A year in tweets

The best spoof accounts on Twitter share their thoughts on the events of 2010.

Some of the tweets quoted below contain strong language.

January

7 January @DrSamuelJohnson Flop-hair'd Foulmouth Mister Jonathan ROSS has fled the BBC, afear'd of a publick Hanging from the Tory MOB.

20 January @reelmolesworth amey WINEHOUSE giulty of asault at pantomime O NO SHE ISENT cri defence counsel – pehaps not the best legal strateggy hem hem

February

7 February @MTuckerNo10 For fuck's sake. Dinner with Miliband tonight. Can't remember which one. Does it matter?

March

27 March @thefuckingpope Chocolate eucharist has arrived! It's delicious!

April

28 April @TheDearLeader So Hugo Chavez is on Twitter. Big deal. Tell him to call me when he commands a million-man army. (Seriously, Hugo: Call me. I've got plans.)

May

8 May Queen_UK #ge2010 awful dream. Woke up convinced that one was heading for a con-lib government and visions of Cam-Clegg audiences. What? Real? Fuck!

15 May @theashcloud My head is saying earn their trust back . . . but my heart is saying disrupt the flights . . . what's a cloud to do?

June

1 June @BPGlobalPR The oil leak was caused by a natural gas explosion, or sea fart, which is now having silent but deadly consequences. #bpseafart

11 June @FacebookPR Facebook Fun Fact: Every 9 seconds, we end a marriage. #didyouknow

18 June @DrSamuelJohnson The colonial Congress endeavours to block the Oil-Well by heaving Brick-Bats at hapless Fuel-Drudge Mister Tony HAYWARD

July

11 July @the_vuvuzela Goal kick. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Slide tackle. BZZZZ BZZZZZZZZZ. Routine pass. BZZZZZ BZZZZZZZ BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

15 July @BPGlobalPR Well, that wasn't so hard.

August

5 August @FEMINISTHULK HULK NEED EVEN BIGGER CAPS TO EXPRESS HULK JOY AT PROP 8 DECISION!

September

14 September @DrSamuelJohnson Bedlamite Harlequin Lady GAGA goes about clad in raw Meat, doubtless to delight her derang'd carnivorous Molly Disciples.

28 September @Queen_UK Text from David Miliband: "Your Majesty, should I stay or should I go now? If I go there will be trouble. If I stay it will be double"

October

1 October @FacebookPR Don't believe everything you see in "The Social Network", it's only like 99% true

6 October @chilean_miner I don't care if it is one of my five a day. I'm not having another one of Ernesto's moss smoothies

November

29 November @lord_voldemort7 Wikileaks has made me glad that my preferred method of secret communication is a mark burnt into my co-communicator's flesh.

30 November @Julian_Ass On the bus, old man in front of me was playing "got yer nose" with his grandson. "IT'S HIS THUMB!" I screamed. The truth must be told.

December

11 December @CherylKerl Dorty woak backstage. Matt's telt One Direction Santa's nut real. Thor distraught man. Snot an teeaz evereewhor pet

14 December @BigSocietyNews Source bone marrow yourself for your upcoming transplant and get £1.00 off the price of a hospital phone card.

20 December @FakeAPStylebook "Now I Have a Machine Gun: Ho Ho Ho" is not an acceptable headline for the drunken mall Santa rampage story

Getty
Show Hide image

Is defeat in Stoke the beginning of the end for Paul Nuttall?

The Ukip leader was his party's unity candidate. But after his defeat in Stoke, the old divisions are beginning to show again

In a speech to Ukip’s spring conference in Bolton on February 17, the party’s once and probably future leader Nigel Farage laid down the gauntlet for his successor, Paul Nuttall. Stoke’s by-election was “fundamental” to the future of the party – and Nuttall had to win.
 
One week on, Nuttall has failed that test miserably and thrown the fundamental questions hanging over Ukip’s future into harsh relief. 

For all his bullish talk of supplanting Labour in its industrial heartlands, the Ukip leader only managed to increase the party’s vote share by 2.2 percentage points on 2015. This paltry increase came despite Stoke’s 70 per cent Brexit majority, and a media narrative that was, until the revelations around Nuttall and Hillsborough, talking the party’s chances up.
 
So what now for Nuttall? There is, for the time being, little chance of him resigning – and, in truth, few inside Ukip expected him to win. Nuttall was relying on two well-rehearsed lines as get-out-of-jail free cards very early on in the campaign. 

The first was that the seat was a lowly 72 on Ukip’s target list. The second was that he had been leader of party whose image had been tarnished by infighting both figurative and literal for all of 12 weeks – the real work of his project had yet to begin. 

The chances of that project ever succeeding were modest at the very best. After yesterday’s defeat, it looks even more unlikely. Nuttall had originally stated his intention to run in the likely by-election in Leigh, Greater Manchester, when Andy Burnham wins the Greater Manchester metro mayoralty as is expected in May (Wigan, the borough of which Leigh is part, voted 64 per cent for Brexit).

If he goes ahead and stands – which he may well do – he will have to overturn a Labour majority of over 14,000. That, even before the unedifying row over the veracity of his Hillsborough recollections, was always going to be a big challenge. If he goes for it and loses, his leadership – predicated as it is on his supposed ability to win votes in the north - will be dead in the water. 

Nuttall is not entirely to blame, but he is a big part of Ukip’s problem. I visited Stoke the day before The Guardian published its initial report on Nuttall’s Hillsborough claims, and even then Nuttall’s campaign manager admitted that he was unlikely to convince the “hard core” of Conservative voters to back him. 

There are manifold reasons for this, but chief among them is that Nuttall, despite his newfound love of tweed, is no Nigel Farage. Not only does he lack his name recognition and box office appeal, but the sad truth is that the Tory voters Ukip need to attract are much less likely to vote for a party led by a Scouser whose platform consists of reassuring working-class voters their NHS and benefits are safe.
 
It is Farage and his allies – most notably the party’s main donor Arron Banks – who hold the most power over Nuttall’s future. Banks, who Nuttall publicly disowned as a non-member after he said he was “sick to death” of people “milking” the Hillsborough disaster, said on the eve of the Stoke poll that Ukip had to “remain radical” if it wanted to keep receiving his money. Farage himself has said the party’s campaign ought to have been “clearer” on immigration. 

Senior party figures are already briefing against Nuttall and his team in the Telegraph, whose proprietors are chummy with the beer-swilling Farage-Banks axis. They deride him for his efforts to turn Ukip into “NiceKip” or “Nukip” in order to appeal to more women voters, and for the heavy-handedness of his pitch to Labour voters (“There were times when I wondered whether I’ve got a purple rosette or a red one on”, one told the paper). 

It is Nuttall’s policy advisers - the anti-Farage awkward squad of Suzanne Evans, MEP Patrick O’Flynn (who famously branded Farage "snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive") and former leadership candidate Lisa Duffy – come in for the harshest criticism. Herein lies the leader's almost impossible task. Despite having pitched to members as a unity candidate, the two sides’ visions for Ukip are irreconcilable – one urges him to emulate Trump (who Nuttall says he would not have voted for), and the other urges a more moderate tack. 

Endorsing his leader on Question Time last night, Ukip’s sole MP Douglas Carswell blamed the legacy of the party’s Tea Party-inspired 2015 general election campaign, which saw Farage complain about foreigners with HIV using the NHS in ITV’s leaders debate, for the party’s poor performance in Stoke. Others, such as MEP Bill Etheridge, say precisely the opposite – that Nuttall must be more like Farage. 

Neither side has yet called for Nuttall’s head. He insists he is “not going anywhere”. With his febrile party no stranger to abortive coup and counter-coup, he is unlikely to be the one who has the final say.