‘Bovered’: Labour MP Jones’ ‘abuse’ on Twitter. Whips involved

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:

afneil nunns.png

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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  1. The right wing, which are mainly the neoliberals/neocons and of course banking, corporate, super wealthy elites and their spokespeople, are losing the plot. Their ideology is discredited, they have no arguments, rational or critical in depth analysis of the current situation, so their only weapons are slurs, untruths, ‘got ya’ political TV, repetitive meaningless phrases, smears, gossip, distraction, omission and projection …rinse and repeat ad infinitum.
    No wonder people are looking elsewhere, there is zero to provoke thought, little meaningful discussion or anything to learn from MSM except the next attack line to quash dissent from the now extreme status quo.

    Labour’s manifesto and policies are traditional social democracy to ameliorate the brutality of Capitalism… that is now viewed as far left by the neocon/neoliberals and establishment. Shows how far to the right the so called centre has moved in the neoliberal/neocon era of last 40 or so years that has led us to this era of ‘Corporatism’.

    I still find this the most enlightening discussion on the neoliberal era. Chris Hedges talking to John Ralston Saul, ‘Neoliberalism as Utopianism’.

    Clinton called his vision of the Democrats the ‘New’ Democrats incidentally. The transatlantic nexus has been crucial to the extraction of public wealth project.

    1. Thank you, Maria. You’ve expressed what I would have liked to say, much more eloquently than I could have done and I believe what you say is correct.

    2. Neocons are a type of neoliberal, the two terms were coined at different points and aren’t simply an evolution of American conservativism and liberalism. Neoliberalism can be best summarised as social liberalism (liberals) and liberal conservatism (conservatives) acting in codependency in a two party system with heavy reliance on the free market as their common goal. Neocons are American Democratic Party liberal warhawks, which has evolved to be used to refer to warhawks in general.

    1. Ain’t seen any tories coming on here to complain, so it obviously isn’t. 🙂

  2. Graham Jones has a long track record of briefing against the Labour Party and attacking the party’s leadership and membership.

    One would have thought that, following the party winning an extra 3,000,000 votes and destroying the Conservative government’s majority due to the efforts of the leadership and membership, it would be rational for Mr Jones to desist from attacking the party and its membership.

    So, Mr Jones is either not rational or he has a sinister agenda to present himself as a Labour MP whilst actually having the objective of undermining Labour and sowing division and sectarian hatred within the party.

  3. How can Jones not understand that he was elected by people to represent their views and to be ‘bovered’.

  4. Was that really Jones though or was his Twitter account hacked. It sounds so unlike him and Twitter accounts are being hacked all the time.

  5. And twunts like him would complain of ‘abuse’ if it was t’other way about…

  6. Maria, Thank you for an excellent informative article. I am sure it reflects what most people of the ‘genuine’ moderate centre left think, but are often unable to articulate. Could you please send it to the right whinger rags and dare them to print it ? The link to the Chris Hedges vidio is also well recieved. There are several books mentioned there that I will add to my Christmas reading list.

    1. You are very kind about my comment. I’m not sure which article you are referring to. I do post long comments at times, thanks for reading.

      “Could you please send it to the right whinger rags and dare them to print it ? ”

      As someone who was too often on pre moderation on the Guardian comment pages, until I stopped playing the game of careful wording that weakened my point and decided to bail out of all contact with Guardian, I doubt there is any chance of more overt right wing and establishment line press taking one iota of notice of my thoughts and comment.

      Besides, the articles and comments on Skwawkbox etc. will no doubt be monitored very closely.

  7. My response to all those in public office and/or those who are celebrities that chase publicity but get all ratty and whinge when it ain’t all that nice is, life is hard ain’t it! As long as any insults or abuse is not racist, sexist or out and out threatening behaviour tough! As for MPs, I’ve really no sympathy for any of them! They present themselves for the popularity contest called ‘standing for Parliament’ they get paid more than the rest of us working stiffs will ever see, and that don’t include the little perks like getting Directorships or becoming Chairs of Public Bodies! MPs also vote for policies which, definitely over the past years, have been good for nothing but making the rich richer and the rest of us poorer! At the same time, with a few, a very few, honourable exceptions, they’ve pushed for wars (one of which was in the terms of even the ruling class was unlawful) which have pleased nobody but the weapons manufacturers, they build missiles which, if they’re ever used, will kill us all, they have dragged their feet when it comes to policies which would have begun the process of helping the world recover from the terrible damage done to it in the name of profit! Something which they continue to do through giving licenses to greedy energy companies which want to frack the living daylights out of the countryside, yet they cry when someone is nasty to them! All this and more really makes me angry! So, to the poor Parliamentarian souls and their exceedingly rich mates, ‘just fuck off!’ You’re the ones who are an insult to the rest of us!

  8. Graham Jones, you right wing Tory Politician!
    Do you find that an insult?
    If you do, you can if you like, call me a LEFT WING SOCIALIST LABOUR MEMBER!
    Am I bothered?
    No I’m not!
    Now will you please go across the chamber and sit with your right wing buddies, they’re short by three, on their front bench!
    Do us all a favour, take two more with ya!

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