ITN coming across really badly in this - just no need for that statement. I've followed him on Twitter for years and never seen anything questionable.
Are you joking?
He has been "tired and emotional" for years on there
I too have followed and had conversations with Alastair for a very long time on Twitter. I have seen no evidence of him being tired and emotional.
I have seen debates but I will say again; he always maintained the fact like others that all views were his own.
I have no idea why I'm wading into this but ho hum.
You clearly cannot of been following Alistair very closely if you do not realise why this has happened.
And let me clarify, I have always enjoyed his presenting style on TV and, from his posts, he is clearly a good family man who loves his family and is deeply proud of his sons.
Martin Shapland, having seen many of his tweets fly by over the past ten years, is someone I find irritating. But he is essentially irrelevant in this whole debacle as if he'd not been online that day it would have been someone else two days later...
This is not Shapland's fault, it's a problem entirely of AS's own making. Let's discuss AS's habits on social media.
Alistair is, as are nearly all UK TV newsreaders, a professional at being impartial on the TV.
He stated his opinion that much of the "as it happens" commentary on social media, and analysis provided by others was a danger to this tradition. This has been covered in depth elsewhere.
However he did this whilst seemingly oblivious to the fact that
- statements about quality politicians
- statements about the best quality governments over his lifetime
- posting photos of his going to endless conservative association dinners and so on
meant it didn't take a genius to work out which box he marked his X in.
This never crept into his TV work, nor did he ever support / oppose a political policy in a blatant way. Nor is it news that, for example, Nick Robinson or Andrew Neil are to one side of the fence. But taking a holier than thou stance when being oblivious to your own shortcomings is hardly professional.
AS would never let a good argument die. He was exceptionally easy to bait and would then keep at it as long as the other side could. Given the nature of twitter and its notorious style, this should be something someone of his standing should learn to avoid. Have a discussion yes, have a disagreement fine. But it's how you conduct yourself and knowing when to stop. Which brings me to...
AS would use the quote tweet function of twitter rather than the reply. This meant all of his followers got to see whichever pleb was currently facing his wrath. This is a notorious trigger to pile-on culture and should be used sparingly and intelligently. You can see him doing this in the Shapland example.
But this happened again and again and again over months, if not several years.
It was not a one off.
AS tended to exude the worst type of middle class snobbery. He would pour scorn on people's education and intelligence if they dared question him. The slightest thing could trigger needlessly harsh attacks on people's character. Similar to Stanley Johnson and his "people couldn't spell pinocchio" comment.
Again there are plenty stupid people in the world and its fine to give them enough rope with a poor argument. But the "you're not worthy enough to argue with me" attitude came out often.
So in conclusion, there were two sides of AS. One was a charming and friendly person, which by the comments of his colleagues I do not doubt. But the other side was easy to bait, an (oblivious) hypocrite, and a snob. It was this side, and his inability (arguably his choice) to temper it on a public website that has resulted in his leaving ITN.
This, as I have said, has been going on for a long long time and I would hazard a guess that his managers had several meetings with him, and indeed he may have been on an existing warning, when he got into his fight with Shapland. And if Shapland hadn't been there, someone else would have been along soon enough to trigger him.