A joke which compared Nelson Mandela’s long time in passing to a slow-to-shut-down computer resulted in a Staffordshire man being arrested by police, fingerprinted, DNA-swabbed and detained for eight hours—growing evidence of the police state into which modern Britain is turning.
According to a report, Neil Phillips, who runs the Crumbs sandwich shop in Rugeley, also had his computer seized for three weeks after making the joke on a forum.
In one online post, the 44-year-old wrote: “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.”
Mr Phillips was arrested at his home on September 10 and was taken to a police station where he was quizzed about the postings on the Rugeley Soap Box website.
He said: “It was an awful experience. I was fingerprinted; they took DNA and my computer. It was a couple of jokes, Bernard Manning type. There was no hatred.
“You can question the taste, but they’re not hateful. I told the police they got plenty of ‘likes’. What happened to freedom of speech?
“I think they over-reacted massively. Those jokes are ‘out there’, anyway.
“When they took my computer, I thought, ‘what the hell are they looking for?’ To be questioned would have been over the top, never mind arrested.”
“They are jokes that I cut-and-pasted,” insisted Mr Phillips. “’I didn’t make them up and I didn’t put them on a public site. You have to sign-up and join. It’s turning into the thought police—you can’t do this, you can’t do that.”
After being bailed(!) Mr Phillips was finally informed by police that there “would be no further action based on Crown Prosecution Service decision of there being insufficient evidence to support a prosecution.”
The arrest was the result of a complaint made by a local Liberal-Democrat councillor, Tim Jones, who was apparently “incensed” by this joke that he called in the police.
The old joke that political correctness going so far that it would be illegal to be insulted, appears to be rapidly coming true.