Politicians: Tweets, Twits and Twats

In response to Alex Clark The Observer 26 August 2918

Perhaps MPs should add the odd novel to their reading lists…

Technology seems to precipitate a decline in the quality, focus and intellectual capability of our politicians. I used to say they tended to open their mouths before they engaged their brains; now it has become more dangerous. They tap on their smartphones before they engage their brains.

They easily incite hate, create uncertainty in financial markets, abuse and lie about opponents publicly, all for the sake of publicity and to show that “they are on the ball”. Quite frankly, I can’t see how they have time to do any work, let alone read a book. Could this explain the slow progress in the BREXIT negotiations? Maybe they have been too engaged in keeping abreast of the WhatsApp and Twitter accounts to focus on the interests of their country.

Unfortunately, we seem to be governed by a bunch of publicity seeking twits (the vowel can be changed!). I have tried to explain this to Italian and Danish friends but there is not a similar pronunciation between Tweet and their language equivalent of twit. Although, an Italian speaking English may easily pronounce the word Tweet as Twit. (A constant embarrassment for me as a child when my Italian mother used to ask me in front of friends to collect the sheets off the washing line).

Without interfering with the right to free speech, safeguards against politicians abusing social media are needed. The antics in Italy this week are a prime example. A Minister incites hate and racism, when rumours circulated of him facing indictment, members of his party responded by threating to attack the prosecutors and of course the press, very reminiscent of Trump’s approach.

Yes, politicians (and their electorates) should read more; and, in the current environment of hate, a few history books wouldn’t do any harm.