THERE are quite a lot of racist idiots in the world. A lot of them take to the internet to demonstrate their idiocy and their racism. This we know.
There are, though, areas of the internet where we don’t expect to read hateful and bigoted comments. The website of Britain’s biggest-selling broadsheet newspaper is one place we should reasonably believe to be well policed.
We can’t imagine anti-Irish insults such as “Mick” and “Paddy” would make it into the letters page of the Daily Telegraph’s printed editions, but they are underneath a blog.
The piece we’re talking about is by Irish journalist Padraig Reidy. It is about why he cheers for whoever the England soccer team are playing. Whatever you think of his view, he is entitled to articulate it without being told that he should be in his garden tending his potatoes.
Or to “stay home Paddy”. Or, “The English don't share your small-minded bitterness – you and your feelings are simply irrelevant. You just don't matter Paddy.”
The last, grimly ironic, comment is quite funny taken in isolation. But it is not isolated. There are numerous remarks which are offensive to the writer and, particularly, to Irish people in general.
Should these comments be given a platform by the Daily Telegraph? Well, the journalist, Reidy, writes for the Index on Censorship so his view could well be different to ours.
We cannot imagine racial insults employed against Asian, African or West Indian immigrants to Britain being allowed to remain on the website. Hate-inciting, anti-Irish sentiment should not be tolerated either.