Tag Archives: smug

Oh Lord, not again



Another election. Whoopee, be still my beating heart! Bring it on, let’s be having it. Six more weeks of endless social media bickering as people who hardly know each other slag each off because they believe in the wrong shade of pink.

A bit back somebody posted quite proudly that he’d been to the Britain First facebook page, discovered how many of his facebook friends had liked the page, and unfriended them.

Out of interest I went to the page and looked to see how many of my facebook friends had liked it. I then commented on his wall that I was struck by how young they were.

He asked if I’d unfriended them. I replied that he hadn’t.

Rather huffily he asked why not. I merely replied they were real people and I knew them in real life.

I don’t think that one had occurred to him.


But it’s strange. Writers tend to get a lot of writers as facebook friends, because that’s what writers do, because it’s exposure and getting your name out there.

But other than that, most of the people who I’m linked to on facebook are people I know, and some of them I even meet occasionally. In some cases the discussions on my facebook wall are continuations of discussions that happened the previous evening. Similarly facebook posts can be commented on in real life.

So when I see a friend of mine has ‘liked’ something like Britain First I don’t see a knuckle dragging moron. I see someone who’s probably sick of being talked down to and slagged off by people who had opportunities he hasn’t had.


And now we’ve got an election. Social media will doubtless become horrible and I’ve already started blocking stuff. Not people yet, just the mindless sources they keep trying to share. Life is too short for beaming smugly at yet another toddler proudly displaying the contents of their potty.


One worry is that people are going to try and ramp up the stakes. I’ve already seen people saying that this is the last chance we’ll have to save democracy. Please, stop assuming we’re stupid.


But even more worrying is that each election or referendum since the advent of social media has been more divisive than the last. We’re engaged in a dangerous experiment with our social cohesion. I suspect our problem is we haven’t got enough grown-ups left.

Can June come quickly enough?


What do I know, if you want useful advice on the situation, ask the dog!

As a reviewer commented, “Another excellent compendium of observations from the back of Mr. Webster’s quad bike in which we learn a lot more about sheep, border collies and people. On the whole, I think the collies come out of it best. If you fancy being educated on the ways of the world, with a gentle humour and a nice line in well observed philosophy, you could do a lot worse than this.”

Beware the machinations of tyrants.

Apparently the organisers of the first European games in Baku have pretty well paid for the British team to attend.

I know it’s hardly blood diamonds, but people are still asking questions about it.
But I know a chap who was in with a damned good chance of representing us at the Moscow Olympics back in 1980. He’d spent an awful lot of time training and what happened? There were all sorts of people saying how shocking it was that we were sending athletes to the Soviet Union after they’d invaded Afghanistan, and eventually his sport pulled out. He never got his chance. Four years later it’s a different world, he’s four years older; he’d quite literally missed the boat.

The problem with ‘sports boycotts’ is that they enable people to ‘send a message’, feel smug AND sanctimonious, and at no cost. If the British team don’t go to Baku, frankly I’d never notice. I’m unlikely to watch the games. (Let’s not beat about the bush, if they held the games in Barrow I doubt I could work up the enthusiasm to watch them.)

But firstly there are a lot of people who enjoy this sort of sport. Even more there are people who’ve trained with eye watering dedication, all their lives, just to get a chance to compete at this level.

Now then; I could demand we boycott Baku; feel smug when we do, tell people that we’ve shown ‘them’ what we think of ‘them’ and it hasn’t cost me a penny. Indeed I’ve suffered nothing.

Screwed some other poor beggar’s life but one cannot have petty moral victories without some cost.

I must admit I rather regard athletics and sport as part of the entertainment industry. Long distant runners probably get out more than rock guitarists and might even be healthier, but they’re part of the same industry.

So I suppose as a writer I’m also part of the same industry as well. Should I announce that I want to ban my books being sold in Baku?
As an aside it might be worth it for the free publicity and the chance of a couple of column inches in the Guardian.

But actually, I’ve had a better idea. This way you, the honest reader, can take a stand for liberty and democracy.

It’s beautifully simple.

TS2 War 2-2 (1)

Go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/War-2-2-Tsarina-Chronicles-Webster-ebook/dp/B00U0OE23W/&tag=ethings-21

Or http://www.amazon.com/War-2-2-Tsarina-Chronicles-Webster-ebook/dp/B00U0OE23W/&tag=ethings-21  if you’re American.

Then you can pre-order a copy of the book. The cunning plan is that if decent people buy them all, it’ll mean there’s none left for tyrants and rogue states.

That’ll show them we mean business!