One or two of you may have noticed that I wasn't quite able to stand firm on what was my (genuine) resolve to stop posting on Political Betting at the start of the year - there's something about that site that seems to be more addictive than crack cocaine. Perhaps, though, I should heed the old adage that 'you should never give up giving up'. Anyway, after a short break I quickly reverted to posting regularly, but unsurprisingly I've now made myself such a target (by inexplicably and odiously turning my face against all things Tory) that a simple 'hello' tends to be greeted with a "why do you always have to be such a w****r, James?" from the usual suspects. Even worse, the membership of the usual suspects appears to be ever-expanding, and now includes a particularly delightful poster called 'Chris q00' (catchy moniker, I'll grant him that) who enjoys nothing better than interrogating me for hours at a time on why the SNP reneged on its pledge at the 2003 Holyrood election to hold an independence referendum by 2007. (Yes, I know, it's because the SNP didn't actually win the 2003 election, but the simpler the explanation the more the poor guy seems to struggle with it.)
So it's naturally quite difficult to maintain any sort of patience with such a buffoon, and when today he ludicrously suggested that Michael Foot as Prime Minister would have taken the UK into the Warsaw Pact, I told him rather directly that I thought that was an utter joke. Curiously, this did not provoke a reaction from Chris q00 himself, but from another Tory poster called Casino Royale, who launched into this bizarre tirade, which by the sounds of it he's been storing up for, well, quite some time -
"Can you come onto this website without being nasty and vindicative to people James?
Quite frankly, I’m tired of your attitude. You never have a good word to say about anyone and are permenantly sarcastic and insulting to other posters.
In other words: an a**ehole.
You being “you” I know you’ll try and instantly turn that back on me but why not be a mature adult for once?
Take the feedback, reappraise how you behave on here and act on it."
I naturally pointed out the supreme irony of a man complaining about 'insults' and 'never having a good word to say about anyone' when he's in the middle of using words like 'a**ehole' to indulge his own personal grudge without the slightest provocation. But there was more to come, and fascinating it was too. It appears that his criticisms of me are not personal or partisan at all, but are instead objective, constructive, and deeply rooted in his - ahem - professional experience.
"This is serious. YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.
Trust me: I’ve worked with several individuals in my company who’ve exhibited the same behaviours you do on here. The HR training was incredibly interesting. The ones who became happy and successful people took the feedback on board and learnt from it. They didn’t take it personally. Even if at first, they did. They understood HR were trying to help them.
Of the rest, the ones who chose to ignore it or refused to attend the training, a couple had nervous breakdowns and all of them managed to alienate all their peers and colleagues which only compounded the problem. Some lost their jobs because of it.
Which approach do you think was the right one?"
Is it just me, or do you get the feeling that the understandable stress and panic induced by the rapidly vanishing opinion poll lead is causing some CyberTories to turn into David Brent?