This morning’s Independent is the latest newspaper to cover the Inigo Wilson affair. The Telegraph and Guardian have already filed reports. Orange is certainly feeling the heat and has told visitors to its website that "loads of emails" mean "there may be a delay getting back" to people. If you want to protest against Inigo Wilson’s suspension you should send your email to email@example.com.
I am particularly grateful to all of those bloggers who have stood with ConservativeHome in defending Inigo’s freedom of speech (even if not agreeing with everything or anything he wrote). Here are some highlights from the freedom-loving blogosphere:
Iain Dale: "Inigo Wilson’s critics should read the whole article. It is an attack on the left’s approach to language and the way language is used to shut down debate and promote a particular world view. His definitions of "class" "gender issues" and "race issues" should make it clear to anyone that he is absolutely opposed to stereotyping people collectively but thinks that "how they think, feel or behave as individuals" is rather more important. It’s also intended to be satirical. Sadly, his opponents have proved his point for him by their reaction. This is now a serious issue about freedom of speech. Inigo was acting in his private capacity. Orange have a choice – are they on the side of Hezbollah-supporting fanatics (see Athena/A Murphy’s posts on ConservativeHome at the end of the thread) – or are they on the side of freedom of speech?"
Perry de Havilland on Samizdata: "Unless there are other factors at play here (I will be see what I can find out), I am about to become an ex-Orange customer and will start urging others to do likewise. If Orange is concerned about one of their employees ‘upsetting customers’, well I think they need to be told that pursuing this course of action against Inigo Wilson, they are doing precisely that. I do not dispute their right to hire and fire whomsoever they wish, but I intent to try and make them suffer some economic consequences as a result if this is as egregious as it appears."
Nosemonkey: "Hell, I may disagree with this Inigo Wilson chap’s opinions – I disagree with most people’s opinions. But vindictively trying to get someone fired for an opinion expressed outside of the office and in their own time is significantly more offensive than anything contained in that article. He hasn’t broken the law, he hasn’t incited violence or hatred, and – most importantly – unlike those who have got him suspended he hasn’t harmed anyone."
Hurry up Harry: "So, should I defend Inigo Wilson? The content of his article is a subject on which I will not comment: except to say that to the extent that free expression is the principle at stake, the content of the speech is largely an irrelevant consideration. I do think that companies have a right and a duty to consider the effect on their share price of the conduct of their employees, and their ability – within the constraints of employment law – to take action against their employees if they do damage to the company for which they work. It would have been sensible – certainly, with the benefit of hindsight – for Mr Wilson to have written anonymously, as most of the MPAC forum contributors who orchestrated the campaign against him do. The central question, therefore, appears to me to be this. To what extent does, and should, employment law balance two occasionally competing interests: the ability of workers to speak freely, and the right of companies to manage their employees efficiently, in the interests of that company? On balance, I feel I should defend Inigo Wilson: if only because, as a blogger, I have a particular obligation to campaign for unfettered public discourse."
USS Neverdock: "More people are expressing outrage at Orange’s attack on free speech. If you’re an orange customer, call them and tell them you’ll switch unless Wilson is reinstated."
Dizzy Thinks: "Inigo Wilson, as Iain Dale rightly says, does need our support in relation to Orange. We should all take the opportunity to write to Orange and express our concern that such blanket, and arguably libellous, charges have been made against him by MPAC members and point out why. The issue of free speech is hugely significant, but it should not be misdirected towards Orange, as whatever they do the article will remain online and Inigo’s freedom of speech will therefore remain intact."
Small Dead Animals republishes some of Inigo’s definitions.
Chicken Yoghurt hates Inigo’s article (and is unimpressed with ConservativeHome) but defends freedom of speech. Of those trying to get Inigo sacked… "It’s intellectual cowardice – they don’t have the cojones or the brains to take Wilson down the smart way so they took the weasel’s shortcut instead. They could have showed themselves to be witty, intelligent debaters (maybe) but decided to go for his livelihood."
Also see Tim Worstall, The Register and there’s a simple link from The Corner.
Related links: ConservativeHome editorial defending Inigo’s article and his freedom of speech and the original Lefty Lexicon.