One good thing I would have said about controversial Labour activist Duncan Hothersall until a few short hours ago was that he didn't seem to be one of those people (naming no names, but James Mackenzie) who huffily march off with their ball at the first sign of anyone daring to disagree with them. Even after a fair number of sharp exchanges, Duncan still followed me on Twitter, and I still followed him. Refreshingly mature, I might (almost) have said.
Alas, it turns out that even a man of Duncan's renowned tolerance and saintly political ecumenicism has his breaking-point. At the end of the following exchange, I noticed all of a sudden that not only was Duncan no longer following me, but I was no longer following him. As I hadn't unfollowed him, that could only mean one thing - he had gone the whole hog and blocked me altogether. Take a look for yourself and see if you can decide which particular example of my vile Cybernat hate-speech may have tipped the balance, and made such a drastic step unavoidable.
On the whole, I'm sure Duncan will have very few regrets about blocking someone with alternative political views who is uncivil enough to actually answer back now and again. The only minor downside I can see for him is that he might find me slightly less accommodating the next time he curtly demands that I spare his blushes by removing a comment from this blog.
For my own part, I dare say I'll come to terms with this blow eventually. Call me paranoid, though, but I can't help feeling that it significantly increases the risk of me being blackballed at my hard-earned #Twinner initiation ceremony next year. I'll just have to hope they show some mercy, and break the bad news before inviting me to press my tongue against the underside of the Sacred Gerbil.
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The SNP : @markmcdsnp will stand up against Labour/Tory council plans to close Bramble Brae and Middleton Park schools.
The SNP : @markmcdsnp said: "There is no educational justification whatever for the council's closure plans."
The SNP : @markmcdsnp said: "An SNP win on Thursday is vital if these excellent schools are to be saved"
The SNP : @markmcdsnp: “The closure plans are wrong on educational grounds, and must be opposed for the sake of the children"
Duncan Hothersall : SNP incredibly jumpy on #Donside. What's going on? Pre-poll nerves or opinion poll worries?
Scottish Labour : The track record of @markmcdsnp - as an MSP, Mark voted to cut £2 million from Aberdeen College cutting thousands of student places.
Scottish Labour : The track record of @markmcdsnp - as an MSP, Mark voted against a solution to stop Bedroom Tax evictions across Scotland #donside
Duncan Hothersall : The other parties are relentlessly attacking the SNP, says the SNP, in between relentless attacks on the other parties. :-)
Me : Scottish Labour do look a bit jumpy, though, Duncan. Just judging by their tweets. Bad private polls?
Duncan Hothersall : SNP are defending a 7,000 majority. Not jumpy to attack that.
Me : But Labour hold the equivalent seat(s) at Westminster, don't they? Shouldn't they at least have a 50/50 chance?
Duncan Hothersall : Even for you that's pathetic.
Me : Explain?
Duncan Hothersall : Well, you habitually pick fights on basis of feeble arguments, but this one takes the biscuit. Any clearer?
Me : "Picking a fight"? Who is the aggression coming from in this exchange? Why is my argument "feeble"?
Duncan Hothersall : Off you trot.
Me : I'll take that as a "no, I can't explain why I don't expect Labour to win in area of traditional strength".
Duncan Hothersall : Other than pointing out a 7,000 majority for the SNP. Making this not an area of current Labour strength.
Me : "Current" excludes the 2010 general election, which elected the UK government that currently rules over us?
Duncan Hothersall : If this were a Westminster by-election that might make sense, but it isn't, so it doesn't. Enough daft laddie nonsense from you.
Me : So you agree that Donside is an area of current Labour strength in Westminster terms? Shouldn't they be doing better?
Duncan Hothersall : You do know this isn't a Westminster by-election, yes? People vote differently in different types of election, yes? Basic stuff.
Me : As far as I can see, voters barely make that distinction at all in by-elections. Why do you expect Labour to lose?
Duncan Hothersall : Evidence of that assertion?
Me : It's an observation. Glasgow East didn't feel much like a Westminster contest, but it was. Only difference is UK-wide coverage.
Duncan Hothersall : So you have no evidence. You think the electorate are too stupid to know what sort of representative they are choosing? I don't.
Me : You think people are stupid enough to believe a great many things, Duncan, so why start underestimating them now?
Duncan Hothersall : (no reply, blocked me)