John Hirst was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years. He served 25. He has been punished for his crime. John Hirst has the right to champion a cause he believes in and to be allowed to express his opinion. He does not deserve to be harangued for his previous behaviour and prevented from putting over his point of view in the way that Andrew Neil did on the Daily Politics Show yesterday. He bullied John Hirst mercilessly and denied us the opportunity to hear what he had to say.
Neil’s behaviour was one of the worst examples of TV journalism I have ever seen. He should be ashamed of his performance. On the other hand perhaps we should be grateful to him for giving us such a clear and timely example of how divided our society has become. Maybe he demonstrated the true insularity, selfishness and intolerance of middle England? His judgemental attitude and self-righteous indignation an indicator of the depths to which we have fallen: a society without compassion or understanding. A society which accepts that people like John Hirst who live in a very unequal world are a natural condition for which not much can be done – and are therefore of little consequence? Perhaps ‘Bully Brillo’ has done us a favour?
The jury in the court of public opinion is out, Mr Neil. I sincerely hope it shows you no mercy.