The proudly defiant motto of former chemistry teacher Nigel Oldfield’s OSC website is “Always winning”. The mission statement is “Enabling the rights, legal entitlements and safety of all, regardless of history”. A glance at the topics covered reveals that minor attraction is clearly a major concern.

It is ironic, then, that the most recent report at OSC is about someone losing, not winning; someone whose rights have not been enabled and who has plainly been unsafe. It is a post telling us about a registered sex offender, injured when he was attacked at work with a hammer, being denied entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.

Even more ironic is the latest news, which is about Nigel himself. You’ll find it in the Daily Mail but not at OSC. The Mail reported last week that around 100 people gathered outside his home near Rotherham after learning that this “convicted paedophile” had been living in the neighbourhood for 18 months. The mob “smashed down doors and ransacked the rented property before police were alerted and drove the 54-year-old away”, eye-witnesses reportedly said.

In the Mail’s version, unsurprisingly, this violent mob were merely local parents worried about their children. The legitimacy of their action was implicitly endorsed by quoting a local witness:  “The disgrace is not the public disorder but the fact that we were never told this man was living in the area.” The Mail admitted that Nigel had been attacked in the course of a five-hour siege, but played down the violence, saying he had not needed hospital treatment.

According to a detailed report, though, by Bernie Najarian on Boychat, a local freelance photographer tweeted a photo of him with a bloody nose; others reported on social media that Nigel had been seen in the A&E department of a local hospital soon after the fracas. There are hints he may have been hounded while he was there, too, and perhaps attacked a second time.

As for Oldfield the man, Najarian reported that he

“…had never touched a child sexually. He also claimed steadfastly online that he was not a pedophile, based on the clinical definition. Nonetheless, he had earned himself a multi-year membership on the sex offenders’ registry in Britain in 2002, after he’d gone on a spree of depression-fuelled image downloading, 11,000 images in all, of which a handful were considered legally actionable. After doing 15 months of prison time and realizing he was now all but unemployable in the mean streets of de-industrialized Britain, he emerged with the idea that the punishment didn’t fit the crime. He became an online activist and gadfly, sparring with the political leaders of the abuse victim movement and insisting that an image was information, not a person.”

The Boychat report also linked to a 2012 edition of Jon Gaunt’s shock-jock phone-in radio show, on which Nigel was interviewed at some length. I listened to it. His handling of Gaunt’s baiting was nothing if not feisty. By no means would I endorse all that Nigel said. Nevertheless, I found myself warming to his you’re-not-gonna-bully-me combativeness. This pugnacious style, this “always winning” attitude, in the teeth of our many defeats as heretics in these terrible times, strikes me as admirable and inspiring.

And never was it more ballsy than in his reported reaction to the mob gathered at his home. Did he make himself scarce? Did he get the hell out of it or lock himself in the bathroom, as most of us would surely have tried to do?

No way! He came out fighting! Wielding “a length of wood”, presumably to defend himself, he sallied forth, taunting the crowd! Inevitably, he was then attacked; but even that failed to shut him up.  A witness was reported as saying “He must be used to getting a beating because I could hear him shouting ‘is that all you’ve got?’ ”

Is that all you’ve got! Incredible!!

While it may not be the most original retort, and definitely not a wise one, it is an undeniably plucky thing to say when you stand alone against a bunch of thugs who could pile in and kick your head off at any second.  So hail, brave warrior, Nigel the Noble!

According to Telegraph blogger Mic Wright, OSC  stands for Online Sex Offenders Community. He and others have dismissed it as a one-man band rather than any sort of community, with Wright himself saying “even some paedophiles consider him an embarrassment”. Likewise, the UK & Ireland database, an Anti site “profiling crimes against children”, badmouths him, saying “On GirlChat, he tries to portray himself as an expert on a wide variety of topics, but even his fellow paedophiles view him with disdain and contempt. His website, instead of being the scholarly repository of intellectual material he seems to think it is, is a tabloid style, narcissistic representation of what a crazed individual this man really is.”

I have no idea whether regulars on GirlChat would agree with this. As for the OSC website, it seems to comprise mainly links rather than blogs. Can mere links be “narcissistic”? Am I missing something?  Heretic TOC would not usually feature such a hostile opinion from a dubious source. As I have praised Nigel as brave, though – and it will take a lot of persuasion to shift me from that view – I feel I should make it clear my judgment is made in the full knowledge that other heretics may be less impressed.

I’d be interested to hear what you think. And Nigel, if you are reading this, by all means speak up for yourself here.

Actually, I have emailed him a couple of times in the last week without receiving any reply so far, just to ask how he is feeling after all this turmoil and to see if he needs any help. Getting a safe new place to live will doubtless be his top priority. It would be understandable if he has neither the time nor the taste for further public engagement just now. I do hope he is getting some sort of official help, if he needs it, for re-housing.

Of all people, I would be particularly remiss if I did not to show concern and offer assistance. Why me? Because only a month ago Nigel generously offered me a safe house – or what seemed a safe one at that time – after I had been subjected to a storm of online abuse and threats following my appearance on the Australian version of 60 Minutes.

Chief shit stirrer on that occasion was the odious arsonist, child-tormentor and self-righteous anti-paedophile sting artist Stinson Hunter. He and Chris Wittwer, who runs the UK & Ireland database linked above, both helped orchestrate the heat put on Nigel. In Wittwer’s case, according to Bernie Najarian’s report, this extended to “working closely with mob members stalking Oldfield” and posting a photograph of him in hospital. This was on the Saturday morning, following the fracas on Friday afternoon, which suggests he may have been kept in A&E overnight. If so, the Mail’s claim that he had not needed hospital treatment would seem wide of the mark. Najarian describes Wittwer as “the UK’s best known old-school anti-pedo vigilante”.

I should perhaps conclude by adding that after my solicitor returned from holiday a couple of days ago, I emailed him as to the practicability and wisdom of asking the police to investigate the online threats made against me. I referred to Nigel’s case as well, pointing out how online hostility, seemingly remote and ineffectual, can quickly lead to something much more serious once an address is in play. I expect to discuss the matter with him shortly.

Oh, yes, one more thing. I mentioned 60 Minutes. When I blogged about it in Pummelling the human face of paedophilia, I described the interview as a PR disaster, saying “I swear to shun the intoxicating liquor of publicity for ever – or at least until the next tempting but illusory opportunity comes along to promote an alternative narrative in the mainstream media.”

However, I am not so sure now that it was a disaster. Yes, it was a terrible interview. Yes, there was massive blowback, with intense hostility on the social media. Yes, many of those who watched the show would have been massively confirmed in their belief that we heretics are monsters.

On the other hand, most viewers of a sensationalist show like that would have already been entrenched in such a view. There was never going to be a chance of converting them, so no harm was done. As for the small open-minded minority who may have seen it, plus others who may have heard about the fuss without even viewing the programme, it seems there may be another story to tell.

The evidence is that since 60 Minutes aired, Heretic TOC has consistently become a much more visited site. Hits on the site have jumped up from an average of 200 per day last year to over 300 so far this year. On four consecutive days immediately after the broadcast, there were over 1000 hits per day, peaking at 1685 on 20 July. Most of these hits, I presume, were antis coming along to be disgusted. After getting their fix of nausea – or boredom when they couldn’t find anything very scandalous! – they didn’t return. For the last three weeks, though, hits have been running at nearly 500 per day. So this is beginning to look like a permanent rise of interest in Heretic TOC for which the only explanation (apart from an excellent recent guest blog by Lensman!) appears to be the exposure on Australian TV. OK, some of it will be antis, some could be cops, although the latter have presumably long been a presence.

My guess is that the attention has attracted the curiously open-minded along with the antis, plus sympathisers previously unaware of Heretic TOC’s existence. The old adage that no publicity is bad publicity may not be so far from the mark after all.