The fast that I have chosen:


I’ve spent the last forty-eight hours pondering social media. To be honest all I’d achieved is a growing level of despair, until I had a moment of revelation.

Instead of giving up stuff and fasting for Lent, I’d say the way forward is to give up stuff and fast for the election campaign!
So it struck me that I’d give up political discussions on social media. If a real person raises the topic when we are met together over a drink then that is fair enough, but no political discussions on social media. There are several reasons for this. Firstly they’re a total waste of time, effort and electrons. (The latter could be better used elsewhere.)

Secondly the whole reason I started this social media stuff was because, sadly, I have books to sell. Screaming at somebody that they’re the spawn of Satan because they’re going to vote for the ‘wrong’ party doesn’t strike me as one of the better sales techniques. Well at least I’ve not had a lot of success with it so far.

Finally, life is too short to get wound up over arguments with people you’ll never meet and care little for.

So far, and it’s early days, things are going well. I’ve just avoided stuff. Indeed I have been a little cunning. I’ve not had to block anybody yet. But where they’ve merely shared a post by ‘Sad politically obsessed’ I’ve blocked that page.

After all I don’t mind people I know having opinions, but be damned if I’m wasting my time over websites created by political parties and their HQ black propaganda teams in an attempt to sway people to their way of thinking.

Now obviously I’m not going to be hard hearted about this. If ‘Sad politically obsessed’ ever showed any signs of trying to relate to me, engage me in discussions about matters of importance in the real world, then I’d be more open to them.

Obviously this demands a change of track from them. Their normal output tends to be ‘Our glorious party is composed entirely of persons who give their income to the poor, kiss the sores of lepers clean, and help infirm persons of all ages, genders and ethnicities across the road; while the other lot eat babies, sacrifice kittens to the dark gods of their ideology and if they win, then this is the last election you’ll ever have.’

If instead they were to post something along the lines of, “We believe that it is vitally important for the economy that people support our creative industries; thus we both urge and exhort you to purchase Jim Webster’s fine story, ‘Keeping Body and Soul Together’.


Should they do this I would certainly re-evaluate my approach. Not perhaps enough to vote for them, but certainly I’d give serious consideration to unblocking them on facebook.

Indeed if they were to go so far as to promise that in their efforts to improve literacy they would purchase a paperback copy of ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’ for every household,


then I’d not merely no longer block them, I might even be prevailed upon to share their posts.


Still when I stop to think about it, there may indeed unforeseen advantages to my policy. By eschewing politics my facebook wall will become a place of peace and joy. Let others turn their social media shop window into a battleground for crazed warring factions, with barely literate political nonentities spluttering marginally coherent insults at each other.

My wall will be a tranquil oasis, tempting the war-weary traveller to rest awhile, allow the bitter anxiety to drain from them, and perhaps even relax into a good book that takes them away for the insanity that rages in less salubrious areas.


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13 thoughts on “The fast that I have chosen:

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 20, 2017 at 3:12 pm Reply

    Same here, except I starte social media also to connect with other writers (way back in 2012), family, and old friends.

    Not a medium for civil discourse, except with the other singers in your own choir.

    Hope the sales come – I’m having great slowness in that department. It hasn’t helped that, for various external reasons, my brain refuses to kick on so I can write with it. I’m getting rather desperate. I sit here, it’s all planned out (from before), but no capacity to actually write. If it doesn’t get better, I’m dumping the last of the heart meds – to confirm my suspicions the meds are messing with my brain.

    I can’t even get excited about elections any more. (Not that I would be about this one, except as it affects my online writer friends.)

    • jwebster2 April 20, 2017 at 4:10 pm Reply

      Yes, when you see the effects they have on people who do get excited about elections it rather puts you off taking the whole process too seriously 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm

        Elections are VERY serious business – witness our debacle over ours. But we haven’t gotten the latest system working – I blame the mainstream media for trying to make DT look as reasonable a candidate as HC – and therefore legitimizing the pond scum.

      • jwebster2 April 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm

        I’m not going to get lured into political discussion 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 20, 2017 at 9:24 pm

        I was trying to comment without starting one!

        You know, appreciating your post and the work that went into it.

      • jwebster2 April 21, 2017 at 6:15 am

        just teasing 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 21, 2017 at 6:44 am

        I know. 🙂

  2. jbwye April 24, 2017 at 7:25 am Reply

    Love it! But I’ve just stuck my neck out on social media… Not for a political party, but for the man himself, who’s done so much for our town – surely that must be allowed.

    • jwebster2 April 24, 2017 at 7:46 am Reply

      when I first voted in an election, the political parties were not named on the ballot papers. In the UK we vote for individuals we hope will represent us and all their constituents. There have been great parliamentarians of all parties who have won the affection and loyalty of their constituents so that they increased their majorities as people from across the political divide voted for them as the best possible choice.
      Such people are disliked by party managers as they do from time to time ignore the whips and are impossible to punish because they genuinely have the support of the people

  3. jbwye April 27, 2017 at 7:49 am Reply

    Thanks for that, Jim – my eyes have been opened! (have only lived here for 17 years). I’m glad people still vote for individuals rather than parties, even though they might be in the minority. I would have thought it the rational thing to do, even in our increasingly global society.

    • jwebster2 April 27, 2017 at 5:33 pm Reply

      Only a small proportion of the population regard themselves as party supporters. It’s still common to have people vote for a different party in local elections as opposed to National elections 🙂

      • jbwye April 28, 2017 at 9:10 am

        Oh! Don’t think I’ll ever get to understand the political / local election systems here!! Anyway – I’m going to vote for the person who’s done much for the area when he was “in”. And he’s standing in the national elections….. so I guess I’m one of those oddly common people too.

      • jwebster2 April 28, 2017 at 11:14 am

        The advantage of having made up your mind is that you can cheerfully ignore the wave of blather that threatens to overwhelm us 🙂

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