Tag Archives: social media

WATCH: Christine Jardine on the “mindless, vindictive” online attacks she endured on day of her husband’s funeral

One of the most awful points of the General Election was seeing Christine Jardine coming under attack from a whole load of people online. They’d accused her of breaking the campaign pause in Edinburgh West. She had, in fact, been at her husband’s funeral. Even when they were told the situation, they kept going and kept throwing even more abuse. It was shameful.

This afternoon, in a debate on online abuse in the House of Commons, Christine spoke very powerfully about those experiences. Sure, politicians were going to be subject to disagreement and comment but nobody signs up for intimidation and abuse.

I thought that she made some really sensitive and intelligent comments about mental health, too. She outlined how social media could be a force for good for those who suffered from mental ill health and how it could really help with isolation. I actually know that from my own experience. Back in 2009, Twitter kept me going when I was laid low for months by Glandular Fever. That was in the early days when it was a lovely place to be. I actually made some friends on there who became friends in real life. But social media also has a potential to do much harm to mental health if people were subjected to abuse and bullying.

Last year I wrote of my own experience of online abuse and how it came pretty close to breaking my spirit.

Here is Christine’s speech in full. The text is below.

Mr Speaker sir thank you for calling me to speak in a debate which, for me, has such personal resonance.

During the most recent General Election I was one of those who discovered just how easily an on line platform can be used to spread hurtful or personally abusive lies.

My experience – which is far from the worst example – actually started with something I originally put down to a genuine mistake or misunderstanding…. Before quickly realising it was actually an attempt to gain political advantage with no respect whatsoever for the personal impact… or the truth.

During the break in campaigning as a mark of respect following the Manchester attack I was accused, on social media, by an activist from another party, of ignoring that and going out campaigning.

I had, in fact, been at my husbands funeral.

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Vince Cable hits Snapchat

Vince Cable is certainly getting out there on social media at the moment.

He’s tweeting several times a day. He’s on Facebook  and, like everyone else these days, on Instagram

It was his latest post on Instagram that surprised me – announcing that he’s going to be on Snapchat, a medium most commonly used by the young people I know, from 15th September.

The post announces:

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Dick Newby responds on Lib Dem peers and social media

As our Chief Whip in the Lords, I want to respond briefly to the article that was posted yesterday about our Peers and social media.

Firstly some facts – the Lib Dem group in the Lords has more Peers on Twitter than any other party or political group there, and between them they have over 100,000 followers. What they say online therefore is clearly reaching a lot of people. We also have a new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LibDemLords)  which highlights the work done by our Peers.

Every week the Letter of the Lords is sent out – this is a email which highlights the work of the Peers both inside and outside the Lords (you can sign up here); it looks ahead to the following week and reviews the week that has just gone. It is an excellent way for anyone who wants to keep up with our work in the Lords in a very accessible way. It goes to parliamentarians and lobby journalists, as well as party members, local party leaders and other journalists across the country.

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Beware photos of the Queen shared on social media

A quick look down my Facebook timeline today understandably shows some lovely pictures of the Queen. Actually, my inbox is full of mentions of her as eager marketers exploit her record-breaking reign, but that’s another story. Now, I would happily get rid of the monarchy purely on principle as I don’t believe that a head of  state should come to that position by accident of birth. I know that that is very much a minority position and, frankly, there are more important things to take up my campaigning time.

However, my innate republicanism doesn’t mean I can’t respect the woman who has held that high office for the last 63 years and fulfilled her duties with dedication and dignity. She fully deserves the tributes being paid to her today.

This post isn’t about the Queen as such, though. Some of the aforementioned lovely images of the Queen on my social media have a much more sinister provenance.

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LDVideo: Naomi Long reads out and responds to mean tweets

Twitter abuse is an occupational hazard for anyone who has an opinion, especially if they happen to be female. If you are a woman, it’s not only what you say but how you look that is fair game for the trolls.

Alliance MP Naomi Long had a bit of Friday fun this week as she read out some of the abuse she’d received over the years and get her own back with some witty retorts. I think my personal favourite was her response to the one about the size of her backside – a subject on which Alistair Carmichael waded in with support for Naomi.

Anyway, watch and enjoy:

You might also be interested in one of Jo Swinson’s favourite antidotes to the haters. Thank you, haters, by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay is very funny.

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Jenny Willott on the Twitter abuse she got after Inside the Commons

A couple of weeks ago, Ruth Bright wrote of her admiration for Jenny Willott after seeing her and her family on the Inside the Commons series. I can only echo her sentiments after finally catching up with the programme late last night. What I saw was a happy family eating together, making a difficult work/life balance situation work in a way that suited them. Of course, I did wonder why Parliament couldn’t schedule its votes in a more family friendly manner and, why, in the 21st century, casting a vote requires running across your workplace then standing in a lobby for quarter of an hour, but that’s hardly Jenny’s fault.

I was appalled to see, from her speech to Welsh Liberal Democrat conference, that she’d taken some Twitter abuse after the programme was shown, as WalesOnline reports. 

The Liberal Democrat MP jokingly described herself to party activists as “the one with the child who screamed the place down when I left him in the whips office and went to vote”.

She said: “I’m also the one who got completely vilified on social media for daring to be a woman who wants to both work and have children. It’s absolutely amazing how many people thought it was okay to tell me my children would turn into delinquents, that I wasn’t up to the task of being an MP if I was also thinking about my children, that my children should be taken into social services care… that I was letting down my children and my constituents etc.”

She continued: “It’s extraordinary to think that even in 2015 there are plenty of people out there who think that women can’t be both MPs and have children successfully – I don’t hear any of them suggesting that men can’t be both MPs and have children.”

Ms Willott said her experiences made her “even more determined to show them how wrong they are,” adding: “It also proves to me that we need to get more women elected overall to change attitudes.”

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Opinion: How the world has changed since the Orange Book was published

Earth Day 2007 - Atlantic ReflectionIt’s so commonplace for politicians to publish their thoughts on policy for public debate now that it’s hard to understand the furore which prevented the Orange Book having a public launch when it was first published in 2004.

Yesterday’s Orange Book – 10 years on  conference finally celebrated the way in which contributors to the Orange Book raised the standard of debate about liberalism by exposing their views to rigorous scrutiny and by doing so challenging others to do the same. Amongst a very tempting variety of …

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