Hedders' Ramblings

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Category: Politics

Why social media companies suck at moderation

Came across this fascinating article on Hacker News and thought I’d share:

Turns out, “Ban the Nazis” is not just a technology problem and amazingly it’s, like, really really hard.

FFS Labour

I woke up this morning to read this:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/20/momentum-bid-to-abolish-deputy-leader-tom-watsons-post

Seems those Momentum clowns have decided that purging the party of doctrinal impurity is more important than any of (1) effectively holding the government to account (2) dealing with the national crisis or (3) y’know, actually winning an election so as to start undoing some of the last decade of abuse.

The spin coming out of the bots and the parrots this morning seems to be that this move is all about party democracy and organisation, nothing to do with the person involved. Puh-lease. Frankly that’s about as convincing as the government’s protestations that proroguing Parliament for 5 weeks is necessary to prepare a Queen’s Speech. Or indeed the Gamergaters’ claims that “actually it’s about ethics in journalism”. The fact of the matter is that Momentum won’t tolerate anyone who stands up to Saint Jeremy.

Yes, Watson is a bit of a rent-a-gob who’ll go to the opening of an envelope. He is, after all, a politician. Yes, he gets it wrong sometimes. He is, after all, human. But he is a formidable speaker and campaigner and an effective administrator, and whether or not Momentum likes it Labour will need to win back the moderate centre-left if it is to have any chance of winning an election. Spitefully kicking Tom Watson out of the leadership really isn’t going to achieve that.

Eton Mess

I am not Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest fan. Not at all. I have a whole ribcage’s worth of bones to pick with him, on subjects ranging from his apparent tolerance of anti-Semitism in his party to his utter uselessness at the dispatch box. Rarely has Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition been so thoroughly ineffectual at holding government to account. Corbyn is a formidable campaigner and there is no denying the devotion he elicits in some quarters, but I would much, much prefer that the Labour Party I have voted for all of my life were led by someone who can manage people as well as inspire them, and who can get things done as well as protest about them. Someone like Yvette Cooper or Tom Watson. Hell, someone like Ed Miliband would do (although I still think the wrong Miliband brother won that contest, and I still think that a lot of the reason we are in this situation comes down to Ed looking a tit while eating a bacon sandwich).

Nonetheless, right now I would roll out the red carpet and hang up the bunting at the prospect of a Corbyn government, because it would mean an end to this inept, obnoxious, divisive, vicious and ever-shrinking cabal that is all that remains of the once proud Conservative and Unionist Party.

It comes to something when a former Conservative prime minister is so strongly opposed to the policy of a current Conservative prime minister that he actually seeks judicial review of that policy. Yet that is exactly what John Major is doing.

When John Major and Jeremy Corbyn are on the same side of an argument, you know something is up. When the Prime Minister deliberately sets himself on a collision course with the House of Commons and its Speaker (another Conservative, as it happens), you know these are not normal times. When a sociopathic SPAD threatens every Conservative MP with deselection if they try to stop the government proroguing Parliament in order to prevent it averting a national disaster that the government is hell-bent on pushing through for no reason that anyone can really remember any more, we are really in unprecedented territory.

A colleague told me on Friday about a restaurant he went to recently, where on their dessert menu they had renamed “Eton Mess” to “Brexit”. Rather apt, I thought.

Anyhow, floreat Etona. And fuck everyone else, apparently.

8chan and all that

Robert Evans writes again on 8chan and the radicalisation of young white men:

This is worth reading for two reasons. Firstly, it’s an excellent article in and of itself. Secondly, the comments section is a stinking dumpster fire of racists, conspiracy theorists and dim Trump apologists, thus immediately proving him completely correct in his analysis.

I think I know what’s gone wrong

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that This Sceptred Isle ™ is in deep, deep doo-doo, and it’s easy to blame social media, or jingoism, or the endless stupidity of The Great British Public, or Aaron Banks and his odious “Bad Boys of Brexit”, or the Tories, or Corbyn, or whatever. And I’m sure that all of those things have played their part in our spectacular downfall, but I don’t think they’re the root of the problem. I think it’s this:

The people in charge are just like me.

Now, I’m a reasonably “successful” person; partner in a law firm, big old house, two kids in private school etc etc etc. And the thing is: I still don’t know what the hell I am doing, I do not have a handle on life or on my responsibilities or on the world or my place in it. Not at all. I am just making it up as I go along, winging it and somehow or other I seem to have got away with it so far.

And the government – the proverbial “them” – ministers, MPs, civil servants, senior officials of one stripe or another – they’re all, all of them, doing exactly the same thing. There is no secret cabal of calm, well-spoken chaps (because let’s be honest, they’re all chaps, right?) in good suits with their hands on the tiller, who will somehow make it alright. There are no adults in the room. There’s just a bunch of people like me. And they’re all terrified, and not one of them has the slightest idea what he or she is doing, any more than I do. They too are just winging it, telling people what they want to hear, and hoping for the best.

God help us.

On Boris Johnson

I was going to write a great long screed about how Godawful this man is and how dreadful it is that a handful of complacent parochial Boden-clad shitsacks from Tunbridge Wells, who can’t describe someone as “black” without whispering the word and who secretly think we should bring back hanging, are going to make him our Prime Minister and there is absolutely nothing that I or anyone else can do to stop it.

But really, it boils down to this: Boris Johnson is basically a slightly more rubbish version of Donald Trump. If that doesn’t make your blood run cold, then I don’t know what will.

Although, he does have slightly better hair.

UPDATE: Please don’t make this ludicrous mendacious vacuous tit Prime Minister. Please:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-48766451/boris-johnson-i-make-models-of-buses

You utter, utter fools

34% of the vote for a far right populist party with no policies beyond some half-arsed notion of sticking-it-to-Johnny-Foreigner-because-we’re-British-dammit, led by a sort of cartoon mashup of Roderick Spode and Alan B’stard. Seriously?

I am truly, truly disgusted by my countrymen.

When I say “my countrymen”, I am talking specifically about the English. I suspect there will now be an even stronger resurgence of the Scottish independence movement, and who can blame them? They’re handcuffed to a lunatic.

Meanwhile, those of us in England who have not entirely taken leave (and indeed Leave) of our senses can only look on in resigned horror as the swivel-eyed demagogues, talentless chancers and spivs of the far right revel in their victory before gleefully marching the country off into the cold, and the dark, and the unknown.

I love my country dearly, but right now I despair of it. Winter is coming, as they say.

You know you’re screwed when…

… a Daily Mash article reads like simple reality:

You can have any party you like …

… as long as it’s the bloody Tories, that is.

I just got back from voting in the local council elections and I am absolutely sodding furious.

I duly handed over my polling card, was issued with my ballot paper and went over to the booth. I looked down at the ballot paper and read it. Then I read it again. Then I turned it over in case there was some mistake. Then I read it again.

The only party with candidates on the ballot was the Conservative Party. Other than a couple of crackpot independents, my choice was between Tory A, Tory B and Tory C (all of whom as it happens were standing outside the polling station trying not to look smug, and failing).

Nobody from Labour, nor the Lib Dems, nor the Greens. Not even a token swivel-eyed Kipper.

Now, I know I live in a safe Tory seat, but this is ridiculous. Why, in a year when the Tories have never been more unpopular or more assailable, why did no other party field any candidates? Why?

Christ our politics is broken.