeks of hypocrisy and hubris. She’s a 17-year old in a new £15,000 job which shows a willingness to start a new life in an important, mature, responsible job. There’s nothing relevant to her job in the term “fag” when describing people who take part in an ITV reality show. I’m one of those people who hates this bubble-wrap attitude against the term “gay” being related to undiluted homophobia. Sorry folks, but “Northern Rail is being well gay” does not mean I think all gay men should be drowned. Paris didn’t mean that, and I don’t mean it either.
This entire story hits at the heart of the attitude problem within the establishment. We need, urgently, “real people” to combat the post-Blairite rise of professional politicians. Paris Brown is the antidote to people like David Miliband, parachuted into a safe seat by the Labour hierarchy only to leave for a £300,000 job in New York without a moment’s notice. Young people say silly things on-line, just as old men say silly things to each other in pubs, just as middle-aged women say silly things at the gym. Judging Paris on her suitability for the role of Young PCC by what she tweeted whilst doubtlessly bored three years ago is groundless, baseless, prejudiced clap-trap.
Well done, Daily Mail. In the shadow of Leveson, you’ve trawled a 17-year old’s Twitter to find that an ordinary young woman likes to drink and swear. I fully respect the fact that everyone – and Lord knows I include myself in this – needs to learn how to use social media properly. This is something else though, this is the ugly side of “teaching”. Nobody should be reduced to tears by keyboard warrioring; Paris could well be a refreshing new presence in policing and I wish her well.
I wish the Daily Mail nothing but contempt.