Pretty vacant

There’s no point in asking, you’ll get no reply

Oh just remember I don’t decide

I got no reason it’s all too much

You’ll always find us out to lunch

– The Sex Pistols, July 1977

Yesterday I responded to the English Prime Minister’s tweet about the Covid-19 track and trace system, asking simply how we could be sure, if called, that the caller was indeed a representative of the government’s system.

I don’t expect a reply.

It got me thinking how to attempt to engage with public figures when the subject could be even loosely described as contentious.

I recently emailed my MP to express my revulsion at the way his party had rallied around Cummings, especially given the sacrifices we ordinary people have made since the UK lockdown began.

I got a reply asking me for my contact details and address – for ‘data protection’. I replied with my ward, and that I only wanted to know he’d seen the email; why was I asked for details when I used words plain enough that it should have been obvious I didn’t want a reply.

Thankfully I haven’t had a followup.

This evening I involved myself in a chat on Twitter about the toppling of the Bristol slave trafficker’s statue into the River Avon. After earlier seeing @wefail’s offer of a replacement statue I’d offered the brilliant artist my opinion that the statue should have a diving helmet – to indicate how far the current Home Secretary is out of their depth and to symbolise more recent Bristol statue-related events.

(I really should cut the number of words!)

In the later reply elsewhere I didn’t see who I was tweeting, and had a bit of a squitty moment on seeing the vacant job holder’s name, and so I deleted my tweet, replacing it with something very similar indeed but without the offensive offending offensive name.

It got me thinking. I’m basically decent, inoffensive, and don’t wish to bring unnecessary attention on myself by a careless misunderstanding – whether mine or someone I mention on social media. I mean, I’ve been a party to the reactions of the followers of people with more charisma than I; charismatic person says something hateful, demonstrably untrue, and their cult piles on. Not pretty.

So, I need a strategy, a plan to make it obvious I’m doing what I believe is right, targeting the right people, whilst being careful to minimise the chances of being misunderstood.

Aside from withdrawing entirely from social networks I don’t really know where to start, but that’s not an option, what we’re all seeing now demands more of all of us.

Ok, of me.

Incidental, the English Prime Minister doesn’t, at least in my eyes, represent the 4 countries of the Union, moreover I’m having a hard time thinking he represents even his own people.

Also incidental, yes, the post title and the song lyric is indeed as clever as I get with puns and stuff. I’m impressed how prescient the band were, but then again, reporting on their times must have been easy; citizen journalists before their time, innit.

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