• “Cullgate” reaches Independent newspaper …

    19th December 2014 | News | Claire
  • Misplaced Tory sensitivities

    I am sorry I missed the recent fun in Devon over the meaning of the word “cull”. It centres on an independent councillor from Ottery St Mary named Claire Wright, who plans to run against the incumbent Tory MP for East Devon, Hugo Swire, next year.

    Last month, a member of the public wrote a comment on her blog, saying: “Cull all Tory councillors.” It is pretty obvious to almost anyone that this was a call to throw the Tories out of office at the next election, but the secretary of the Tory group on East Devon council, Phil Twiss, interpreted it as a “highly offensive and threatening” incitement to mass murder.

    He demanded Wright remove it from her blog, which she did – and then he complained to the police, who have, understandably, decided to take no action.

    I wonder how Twiss would have reacted if he had been alive in the 1830s, and had been introduced to the MP for Pontefract, Sir Culling Smith. I imagine he would have run away screaming in terror.