“A woodlouse munching on a fleck of shit on the floor of a toilet cubicle” may sound like a trigger phrase for an MK-Ultra assassin, but it’s actually something I witnessed once during a quiet trip to the loo at work. It was a truly depressing sight. A lone crustacean with possibly the most miserable existence on the planet, unknowingly providing me with an analogy for what every day on Twitter would feel like in the future: existing on a diet of shit, but longing for someone to drop a fragment of Twirl.

That was back in 2010, when Twitter was a much happier place and nothing like the near-constant stream of horror and infuriating stupidity it is today. Mary Bale dumping Lola the cat into a wheelie bin was probably the most shocking thing to hit my timeline back then. Now it’s heart-rending images and audio of traumatised children in cages, forcefully separated from their parents at the Texas border. Not to mention the daily phone footage of blacks, Muslims and Hispanics being harassed and racially abused by Trump-supporting white nationalists, who regularly become apoplectic with bigoted rage – often soiling themselves – when in close proximity to someone speaking their first language, or having the audacity to wear a hijab in a supermarket or something.

2010 was also the year that Gordon Brown – wearing a ‘hot mic’ on the campaign trail – called Gillian Duffy a “bigoted woman” after she asked him where all the eastern Europeans were “flocking from”. In fairness to Duffy, she’d only nipped out for a loaf of bread when she bumped into Brown and his entourage; she hadn’t gone to firebomb the local Polski Sklep. She was labelled a bigot because she was a 65-year-old pensioner from Rochdale who’d asked a clumsy question about immigration. But it certainly didn’t feel like the country (or Twitter, for that matter) was being overrun with bigots and racists at the time. And in spite of Nick Griffin taking his swivel-eyed racism onto Question Time the previous year, people of that ilk were a bit like the elusive Bittern: numbers were low and sightings relatively rare, but ever so slightly on the increase.

Fast forward eight years and things are very different. Bigots and racists – even racist bots, with perfectly believable piss-poor spelling and grammar, and astoundingly ignorant views – have flooded Twitter, making it a much darker place to be. Some executive-level racists have even been given their own LBC Radio shows to further the reach of their divisive, hateful views. In 2018, Mary Bale randomly dropping a cat into a bin would probably only qualify as a slightly quirky “And finally…” news item in a local news bulletin. Because we’ve now been overrun by so many fucking awful people, being generally fucking awful, that moderately unpleasant people barely get a look-in.

Now we’ve got arseholes like Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson), recently described as “the backbone of the country” by dishevelled fellow racist Steve Bannon. That a racist like Robinson, with a rap sheet as long as the outstretched, Nazi-saluting arm of one his lager-swilling supporters (perhaps sporting a misspelt “BRITIAN” tattoo in Fraktur font), should be described in such terms is abhorrent. He’s not a working class hero and he’s absolutely not the backbone of our country. He’s a protruding sternum. A pigeon chest deformity we’d like to conceal with a baggy, oversized jumper.

And who the fuck is Steve Bannon to tell us what the backbone of our country looks like? When he addressed France’s far-right Front National (now Rassemblement National) back in March, it looked like Marine Le Pen was applauding a man she’d found masturbating in a shed on an allotment. Incidentally, that was the conference where Bannon told the audience to wear their racism and xenophobia “like a medal”. Or in his case, like clusters of seborrheic keratoses and networks of burst capillaries on his zombie-like fizzog; the unsightly physical manifestation of his repugnant views. So yeah, fuck Steve Bannon.

Brexit has brought other obnoxious people into the spotlight. We now have Arron Banks in the public sphere, marching around with his bloated stomach like he’s carrying the matted hair, teeth and calcified bone of a parasitic twin, whose life-force he stole to ensure that he’d be double the cunt he was destined to be. There’s also Banks’ Salacious B. Crumb, Andy Wigmore, who looks like a perma-tanned estate agent who’d smear his own shit up the walls of a property, before cockily demanding that you pay extra for the decorating.

When Banks and Wigmore walked out of the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport select committee a couple of months ago, refusing to answer any more questions about fake news and the relationship between Leave.EU and Cambridge Analytica – claiming they were “late for a luncheon” – their bold arrogance and contempt for the committee was clear. Banks later took a lie detector test to supposedly prove that he didn’t accept Russian funding for the Brexit campaign. He posted photos of himself wired up to the polygraph – tied up like a pork loin – before posting the results to his own ‘Westmonster’ blog. CASE CLOSED!

After these bellends helped to deliver victory for the Leave campaign, they’re now swaggering about the place without a care in the world. Meanwhile we’ve all got to start stockpiling for a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Stockpile medicine, canned goods, firewood, fuel…children! Yes, definitely stockpile lots of children in case you need their tiny hands, blue with cold, to sow seeds in our post-Brexit agrarian society (once the adult population have largely cannibalised each other).

Prominent Brexiteer Michael Gove – a man who hasn’t even mastered clapping yet – once famously said that the people of this country “have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms”. But apparently that kind of thing is still absolutely fine, as long as we’re listening to pinstriped tombstone Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory MP and chair of the ERG; shadowy ‘hard Brexit’ wank circle the European Research Group) who’s regularly invited onto news programmes to pour shit into the ears of the nation with his cut-glass elocution. Incidentally, Gove, Rees-Mogg, Banks, and arch-Brexiteer Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson – not the chucklesome cartoon character Boris™ – have all previously met with aforementioned fascist Steve Bannon, who said they represented a “deep talent bench” of potential anti-EU leaders for the Conservative Party. God help us. Fucking awful people flock together.

And as if dealing with these fucking awful people wasn’t enough to contend with, we’ve also got right-wing cheerleaders like Katie Hopkins, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Isabel Oakeshott, not to mention a depressing number of staggeringly idiotic pricks on Twitter blighting our lives.

So whenever I’m unfortunate enough to stumble across an odious and utterly moronic contribution to the national debate on social media (‘the diet of shit’), usually posted by luminaries with handles like proudbritdeano259317 or ExPatDeplorable65, I then have to search for content that cancels out the stupid and puts a smile back on my face (‘the fragments of Twirl’). Whether that be video of a tearful Nazi shithead being arrested at a Free Tommy Robinson rally; a ‘Proud Boy’ struggling to tear a laminated anti-fascist rainbow placard at a May Day protest; Nigel Farage being debated into blissful silence on his own radio show; or sweet, sweet news that deranged human septic tank, Alex Jones, has been banished from Twitter forever  – these fragments of Twirl are the only way to get through some days on Twitter.

Anyway, my point – if indeed I have one after all this – is that we’re surrounded by these fucking awful people. Under siege, if you will. So we need to return to a time when these arseholes were largely confined to the shadows, fearful of erupting into a cloud of bats the moment they stepped into daylight. Also, can we just agree that we’ve gone way beyond political labels nowadays? It’s utterly pointless talking about left, right, conservative, liberal, pescatarian…blah-blah-blah. At the end of the day, when you strip everything else away, there are only good people – kind, empathetic people, who still believe in experts and facts and truth – and absolutely fucking awful people. Utter shits. People with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

So how did they end up running the show?

Can it end soon?

2 thoughts on “Fucking awful people

  1. I was feeling that I had been dropped into a satire universe, but no, you’ve demonstrated here that I’m in the interesting universe of that Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times.”

    Liked by 1 person

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