I HAVE been a published writer and hard-hitting investigative journalist for more than 30 years.
Over those years I have received letters of complaint and criticism when my words have struck a raw nerve – as a journalist it comes with the territory.
And it was always good to shine a light on the criticism and give the reader the right of reply.
But times have changed.
And technology now allows the trolls and stalkers to stay in the darkness.
I was active on the Telecom Gold internet in 1988 – long before the World Wide Web was born. Since the Millennium, I have been a member of almost every social media group imaginable, and for the past four years have written my own blog… the one you are reading now!
As a magazine and newspaper editor and writer, my name is well known; and if you search you will find me.
But internet trolls and weirdos have finally forced me underground – the anonymous keyboard filth who threaten, demean, bully, harass and follow.
Some 13 years ago, I had my first taste of these vermin through a football club website – one guy from Cardiff even threatened to drive 300 miles to “find” me! I laughed it off as football banter… at the time I knew no better.
Then four years ago the reality of these anonymous people hit home.
In May 2013, after I published my personal thoughts about the killers of Private Lee Rigby and the Islamophobia which followed his murder, I feared for my life.
Within an hour of my words hitting social media, I faced scores of threatening messages from far right Britain First and BNP extremists. Some had even hacked my Facebook account and downloaded photos of my children. More than a dozen people (including women) made death threats against me and my family, and one man threatened to find out which school my then 11 year-old son, attended… “it would be easy to find him,” he taunted.
So I closed down all my social media accounts, and by lucky coincidence we moved house and area two weeks later!
In the meantime I suffered a nervous breakdown.
I promised to take extra care with my social media activity in the future and re-entered the world of the internet in September 2013, when I began this blog.
So I wrote, campaigned, exposed and wrote some more.
Then it all came back with a vengeance early in 2016, while I was campaigning for the liberation of Palestine… and this time it was sinister and at the same time disgusting.
Over a number of weeks I was being trolled by Zionist Israelis with private messages and public postings of the most vile paedophile and sexual nature I will not repeat.
I managed to find out the identities of two of these trolls (one 35 year-old man and a 22 year-old woman) both based in Tel Aviv.
I reacted by publicly naming them, blocking them and withdrawing from some social media sites.
Although I must state here, that Facebook was toothless in dealing with these twisted bullies and perverts.
Over the ensuing 15 months I still fell victim to the occasional troll, but I had learned how to deal with them.
How wrong I was!
Three weeks ago, I began a daily writing campaign, through this blog, to support Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.
My posts were being widely read (one had over 25,000 hits) and shared via Facebook, Twitter and other means.
And I received the occasional disagreeable comment from some readers.
But then it happened…
Three individual weirdos managed to find out my phone number (which is ex-directory) via Facebook and my other social media activity and the calls and text messages began.
I am still hanging up my phone and deleting texts as I write this.
It doesn’t frighten me, but some things in life are more important.
I will always stay true to my political beliefs, which are ingrained deep within me, and will continue to write my blog.
But today, I deleted my Facebook account – which I have maintained for 10 years – and am clearing my social media footprint.
I have had enough!
I am a writer AND a fighter, but family, peace, music and love are much more important.