Damian Thompson, clueless pundit of no fixed hair appointment, has finally discovered something that I could have told him years ago: there are a substantial number of commenters at the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs who are dealing from less than a full deck. Some of them (but by no means all) are proud supporters of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and UKIP. Colour me not even slightly surprised.
That's a most interesting proposition, Dames
The revelation of Dames began when he posted “That unedited Ukip supporter’s blog in full”. This was a straightforward piss-take on the propensity of Kippers to use the puerile “LibLabCon” when referring to other political parties. He followed this with “Ukip supporters can take a joke!” which they rather obviously could not. Now he has given us “Ukip needs to do something about its online nutters”.
All three posts provoked a furious reaction, much of it given over to forthright abuse. But Thompson should have known that many of his commenters are certifiably batshit. The only mystery is why the editor of Tel blogs was not aware of all the previous occasions of frankly barking behaviour – and why, all of a sudden, he tries to blame UKIP for it.
Perhaps Dames could cast his mind back to July 2011, when Tel blogs attempted to climb on the Guardian bashing bandwagon following Kia Abdullah’s ill-advised snark at three young people killed while on a gap year. Ms Abdullah had included her occasional contribution to Comment Is Free on her Twitter bio. The comments included material that was abusive, sexist, misogynist and racist.
Or perhaps he can recall the aftermath of the Heywood grooming case, when any relevant article or blogpost at the Tel had its comments closed? Not that the paper had a problem with Islamophobic commenters, you understand. Maybe he recalls James Kirkup asking “Could Britain have an Indian Prime Minister?” only to find the comments filled with racist and anti-Semitic replies.
When the appalling Janet Daley went after the hated BBC for making former Guardian man Ian Katz editor of Newsnight, there was again a welter of anti-Semitic comment in response. And when Sean Thomas, aka Tom Knox, triumphantly told how he had posted anonymous comments at Comment Is Free, there was more racism and anti-Semitism.
Yet Damian Thompson wants us to associate “online nutters” with UKIP. Well, have I got news for him: “online nutters” are what has long ago infested his manor. He and his moderators have had years to clear out that infestation, yet it is still there. Abusive comments remain in place for days unless and until someone points out their presence. One might form the opinion that he was happy to have them.
Sorry Dames, it isn’t UKIP who have a problem. It’s you.