This brings us to the events unfolding on Twitter this afternoon as Tory tweeters went into overdrive/meltdown over the spitting at and intimidation of journalists and egging of conference goers. While nothing compared to the student protests of five years back, it's all very stupid. Gobbing at and intimidating HuffPo and Telegraph journalists, and snarking at them the revolutionary armchair with imbecilities such as this is so utterly idiotic you almost don't know where to begin. They weren't the only ones. Kevin Maguire got some flak for his well-known Tory politics, and Michael Crick copped a wodge of gob too. In these circumstances, only one word will do: twattery.
That isn't to say stupid behaviour on today's demonstration is unknowable and mindless. Why, we might ask ourselves, have journalists (not all journos, as Laura McInerney observes) become a target? It's pretty obvious. On the one hand, they are the bodies-on-the-ground for organisations that routinely misreport and distort the truth for the Tories. It doesn't matter whether they're from the Labour-friendly Mirror and HuffPo, they're all seen as peas in a pod. On the other hand, as we know media firms are virtually untouchable. When Michael Crick files distorted rubbish about Jeremy Corbyn, or when the Telegraph competes with The Mail for the most ludicrous red-baiting stories, there is no comeback, no accountability. Social media and comment boxes offer simulacrum of holding journos to account, but the lie machine continues as before. This breeds resentment and frustration both, which some individuals then take out on the journos - as per today. Ditto for Tories, like our egged friend. Their government makes the lives of millions of people a struggle and a chore, but they avoided their electoral just desserts thanks to fearmongering, which was faithfully passed on for printing and broadcast. With the politicians out of reach, those nearer will have to do.
The twattery has proven contagious. Here are some Conservatives point-scoring off today's events:
What a pathetic sight. Particularly ironic are the comments of the last, whose Twitter profile says he doesn't believe in safe spaces.
I am tempted to say that if you don't want "Tory scum" yelling at you when you gather for a conference, it's probably a good idea not to pursue scummy policies. Nevertheless, this suits the Tory frame nicely. It's grist to the mill of their new trade union project, and allows them to portray their opposition as a rabble - as all governments of whatever hue do when there's a hint of trouble at a demonstration.
Yes, in the grand scheme of things, a slap here and a bit of goz there pail against the violence of the eviction, the care withdrawal, and the zero hours contract. If there is time and a place for trouble-making, today's demonstration wasn't it. The actions of a vanishingly tiny number have muddied the issue and gave the Tories a moral victory, even though there is an amoral vacuity at the heart of their programme. Meanwhile, the real story, the typical story of the demonstration, of tens of thousands of people - including families as per the snap from Newcastle-under-Lyme comrades featured atop this post - demonstrating their opposition to Tory policies has got lost.