Boris Johnson (who typically dresses better) defends poor Matt Taylor against the Social Justice Warriors.
The other day the brilliant space scientist Dr Matt Taylor was asked to give a report on the progress of Philae, the astonishing little landing craft that has travelled, in all, four billion miles to become the first representative of humanity to visit the surface of a comet. Dr Taylor leant forwards. He started to speak. Then his voice went husky, and it became painfully obvious to viewers that he was actually crying. And of course he has many very good reasons to feel emotional. The London-born astrophysicist has been part of a mind-blowing success. …
Except, of course, that he wasnâ€™t crying with relief. He wasnâ€™t weeping with sheer excitement at this interstellar rendezvous. I am afraid he was crying because he felt he had sinned. He was overcome with guilt and shame for wearing what some people decided was an â€œinappropriateâ€ shirt on television. â€œI have made a big mistake,â€ he said brokenly. â€œI have offended people and I am sorry about this.â€
I watched that clip of Dr Taylorâ€™s apology â€“ at the moment of his supreme professional triumph â€“ and I felt the red mist come down. It was like something from the show trials of Stalin, or from the sobbing testimony of the enemies of Kim Il-sung, before they were taken away and shot. It was like a scene from Maoâ€™s cultural revolution when weeping intellectuals were forced to confess their crimes against the people.
Why was he forced into this humiliation? Because he was subjected to an unrelenting tweetstorm of abuse. He was bombarded across the internet with a hurtling dustcloud of hate, orchestrated by lobby groups and politically correct media organisations.
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