BADGER despises people who are contrarian and partisan for the sake of it.

There are some right scumbags out there who live their lives trying to provoke arguments and run down others.

These people, mostly male, like nothing better than to whine, bitch, moan, spray around gratuitous abuse, and then act offended when they get called out for it.

Some people are born trolls, some become trolls, yet others have troll-dom thrust upon them.

For starters, there’s no worse loser than a Brexit winner.

They still haven’t got over their victory.

Badger voted to remain in the EU without enthusiasm. He’s not any more enthusiastic for the EU now than he was in June 2016.

Like Boris Johnson, Badger’s pen hovered over the Yes/No question. Unlike the PM, Badger’s choice didn’t arise from personal ambition but because he had a realistic appreciation of Brexit’s likely impact on local agriculture.

Badger thought of the EU’s powers over agricultural policy.
He imagined them vested in a clique of entitled schoolboys, newspaper columnists, and PR men.
Badger blanched.

Being from Pembrokeshire, Badger didn’t give much of a stuff about anything else.

However, Brexiters are by no means the only trolls out there.

Not by a long chalk.

Look left, and there’s a chip on everyone’s shoulder.

Badger is fed up with people arguing about the ‘right’ way to interpret heritage, the ‘wrong’ way to express an opinion, the need to ‘educate’ people into agreeing with one world view, with those who preach ‘diversity’ and practise exclusivity, who snivel about absolutely anything and everything that offends them or make sure they go out and find something that does.

You could express Badger’s exasperation with a simple nine letter phrase which begins with the letter ‘F’ and concludes ’a duck’.

As far as Badger is concerned, there are few proper functions of a national government.

  • The provision of health and social care to those who need it.
  • Education and training that remembers the aim of education is to produce rounded individuals and not economic units of labour.
  • Ensuring housing is built, but only where the market is not providing it and need exists.
  • The provision of an environment in which private-sector jobs are created and sustained.
  • The personal security of a nation’s citizens combined with equal enforcement of the law regardless of status.
  • The provision of welfare support for those who need it.
  • Ensuring – as no government starts with a blank slate – that existing and emerging industries are given every opportunity to compete fairly with as little regulation as needed to ensure services and goods are safe to the consumer.

And what that list boils down to is security and certainty.

Representative democracy is an exchange between the citizen and the state in which certain freedoms are exchanged for no more than security and certainty.

Freedom of speech and freedom of action both exist only under the law.

Freedom of thought?

The law doesn’t have the right to peer into your soul, only to look at what you do and how you do it.

However, you cannot exercise personal ‘freedom’, no matter how you describe it, without security and certainty.

Abstract ideas of sovereignty, rights, whichever letter of the alphabet or personal pronoun you use to describe yourself, whether you eat meat or some form of vegetable protein shaped and flavoured to taste like meat … yeah, they’re lovely.

But they’re secondary to the bricks and mortar of government.

Houses are built of bricks, not wishes.

A government addressing citizens’ collective needs is far more important than satisfying some citizens’ wants.

People who bunny on about single issues or abstractions, they’re not interested in government. They’re only interested in a cause, the sound of their own voice, or the sounds of voices that agree with them.

It must be what drives them on to abuse others who don’t share their views. Once you’ve stuck a label on yourself, you feel the need to label everyone else.

‘Lefty’, ‘Nazi’, ‘Moron’, ‘Idiot’… and everyone who uses one of those words to label others labels themselves ‘sensible’ and their views’ common sense’.

Badger doesn’t even pretend that his OPINION is the last word on any issue. He knows other points of view exist and that people have – usually – considered their own reasons for having their opinion. It doesn’t make them right.

Sometimes, having read other people’s opinions and considered them, Badger will change his mind or at least reconsider his conclusions.

At least he will if those different views are expressed coherently, logically, and are evidence-based.

But personal abuse, forget it.

People need to remember that when you comment on a Facebook post or tweet, you are commenting not on something upon which you have the right to comment but on something which the originator permits you to comment.

By way of an analogy, think of a pub.

A landlord doesn’t have to give a reason to ban you from the premises – provided it isn’t an unlawful one based on discrimination. It’s his bar, his choice.

If you consistently abuse the landlord and his staff, you can go and spend your time somewhere else.

That’s how social media work. The operator of any social media account or outlet can say the equivalent of ‘my gaff, my rules’.

The danger of everyone feeling entitled to bully and berate individuals for doing their job was nowhere more evident than at James Oulton’s trial at Swansea Crown Court last week.

In the public side room where proceedings could be watched by video link, a member of Herald staff was verbally abused and harassed. For lawfully doing a lawful job.

The Judge was told about it. She halted the trial while the issue was resolved.

Jesus wept.

Those responsible must feel so proud of themselves.

If they’d have behaved like that in front of the Judge in the Court, they’d have spent a few hours, possibly evenings, reflecting on their self-righteousness in the comfort of a cell.

They wouldn’t have behaved like that where they could be seen, though.

Bullies are cowards.

Badger’s OPINION is that trolling and abuse on social media have spilt over into real life.

And on social media – like in real life – if you can’t control yourself, someone else will.