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Twitter feeds, live podcasts and video are pumping out reports of the G20 riots in the City with breathless excitement. The #G20 tag on Twitter is brimming over with posts. As Tweeter robcthegeek just pointed out, journalists are rather enjoying channeling the mayhem.

Amid frenetic news of RBS’ windows being smashed, office equipment being thrown out and even an armoured car being stopped by police, a bit of comedy has been peeping through. A few nice Tweets I’ve picked out:

andrewnorfolk: “HAH, #G20 protesters smash RBS windows, it’s nationalised you morons!”

 

davidteather: “It is like apocalypse now, but with decent food”

 

rachelwilliams2: “‘This is the worst festival i’ve ever been to’ quips one man as we are squeezed round a corner by a police line”

 

madduane: “Saw a sign in the G20 protest coverage that said “Capitalism Isn’t Working.” I couldn’t help but wonder what a pro banner like that costs.”

 

JasonGregory“Can someone tell the man smashing the RBS windows that he (presuming he is a taxpayer) will have to pay for that. #G20”

 

tuileries: “The thing is, the British and their protests, it’s all just anoraks & rucksacks. If we were French the water cannons wld be out by now.”

 

In the background on the Sky News radio feed, you can hear Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ being murdered by a handful of unwashed students with a guitar.

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Hot on the heels of brainless Government plans to teach Wikipedia and Twitter in primary schools, Birmingham City University has upped the ante and launched a £4,000 MA in social networking.

Described as “very relevant and very scholarly” by convenor Jon Hickman, the course offers field-trips – perhaps to internet cafes – along with seminars and “research workshops”. The blurb says:

Birmingham has a thriving social media scene and this scene is fast becoming an industry. It is therefore wholly appropriate that this programme should be based within Birmingham School of Media, where students will have access to a peer group and active community of social media practitioners.

£4,000 sounds rather a steep price to be introduced to a roomfull of people who have MySpace. I’m also not sure how much scholarship you can fit into 140 characters on Twitter. The only consolation is that anyone gormless enough to pay probably is in real need of “access to a peer group”.

This video genuinely cracked me up. It was posted by an anonymous user to YouTube so who knows who’s behind it, but Derek Draper himself had the good humour to flag it up on his Twitter feed, asking if he should be amused or concerned. By the looks of things he thwarted the hopes of one YouTube viewer:

Absolutely priceless – do you think Draper will get the message that he a bullying, totalitarian, censorship ridden idiot incapable of mature dialogue?

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I was speaking to an old Labour communications maestro this week, who said something to the effect that the Tory party under David Cameron still hasn’t managed to modernise itself properly. I generally disagree – I’m fairly sure Dave and George Facebook and Twitter each other at ever opportunity – but William Hague certainly let the side down a bit on today’s Andrew Marr Show.

He had a distinctly uncomfortable moment. Scheduled to meet the Chinese PM Wen Jiabao after appearing on the show, Hague was asked whether it was tough raising the question of human rights in Tibet with Chinese leaders as well as working with them on economic and nuclear issues. He said consistency was the key, adding:

Eastern leaders, if I can lump them all together in one bracket, appreciate consistency.

As opposed to Etonian leaders, who prefer vacillation and indecision? I hope Wen hasn’t been reading any Edward Said recently. A slight look of panic crossed Hague’s face as he seemed to realise he’d made some of the world’s most powerful leaders sound like kids with behavioural problems, and he looked glad when Marr moved the chat on. Incidentally, anti-Tibet protestors clashed violently with police ahead of Wen Jiabao’s visist at the Chinese Embassy in London, but they appeared to be miffed about human rights rather than Hague’s moment of Orientalist madness.

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Civil strife seems to be the theme of the week. The most incisive comment reaction to the wildcat strikes that have erupted around the country over contracts for foreign workers at Total’s Lindsey refinery came from Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer. In autumn 2000, truckers and farmers enraged at soaring oil prices blockaded refineries around the UK. At first, Blair’s government treated the situation as a bit of a joke – but it ended up bringing the country to the verge of disaster. Underestimating the strikers this time around could come at a high price. Left-wing Labour MP Frank Field was worried enough to write in today’s Mail:

Labour risks a wipeout at the next General Election unless it gets a real grip of its immigration policy. Failure to do so allows fingers to be wrongly pointed at foreign workers who have added much to our country. Anger should be solely directed at the Government.

Make no mistake. The men and women on the picket lines are not just fighting for their jobs, they are also asserting their national identity.

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Field misses the point that Brown’s original pledge of “British jobs for British workers”, made at last year’s party conference, was an artless grab for the jingo vote and an unrealistic promise. Commentators across the spectrum, from Carol Thatcher on today’s Andrew Marr Show to Andrew Grice in the Independent, pointed out that Brown has given quite a few hostages to fortune over the years, most of whom have been bloodily executed over the past 12 months.

Finally, to the House of Lords scandal, which has already earned itself the tedious tag of “Ermingate”. In today’s Sunday Times Jack Straw promised an overhaul, although given the Commons vetoed a partially elected chamber last year it’s going to be slow progress. Amidst the mudslinging – apparently Conrad Black and Jeffrey Archer will be booted out alongside the Sunday Times Four under emergency rules – one person has come out of it all looking rather good.

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Baroness Royall is, according to The Sunday Times:

The foxy Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, who swept in to read the riot act. Flame-haired, cool-eyed, with sexy long black boots, the Labour leader of the disgraced upper house looks more likely to crack a whip than pass the port.