Tory Alice Terry has been trending because of Twitter abuse, supposedly from Labour members.
Ms Terry has posted screenshots of abusive messages she has received – and Tory party chair Brandon Lewis has chipped in predictably:
So, also predictably, has Labour MP Jess Phillips:
The apology, however, appears over-hasty. All is not as it seems.
Ms Terry has helpfully provided screenshots of the abusive messages she has received. They appear to consist of direct messages, rather than tweets – and the accounts sending them smell more than a little… fishy.
Many have mysteriously and more or less simultaneously disappeared from Twitter after remaining long enough to send abusive messages:
Others seemed to share an odd telepathy, sending almost identical messages in spite of them being ‘DMs’ (private messages):
Those that appear to represent actual people show more signs of being obsessed with football, UKIP and, in some cases, Twitter-banned racists – and don’t seem to mention Jeremy Corbyn in their timeline:
In spite of the ease of identifying these right-wing affiliations, curiously the Tories have attributed the abuse to ‘Corbyn supporters’.
Any genuinely abusive message is, of course, abhorrent. But – and Ms Terry may not, of course, have known – many of the messages look far more like a propaganda campaign by opportunistically created-then-removed ‘sockpuppet‘ accounts than any ‘abuse by Corbyn-supporters’.
Even the accounts that appear real often seem to have little or no connection to Corbyn or the Labour Party – while having clear UKIP connections.
It must also be mentioned that, according to one respondent to her Twitter lament, Ms Terry is perhaps not entirely a shrinking violet or naive innocent:
Her Twitter feed also contains provocative tweets about the supposed immaturity or stupidity of socialists, so Ms Terry seems unafraid of some robust give-and-take.
The story of her ‘abuse’ has appeared in the right-wing press and was the topic of a parliamentary contribution by Home Secretary Amber Rudd – a fact that she seemed delighted about.
So it’s safe to say that, whatever the nature and provenance of the ‘abusive’ messages, the Tory party is certainly taking full advantage.
It may never be possible to say with certainty whether the Tories orchestrated the ‘abuse’ in order to feed in – happily-timed – into the manufactured narrative of the ‘abusive left’.
But is that mackerel cooking..?
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