Morgan the muggle

13 February 2017 | Lloyd Hughes

Social media is a maelstrom at the best of times, with Twitter pretty much a permanent political battleground.

It’s heavily dominated by left wingers, but there are also some heavy hitting right wing commentators on their too, who like to stir things up. 

One of those stirrers is invariably Piers Morgan.

I don’t harbour any real dislike for Morgan, and on some things, I think he offers rational, pertinent views which strike a chord with me. But on others, he winds me up no end (Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Arsene Wenger being three examples).

One topic of which he’s been continually vocal and uncompromising of late is Donald Trump.

Hysteria of any kind baffles me – I try to keep a rational, level-headed, logical viewpoint on most subject matters. I really don’t understand people who don’t at least attempt to view things through the lens of reason rather than resort to knee jerk reaction.

Someone falling to their knees and screaming ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOO’ at the confirmation of Trump’s presidency, for example, leaves me pretty much bemused.

Yes, Trump is scary. There’s no denying that. Some of his policies are positively unhinged and to think that someone so thin-skinned has ultimate control over the US nuclear arsenal is terrifying. But not ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’ off the cuff levels of terrifying.

At least at the moment anyway.

I’d certainly attempt to scream ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’ just before my flesh is seared off from a blast of atomic heat in a nuclear holocaust of Trump’s making.

But seemingly everything Trump does is subject to the same ‘OH MY GOD LOOK AT WHAT HE’S DOING NOW’ reaction, which often downplays or ignores anything seemingly positive he may have done – like scrapping TPP for instance.

It wasn’t so long ago that TPP heralded the end of the world according to some left-wing Twitterati (plenty of people on my timeline anyway) – who seemed certain the Conservative majority in the GE was essentially the coming of the first horseman of the apocalypse, whose horse was TPP.

Since then, Brexit has followed and now Trump – with each advent causing a new high tide of left wing opprobrium and disbelief.

Trump’s policies are absolutely outrageous in some regards, building a wall and banning refugees comes across as bigoted madness, but yelling “IT’S A MUSLIM BAN” when it’s demonstrably not also suggests crazy to me. Blowing things out of proportion and twisting the truth serves to strengthen Trump’s position, giving credence to FAKE NEWS. Rational debate and dignified counterargument is a much more powerful response.

Jim Jeffries labelled Trump Hitler and screamed at Morgan to ‘F*** OFF’ for defending him, which was then the catalyst for a Twitter spat with JK Rowling. More on that shortly.

Branding Trump Hitler is yet more fuel for the fire of simmering right leaning sentiment that swept him to office in the first place, as it’s utterly ludicrous to suggest so.

Piers Morgan is (in his defence) pointing out that most people are, in many cases, over reacting. Protest and disagree by all means, but it seems some people are really going beyond this and losing all sense of perspective.

I would much prefer if Trump wasn’t in office, but incoherent, aggressive shrieking about it helps no one.

Piers Morgan is possibly the most fame hungry, egotistical person going. His support of Trump is predominantly a case of wanting to show off having a powerful friend. And with Trump known to value ‘loyalty’, Piers Morgan is banging the drum to demonstrate that loyalty. During the election campaign, Morgan seemed to very much be hedging his bets. Some of Trump’s suggested policies were disgraceful and wrong on any reasonable level, and Morgan knew that.

If he wasn’t friends with him, he’d no doubt have been vociferously anti-Trump. All he did though, was voice a comparatively (to his anti-Cook/ECB rants at least) mild reproof. If Trump wasn’t elected he’d have been able to say “I didn’t back him, I said I didn’t agree with him”. But then if he was elected, could tell The Donald “I loyally supported you”. Now he’s just looking to reinforce the “I was/am loyal” impression, with the added benefit of still saying “I didn’t agree with him.”

Trump is in power for 4 years, and Morgan is going to be doing his best to milk his purported friendship with the leader of the free world for all he’s worth. Morgan’s craving for fame and his constant name dropping is rather pathetic, but people making Piers Morgan, as a Trump cheerleader, to be some sort of Lord Haw-Haw style fascist is on par.

He was editor of the Daily Mirror for Christ’s sake! And for all his poor decisions in that role, you don’t get to head a consistently left leaning paper like that without being a liberal at heart, even if he has since jumped over to the Mail Online.

He can be an insufferable arse and he doesn’t give a fig if he’s liked, but he’s no Oswald Mosley. He’s not rallying Blackshirts in the street for violent protest. That’s actually been ANTIFA in recent weeks.

Morgan’s clash with Jim Jeffries caused a spat with JK Rowling, as she revelled in someone telling him to do one. Rowling has the support of the Potterverse, while Morgan has the support of the reflection in his bathroom mirror (“I have 5.5m Twitter followers,” he usually crows at this point).

Despite me holding no particular dislike of Piers Morgan, I do enjoy knowing the fact he’ll be fuming that his retorts only receive a tiny fraction of the likes and retweets of Rowling’s responses.

However, to bring in a PR element (other than Morgan broadcasting his name a bit more), a book shop in London has seen the PR value in tweeting him the entire Philosopher’s Stone word by word since he claimed to have never read it.

The act has been well reported in news outlets, so kudos to the Big Green Bookshop for jumping on the back of the saga. A neat idea, which is no doubt rooted in political opinions they believe in, all while tapping into their target market – book readers.

We’ll see how long they keep it up for though!