On Tuesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn put out a tweet expressing empathy with the people affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala and the emergency services trying to help them:
It was a statesmanlike comment but also a genuinely humane one. Sadly, the same cannot be said for some of the responses to it.
The ‘FBPE’ (follow-back pro-EU) Twitter hashtag has been a vehicle for attempts to undermine Corbyn since its inception, although obviously it may also be followed and used innocently by people unaware of its purpose.
Corbyn’s intelligent approach to the Brexit issue, refusing to allow the Tories and their media allies to pin Labour down to too detailed a position, was and continues to be hugely successful with voters – and forces the Tories to expose their own incompetence.
As such, Corbyn’s so-called ‘centrist’ opponents have a vested interest in undermining it, to attempt to damage Labour electorally – after all, a prominent ‘moderate’ admitted after last year’s general election that right-wingers had been hoping for a poor result in the election so that they could mount another coup against his leadership:
But the campaign has lost effectiveness in recent months, as the modus operandi and motives of the constant “I used to vote Corbyn but” and “Why isn’t Corbyn opposing Brexit” variants have become ever more transparent. This has led to increasingly apparent ‘over-reach’ by those using the hashtag, as they try to make it stick.
But Tuesday’s desperate scrabbling went beyond simply being ridiculous into being genuinely despicable, as ‘FBPE-ers’ tried to use even a Corbyn tweet about a humanitarian disaster to hammer their bilious point – and met with utter revulsion from more humane users:
The outraged responses quickly and vastly outnumbered the FPBE dross, but that didn’t stop practitioners persisting with their attempts.
This tactic is by no means limited to a single tweet. It dogs every utterance on Twitter by the Labour leader, no matter how unconnected the topic might be:
If it looks desperate, it’s probably because it is. Like every other smear against Corbyn since he became leader, it has haemorrhaged effectiveness because of over-use – and his vision-devoid opponents have nothing better to resort to but to do more of the same, accelerating its ineffectiveness.
This response by @raversion nails it:
The thread makes an instructive read – but for the time-poor, this tweet by @xRedTimx is perhaps the best summary of the phenomenon and what its manifestation in response to Corbyn’s Guatemala tweet revealed:
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