The far right claim themselves as scourges of crime and believers in law and order. But, where I am concerned, it seems they feel able to make an exception. On the “London Patriot” website, one Guiseppe di Santis writes: “Nationalists will be delighted to know that the Daily Telegraph London Editor has been mugged, robbed, and assaulted by rioters/looters. Don’t you just love to see Gilligan getting a taste of his own medicine? It will be interesting to see what he has to say in his next smear story about the BNP.”
I can quite understand why the BNP isn’t pleased with my appalling “smears” about them – such as my story revealing how their then (now sadly ex) London organiser, Nick Eriksen, believed that rape was a “myth… to suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that forcefeeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.” Another selective law-and order hardliner, I see!
Also quite pleased about my mugging was Phil Andrews, a politician from Hounslow. “I’d be lying if I tried to pretend this would spoil my day too much,” wrote Phil in a series of posts on the Brentford TW8 forum. “He should be thankful I wasn’t with the lads who nicked his bike. I rarely take pleasure in other people’s pain, but I confess to a feeling of reassurance that what goes around comes around.”
Back in 2006, I reported that the then (now sadly ex) Councillor Andrews had been a senior member of the National Front and Holocaust denier who had served time for causing actual bodily harm to a black police officer. (You can find a picture of Andrews marching with Nick Griffin by searching on the Photographers Direct website – I can’t link directly to it because it is copyright.)
The following year, the good Councillor spent a lot of time bloviating about how he had put my evil lies about him “in the hands of solicitors.” Four years on, I still haven’t had the writ, Phil – perhaps it’s lost in the post? But he did sue some of his political opponents in the Labour Party for saying that members of the ethnic minorities would be at risk if he was elected. He lost. Ex-Cllr Andrews, incredibly, was at one time Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for community safety (he’s lost that too, alas). It’s good to see his commitment to violent assault, er sorry community safety, burns undiminished…
Joining in approvingly on the thread was one of Ken Livingstone’s main online groupies, a gentleman called Tom Barry (“not often I find a great deal to approve of in Mr. Andrews, but Gilligan’s reported behaviour is entirely familiar to me,” he wrote). Tom operates a rather oafish anti Boris-Johnson blog and Twitter stream called Boris Watch and often seems a fairly angry sort of fellow. He has never forgiven me for, literally years ago, mocking one of his many beyond-caricature observations (that time, it was about the anti-bendy bus campaign being part of a giant neo-con conspiracy.) Tom’s furious threats to complain about my “misrepresentations” again never materialised – and could not do so, because the quotes were accurate. I still have all the printouts, as I do of all the latest rantings in case anyone’s tempted to take them down.
I suppose I should be cross. But I have to say I find it gratifying, for two reasons – first, because it shows that I have really got under these delightful people’s skins, and second because it shows them up for what they are, better than I ever could.