Sunday, 30 August 2015

I Follow Jez:A Twitter Update

My emergence as a political activist has had a surprising result. I have doubled the number of followers on Twitter!

In the interests of veracity, I have to say this was not hard to do, as I only had twenty-something, but nevertheless, I am heartened by it, and every Follower is welcomed and esteemed.

By the way, I learned a lot about twitter and the fickleness of its adherents the day I was unfollowed by Cheltenham. Imagine that! Unfollowed by a town! Thrown aside by 116,000 people in an instant! That, I reckon is an achievement, and possibly a record.

I often intrigue my husband with my obsession over the epitaph destined to adorn my tombstone. I say, 'intrigue', because 'bore', doesn't quite cut it. Intrigue enters the equation when you factor in the certainty that, at my own request, I will not have a tombstone at all. (I'm heading for a woodland burial, under a beech tree...) My long-standing favourite was, " 'She Made Herself Laugh' Phil 4v4", but I am now leaning towards, "'Unfollowed By Cheltenham" Ecclesiastes 1 v 2".

I digress.

Twitter is proving invaluable as a resource for keeping up with the Corbyn4Leader debate, as I follow several newspapers and some commentators, though I am careful to abide by my own confirmation bias and leave 'The Daily Telegraph' and 'The Daily Mail' to get along without me.

So. My eyes are being opened to the weird world of the newspaper comment columns. I am tempted to dip my toe in, but am reluctant to do so, because everybody is so nasty to one another. I don't do nasty, and I know jolly well that engaging in these debates achieves zilch, unless you enjoy swearing in public and shouting over a fence with your hands over your ears. (Which pretty much explains 'confirmation bias' in case you wondered.)

The piece by former Prime Minister Tony Blair accusing Jeremy Corbyn of living in an 'Alice In Wonderland fantasy world'. really caused the fur to fly. Personally, I would have loved to have known what was in those comments that were withdrawn, as the ones that were left up were pretty eye-watering.

I actually supported Tony Blair: he did some good things, and he made some mistakes, (as my brother, when a communist, once famously said about Joseph Stalin). I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt over the Iraq war, at least until the Chilcot Report is published. Duped by the CIA is my opinion as of now ... Therefore I don't come at this as the hard-left fantasist as my commentator- friends are wont to call me: I am a centre-left Social Democrat, who condemns wildcat strikes and zero-hour contracts in equal measure. (As a for instance ... )

However, I think that Mr Blair has misread the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, and here's why:

The current crop of political leaders have insulated themselves from the lives of people who struggle. Leftish leaders, like Mr Blair have swallowed the 'orthodoxy' (challenged by many top economists) that austerity is the only way to make Britain great again. The problem is that, in terms of human misery, the cost is too high, and people like me, run of the mill soft-lefties, are waking up to this.

It is not OK to redefine child poverty so that the numbers could be massaged down. It is not right to introduce further cuts to benefits, so that more people have to resort to Food Banks. It is not humane to remove benefits in order to punish people with homelessness and starvation. (Think of the outrage if Putin announced something like this!) It is not compassionate to cut the benefits of people who are dying. it is not just that the poorest amongst us should bear the social cost of the banking crisis that they did not create.

Those of us who work with the victims of these policies know this, and this is why I voted for Jeremy.

Whom I now follow on Twitter.

Postscript: I read that this week bankers bonuses returned to pre-2008 levels. Because I don't do nasty, I have nothing to add.

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