I’m usually fairly active on twitter. By fairly active I mean that I regularly scream into the void and no one pays attention.
That is until yesterday when a Boris bot, or some associated dickhead, reported a tweet as “targeted harassment and inciting violence”.
So there’s the offending tweet, which I’ll break down in a minute, and to further clarify, the image link is for an animated gif from twitter’s own library showing Kenny from South Park being thrown under a bus.
It appears that the issue with my tweet is the idiom “throw [person] under the bus”. We’ll get back to context in a minute, but first, what does the phrase mean?
Here’s the link to the Merriam Webster explanation of the idiom, which helpfully explains that it’s a metaphorical term used for making someone else take the blame: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/why-do-we-throw-someone-under-the-bus#:~:text=To%20throw%20someone%20under%20the,blame%20or%20gain%20an%20advantage.
given the relative prevalence of this expression (and the relative lack of such assaults), it seems safe to assume that there is a highly figurative meaning involved.
Now let’s get to the context. Prime Minister of the UK, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (yes, that is his full name) has been caught out lying, again. During the covid pandemic he was having boozy parties in contravention of his own lockdown laws.
When questioned about those parties, he flatly denied any parties took place and all rules had been followed. Following the release of photos and eye witness reports of him boozing it up he tasked an “independent” investigation by Sue Grey.
Following that the official line became: “wait for the Sue Grey report”. Then the Met Police were made to investigate the parties due to legal action brought by The Good Law Project.
126 fines were issued to 10 Downing St staff, and one fixed penalty notice to Johnson himself even though he’d attended at least 6 of the parties.
Following this, the Sue Grey report was miraculously going to be released.
It was widely reported in the press that Sue Grey requested a meeting with Johnson to discuss it. Sue Grey denied this. 10 Downing St assured that’s what happened. Until they remembered that they’d actually requested the meeting with Sue Grey.
It’s almost as if you cannot trust anything involving Johnson.
Anyway, so then I tweeted my tweet. So let’s look at whether or not it’s targeted harassment and/or inciting violence.
Targeted harassment: I name Boris Johnson (tagging him as he’s on twitter) and Sue Grey via hashtag (as she does not appear to be on twitter). Is that Targeted harassment? It’s current political commentary based on current events. You might have a different view but if you’re the leader of the country and an aide whose names are currently front page news, the bar for targeted harassment has to be pretty high here.
Inciting violence: straight off the bat (also an idiom), there is no incitement of violence, or encouraging others to engage in acts of violence. It’s an idiom, a very well known one.
In the tweet it’s Boris Johnson metaphorically throwing Sue Grey under the bus in order to save his own skin (another idiom). The nuance is that I’m cheerleading for Sue Grey to take him down with her if this is the case! “I hope she has tight hold of his belt” meaning if he throws her under the bus, she’ll take him with her.
Why this terminology? Because Boris Johnson routinely throws people under the bus to save himself. Remember his press secretary Allegra Stratton who resigned because she joked about parties, while Johnson was denying they ever occured? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partygate
I guess I must be the only person referring to how Boris Johnson refers as “throwing them under the bus”…. https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/partygate-boris-johnson-backroom-staff-downing-street-take-fall-politicians-avoid-reckoning-1645556
So there we have it. I’m suspended by twitter unless I delete a tweet that twitter has already hidden. If I delete it, according to twitter, it means that I accept that I broke their terms and conditions. I didn’t.
I’ve appealed once, stating that it wasn’t targeted harassment or inciting violence. That appeal was rejected within 4 hours.
I’ve appealed again stating it’s political commentary and that “throwing someone under a bus” is an idiom. That appeal is still pending.
I might not be back on twitter.