To an unemployed working-class voter in the North of England, the historic heartland of Britain’s Labour party, I expect few things are more enraging than out-of-touch metropolitan politicians whinging about “abuse” on social media.
They’re worrying about how to pay the rent and feed their families, while the politicians are worrying about people being unkind to them on Twitter. The contrast is staggering.
That’s one of the reasons why Yvette Cooper’s “reclaim the internet” campaign is destined to be yet another embarrassing failure for Britain’s political class, who are still reeling after voters resoundingly rejected them in the Brexit vote.
Apparently unaware of the block button, Cooper said “we can’t have some voices being drowned out by abuse and hatred.” She also said that the internet should be a “voice for the voiceless” — but, apparently, only if they meet metropolitan standards of decorum.
The campaign, which is also being spearheaded by professional whinger Jess Phillips MP, who recently launched an embarrassing, failed attempt to suspend one of her loudest critics, the popular YouTuber “Sargon of Akkad,” from social media. Funny, isn’t it, how those who politicians accuse of “online abuse” so often turn out to be effective critics of the politicians in question.
Phillips has also attracted infamy for laughing about male suicide in Parliament, and both she and Cooper have consciously branded “Reclaim The Internet” as a feminist campaign, aimed at tackling misogynist and sexist abuse.
Their website fearfuly quotes research from Demos finding that 10,000 tweets were sent out from UK Twitter accounts in three weeks using the words “slut” and whore.” Of course, the website fails to mention is that the research also found that half of those tweets were sent by women.
Naturally, the pearl-clutching campaign also fails to note that the majority of abuse on social media, including threats of violence, is received by men. As always, feminists won’t let facts get in the way of a good victimhood narrative.
Cooper and Phillips seem to be stuck in 2013, when Stella Creasy MP, another control-freak Labour feminist, successfully bullied Twitter into clamping down on so-called abuse. That was the very height of the British panic over “online trolls” A pre-GamerGate, pre-Brexit, and pre-Trump era when mean words on the internet seemed to really matter, when media and political elites maintain a pretence of power, and when serious people actually paid attention to Anita Sarkeesian.
But it’s 2016 now. I mean, come on.
Yvette Cooper is part of the Blairite wing of the Labour party, the ideological group most closely associated with the European Union, immigration, nanny-state authoritarianism and political correctness. Once dominant in British politics, the Blairites are now so unpopular that they’ve lost control of their own party to Jeremy Corbyn, a 1970s-era socialist whose rapid rise to power mirrored Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton.
Despite a string of antisemitism scandals and a history of cosying up to terrorists, Corbyn crushed Cooper in last year’s Labour leadership election. Blairites have since orchestrated a string of high-profile resignations within the party, forcing Corbyn to call a second leadership election. But despite the internal turmoil and relentless backstabbing from Blairites, the polls currently indicate that the bearded socialist will win again. That should give you an indication of the depth of Blairite unpopularity.
There’s an anti-Corbyn strain to the latest campaign against online abuse. Like the pro-Clinton pearl-clutching over allegedly abusive “Bernie Bros” in the U.S, Cooper and her acolytes want to associate online abuse with Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters.
Of course, this plays directly into his hands, giving him more opportunity to accuse his internal opponents of not talking about real issues. Meanwhile, the public – and the membership of the Labour party – will see the campaign against “online abuse” as little more than a cheap attempt to undermine the opponents of Blairism.
It takes breathtaking arrogance for a group of elite, metropolitan politicians to believe they can exert control over the internet. The internet was not made to be claimed – or reclaimed – by anyone. Social media users are already exposing the hubris of Cooper’s cabal, flooding their Twitter hashtag with memes and mockery.
Labour’s metropolitan elite were rejected by their own party in the Labour leadership election, and were rejected by the country in the European referendum. Perhaps, after the internet rejects them too, they’ll finally get the message.