Tim Walker: Mind the age gap, Mr Cameron

Tales From The Water Cooler
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The Independent Online

This Government likes to think of itself as jolly modern. Dave has a YouTube channel, makes big speeches applauding Silicon Roundabout, and seems intensely relaxed about Google avoiding tax on a grand scale. Yet our fogeyish establishment still frequently fails to comprehend the modern world.

Take the so-called #TwitterJokeTrial. Twenty-seven-year-old Paul Chambers was in court a third time this week, for a bad joke about blowing up an airport. That ill-advised tweet merited a visit from the plod to check he was an amateur comedian, not a terrorist; that he's still appealing his conviction years later is dystopian satire. The decision of Lord Justice Gross (60) and Mr Justice Irwin (59) to quash Chambers' first appeal was recently endorsed by Twitter newbie Edwina Currie (65), who called him "a damn fool". Currie tweeted days previously that she would "shoot tax exiles". No charges have been brought against the former cabinet minister.

Meanwhile, Theresa May (55) is preparing to extradite 24-year-old student Paul O'Dwyer to the US for setting up a website that linked to copyright-infringing content. After a slap on the wrist, the enterprising O'Dwyer ought to be forced to set up a legitimate business on Silicon Roundabout, not sent to the States in shackles. The actions of Chambers and O'Dwyer will shock very few of their contemporaries, let alone offend them. And yet, as comedy writer Graham Linehan puts it, "they're getting their collars felt by people who still have Hotmail addresses." Sad to say, I still have a Hotmail address. But I signed that petition anyway.