Apparently my hardworking, sensitive and caring MP, Paul Uppal, made a series of disgraceful statements about his consituents last night in the Express and Swastika, our local paper. Unfortunately, I don't buy hysterical racist Tory rags, and they don't have it on their website, so if anyone does have a copy, do send me the relevant quotes.
Now, I'm quite boring but I do pay attention to detail, so when I realised that this lovely man had blocked me from his Twitter feed, I had a poke round to see who he followed because it's significant. For instance, I follow a lot of news organisations, some science sites, some authors I like, some musicians, some personal friends, some key institutions which affect my life, some politicians and some people I don't like or trust. Paul, of course, is in the latter category. My choices reflect who I am and what I'm interested in. Of course, I follow people who in the main think along similar lines.
Who does Paul follow? Well, you'll be totally unsurprised to learn that it's a deeply narcissistic and closed circle. In essence, he follows Tory Central Office (so he knows what to believe about everything) and a lot of Tory MPs, plus a few Tory activists. He's not interested in: different ideas; culture; civil society… anything away from the narrowest of sectional interests.
Following 98 people (fewer than he has followers: there's a definition of narcissism for you):
Journalism: @danwainwright (E+S politics writer), The Economist, The Express and Star: unpleasant rightwing opinions all;
Politics: 91 Conservative Members of Parliament, the local council, 2 Conservative candidates; a member of his staff (@fishchipssalsa - Andrea Coker)
Other: Hootsuite - a Twitter dashboard.
So of the 98 people he follows, 94 are Conservative Party MPs or workers, 3 are rightwing publications or journalists, and 1 is a piece of software. This isn't healthy.
Denis Healey, former Labour Chancellor, said that it was essential that politicians had a 'hinterland': a set of passions outside politics which would keep them sane, and give them an even keel once they've left the mad world of the Westminster bubble. Alan Clark's hinterland was sex. Quite a lot of Tories (and Chris Mullin) wrote novels. Roy Hattersley became a historian.
Uppal has no hinterland. His life seems to consist of money and the distorting echo chamber of other Tory MPs. He has no perspective and seemingly no inner life, nothing to set his actions and beliefs into relief. I try my best, but when someone is as narcissistic as this, you have to worry about their intellectual and mental competence. That's why I keep writing about him. It doesn't really matter if you lot read what I write about him or not: as long as he does, because I worry that he never, ever hears any opinion differing from his own, and that way madness lies.
While I'm at it, let's have a look at Uppal's Tweets:
There are 16 in total.
That's 4 per month since he started.
1 is a reply to another user, which suggests that he doesn't understand social media at all.
5 are about his own speeches (that's basically a third)
6 are plugging his PR activities
3 are about Tory council candidates (none of them mention that Labour swept the board)
1 is about the royal wedding
There's a man who's engaged with his public and eager to debate the issues. What I don't know is how many other people he's blocked other than your humble correspondent.