I enjoyed the Bryant v Blunt twitter spat as much as anyone. It was nice to see a political social media argument where the gloves really came off, as opposed to the usual platitudinous nonsense these things usually conform to.
My only dilemma revolved around to who to support. It’s human inclination to want to take a side in any dispute one is an objective witness to, even just for fun. My problem came down to the unsavoury nature of both participants. I have had to sit through enough of James Blunt’s music, almost always whilst going through the motions of relationships with women I was not compatible with (although that’s not Blunt’s fault necessarily), to feel more than a touch of antipathy towards supporting him. However, Chris Bryant is perhaps my least favourite current Labour politician. His turn as Shadow Immigration Minister saw any number of UKIP-esque communiqués go out on the Labour Party website under his authorship. He is one of those guys that manages to exemplify the worst elements of the Left and the Right simultaneously.
Given all that, I thought it best to turn to the battle itself to see if it could offer any clues. From what I saw, I would have to stand behind Blunt, who definitely got the better of the punches in. “Prejudiced wazzock” and “classist gimp” will live long in the social media annals of fame. Meanwhile, Bryant let fly some of the reverse panache we saw from him as immigration shadow. Describing Blunt’s fellow well-born compatriots in the world of popular art as “their ilk” was particularly irksome. In fairness to Bryant, it is always much worse being the MP in the middle of these sorts of spats; the non-politician is free to say what they like while the parliamentarian has to watch themselves carefully, so as to not contradict party lines or say something that could get them in trouble quickly otherwise. Also, Bryant’s letter to Blunt in response to the twitter brawl was actually fairly thoughtful (probably because it was written by a researcher).
But in the end, I had to back Blunt. It reminded me of the choice I made during the London mayoral campaign. I had to give my second choice to Boris and not Ken, not because I particularly care for BoJo, but at least he’d never sung the praises of Chavez on the BBC. Same rule applies to Bryant: it’s bad enough when anti-immigrant sentiment is voiced by UKIP, never mind the Tories, never mind Labour. The whole thing is poisonous enough as is without the main centre-left party in Britain trying to hop on the purple bandwagon.
So James, I rooted for you. Not enough to listen to your music ever again, but you know how it is.