A close aide to John Bercow – who the Speaker once called his “stalwart” – can be revealed as a Labour supporter who has sent a string of abusive anti-Tory tweets. Tom Tweddle has worked as Bercow’s assistant since 2011, before which he was a researcher for former Labour minister Quentin Davies. His Gareth Snell-style Tory-bashing is apparent from a brief glance at his Twitter account:
All these comments were made during Tweddle’s employment with the Speaker, while he was supposedly helping him in his non-partisan role. Unfortunate timing as Bercow faces questions about his impartiality…
Guido has written previously about how we are living in our own filter bubbles, both on social media and offline. Demos take us inside the echo chamber with their report “Talking To Ourselves”. The study confirms what many have observed for years: there is a huge echo chamber effect in political discussion online, meaning people tend to share and engage with news sources and individuals who share their own beliefs, and shun those with opposing views. Demos analysed the Twitter accounts of 2,000 users, finding:
“supporters of UK political parties tend to talk to themselves online, to read and share news that is ideologically in tune with their party and discuss issues on which they hold strong ideological views”
The research shows SNP and UKIP supporters have a particularly strong aversion to engaging with people or organisations who hold opposing views. Labour supporters are most likely to share links from the BBC, Guardian, Mirror, Indy and HuffPo. Tories seem less stuck in their echo chamber, sharing links from the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph and Mail. All groups tend shares news from sites aligned with their party affiliation – the further from the centre their affiliation, the deeper the echo chamber becomes…
This is replicated in the analysis of retweets. Labour, SNP and UKIP supporters retweet their fellow party supporters the vast majority of the time. Tories retweet fellow Tories less, though still more than they do anyone else.
The data found @GuidoFawkes is the sixth most retweeted political site among the survey group, ahead of even the BBC and ITV. Unsurprisingly our retweeters are more likely to come from parties on the right:
The report concludes:
“Compromise, the ability to process a diverse range of opinion and, above all, an acceptance of some kind of shared reality and truth are central to a functioning democracy. All are threatened by the echo chamber effect.”
As our information sources become ever more filtered and self-socialised this will mean that we live in our own social media echo chambers. Is this a significant social problem? As we have seen recently, it means that after elections and referendums the losers are unpleasantly surprised…
Chris Addison is the archetypal virtue signalling BBC lefty luvvie. Naturally, when David Cameron was appointed president of Alzheimer’s Research UK yesterday, Addison took umbrage, asking: “Imagine how much you could have helped that if you’d been Prime Minister for seven years or something”. If right-on Addison was as informed as he likes his Twitter followers to think, he would know that Cameron prioritised Alzheimer’s and dementia while in government, spent hundreds of millions on dementia research, set up the Dementia Research Institute, spent millions more on dementia care in hospitals and care homes, backed numerous dementia programmes including the 2020 Challenge and Dementia Friends, oversaw an increase in dementia diagnosis rates from 42% to 68%, hosted the first ever G8 dementia summit in 2013 and gave a major speech for Global Dementia Legacy in 2014. Perhaps Addison forgot all this. Still, at least he got some retweets.
UPDATE: The unthinkable has happened, someone on Twitter has admitted they were wrong:
@montie Done and done. Quite right. Play the ball not the man. Or at least Do Your Fucking Research. Tweet deleted and I lie chastened.
— Chris Addison (@mrchrisaddison) January 27, 2017
Nick Sutton has announced that he will no longer be tweeting out the nightly newspaper front pages with the hashtag
#tomorrowspaperstoday. He has handed over the responsibility to @hendopolis, @AllieHBNews and @MsHelicat. He is busy enough running the BBC News website…
It is fair to say that his tweets influence front pages in terms of layout and timing. When tabloids have a scoop they have to weigh up the publicity versus the risk of giving away the one fact story for free. Some of us wonder about Sutton’s definition of a newspaper; the Independent’s digital “front page” only exists in virtual reality to be tweeted and the union-printed Morning Star has fewer readers than Guido, yet is still worthy of BBC promotion. These are quibbles, the initiative sets off nightly social media conversations and is a valuable public service for the chattering classes…
Gary Lineker is a Hacked Off backer and high profile supporter of Section 40. Last night the respected media law expert David Banks explained to Lineker why Section 40 is so dangerous: because it will charge newspapers costs when corrupt, powerful people make vexatious legal claims against them. Lineker extraordinarily tried to argue that no one makes libel threats against newspapers with the aim of killing true stories:
As Banks and several others pointed out to Lineker, this is demonstrably untrue. Some examples: police boss Gordon Anglesea obtained libel damages from two papers and threatened many others before eventually being convicted of child abuse. The Guardian received legal threats from over a hundred clients of HSBC’s Swiss bank when they investigated their leaked account data. Last year Guido received a number of legal threats over true stories, for example from Nick Clegg. Vexatious legal threats aiming to shut down news stories happen every week, this is an irrefutable fact. One which the worryingly naive Lineker refused to acknowledge.
Lineker then called for collective punishment of the national media, local newspapers, the entire magazine industry and student papers, justified in his mind because of “the Sun and Mail”. When Guido pointed out the problem with this non-argument, he replied:
I.e. The newspapers Gary has a personal problem with.
These three exchanges show the issue with Lineker, Max Mosley, Hacked Off, Impress and the Section 40 lobby. They are rich celebrities with personal vendettas against the press, either naive or wilfully blind to the facts, unable to offer any reasonable arguments other than ill-thought out policies driven by their own prejudices. Lineker revealed a lot about the people behind Section 40 last night, there are just five days left for it to be canned…