The first thing you notice when you get banned from twitter is the doublespeak. You get banned but they don’t need to tell you why or even notify that they have, and if you set up a new account they ban that because… well if they banned the old account for no stated reason they state that the new account is banned for having tried to evade the first ban, though they never told you about it. To the whole world, or that small part of it that cares, they announce both accounts as having been “suspended”. They are not suspended in the sense that reasonable people understand suspended, which would mean that under certain conditions and fulfilling certain criteria they would be returned to full operationality in a matter of time. They are “permanently suspended” which is to say banned but they don’t tell you that for several days and they don’t tell anyone else ever.

The second thing you notice is the far-left forget that Marx said that “all property is theft” and suddenly become staunch defenders of the rights of private companies, which would be fair enough if it wasn’t the opposite of what they said yesterday and the opposite too of what they will say tomorrow. Private property becomes an almost spiritual belief for the moment it is necessary to celebrate the removal of right of centre voices from the public discourse, and corporate America described yesterday as the source of all the world’s problems from infant mortality to climate change becomes the sword and shield of “true freedom.” After all, “hate speech is not free speech”, except that even accepting the premise that a given statement or statements made were “hateful” they are nonetheless the essence of free speech. Moreover, the defence of international corporate interests by left-wing stooges will be expressed in words of the vile hate filled loathing directed at the “suspended” individual.

You may also encounter the phenomenon of people you’ve never heard of, and whose opinions you can hardly be expected to regard, have hated you for a long time. If you’re really lucky (like me) you’ll find out that you’ve been hated, and therefore thought much of, by quite famous people, by Irish standards, and you’ll be unable to contain a certain glee that you’ve been really annoying these people for quite some time without realising it. If your second account has to be “suspended” quickly before your following threatens to exceed the first one, the scrambling is of some amusement. No cloud without a silver lining.

There are some, ostensibly on “my side” that suggested that I provoked twitter by creating a new account so soon and if only I had the sense to have waited for a while everything would have been fine. I say against this that I will only ever crouch low in ambush, never in appeasement. But it is incorrect anyway.

I was banned for “managing multiple twitter accounts for abusive purposes”. No, I don’t have any idea what that means, nor does Twitter I suspect, and those who are glad I’m gone will have to contort the language a lot to explain this either. Suffices to say that after several days I learn it wasn’t anything I said or did, wasn’t any particular tweet or any given statement, true, false, or even misleading. It wasn’t even Richard Nixon’s fault.

It was my conjectured intent.

Now if a stream of baffled curse words enters the reader’s head that is my fault, apparently, or at least I must give myself over to take the blame. It’s not what I intended, but if it happens then it may be presumed, or even more weakly guessed, that I intended it. This conjectured intent is infinitely malleable. If the reader is of leftist bent of mind and laughs out loud this too may be presumed to have been my intent. Or if you stop at this point to make tea, that’s my tea you’re drinking or the tea of my conjectured intent. The leftist is not responsible for laughing, and the tea is not primarily of your making but mine.

So, there is nowhere for me to express my personal opinion on twitter. Such a tragedy. A little under 4,000 followers lost, it’s once again another crushing blow to the National Party that it is hard to see how we will survive it intact as an organisation. The hyperbole makes the point, which is that as we head into a General Election year in 2020 it will have no demonstrable effect at all. It was annoying when it happened, but it was brimming with invaluable lessons at almost no cost.

The Minister for Justice, Charles Flanagan, seems intent on introducing “hate speech” legislation in the new year, and if he doesn’t himself there is enough cross-party support amongst the regime to ensure that it will come. It will contain, no doubt, similar nebulous concepts as conjected intent, and as such if I can run foul of twitter’s terms and conditions without either knowing why, or how, then surely it was only a matter of time before I ran foul of the new “hate speech” law. Incitement to violence is already illegal, as is incitement to hatred, and I’ve succeeded in not being guilty of either of those. So, something very much more sinister must be intended under the new law or it would not be deemed necessary at all. In short while leftists celebrate my absence from twitter, they might as well celebrate my absence from prison as well, because at least if I end up there it will not be by accident. Thanks to you twitter, for the harmless warning.

In addition, the National Party will in the run-up to a General Election require a leadership that does not habitually think thoughts in 280 characters or less. Thank you for that too, a certain amount of brain fog lifts the minute you stop using that damnable platform.

As for twitter themselves they seem to have forgotten the basics of their own business model and while I can claim no credit for it, there is some joy in watching it happen. YouTube and Facebook may well survive, even prosper, on the sharing of hilarious or just plain cute cat videos, but twitter is an arena of conflict by those who use it. The high level of blocking added with the growing trend of block lists, tends to create not only echo chambers but boring ones. The wholesale banning of right of centre accounts will render the whole place sterile and as conservatives are banned the left will just leave. No likes and retweets unless you’re tackling someone about something, and certainly no forum for even simplistic debate. You can’t pretend to fight “fascism” if there is no one to call “fascist”. The outer darkness of Bebo and MySpace awaits.

Justin Barrett
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