Matthew Parris clearly thinks he's being frightfully witty when he opens his latest column for The Times as follows:

A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists.

Oh, har-de-har-har. Highly amusing: some cyclists allegedly grubby-up his local country lane, so he incites random acts of violence. Sure people like Parris are paid to be opinionated and even raise a few hackles, but advocating injury and death—delivered randomly—as a punishment for littering goes way beyond the pale.

I don't care how f•cking funny he thinks he's being. He's not. And I'm frankly astonished that a remark like that and the one about lynching a cyclist made it through the subbies—they must have had the B-team on duty for the Christmas holidays.

I'm not over-reacting here. This is not an imaginary crime—it really bloody happens, and the resulting injuries can be particularly gruesome:

And then Parris has the utter gall to end the last part of his column (on a different topic) as follows:

We walk about, wrote George Eliot, "well-wadded with stupidity". We have to. But "if we had but keen vision and feeling . . . it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence".

I find it hard to believe that this was written by the same person. Perhaps he should slim down his own wadding of stupidity and do a bit of work on his vision and feeling.

Other responses, all better than mine:

[via London Cycling Diary]


Treadly and Me

Well I certainly don't want any harm to come to him. I just want him to retract what he said and apologise.


I sent something rather meaningful and polite. Understanding what violence can actually do doesn't make me especially beholden to wishing similar. Upon anyone.

Parris clearly requires professional help. If you read his wiki entry he has been witness to horrifying violence. Poor bastard, and going against my ingrained yob tendencies, I actually feel pity for him.

Treadly and Me

Let's hope he took it in the right spirit then, because death threats are such a 'jolly jape', aren't they?


I sent him a fairly graphic and violent death threat a few days ago. I thought it was the least I could do under the circumstances.


It seems it was a joke! He has said sorry! So when another cyclist is hurt, seriously injured or killed, I'm sure that their family will say it has nothing to do with Mr Parris, the person who did it was only copying what Mr Parris said they should do, after all he said that hanging was good for cyclists.

The PC brigade will say they were misunderstood and the should be sent on a holiday to Holland where they can learn how cycle.

Yet more proof that idiots and politics go hand in hand.


[Note: This appears to be a different person to the Chris who commented on 3 January—T&M]

Treadly and Me

Hmm, I was wondering how he'd respond in his next column, if at all. On the one hand it's pretty lame but on the other I hardly expected sackcloth and ashes.