Tweet Checking: Pots, Kettles and Labour Attacks on Theresa May's Brexit Credibility

When I was nine years old, someone told me that in the 1980s, “Russia” had invaded and occupied Afghanistan. I couldn’t believe it! Really?!

As soon as I could I went upstairs to my room and located my blow up globe, one of my most prized possessions. Tracing my finger around Eurasia I hit upon Central Siberia and made my way down through the dusty Steppes to Afghanistan. My suspicion was confirmed: such a thing was crazy!

The logistics seemed impossible to me, and so therefore, on the spot, and with no further investigation or deduction, I concluded that the said person had been lying to me as some sort of sick joke. I held to this conclusion for about two or so years until I learned about the existence of the Soviet Union, and subsequently became a devout Stalinist (but that’s another story).

My point is: my main interests at this time in my life may have been Lego and yoghurt, but on Twitter, this is usually the mentality you’re dealing with…

5. Khaled Beydoun

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I chose this one largely because it’s more an odd one rather than say a devastating tweet of foolery. Beydoun is a respected legal scholar and critical race theorist, but I have seen him make claims of a similar standard in the past.

Beydoun offers no evidence at all to back up his claim of either a higher figure or a conspiracy, and Pew are very precise in explaining their methodology in how they get to a figure of 3.45 million Muslims in the US. And if Pew is involved in a conspiracy to “diminish influence” of American Muslims, then why also publish projections of long-term Muslim population growth?

The strangest thing is that Beydoun’s assertion - made in an attempt to ‘punch upwards’ for the American Muslim - just ends up an accidental validation of far-right conspiracies of a Muslim demographic mutation that good white Christian males need to fight against from the comfort of their basements (or maybe a church steeple).

4. George Eaton

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There’s an old joke about the Austrian School of Economics: they’ve successfully predicted twelve out of the last five recessions.

Corbyn and his acolytes have been predicting the end of the May government continuously for its entire existence, and yet Ozymaydias still stands. These predictions of Mayite doom are so frequent they might as well be categorised and have serial numbers. Why Eaton (and I do enjoy The Staggers, I really do) suddenly decided that Corbyn’s “unravel” comment was a genuine Nostradamusian triumph is beyond me.

3. Linda

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No party pays its MPs a wage—that’s the job of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. This was the whole point of the 1911 Parliament Act—those representing the people do it for that task alone, and not because of an independent income, to represent an interest group, or any other organisation. MPs receive a certain amount of money from their party campaign funding banks to run their campaigns—but they are not paid personally to run as candidates for the party.

This is why Phillips is, as she says in her original tweet, still in debt.

2. Max Shanley

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A truly pressing concern with Trump in the White House… if not for the fact that there have been no American nuclear weapons in the UK at all since 2008, the last nuclear missiles—long and short range—removed back in 1992 as a result of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

  1. 1. John McDonnell

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Between the 26th and 29th June 2016, Corbyn lost twenty-one Cabinet members after sacking Hilary Benn—May has so far lost nine. During this he lost a vote of no confidence in a 172 to 40 vote—May has yet to even face such a vote. Even after that he held on to his leadership, fighting tooth and nail all the way through a new leadership election, when any other leader would’ve resigned.

In June 2017, Corbyn sacked another three shadow ministers and a fourth resigned over a Queen's Speech amendment for Britain to remain in the single market and customs union, while 49 backbenchers rebelled.

Just last month there was a further six resignations from the front bench regarding the Lords EEA amendment (along with 89 rebel voters)—no one talked about Corbyn’s resignation then. We’ve already gotten used to it.

My point here is not to paint just Corbyn as unworthy as head of government—both him and May are equally unworthy in different ways. Neither can keep a Cabinet together, never mind hold their own in a negotiation. It’s become a cliché to say it, but we live in a desperate time without accountable or responsible leaders who yet still have the power to ruin all of us.

As for McDonnell, him tweeting this with a straight face shows either delusion or desperation—gall perhaps, but unlike Worf, I don’t necessarily admire it.

More about the author

About the author

Harris Coverley writes the Tweet Checking column for Disclaimer and is constantly looking for readers to help him correct the worst of internet. No stupidity or falsehood is too great a challenge.

He lives in Manchester and holds an MA in Intellectual History from UCL. He also writes short fiction and poetry, the former of which only Disclaimer has had the good sense to publish.

Follow Harris on Twitter.

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