Diary: Usual insults resume for Louise Mensch after Twitter ordeal


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The Independent Online

The explanation for the vitriol directed at the Conservative MP Louise Mensch lies somewhere in the darker recesses of human psychology. That she is opinionated, uses Twitter frequently, seems to want to be a cheerleader for the Murdoch media empire and does not give ground when under attack explains why she will attract controversy, but not the curiously disturbed hatred she stirs up in parts of the web. That she is blessed with good looks seems only to make the lonely trolls angrier.

She has described to the Northants Evening Telegraph the impact of the Twitter threat issued by Fred Zimmerman, whose activities have now been curtailed by the law, telling her she would face 'Sophie's Choice' – a reference to the film of the novel in which a woman is forced by the Nazis to choose which her two children is to be killed.

"I was in New York when I received the threatening email. It was terrifying and I felt helpless," she said. "When you receive a threat like that you don't know whether it is coming from an agoraphobic like Zimmerman, or someone with a gun."

She also described getting a threatening phone call from the same man. "I knew it was him when he rang because of the menace in his voice. I put the phone down."

But she had reasons to be happy today, because the Queen's Jubilee tour passes through her Corby constituency, so she has been practising the curtsey. And last night, the Politics Home website announced that she had been shortlisted for their MP of the Year award. That puts her in the company of John Bercow, the Speaker, Tom Watson, scourge of the Murdoch empire, and the erudite Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. The news naturally annoyed a lot of trolls too stupid to realise that their activities only increase her chance of winning.

Gorgeous jacket up for grabs

George Galloway was never one for self-deprecation. Yesterday, he went on eBay to sell the jacket he wore during his televised debate with the late Christopher Hitchens. According to the accompanying blurb: "The fiery debate took place in September 2005, in New York, where people queued around the blocks to get a glimpse of Galloway in action, displaying the oratorial skills he is famous for. The general consensus is that he totally 'owned' Hitchens..."

Note the use of that adroit use of the teenage slang "owned". Mr Galloway is 57. The blurb continues: "George Galloway is known globally for his ferocious anti-war speeches and his uncompromising, combative, no-holds-barred style of debate..." The successful buyer of this historical piece of memorabilia is promised a letter from Mr Galloway guaranteeing its authenticity "on parliamentary paper" – an interesting use for Commons notepaper.

The broadcaster's worst nightmare

Jim Naughtie has done it. So has Andrew Marr, and Nicky Campbell – twice. It is what Emily Maitlis fears doing more than anything else, according to a passage in All News to Me, the autobiography of the broadcaster Jeremy Vine. He reveals that he and Maitlis discussed the awful prospect as they psyched themselves up for the live coverage of the 2010 election results. Her worst fear, she said, was that "I'll suddenly shout the word c*** to the whole nation."

Vine agreed, because – his memoirs say – "There is something above-and-beyond awful about the C-word. That would be the most horrible thing you could ever imagine. 'We would never recover,' Emily confirmed." And yet, on the internet you can listen to a recording of Vine introducing his programme on 21 January 2010 with a news item about a police hunt, in which "hunt" is clearly mispronounced. He doesn't need to imagine it: he has done it.

Being gay 'harder than being a Tory in Glasgow'

"It was easier to admit that I was a Tory in Glasgow than my sexuality," said the gay Tory MP Iain Stewart, talking about his school days during a Commons debate yesterday on homophobic bullying.