On August 31 back in 2012 Sunder Katwala and Guido promoted with temporary success, a “Positive Twitter Day“. Twitter, especially the political Twittersphere, can be a horrible nasty place, what with the culture wars and political extremists generally being unpleasant. None of us are immune from it. Wouldn’t it be pleasantly calming if for just one day we all tried to be nice and civil in our tweets? The idea came originally from the invariably polite Sunder Katwala and he agrees with Guido we should try again. We sorely need to try again…
If well known Twitter curmudgeons re-tweeted the hashtag #PositiveTwitterDay and entered into the spirit of the day on Friday, August 31, it might spread a bit of civility in these polarised times. Guido for his part is determined to have civil, positive discussions today with the likes of Owen or Raheem. The power of positive tweeting…
According to the geeks at PoliMonitor Jess Phillips is the most foul-mouthed MP on Twitter:
Jess Phillips (Labour) 39
Angus MacNeil (SNP) 28
Mike Gapes (Labour) 16
Jonathan Reynolds (Labour) 12
Dr Philippa Witford (SNP) 9
Andrew Gwynne (Labour) 9
Dawn Butler (Labour) 9
Chris Bryant (Labour) 8
Stella Creasy (Labour) 7
Robert Syms (Conservative) 7
The SNP manage disproportionately to get 2 entries into the top 10, Robert Syms holds up the Tory end (just) in tenth place behind everyone’s favourite bit of posh profanity, Stella Creasy. The LibDems are nowhere to be seen. What does this tell us?
Above is the tweet that scuppered an historic “no border” deal with Ireland on Monday. Tony Connelly is the widely respected RTE journalist covering Brexit – British journalists have recently discovered his output and it now often underlies a lot of their “reports from Dublin”. At 11:16 he tweeted that he had seen a draft text promising ‘no regulatory divergence’. This spooked the DUP, who had been promised a form of words that would satisfy them that as Downing Street had reiterated that morning: “The UK is leaving the EU as a whole. The territorial and economic integrity of the UK will be protected.”
This tweet ricocheted around the media, Remain-leaning journalists went hyperbolic, some claiming that this meant Northern Ireland was staying behind in the single market, others claiming this meant the whole of the UK was not really leaving the EU’s regulatory regime. With broadcasters starved of developments, because May and Juncker were lunching behind closed doors, they continued to pile up punditry of this kind. All this was despite RTE’s Tony Connelly having tweeted a corrective only four minutes after the first tweet that the phrase, as anathema to Brexiteers as it is to the DUP, had been replaced by “continued regulatory alignment”.
Meanwhile Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, waiting impatiently before the Dublin media at a pre-scheduled press conference, unwisely claimed that the wording was basically the same either way. It isn’t. The DUP – never the most trusting when Westminster is dealing with Dublin – unsurprisingly pulled the plug. Who failed to keep the DUP in the loop…
There has been a lot of political controversy about Twitter bots spreading fake news. Guido found another example of one yesterday. The government is actually planning to spend £127 billion on the NHS. Which is a lot more than the £3 billion being put aside for Brexit preparations. Stella is fake news….
Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored. We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.
Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee’s last day. We are conducting a full internal review. https://t.co/mlarOgiaRF
Nina Warhurst, the BBC’s political editor for the North West, was shocked to discover the cost of living down south in London. Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock boasted about what he could get for that in his constituency.
For some reason he subsequently regretted tweeting the promotional boost to the tourist industry in Barrow. He’s knocked it out of his Twitter feed now…
UPDATE: Blimey now Woodcock’s had to do a full mea culpa:
Broken down by party and gender, male Conservative candidates were the group who received the highest percentage of abuse in their mentions, followed by male UKIP and Labour candidates, and female Conservative candidates. Analysis by a research team from the University of Sheffield based on tweets from the general public; replying to tweets made by MPs, candidates at the election and other prominent politicians. They sampled just under 840,000 tweets sent in the month before the general election between 8 May 2017 and 8 June 2017.
Unsurprisingly Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May received the most Twitter abuse. Sadiq Khan in the aftermath of the terror attacks was the third most abused politician on Twitter from morons with misguided anger.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were the male Tory MPs who received the most abuse – according to the researchers Boris got some 8 times as much abuse as Diane Abbott. Jeremy Hunt also got more abuse than Diane . Even Tim Farron got more abuse…
This research tallies with Guido’s sense that Twitter has since the Corbyn ascendancy become more vitriolic from the left. The right just grin and bear it. The left whines about it. Twitter has improved anti-abuse systems, AI software now filters a lot of the abuse automatically. Most incoming hate-tweeters are muted and shouting at no-one. There is no denying that a lot of abuse is racially and sexually charged in a personalised way. It is an unpleasant fact of life for anyone in public life with a sizeable social media footprint…
Caitlin Moran has once again, unwisely, gone on a foul-mouthed Twitter rant this morning with: “voting for Labour = not being a c**t”.
Unfortunately for Moran, this makes 80% of her Times readers c**ts, as only 20% of Times readers voted for Labour in 2015. This figure pales in comparison to the 55% who voted for the Conservatives in that election.
Even worse for Moran, The Times today officially endorsed the Conservatives this morning.
Can’t wait for her defeat column on Saturday…
UPDATE: Moran has now deleted the Tweet, possibly after a stern word from the boss.
Sent at pub closing time to 700 followers. One of them, Greg Mulholland, the LibDem MP for Leeds North West responded:
Married with three kids Mulholland says “It definitely wasn’t me, honest!” and protests he would never use an Americanism like “wanna”. Guido believes him though not the official explanation that the account was “compromised”. “Compromised” as in someone drunkenly confused their Twitter and Tinder apps….
US gossip site Deadspin has been needling Ted Cruz about basketball ever since he called a hoop a “basketball ring“ at a campaign rally when he was running against Trump in the Republican primaries. They were incredulous as to the authenticity of his affection for basketball. So when Politico reported that he’d started a regular weekly basketball session with Republican senators like Marco Rubio they demanded photographic* proof:
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…
A former Labour adviser who denied supporting Theresa May was behind the pro-Theresa May campaign Twibbon. Jonny Chambers, who previously worked for Stella Creasy, lashed out on Twitter this morning after being barred from the Labour party after he “demonstrated support for the Conservative party on social media.” In a Facebook post, Chambers claimed that the allegations of “support” for May were a “wonderful demonstration of Labour’s values”, before denying any support had been given:
“Labour claim that evidence shows I have demonstrated support for the Conservatives – something I have never done. I posted an article about why Labour people should have a stake and an interest in a race that was choosing our next Prime Minister – and I quite clearly said that whilst Theresa should be the next Prime Minister, I wanted a Labour leader than can beat her and the Conservatives.”
In truth Chambers did a little more than a few tweets and an unread blogpost. His own Twibbon page shows he created the “TheresaMayForPM” imagery, complete with tagline “A country that works for everyone” – one of May’s campaign slogans. The cause was far more popular than any of his others, winning over 500 supporters. Chambers clearly idolises the PM, praising previous statements and even down playing Red Ed’s chances in a minority government:
Chambers even tweeted one of Cameron’s harshest put-downs to Corbyn, followed by clapping hands signalling applause:
To cap it all off, he was an Owen Smith supporter. To be fair, the Corbynista’s have been calling them “red tories”…
Twitter has not been a happy forum for John Cleese, whose foray onto social media has transformed him from national treasure to eccentric old weirdo. The Hacked Off divorce enthusiast this morning tweeted that he hoped Paul Dacre’s next heart attack “is his last”. Dacre has a heart condition. Last year Guido caught Cleese comparing journalists to murderers – he first denied he’d said it then fessed up and claimed he was joking. Step away from the keyboard…
The first real social media campaign for a Tory election has had a lacklustre start, with just three accounts spawned across Twitter and Facebook so far. Theresa May leads the pack with a Nation-builder website Theresa2016.co.uk capturing email addresses for the all important final membership round. Facebook and Twitter pages complete the digital assets. May already boasts 649 Facebook likes and a whopping 4286 Twitter followers. The other candidates can’t afford to be left behind during the membership rounds…
Pro-Corbyn supporters are jumping on Cameron’s call for Corbyn to “go“. Dave looked like he was being sincere but has he made it harder for Labour to get rid?
Ed Miliband has now called for Corbyn to go – no Shadow Cabinet job for him then. Momentum have curiously cancelled their “Keep Corbyn” event tonight “due to overwhelming demand”, which is odd. The manoeuvring John McDonnell meanwhile has a “major” speech lined up for Friday morning. Team Corbyn are under no illusions what that means…
Catherine Gee, a culture writer for the Telegraph, compares Farage to Adolf Hitler, founder of the Third Reich, responsible for the deaths of 85,000,000 people in World War II and initiator of the previous German attempt at a European superstate.[…] Read the rest