Time to beat the trolls

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One of the objects of 2011 is to reclaim politics from the extremists.We all know who they are: the Taxpayer’s Alliance, Policy Exchange, the right wing blogosphere, those who think that the world is a neoliberal experiment from which they can gain.

And it is true, they have had a field day. They used the web well. One reason why they so dislike this site is I’ve been willing to fight back. And let’s cut though all their crap: sure I’m left of centre. So broadly speaking are half of all people in the UK, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, but we’d not have our current society unless that was true. And of those 50% who are left of centre 90% (or 45% of the population) are in the middle ground. Wow! No surprise here. This is normal distribution stuff. There are another 45% in the right wing middle ground. Combined they’re in a political sense ‘middle Britain’. I’m one of them. You probably re too. The neoliberals aren’t in that grouping. They’re opposed to the state, they build a fantasy world of economics based on wholly false assumptions that they then promote as being an epitome of liberty that actually oppresses the vast majority, and they’re utterly and callously indifferent to the needs of those without wealth.

We need to reclaim politics and especially politics on the web from these dangerous (I use the word wisely) people who wish to cause harm for a majority.

One nice idea has been put forward by Rowan Davies is that there be a mass trespass of the sane on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site on 10 January to utterly displace the usual right wing trolls who inhabit that space. As Rowan says:

Emboldened by the response to my long, whiny piece about CiF trolls (and befuddled by suet and booze), I’d like to propose that we make Monday 10 January the day of the first mass Comment is Free trespass. The idea is that people of mild temperament will shuffle gently onto CiF threads throughout the day, expressing their views in a thoughtful and respectful way. If nothing else, it will confuse the hell out of the regulars.

Given that you’re all models of reason and good temper, you don’t need any rules. But here are some rules.

1) Don’t be an arse. Once you’ve spent a few minutes on CiF your sensitivity to arsery will become dulled, so try to have a solid sense of your own definition of ‘terrible, terrible arse’ before you log in.

2) If you feel compelled to forcefully address a point made by a troll, remember the ‘shit sandwich’ technique.

3) Check in on the environment and development boards to play with the specialised sceptic and xenophobic trolls.

4) At certain points you will become bewildered and disorientated. You will start to wonder whether Harriet Harman did more harm to this country than the Luftwaffe. This is completely normal. Do some Lamaze breathing, have a cup of chamomile tea, read something by Aditya Chakrabortty. In extremis, stroke your Tony Judt action figure.

5) For the love of Christ, don’t link.

Give me a hug and hold my copy of the Beveridge Report. I’m going in.

I warmly approve.

We need to beat the trolls. They’re a threat to our society and the people of Britain.