There was a time when banter would have gone down like an unsubsidised pint of bitter in the Houses of Parliament, but since the dawn of social media an increasing amount of MPs have taken to social media repartee as a means of polishing their public persona.
And why not? After all, the likes of Twitter and Facebook have become the public’s earpiece inside the walls of Westminster and ever since Donald Trump carved his way into the White House on the back of his Twitter profile politicians have started to take notice of its unwavering influence.
In many ways, it’s a lot like having a Rupert Murdoch in your pocket without all the arselicking and borderline fraudulent concessions. Sure Facebook are likely to want a HQ in Britain tax free and earn billions of pounds without the treasury batting an eyelid, but which muti-national corporation doesn’t these days? And if the reward is public support, who gives a fuck anyway?
So without further ado, here’s the five politicians who have turned their back on PC to go full-scale banterlicious on social media. Enjoy.
Red Ed hit the personality crisis of the century when he ran as the Labour candidate in the 2015 General Election. His voice was overly nasally and his appearance basically made him the poor man’s version of his brother. But the backbench has been kind to him and since he stepped down as Labour leader he has become a bit of a social media celebrity.
Quick with a joke he seized on the opportunity to rib Andrea Leadsom’s claims that Jane Austen is one of our ‘greatest living authors’ by suggesting WG Grace needs should be recalled for England’s third test against South Africa. The old batsman would have turned 169 this year had he still be alive, a tad younger than 200 year-old Austen.
New game obviously. My entry: WG Grace needs to be recalled for England for third test against South Africa. https://t.co/0IJvQaeoQ0
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) July 21, 2017
Insta-famous Rees-Mogg took a path less trodden by conventional social media personalities, opting for the pretty picture network that is Instagram over Twitter or Facebook.
Although he has since joined Twitter – his opening gambit was the Latin of “Times are changing and we are changing with them” – he has enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to his #Moggmentum trends which have including memes and gifs that celebrate his eccentric appearance and oratory.
Here here old boy!
Time to pay homage to a forefather of social media banter. Many say John Prescott was the man who put the “wit” in Twitter when back in 2014 when the former Deputy Prime Minister delivered such classics as “Nigel Farage Ale. Bottling it since Eastleigh” when the UKIPer failed to win the local by-election and came up with the perfect riposte earlier this summer when a hacker broke into Labour’s official account and pledged to provide every citizen with their own owl – “I’ve always been Owl Labour”.
He’s even brought down the likes of Kanye West and Rupert Murdoch on Twitter. This one got him notable acclaim:
— John Prescott (@johnprescott) February 15, 2016
If you think some of the Conservative’s policies are an absolute joke then you should follow this guy – he actually won his seat on the back of his tongue-in-cheek Twitter pledges.
The MP for Braintree promised to continue to wear hard hats and hi viz jackets if re-elected “to look like a real wally every now and then” and even pledged to continue surprising old ladies after he was snapped shaking hands with a rather taken aback pensioner.
He even stooped to a fashion funny lately – must be hilar!
And so the collapse of Western civilisation begins! https://t.co/LljuwZUvvk
— James Cleverly (@JamesCleverly) July 21, 2017
The only candidate to be unwittingly included on this list and yet the only candidate to have a social media day named after him, Ed Balls rose to social media prominence after arriving on Twitter with a glorious first tweet that simply stated his name.
Ever since that infamous day on social media he has been remembered with a series of GIFs, memes and all the other social media trimmings that go with it. And rightly so. For the winners of social media are simply the ones who are themselves. And if that means you’re a Twitter dinosaur, so be it, we love you all the same.
— Ed Balls (@edballs) April 28, 2011