No Joking Please, We’re British

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


On Friday I twittered:

If my browsing speed doesn’t improve soon, I’m going to fly a plane into the internet. Don’t pretend you weren’t warned.

Just joking! But a reader emails me a warning that if you live in Britain, you’d better be careful with stuff like this. Paul Chambers was arrested last month for twittering a not dissimilar joke:

Yesterday, the court heard that the message read: “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”

Rob Desira, prosecuting, told the court: “The message was posted on the Twitter social networking site. He admitted posting the message into the public domain but never intended the message to be received by the airport or for them to take it seriously.”

….After his arrest, Chambers was suspended from work pending an internal investigation. Detectives also confiscated his iPhone, laptop and home computer….”I would never have thought, in a thousand years, that any of this would have happened because of a Twitter post. I’m the most mild-mannered guy you could imagine.”

OK, maybe it was a dumb thing to do. But arrested, suspended from work, laptop and phone confiscated, and now facing possible jail time? Come on.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate