I have been hearing it said that Michael Fabricant, who tweeted that he wanted to punch me in the throat, was only joking. I don’t see it as a joke.
There was nothing about his original tweet that suggested it was a joke, and if it was, there is nothing that anybody can say about smashing a woman’s throat that would actually be funny.
I believe he wrote that tweet because he meant it, because he was angry with me, and really felt for a minute that he wanted to beat me up. We have all been in positions where we feel unreasoning anger – I understand that – but if you are an MP and you have tweeted something like this in the heat of the moment – apologise.
He had plenty of time during the morning to come up with a decent, genuinely meant and genuinely felt apology, and it would have ended there. Instead, he slipped and slided.
Before his eventual complete apology, he put out more tweets, which actually made me angrier than the first, because they showed that he really did not think he had done anything wrong.
Not content with tweeting about wanting to smash my throat, he retweeted somebody else’s suggestion that I should be deported. Where to, I wonder?
There is an undercurrent of really horrible imperialism, racism and sexism in this story. Here is a woman, like many women in the public space, getting above herself: somebody needs to shut her up. Note that he said he wanted to smash my throat: it is my voice he wants to shut off.
I have been threatened before. It has been quieter for the past two or three years, I am pleased to say, but courtesy of Michael Fabricant I have had horrible stuff coming at me all day, from guys who think it is OK now, because an MP started it.
And I’m not the only woman in the public space who is having this kind of stuff. He knows that and he should be very careful not to encourage it, however unwittingly.
As for David Cameron saying that he has apologised and the matter is closed, that is not for him to decide.