John Harris

Journalist & Author

In this grim age of Trump and Brexit, online fury is a dead end for the left | John Harris

Progressives obsessed by Twitter spats and social media takedowns of the day’s chosen foe lose sight of what is really going on

Along with international football, brown grass and flaming hillsides, political swearing has been an integral part of the summer’s zeitgeist. The protests against Donald Trump’s visit to Britain were exactly the carnivals of dissent that they promised to be: I went on the march in London, and had a great time. But the subsequent media coverage also brought a pang of ambivalence about a seemingly endless array of slogans that mixed profanity with what the modern vernacular calls virtue signalling, and looked like they were unwittingly playing the president’s game: “Piss off you orange twat”, “Fuck off Trump”. One particularly subtle placard simply read: “Prick” .

Related: The Vortex: why we’re all to blame for the nightmare of online debate

The only beneficiaries of online discourse are the billionaires who have built empires on annoyance and misanthropy

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