Sunday, January 24, 2010

That's not the way to do it

Reverend Stephen Sizer (pictured below) the incumbent at Christ Church, an Anglican parish in stockbroker-belt Virginia Water, Surrey, is a man with strong feelings about Israel/Palestine. Ok, fine, lots of people have too. But what's not so fine is the way he seems to have reacted to blogger, Seismic Shock's online polemics.
Seismic shock, who has very different views on Middle Eastern politics to Sizer and has openly expressed his view that Sizer is a disreputable person on his blog, got a seismic shock when he was paid a visit by PC Plod, as he explained:

A sergeant from the Horsforth Police related to me that he had received complaints via Surrey Police from Rev Sizer and from Dr Anthony McRoy – a lecturer at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology – who both objected to being associated with terrorists and Holocaust deniers.



The sergeant made clear that this was merely an informal chat, in which I agreed to delete my original blog (http://seismicshock.blogspot.com) but maintain my current one (http://seismicshock.wordpress.com). [What powers have they got to tell you to delete a blog? And an “informal chat”? It’s pleasant when you can have informal chats with the police, which I have when someone left my front door open and they came in to check that the house hadn’t been burgled. But if they were coming to speak about my blog I would turn very formal on them.] The policeman related to me that his police force had been in contact with the ICT department my previous place of study, and had looked through my files, and that the head of ICT at my university would like to remind me that I should not be using university property in order to associate individuals with terrorists and Holocaust deniers (I am sure other people use university property to make political comments, but nevermind). [Bloody hell! My work cuts off all access to blogging, reasonably if annoyingly as I can’t even do any posts or comments at lunchtime. I can’t see them using the police as messengers in a matter of internal discipline. So Seismic is being investigated?]

And that's not all. Huh! Of course it isn't. Stephen Sizer, or possibly someone pretending to be him, also left the following gloatingly threatening message on Vee's blog - Vee is an Australian Christian who seems to hold some fairly pro-Israel views and links to Seismic Shock -

Stephen Sizer says:



January 16, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Dear Vee,

You must take a little more care who you brand as anti-semitic otherwise you too will be receiving a caution from the police as the young former student of Leeds did recently. One more reference to me and you will be reported.

Blessings


Stephen

Very charming.
Quite understandably on the Harry's Place comms box Seismic Shock described himself as "a bit intimidated" by the whole affair, as well he might have been. What, are we in Canada, or something? Unless Seismic Shock had made a direct threat on Sizer's life - which he didn't, obviously - there's absolutely no reason to get the plod involved. As Francis Sedgemore put it: "Libel is a matter for civil and not criminal law and it is a gross misuse of police resources to have officers intervene as they have in the case of Seismic Shock"

If you're reading this and thinking to yourself that you'd like to tell Sizer's bishop that you're concerned that his behaviour is unseemly in a man of the cloth, then the contact details for the Bishop, Suffragan Bishop and Archdeacon of Surrey as well as their personal assistants' are all here.

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