Having failed miserably to get “letsgetalongerism” and “the political overclass” into the Oxford English Dictionary, I am trying again with……..”Metro-Textual”. I hope it is original.
What is a Metro-Textual????
Well ……..let me put it this way. Being a political anorak and blogger is a lonely and difficult business. And frankly a bit tedious (as anyone who has read my stuff can testify).
But the tedium of being a blogger is relieved by looking at Twitter and Facebook and watching the Metro-Textuals at play. As a Blogger, I look on Metro-Textuals….in the same way I as a 60 year old Toy Soldier Collector looks at Dungeons and Dragons. It looks like fun……but I am a bit too old to start getting interested.
The Metro-Textual considers himself…….and herself as politically involved. …in much the same way that a fat man (or woman) considers themselves involved in Football because they wear a replica shirt. They are of course deluding themselves.
Friending Mark Durkan on Facebook (he has 4,608 friends already) and following Mark Devenport on Twitter (8,790 already) does NOT constitute political involvement.
It is merely one step up from swapping Panini Premiership stickers in the school playground. And this must make for great conversations in the school playground….(QUB Politics Society ?) of the Metro-Textuals.
“Oh my God….oh my God….Ken Reid (9,875 followers) just re-tweeted my tweet about Everton”
“Thats nothing………Naomi Long (4,273 friends) just wished me a happy birthday on Facebook”.
So who exactly is the Metro-Textual. Well……….political professionals and staffers certainly, journalists, trade unionists, politics students, Stratagem interns, lobbyists, charity and campaign activists and anyone who has ever had a vol au vent in the Long Gallery at Stormont. In other words not actually political activists at all…(only a small proportion could handle a Disability Living Allowance claim for a REAL person)…..they are networkers hoping for a little advancement.
Eveidence of this is that their choice of Friends/Followers is rather “wide”. Working for or membership of Sinn Féin, Alliance, UUP, SDLP, DUP……..they find kindred souls in other parties.
Where do they live? Well Tinternet means that technically they can live anywhere but the natural habitat is South Belfast, Queens University, East Belfast and North Down. And any coffee shop in the Cathedral Quarter that has an internet connexion.