Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

My view on the "scum-sucking pigs" Twitter debacle

The current reverberations echoing around the Blogosphere and Twittersphere about the Labour MP David Wright's alleged Twitter transgression where he is said to have described Tories as "scum-sucking pigs" is in my view being blown out of all proportion. This is what he is alleged to have written:

#ivenevervotedtory because you can put lipstick on a scum-sucking pig, but it's still a scum-sucking pig. And cos they would ruin Britain.

Some Tory Twitterers and bloggers have reacted angrily to this and demanded an apology. For his part, Mr Wright has tried to claim that he never wrote the scum-sucking parts and that someone has hacked into his account to edit his original tweet (which has since been deleted although cached copies still exist). Frankly his claims about someone hacking into his account do not seem very robust. As far as I know, tweets cannot be edited once they have become part of the Twitter timeline.

Eric Pickles, the Tory party chairman has also waded in writing a letter demanding an apology from Mr Wright. Am I alone in thinking that Mr Pickles' time could be much better spent?

To be honest, I cannot really see what all the fuss is about. Yes, Mr Wright's use of language was ill-advised and his attempts to distance himself from the worst part of it do not seem to stand up to scrutiny. However we are in the run up to an election. The #ivenevervotedtory and #ivenevervotedlabour hashtags were being used by hundreds of people yesterday on Twitter to throw insults at each other. The febrile atmosphere is bound to throw things like this up. Are we going to have senior politicians from every "wronged" party wading into every single one of these little transgressions?

Last month, as I blogged about at the time, Greg Stone the Lib Dem PPC for Newcastle East was forced to stand down after he made a few ill-advised remarks about some of his opponents on a live-chat. I thought that was an overreaction too.

Can we please stop the focus on these spats? I don't think I can cope with 3 or 4 more months of this sort of thing!


Anonymous said...

could you just imagine if this was from an equivalent member of the Tories, you would have Mandeleson,Balls,HH,uncle tom cobbly et al saying what dreadful thing to twitter about

Mark Thompson said...

Yes I can imagine and I have seen it many times. That's the problem. All sides are at it.

dazmando said...

Yeah come on people this could become so so boring, grow a back bone people

Matt London said...

The original tweet was foul mouthed and infantile and raises doubts about Mr Wright's judgement. His response, when it became clear that he had misjudged how others would react to his ill-expressed views, was to lie - no-one believes that a tweet can be changed in the way he alleges.

I think he deserves all he gets. As a non-member of any party I am appalled that people who wish to represent us (and expect to get paid pretty well - plus expenses*) should think it appropriate to pollute public debate by flinging around foul-mouthed insults like this. And if Mr Pickles can get him sacked for breach of the ministerial code, more power to his elbow!

Matt London

*£150,000 in his case, I'm told

Don't Call Me Dave said...

I agree with Matt. Wright's “scum” remarks were forgivable. Lying isn’t. Simples.

Ollie Cromwell said...

Mark, I thought his initial remark was just a bit childish. After he made it he had many valid options.

1) Laugh it off as a joke
2) Stand by it
3) Apologise for it

I for one couldn't care less about which of the above he chose, the problem is he chose a fourth way, to lie about it. The reveals a lot about his character, he lacks integrity, his attempt to cover it up with tales of hacking reminds me of the inspirational McBride/Draper combo.

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

I too agree with Matt London above - so hopefully you are alone in your view.

To mislead, to fabricate, to cheat and to lie is the way of the body New Labour ministers and now it seems they add childish insult to their rogue's repetoire. No opportunity should be missed to bring these vile people to account - so Pickles' time is well-spent.

Anonymous said...


We are talking about a minister here after all. If it were just anybody tweeting then nobody would have a problem and rightly so. However, it isn't and so with the position goes a great deal of responsibility which seems all but lacking.

True again that he makes the matter worse for himself by lying. You don't have to have any political preference to know what he's saying about Twitter is rubbish.