There has been outrage and disgust after Spectator and Sun columnist Rod Riddle stated that he would like to see Muslims being stopped from voting in a new column for The Spectator magazine.
Writing in an article entitled “If you do one thing this election, stop your kids voting” which is bizarrely dated November 2, Liddle says that his own “choice of election date would be a day when universities are closed and Muslims are forbidden to do anything on pain of Hell, or something… that would deliver at least 40 seats to the Tories, I reckon.”
Undoubtedly Liddle will once again hide behind claims that his comments are a satirical comment on Labour’s favourability with the Muslim community and amongst students, he will yet again roll out the old “it’s just banter mate” defence.
Yet, both he and The Spectator have form.
In 2009 he wrote “a quick update on what the Muslim savages are up to” for the magazine and in 2018 wrote that in his view “there is not nearly enough Islamophobia within the Tory party.” He called the killers of Lee Rigby “black savages” and in 2018 referred to gay anal sex as “unnatural and perverse.”
In 2010 the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) upheld a complaint against Liddle for his 2009 comments on the black community.
“The overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community. Of course, in return, we have rap music, goat curry and a far more vibrant and diverse understanding of cultures which were once alien to us. For which, many thanks.”Rod Liddle
Outside of The Spectator, in 2010 Liddle was stopped from becoming editor of The Independent after revelations that he was a regular poster at Millwall Online, a fan website dedicated to Millwall Football Club. The Mail on Sunday and The Observer revealed that Liddle had made posts supportive of the BNP, including one that supported banning black and asian people from the party. Further posts included jokes about Auschwitz.
‘There’s thousands of organisations catering exclusively to black and asian minorities. **** ’em, close them down. Why do blacks need a forum of their own? As a power base and cash cow for ****s and in order to perpetuate the myth of widespread discrimination.’
Liddle denied writing the following post, claiming that opposition fans logged in under his username to embarrass him.
‘[Blacks are] on average a little under 10 per cent thicker than whites; 15 per cent thicker than east Asians. I thought everyone knew, too. Some argument about cultural bias of tests, but same results come up in US.’
The Spectator is owned by the Barclay Brothers who also own The Daily Telegraph newspaper and is considered to be strongly pro-Conservative with former editors including Boris Johnson and Nigel Lawson. The current editor is Fraser Nelson and the BBC’s Andrew Neil has been called out on Twitter for his involvement with the magazine.
Many were also keen to remind Liddle of his 2005 arrest for common assault against his girlfriend who was 20 weeks pregnant at the time
Liddle is the poster boy for a recent trend in right-wing journalism that attempts to substitute a lack of content and ability with a level of shock value that ensures outrage. The outrage turns into shares, turns into ad-revenue and then only increases the individuals actual worth to their publication or broadcaster. This clickbait mentality is trolling on a professional level and Liddle, alongside the likes of Katie Hopkins and Piers Morgan, is a master of the craft.
While ignoring the troll is usually the best advice, Liddle has been wilfully given a national platform to spew his bile and while the guilty party is certainly Rod Liddle, those who have enabled him over years and years of this kind of racism are the likes of Rupert Murdoch, the Barclay Brothers, Andrew Neil and Fraser Nelson.
With his record of deliberate offence and abuse being so openly in the public domain it can only be concluded that the likes of The Sun and Spectator who publish him either agree with his views or don’t give a care for the message so long as it continues to generate revenue and social media shares.