Monday, April 16, 2012

Not a game for amateurs

olly.JPGAs someone who regards Twitter users in general as deserving of capital punishment, and harbouring a strong dislike for the use of hard-core swearwords on blogs and other public media, I am slightly ambivalent on this.

On the one hand, it seems to me that John Kerlen (aka Olly Cromwell), who has posted some distinctly unpleasant "tweets" on his Twitter account, was asking for trouble. On the other, it is manifestly clear that Bexley councillors (with whom Kerlan has been locked in battle) and the police have grossly over-reacted.

Kerlan's supporters make a very good case for him, pointing to how ghastly Bexley council really is – although it is probably no more loathsome than others. But Kerlan himself does not come over as a character who is likely to gain widespread public support.

And if that sounds less than sympathetic, it is perhaps a reflection of Kerlan's lack of tactical acumen. We are up against a ruthless, spiteful and unprincipled enemy, one who was bound to take advantage of any weakness. Publishing the "c-word" on Twitter, as did Kerlan, has given them the opening they needed.

If we are going to take these people on – as indeed we must – we are going to have to be a lot more canny. Not least, we need to identify their weaknesses, work out effective strategies to exploit them and then, where possible, to work in concert with others. Turning the electronic ether blue is not going to earn any brownie points.

One notes of Kerlen that he does tend to be a one-man band, yet he is now appealing for support when he has got himself into trouble of his own making. And, if for no other reason than the authorities are grossly over-reacting, he should be supported – at least insofar as a jail sentence, currently threatened, would be unconscionable, while the ban on his blogging cannot be acceptable.

But one might also observe that we might all get a lot further against a common enemy if more of us took the time and effort to plan and implement a winning strategy. We are not going to win by sounding off – with or without obscenities - and hoping for results.

Our enemies are not amateurs. Why should we expect that amateur attempts to take them on should have any success? If we are going to be successful, we need to raise our game.