Let me introduce you to my trolls

It’s flattering to think they regard the right to follow me on Twitter as a basic civil right

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ever bought that sticky paper tape during a heatwave that attracts annoying flies and wasps? That’s what my Twitter account has become for anonymous right-wing trolls. We’re talking armies of screeching profiles, bravely oozing venom behind anonymity, normally with usernames like BanTheBBC, and “Sick of socialism”, with avatars ranging from the Grim Reaper to cartoon penguins.

This is normally how it goes: they’ll spray something across my timeline like “Go live in North Korea you communist prick”, then I block them, meaning I won’t be able to enjoy their Wildean wit anymore. They then wail to the world that I have attacked their freedom of speech, presumably in the same way that hanging up on a crank call or walking away from a pub bore is attacking free speech.

It’s flattering to think they regard the right to follow me on Twitter as a basic civil right, though a quick scan of the UN Declaration of Human Rights reveals it didn’t make the final cut.

Normally they seem as furious about my youthful appearance as the fact that they believe I want to nationalise their mothers. It flutters between amusing, bemusing and tedious, although when an EDL-type posted my address with a threat, the Old Bill had to pop round for a cuppa.

Back in the day, Very Angry People would write letters in green ink, pop them in an envelope, buy a stamp, and trundle to the postbox, but that was time and money. Now, you can call complete strangers a prick in literally seconds. Progress, eh?

Yes let’s spread London around the North

Having shamefully defected to the South eight years ago, I’m at risk of sounding like a hypocritical plastic Northerner, but Civitas are bang on about shifting cultural institutions like the British Museum and the Royal Opera House oop norf. It’s become a cliché to point out that London is evolving into a city state, sucking in people, growth and culture like a black hole with excellent transport links. Sure, the North is a cultural dynamo of its own, having spawned classics from LS Lowry to the Beatles. But Britain and the Big Smoke aren’t synonymous and it’s time we started acknowledging that.