Labour MP for Hyndburn in Lancashire, Graham Jones, has a record of calling for good behaviour on social media.
Jones has said that if people can’t say anything positive, they shouldn’t say anything – and that “too many people think abuse is acceptable”.
Last night on Twitter, BBC political presenter Andrew Neil criticised a comment by author Alex Nunns about the political alignment of the guests on the Sunday Politics show:
Whatever your opinion of Neil’s assessment, it’s at least stated matter-of-factly. But self-described ‘hack’ Michael White is not averse to an inflammatory response and maintained his streak with some curiously conspiratorial language:
In response to that, who should pop up but Graham Jones:
When Twitter users remonstrated with him, he decided to take the low road:
The SKWAWKBOX wrote to Mr Jones:
We’re preparing an article about Graham’s tweets today in response to a Corbyn-supporting Twitter user who considered Daily Politics guests consisted of two right-wingers and a ‘centrist’.
We’ll be examining whether ‘Lunatics’ and ‘Ask me if I’m bovered’ represent suitable behaviour and attitude for a well-paid Labour MP who who enjoyed an 11% increase in his vote share at the last general election thanks to the Labour leader’s success and the efforts of Labour members, many of whom support Corbyn – especially an MP who said during the campaign:
“We need to highlight that social media should be used for good and there is no place for this”.
If you wish to make any comment for inclusion in the article, please send it no later than 7pm today.
He has not responded.
Alex Nunns, whose tweet triggered the thread, told the SKWAWKBOX:
It seems strange to me that a Labour MP would react to an example of persistent anti-Labour imbalance in the media by saying the people who point it out are “lunatics.” It’s hard for me not to read his comment as a slur against me, a fellow party member, since he was responding to a discussion about my tweet.
I’m disappointed in Graham Jones. None of us wants to see abuse in politics and he has previously complained about “vile abuse” and “pure bile” on social media. He has said “If you don’t have constructive criticism or positive things to say, don’t say anything.” It’s hard to see how calling people “lunatics” is constructive criticism or positive. Graham has never shied away from using his platform as an elected representative to accuse party members of being abusive; surely the same rules should apply to him.
Worst of all, it’s appalling for Graham to use an insult that stigmatises mental health issues. He has said in the past “I just think too many people think abuse is acceptable. As it’s quite common, they don’t actually recognise that they are being abusive.” Being generous, perhaps Graham just doesn’t recognise that in using a mental health slur as a casual insult he is being abusive.
When Graham was sent a vicious message by a member of the public during the general election, he told the press: “I reported this because it was important and the right thing to do, and I would encourage others to do so as well. We need to highlight that social media should be used for good and there is no place for this.” That is useful advice from Graham which I’ll follow by contacting the Labour Party.
The SKWAWKBOX understands that Nunns has indeed reported the matter to the Party. A senior Labour source told this blog:
It’s wrong that Mr Nunns had to endure a Labour MP abusing him in an unprovoked manner like that. Mocking mental health like that is despicable.
We understand that Mr Jones can look forward to a call from the party’s Whips imminently.
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