Jan Moir, Nick Griffin, Twitter and the Mob

October 23, 2009 | By Paul Mackenzie Ross | Filed in: Internet, politics, social media.

Ever since Jan Moir wrote her piece in last week’s Daily Mail column questioning and commenting on everything surrounding Steven Gately’s untimely death her name has seemed to be a permanent fixture in the trending topics on twitter.

Sure, it was a pretty rude article, but it was in the Daily Mail so what do you expect?

What was not expected was the intensity of the furrore that was whipped up and the 22,000 plus people who contacted the Press Complaints Commission. Wow, that’s a lot of complaining!

Whilst I’ve avoided the treadmill chatter of “Jan Moir blah blah nasty woman blah blah” clogging up my twitter feed I do find it puzzling that one of the main protagonists against her was the much-loved Mr Stephen Fry. I must admit that I missed his tweets at the time but understand that it was Mr fry who urged people to complain and whom provided the links to the appropriate authorities for people to do so.

Why is this puzzling? Because it was Mr Fry who said, just a few months ago, about the MPs’ expenses scandal, that it was just a:

Tedious bourgeois obsession with whether or not they’ve charged for their wisteria. It’s not that important, it really isn’t, it isn’t what we’re fighting for, it isn’t what voting is about and this idea “oh we’ve lost our faith in politics” it’s nonsense. It’s a journalistic, made-up frenzy.

Tedious? Journalistic? Frenzy? So what are we fighting for, Stephen? Are we saying it’s OK to be elected to a position of trust and then to dip your fingers in the public purse, grabbing handfuls of people’s hard-earned cash to splash on flashy consumer goods, mortgages and padding-out expensive second homes but you cannot speak out even if you’re going to get shot down flames for being so narrow-minded?

What Jan Moir said was pretty odious but the amount of flak she received for her views is more than enough to compensate, let alone the public publishing of her home address and calls for her dismissal from her job.

This whole affair simply shows that Jan Moir has marginalised herself by expressing views that are not widely approved, which leads on nicely to Nick Griffin of the British National Party.

Prior to Nick Griffin being on BBC’s Question Time there was an uproar about the BBC even allowing him to be on the show. People protested that Griffin shouldn’t be allowed to express his or his party’s odious views and the crowd outside BBC Television Centre at the time of filming was quite some indication of the depth of feeling against the man.

Personally I couldn’t think of a better platform for Nick Griffin and the BNP to make complete and utter fools of themselves and, judging by Griffin’s performance, who in their right mind could subscribe to any of his wafer-thin arguments?  He was outnumbered, nervous and put up a very poor show. It was pretty pathetic.

By simply focusing on “destroying” the BNP many people are missing the point that the BNP are actually appealing to, like it or not, some very real concerns that people in this country have about the unchecked level of immigration. And before you castigate me for saying that, bear in mind that the sons and daughters of “recent” immigrants to the UK were the ones who also mentioned that fact on the show itself.

The Labour government that “run” this country have a track record of running rough-shod over democratic public opinion –  whether it’s going to a costly war in Iraq/Afghanistan or allowing waves of people into the UK so that local and central taxes can be spent on translating the texts of the benefit system into their myriad languages, they have failed the British people. That is the point, not the BNP; the BNP are irrelevant, or soon will be.

So, what about twitter and the mob?

As a technologist, designer and communicator I love twitter. Twitter is a perfect tool for keeping up to date and sharing views and information; that’s exactly what twitter was used for in the mobilisation of public opinion against Jan Moir. Twitter was also used to express feeling against Nick Griffin and the BNP and failed to have an effect on removing him from the show, a good thing in my opinion.

What I did find funny today was the tweet that went along the lines

Let’s get Nick Griffin out of trending topics and instead #smashtheBNP

Brilliant. Everyone who RT’d that would have given as much weight to Nick Griffin in the TTs as #smashtheBNP.

So whilst Twitter can be a tool for good it can also be misused too and I feel that whilst the mob have used it in the character assassination of people who don’t like gays and people who don’t like non-whites, the same mob, bless them, are getting caught up in that “tedious obsession” that Mr Fry mentions.

A few months ago an advertising campaign ran across the country for “Team Green Britain” promoting green energy for the country and support for the Great Britain Olympic team in 2012. What slipped by most of the British public are a number of facts:

  1. The green union jack in the ads was “designed” by Wayne Hemingway, for a pretty penny, I suspect, despite the green union jack already being the emblem of Ecotricity since 2007.
  2. The Team Green Britain campaign was run by power company EDF or Energie de France.
  3. EDF, aswell as being French and not British, are a mainly nuclear power company.
  4. EDF’s “Green Britain” campaign cost an apparent £50 million.
  5. Gordon Brown’s brother, Andrew Brown, is the Director of Corporate Communications at EDF; that means advertising.
  6. EDF, after the USA and Canada, are the world’s biggest producer of nuclear waste.
  7. As a private company EDF are the world’s number one producer of nuclear waste.
  8. Britain’s future energy policy does not seem to rest in the realms of green technology and clean wind farms out to sea but rather in the hands of nuclear energy; what are we to do with the nuclear waste of such a policy?

Did greenwash or EDF vs Ecotricity make Twitter’s trending topics at the time? No. What did? Michael Jackson.

And what about last weekend when, for 24 hours, concerned people decided to Tweet4Gary? Gary McKinnon, the British hacker, is to be extradited to the USA for hacking into NASA and Defence Department computers in his search for evidence on the existence of UFOs. He has waited 7 years to find out whether he will stand trial in the USA. When you consider that “top secret” US Government data was accessible by a member of the British public using usernames and passwords as basic as admin/admin or even blank/blank, you have to wonder why this David v Goliath farce is being allowed to continue. One British man, who has Aspergers Syndrome, against the Pentagon.

Did Tweet4Gary make Twitters trending topics last weekend? No. What did? The X-factor.

So whilst the flashmob swarms on already-blighted crops with ease, there are other more important things in life that seem to go by the wayside. We’re all guilty of idle chit-chat and banal banter but for some people that’s all there is.

Next time you’re transfixed by the fireworks display someone will be picking your pockets or dumping in your garden. So when you snap back to reality and you wonder why everything’s gone up in smoke, you’re skint and you’re surrounded by shit, don’t say you weren’t warned!

NB: There’s another important issue I forgot to mention: Jan Moir might have gotten most of the attention in the Stephen Gately furore but a day before her story Stephen Green of Christian Voice penned a piece that some people on twitter suggested she may have lifted her piece from: Stephen Gately “A Warning” to Boyzone Fans.

Stephen Green is as out of touch if not more so than Jan Moir in his opinion of the world and its people so what Moir & Green have to say is irrelevant. More importantly is Green’s assertion that:

Whether Secularism’s demise will be as a result of the resurgence of Christianity or a takeover by Islam is the only point of conjecture, but fall it will.

That’s pretty confident. Or more to the point, that’s pretty deluded. Apart from his utter devotion to the sad image of a bloke nailed to a cross he seems to believe in the “resurgence of Christianity” in this country. I don’t think so. And “takeover by Islam”… that won’t happen either. Just as Rome declined and the cult of guilt rose so it will fall from the grace that it forced itself into.

And don’t forget that Green was the man who led the protests against “Jerry Springer the Opera”. If you recall, that was an episode in our social history where it was NOT OK to have a coloured chap in a nappy depicting Jesus but it WAS OK to issue death threats against TV Executives for airing the show.

Some people are just genuine nutters!

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5 comments on “Jan Moir, Nick Griffin, Twitter and the Mob

  1. thejabberwocky6No Gravatar says:

    Bang on, my friend, bang on the money! Whilst I don’t know enough about the Gary McKinnon situation, Stephen Green is renouned for his bible-bashing clap trap and the Jerry Springer Opera outburst. Jan Moir did write a load of half baked shit but when, in hindsight, you look back at the huge backlash it seems such an overeaction to what was essentially something shrouded in a bit of mystery with new revelations everyday. I think ultimately with Stephen Fry, Jan’s ridiculous rant about the end of the happy ever after story for gay marrage probably struck a chord with him as this was obviously a pretty hideous statement to make!

  2. Thank you, my friend. I spent a whole evening on a forum at the time of JStO discussing, very heatedly, with an American-Lebanese Christian friend of mine the ins and outs of the show and the objections against it. Whilst religion furiously demands that we respect it there is the side where religion does not respect non-religion; what happened to the indigenous pagan beliefs of this country? They were destroyed, without mercy, by the overbearing christians for centuries.

    So Stephen Green, although I didn’t know him by name at the time, rather than be a good christian is more of a frothing dervish. His indignation at the “immorality” of criticising religion and same-sex relationships is out of context against the real issues of today.

    Jan Moir, I think, has suffered enough, so let that be a lesson to her. To live in fear, as I suspect she does these days for her words, is probably a similar fear to that of what gay people have experienced in non-tolerant societies, so to put her, one person, through that is certainly a huge dose of karma but a little OTT now; their point has been made so it’s time to back off. She is one, they are many so it’s unfair to weigh-in on her any further.

    As for Mr Fry, I think he’s a great bloke and I respect him very much indeed. His passion over this incident is admirable but the forces he has unleashed upon one person are incredible. I just wish his passion for gay rights could be used to ensure that MPs don’t steal from the public etc.

    At the time he said that we ALL take the piss and have a little something out of our jobs, but he fails to realise that whilst Average Joe might skive a day off work and cost his boss £76 a day, the MPs are all in a position of public trust and some of them are taking FAR more than that; widescreen TVs, furnishing their homes, having second homes, having their mortgages paid… You can tell that Mr Fry isn’t middle or working class, bless him.

    So, if twitter and the mob could focus on saving an ill man from deportation against the government of a superpower that has already made him suffer enough, then that would be far more useful and positive than watching “talent” on TV or condemning people that dare to criticise.

  3. thejabberwocky6No Gravatar says:

    In the light of a fictional movie and book, the comparison between the “whiter than white” church and agnostics and atheists is quite topical. Despite obviously being a “story”, Angels and Demons does use real facts and the battle between creationism and science is very real. Therefore it is a joke when ANY religion asks for respect and decency when there has been a millenia of slaughter of anyone who do not believe or believe in something in direct opposite to what the bible tells us. Everything that Dan Brown’s book tells us about the illuminati is true and just goes to show an hopefully will open a few peopls eyes who don’t know the history of the church in Britain and Europe. For centuries their have been cover ups of anything that could question the absolute un-questionable word of God, or what a certian number of people wrote 2000 years ago. No wonder there is an uproar about anything by Dan Brown as everything he writes uses facts in fiction that he probably intends to make people question their faith or the how people perceive the church. Which can only be a good thing.

  4. Tweet4GaryNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the mention of Tweet4Gary.
    Our Tweet Obama Day was by our reckoning a great success,and has already given a higher awareness of the situation of Gary McKinnon.
    Our web site was storing the tweets throughout
    the 24 hour period we were tweeting and there were many thousands.
    Its true that Tweet4Gary didn’t become a trending topic that day, Gary McKinnon has trended before though. Personally I feel that getting people to understand the current dangers to all of us with the present UK/US Extradition Treaty, is far more important than our ranking on Twitter, but as I found your site so interesting I felt it was a good time to say thanks for mentioning us and to everyone on Twitter and also Facebook for the ever increasing support of Gary McKinnon.
    All The Best.
    Mike- Admin- Tweet4Gary.

  5. @thejabberywocky6: I’ve not read Dan Brown but I’m all for rattling cages, especially when they’re gilded and deemed “untouchable”.

    This latest game of the Catholic church offering to take dispossessed Anglicans under their wing (what, because of women in the priesthood) is a sure sign of the fallible infallibility of these institutions.

    I could go on, but I’ll save that for the pub. Might have to watch A&D on DVD or get the audiobook 🙂

    @Tweet4Gary: Thanks for stopping by, Mike.

    It’s good to hear Tweet4Gary was a success despite not getting onto twitter’s trending topics. I’m always a little dismayed when people are watching the idiot tube instead of doing something real, but hey, we’re not finished yet.

    No problem with mentioning and supporting Tweet4Gary, it’s all for a good cause 🙂

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