Wednesday 7 September 2016

Why did Theresa May big-up a vile right-wing Twitter Troll in parliament?

At Prime Minister's questions Jeremy Corbyn did a good job of trapping Theresa May in a lie. In response to his questions over the housing crisis she claimed that house building is higher under the current Tory government, but Corbyn quickly pointed out that she was lying and that it's actually 45,000 house per year lower.

Her response to being trapped in a lie was to launch a diversionary attack on him by quoting an anti-Corbyn tweet at him (about 3 minutes into this video clip of the exchange). It doesn't take much investigation to find that the "Lewis"  Theresa May referred to in her anecdote about her Twitter-stalking of Jeremy Corbyn is a guy called Lewis Collins.

This guy has spent the rest of the day patting himself on the back about his newfound fame, as most people would if they were given a shout-out by the Prime Minister and a permanent place in the Hansard public record.

One obvious question that springs to mind about Theresa May's bizarre PMQs response is whether she hasn't got more important things to be doing with her time than personally trawling through Jeremy Corbyn's Twitter replies? Anyone would have thought that dealing with the Tory Brexit mess might be a higher priority, or perhaps figuring out an answer to the repeated questions over whether she supports the UK retaining access to the European Single Market, or whether she wants Britain to quit the biggest free trade zone in human history.

Another obvious question is how on earth Theresa May and her team thought it was appropriate to give a huge boost of free publicity to a guy who turns out to be an extremely distasteful troll.

It seems that whoever scripted this part of Theresa May's speechfailed to do even a rudimentary background check into the person they were giving this huge free publicity boost to, otherwise they would have come across his regular use of mental health based insults (people with different political opinions are always "mongs", "retards", "tards", "leftard""demented", or he tells them to "get your doctor to up your dosage" or rants on about how "care in the community isn't working") his misogynistic comments (especially against women he deems to be ugly), his regular displays of economic illiteracy (maybe actually a plus for a party that had George Osborne as chancellor for six years?), his excuse making over extreme-right violence (including a defence of the extreme-right fanatic who murdered Jo Cox and the recent killing of a Polish man in Essex), his transphobia (he really doesn't like Eddie Izzard referring to him as "that" in one Tweet), his plentiful Islamophobic ranting, his David Icke conspiracy retweeting, and his habit of making jokes out of extremely unfunny things (like knife crime at the Notting Hill Carnival, the murder of Jo Cox and the closure of BHS with the loss of 11,000 jobs).

Whenever I Retweet things I always have a quick nosy to see who I'm retweeting to make sure I'm not giving free publicity to some hate-spewing troll by mistake, and I've just got a Twitter account with fewer than 14,000 followers. Theresa May is the bloody Prime Minister of the UK and she's written this hate-spewing extreme-right troll into the permanent Hansard record by repeating his feeble jibe at Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons and name checking him for it.

Aside from all of that the guy also has a creepy obsession with the Keith Vaz scandal. Even Theresa May (in a rare moment of decency) made a comment about how the Vaz scandal was something for Keith Vaz to deal with not her. It's obviously not such a great idea for any party leader to try to make political capital out of a sex scandal because it's clearly only a matter of time before one of their own MPs gets caught doing something just as deviant or worse, so her stance was understandable. However by giving a parliamentary retweet to someone with such a fixation on the Keith Vaz affair, Theresa May has undone one of the only bits of decency I've seen from her since she became Prime Minister.

One other thing that is interesting about this Lewis Collins account is how he accuses other people of been "sheep" and "sheeple" but his account mirrors the mainstream news agenda precisely. This week it's Keith Vaz, before that it was "Traingate", before that it was whatever the right-wing press pack were chuntering about. If you ever needed to look into the psyche of the typical right-wing rote learner who mindlessly absorbs all of their political opinions drip fed to them by the right-wing propaganda barons, you'd be hard pressed to find a better example than the Twitter account of Lewis Collins.

One last question this raises about theresa may is why pick this extreme-right drooler in the first place. If she wanted to find a Twitter comment to score points against Jeremy Corbyn, why on earth didn't she pick someone like J.K. Rowling (who has been having a complete meltdown on Twitter over Corbyn's likely re-election as Labour leaders) or better still one of the Anyone But Corbyn Labour MPs like Tom Blenkinsop or Ian Austin who have been having bizarre Twitter tantrums since the Anyone But Corbyn coup was launched?

Why on earth has Theresa May given free publicity to this appalling person, when there is so much ammunition to choose from being supplied to her and the rest of the Tories by the Labour Party's own MPs and celebrity supporters?

It looks an awful lot like Theresa May doesn't have a clue what she's doing when it comes to social media and just gave a massive parliamentary big-up to a hate-spewing, misogynistic, transphobic ranter by mistake. The only other explanation is that her team knew what kind of person she was giving a shout-out to, and it's actually deliberate. "Be a vile attention-seeking hate-spitting ranter like Lewis Collins and you too could win a shout-out from the Prime Minister in the House of Commons"!

Is that really the kind of message they're trying to project? Personally I doubt it. I think it's just a case of Tory incompetence. They didn't even bother to check that the person they decided to give a massive unprecedented boost of free publicity to wasn't the kind of person to hurl transphobic abuse and make excuses for the extreme-right killings of Jo Cox and that poor Polish lad in Essex.

Next time you hear any right-winger trying to make a jibe about "is this 'the kinder gentler politics' we've heard so much about" when they come across a left-winger spouting abuse, just remember that Jeremy Corbyn has consistently condemned all forms of personal abuse, while Theresa May has given an abusive misogynistic ranter absolutely huge props by permanently writing his name into the public record with her Parliamentary shout-out.

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