A row has been brewing on Twitter since last night, and now threatens to go global. It was sparked by 'angry' tweets exchanged between a 'senior' Cabinet Minister and a senior 'not in the Cabinet, but attends Cabinet meetings' Minister, in which the word 'ghastly' was used in what can only be described as a provocative manner. Now numerous Labour activists, from PPCs to councillors to grassroots activists have joined the fray. As a Government whip I am observing from a distance, ready to step in should my services be required. It doesn't look as if this one will go away.
It began with a trip last night by Ed Balls MP to see Paul McCartney perform at the 02. Ed enjoyed himself. Enter Jim Knight MP to destroy the Christmas cheer: "Hope he didn't perform Wonderful Christmastime: ghastly!" This has now degenerated into a furious row over the merits of otherwise of the Frog Chorus, with one Labour PPC pointing out that the lyrics are quite profoundly moving: "Win or lose, sink or swim, one thing is certain we'll never give in, side by side, hand in hand, we'll all stand together" (I've recited those lyrics from memory...they may be wrong but I have a scary feeling that somewhere in my brain I have a small section reserved for the Frog Chorus lyrics. Adjacent to 'I've Never Been to Me' by Charlene).
For a moment just now, I thought I'd have to step in, when one Labour activist tweeted another, who has been in the forefront of pointing out to Ed the error of his ways "I don't think you should bother responding to the twerp. He's a brainless little oaf." But as ever on Twitter, wires were crossed and the reference was to a little Tory/ libertarian monster who, judging from his avatar, will be starring soon in a remake of the Omen. (I'm quite fond of him, in a perverse way. He actually talks about, and cares about, policy).
Seriously though, regardless of whether people manage to convince Ed that he is wrong to like the Frog Chorus (they won't and he is, and as his whip I will be having words when Parliament returns), isn't it great that Labour activists and some people who aren't even activists are using Twitter to talk to Cabinet ministers, and that they feel they can respond to Ed saying 'I like the Frog Chorus' with the simple message 'Oh dear'? Trivial as this particular conversation may be, it says a lot about the Labour Party. We're like one big family.
PS This will inevitably attract the usual nefarious comments from trolls, on how talking about singing frogs on Twitter is emblematic of ZaNuLab's blah blah blah... Can I suggest you read this from Tom Harris? He's talking about YOU.