We were told, after Brexit, to get out of our bubbles. Apparently, we were all only preaching to the converted. Both in person and on social media. Looking at my own posts, I definitely felt this to be true on social media. I had shared and shared stuff in favour of Remain. But actually I was just exchanging stuff with like-minded individuals. Not changing anyone's mind.
I always worry about tweeting something which accidentally attracts mass vitriol. I don't know who I think I am going to reach, in that vast twittering ether but anyway. I have, however, been making a point of reading more of the 'opposition' social media traffic. It is mostly, in my opinion, horrific. The opinions being expressed are the antithesis of my own feelings.
But it is quite clear that many of these people are just as well organised as the more liberal-minded of us. And their lack of empathy for others means they are far more likely to use the most appalling language and to express the most outrageous opinions on social media. A mass of shock jocks, vying to cause the most offence. Led by Trump, whose position gives permission for such behaviour by others. People who believe in fairness and honesty are more reluctant to offend in my experience.
Some of the tweets and other pronouncements rejoicing at the end of Obama's presidency and the installation of Trump have been sickening in their ferocity. I am not for a minute suggesting fighting fire with fire. But the opposition does need to organise. The same needs to happen in the UK. It is not just about lack of effective political opposition anymore. It is about developing a presence, a language which will appeal to those tempted by racism, sexism, etc. Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins, for example, are despicable but their voices are being heard.
The Women's Marches this last weekend were angry enough and well organised enough to be a start. Momentum is now the key. In the US, Trump forms a focus for the anger. In Europe we need to turn our focus onto the Far Right and organise before it is too late. Trump is in power and it is going to take quite something to unseat him. In Europe we have an opportunity to prevent his like from gaining power in the first place. And that means coming out of our bubbles fighting.