Thursday, 14 May 2009

Lord Foulkes the Blog Troll

So, the expenses row. In case you’re not aware, the expenses claims of some of our MPs have been leaked and they’ve been claiming for some – ahem – spurious items, such as swimming pool maintenance. I did love the explanation for that one: "The pool came with the house and I needed to know how to run it. Once I was shown that one time, there were no more claims. I take care of the pool myself. I believe this represents 'value for money' for the taxpayer." Snerk. He couldn’t possibly have paid for his own pool maintenance, of course.

That’s not the point. The point is this.

A quick recap: a peer of the realm goes on TV to defend Michael Martin (who could have introduced reforms over the way expenses are dealt with and didn’t, so... zzzzzz. It’s dull, isn’t it? Sorry. This is why I haven’t written about it. Or read about it, excluding amusing anecdotes about swimming pool maintenance. We’ll be done with the dull background stuff in a minute, I promise). He goes on the news to talk to an interviewer about something that has made a lot of people pretty angry. And then he’s outraged that she asks him some questions he doesn’t particularly like.

This is classic:

He added that BBC presenters such as John Humphrys and Jeremy Paxman were paid hundreds of thousands of pounds "to come on TV and sneer at democracy and undermine democracy. The vast majority of MPs are being undermined by you."

I’m really glad he said that, because until now I never knew that 'democracy' meant 'never questioning those in authority'. I sort of thought that the sign of a good democracy was that the men with the power would be held accountable if they misbehaved. Now I know better. If MPs do something that could be considered questionable, we have absolutely no right to question it, because that constitutes undermining democracy. I’m glad that Lord Foulkes is helping me with my vocabulary, and teaching me how to be a better citizen. I’ve obviously got some way to go, because I still think he’s a pillock. Is that wrong?

I’ve worked it out – Lord Foulkes is a blog troll. Think about it:

He said there were "far more important things going on in the world"

Does this look familiar? How many of us have got sucked into an argument with a troll who tells us that we should be ashamed for going on and on about slut-shaming or the abortion debate or sexism in the workplace or appallingly low rape conviction rates because someone else has it worse or how can you waste time on this when such-and-such is going on or you should be ashamed of yourselves. We all know what it means – I am massively uncomfortable! I do not want to think about this! Deflect! Deflect! Deflect!

Perhaps one of these days you'll do a thing about how much the BBC is being paid.

Don’t look at me! Look at yourselves! I’m clearly aware that criticism is well-deserved here, because otherwise I would be answering your questions instead of making inappropriate inquiries about your salary (nobody is complaining about how much MPs get paid, they’re complaining that the taxpayer is funding things that we probably shouldn’t be funding. Like horse manure. No, really, horse manure). There might already be a serious discussion about a relevant subject going on, a discussion which I have come here specifically to participate in, but I, with the breathtaking arrogance of a rich white aristocratic male, am going to waltz in and demand that everyone stop and have the conversation I want to have instead. I’m only pretending to be him as a journalistic device, and I have deep feelings of self-loathing at this point.

You're not at all sorry to interrupt me - every time an MP comes on you constantly harass them.

We all love this guy. You’re harassing me and it’s not fair! The nasty bitchy woman is asking me reasonable questions! Well, I’m a rich white aristocratic tosspot, and I don’t have to put up with that, no sir!

I feel I must also point out that in response to her questioning him on expenses claims as a general matter (and not even his expenses claims), he chooses to inform her that she is not worth her salary. He reduces her career to working three days a week and "talk[ing] nonsense". If anyone is doing any undermining of anyone or anything, it’s Shithead McGee here, the Troll of the Lords. He’s a small-minded, petulant bully. Hear that, Lord? You smell.

On another topic, apologies for the long absence. I just got promoted! Yay for me!

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