Several years ago I tried twitter, but lost interest fairly quickly. Having recently gotten more involved in the old politics game I thought I’d give it another go. Twitter is great for a political activist, you can quickly get updates on all the latest news, you can get involved in campaigns through hasghtags, and keep in touch with political allies and personalities across the country. Its format of 140 character micro-blogging also destroys any chance of having serious rational debate, which may have contributed to the platform being a hotbed of spite and bigotry (that and the ability to directly send messages to celebrities, and politicians, and people who you might generally want to attack). The phenomenon of the twitter Troll is so common place it’s almost cliché.
The local Labour party (and anyone involved in politics in Bristol) is cursed with one such troll who goes by the alias of BristolRed (I say cursed, as even Bristol Labour party member admit he’s an embarrassment for their party). Many of us in the local Green party have been on the receiving end of spiteful messages and attacks from this individual. Instead of attempting to critique our actual policies or our record in parliament and councils, his usual modus operandi is to shamefully misrepresent Green policies and try and berate us with them, or to go in for some personal attacks. His favourite line is that we all support ISIS and terrorism, due to our policy of no longer having a list of organisation the state deems to be terroristic. Its quiet funny that his tribal loyalty to Labour is such that he’ll wholesale reproduce this lie started in the Telegraph and other mouthpieces of the right wing Tory press to undermine the Green Party; when you’d think that as Labour are often on the receiving end of such attacks from those exact same papers he’d be more sympathetic. The enemy of my enemy is still definitely not my friend if your name is BristolRed.
For the benefit of my fellow Greens who have had to endure interactions with this individual, I reproduce our exchange below which ended (in part) with him telling me he’d block me if I continued with our conversation. That is my advice to anyone who gets attacked by BristolRed, respond calmly and in good humor and get him onto some facts and he’ll flounder, as despite being a barrister (a strange job for someone who loves to go around telling people they’re not working class enough) he’s surprisingly bad at arguing. There’s a reason the Labour party has declined from a peak of just over 1,000,000 members in the 1950s (and a relative peak of 400,000 in 1997 before Blair’s victory) to less than 200,000 today – it has many many flaws, and you can easily point them out. BristolRed as a long standing member of the Labour party is no doubt aware of this, and that’s probably why he’s so bitter. I bet he can still remember when the Labour party actually stood up for ordinary people, instead of just being the more human face of neoliberalism.
I personally find BristolRed’s puerile remarks and the childish manner he chooses to behave in very amusing. So actually fairly enjoy engage with him. When last he decided to spout his nonsense a couple of weeks ago I called him out on deliberately misrepresenting our policy. He didn’t like this and demanded I come to the pub he goes to and call him a liar to his face (I told him I’ll be calling him a misrepresenter to his face, and that he doesn’t get nuance). Unfortunately as a night shift working theatre porter quiet caught up in the election campaign I haven’t had the chance to meet up with him and tell him the error of his ways face to face, so jovially let him known I hadn’t forgotten his demand and that as soon as possible I’d be fulfilling it.
Here is our twitter exchange,
*edit storify won’t embed properly so here it is on a link