WHAT, pray tell, is the argument for allowing people to hide behind anonymity online?
Answers on a paperless postcard, please.
Meanwhile, I can’t think of a single one. Yet countless numbers are allowed to post hateful, sometimes threatening, comments to others while protecting their own identity.
Comments such as, “the fat one is repulsive”, and, “kill your f***ing self”, to Jesy Nelson of Little Mix, one of the world’s most successful all-female bands.
Jesy, 28, who is entirely normal in size, has bravely spoken of attempting suicide over the relentless online bullying about her appearance.
“From the minute those comments started it became one of the worst times of my life,” she says.
“I wasn’t known as one of the singers from Little Mix. I was always known as the fat, ugly one.”
She has now deleted her Twitter account and is working on becoming the confident young woman she was before she became famous and, consequently, the target for bitter morons whose lives clearly haven’t worked out as well as hers.
And it’s not just celebrities who get taken down by these anonymous keyboard warriors.
COULD BE OUR KIDS
It could be our sons or daughters, too.
Suddenly, anonymous bullies who want to cut them down can do so 24/7 via their smartphones.
It’s easy for the older generation to say: “Just don’t look at the comments,” but social media is now in the DNA of Generation Z. They socialise on it, work on it, and live and breathe it.
Besides, surely the emphasis for change should be on the perpetrator of hateful comments, not the recipient?
So how do we get online trolls to think twice before press- ing “send” on some vile missive?
Easy. Everyone’s full name should be identifiable behind whatever online moniker they choose for themselves.
In other words, you must know that any wilfully nasty opinions can have consequences.
I have been writing this column for 25 years and everything I say is directly attributed to me.
So if I’m being critical, I do my utmost to ensure that what I’m writing is based on fact and that I can justify my stance if challenged.
Equally, it goes through a checks and balances system of sub editors, lawyers and executives before publication.
But the internet is a lawless place where nasty, sexist, racist, ageist remarks and, yes, even death threats, are made with seemingly little consequence other than to whittle away at the self-esteem of the target.
MAKE THEM THINK TWICE
Yes, extreme cases can eventually be tracked down by the authorities via their IP address, but it’s a long process and, surely, it’s better to look at being proactive rather than reactive towards such bullies.
In other words, make potential trolls think twice before posting a comment they probably wouldn’t make to someone’s face.
When we book a flight, we have to provide our full name etc before we can board a plane. Why not the same rules for being allowed on social media?
Our home address or other ID details wouldn’t be visible to other users, just our real name and perhaps a vague location such as “London” or “Glasgow” if you click on the Twitter (or whatever) handle.
It would make the hitherto anonymous trolls think twice before sending hate to people they don’t even know and, better still, stop one classmate from bullying another for fear of being immediately identifiable.
All it needs is someone with the will, and power, to make it happen.
NHS IS TRYING OUR PATIENTS
MEMO to the British Medical Association, which reckons chasing health tourists for payment is tantamount to racism and just “a drop in the ocean”: What planet are you on?
The Mid Essex NHS Trust alone reported a £55million deficit last year – with £623,000 owed by just one foreign patient who left the UK without settling their bill. That money amounts to 3,000 cataract operations and 70 hip replacements – both procedures countless UK-based patients often wait months to have.
A friend, who has paid in to the NHS all her life, was diagnosed with cataracts but told it would be “at least six months” before anything could be done. So she used her savings to pay for it privately.
But what about those who don’t have a bit of money tucked away?
Why should they endure a long wait for treatment when someone who hasn’t paid in to the system just swans in and gets vastly expensive treatment for free?
Let's go ape for civility
WATCHING the debates taking place in the House of Commons over the past few days, you’d think it was that fly-on-the-wall documentary based in a orangutan sanctuary.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t this lot supposed to be the highly educated elite tasked with guiding we lesser mortals through the admittedly tricky but not impossible EU exit we voted for?
Saints preserve us.
While Rome burned (yet more stabbings, shootings etc on our Wild West streets) our elected representatives fiddled and diddled their way through yet another day of pointless arguing reminiscent of some smugfest “I’m cleverer than you” student debating society.
Meanwhile, Norway is trialling a new TV show called Einig (which means agreed) aimed at restoring a measure of civility to public life.
Participants include MPs and activists of all political persuasions who discuss everything from abortion rights to climate change.
But unlike the majority of political debate shows in this country – not to mention the Westminster bear pit – they have to sign up to a set of simple rules.
No interrupting, no rudeness, no talking over your adversaries and an agreement to at least try to understand how the opposing side has arrived at its opinion.
It can’t come to these shores soon enough. Einig?
IT'S SPY-LY UNUSUAL
THE name’s Bond. Jane Bond.
As ludicrous a concept as The Adventures Of Thomasina Sawyer, Davina Copperfield, Mary Potter, Olivia Twist, Judy The Obscure, Petra Pan or, indeed, changing Thomas Hardy’s classic to Russ Of The D’Urber- villes.
If we want more leading female characters in fiction, let’s write/commission originals, not lazily shoehorn a woman in to a classic male role.
Royals' 'moral' victory
THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex have undoubtedly made a few missteps while negotiating the tricky terrain of trying to establish their role within the Royal Family.
But failing to visit Balmoral over the summer isn’t one of them.
It’s not compulsory and, besides, Princess Diana wasn’t a fan of the whole huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ experience either, and no one poured opprobrium on her head.
If Harry and Meghan chose to go somewhere glitzier and sunnier, so what?
Provided, of course, that they pay for it themselves and don’t preach to others about climate change initiatives (see aforementioned misstep).
After all, none of us are obliged to go to spend the summer at granny’s house, so why should they be?
Strange case of Ri
WHAT witchcraft is this?
Singer Rihanna stepped off a flight this week clutching what can only be described as Stuart Little’s briefcase.
Leading me to assume that, just out of shot, a coterie of minions were lugging the rest of what can usually be found in the handbag of any self-respecting female.
Take mine, for example.
It accommodates my laptop, various chargers, increasingly bulging make-up bag (it takes a lot of product to look this, ahem, natural), several news- papers and magazines, bills to pay on the move, bills I’ve paid but forgotten to file, around 478 pens, a purse stuffed with credit cards, cash and enough receipts to paper a downstairs loo, leaflets for plays I’ll never see or medical advice I’ll stupidly never read, wet wipes (old mothering habits die hard), at least five combs, a brush that resembles the nest of a small animal, nail files, multiple tweezers (I keep losing them, buying more, then finding them again) a couple of small notepads, a Filofax, a collapsible plastic wine glass (you never know), and other largely useless items too plenty to mention.
Lord Lucan could be in there and I wouldn’t know it.
Source: Read Full Article