Hardeep Singh

Can Twitter be saved from the mob? Rishi Sunak’s Yorkshire Tea row makes me sceptical

Rishi Sunak is not the first politician to share a staged picture of himself. But the response his tweeted image received has surely been the most furious so far. Standing in front of a giant bag of Yorkshire Tea, the Chancellor wrote: ‘Quick Budget prep break making tea for the team. Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew.’ Innocuous stuff, you might think. But not for the Twitter mob.

Quick Budget prep break making tea for the team. Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew. pic.twitter.com/zhoQM9Ksho— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) February 21, 2020

Incensed left-leaning keyboard warriors have vented their fury at the poor person running the Yorkshire Tea Twitter account for several days now. There have been calls for people to stop buying the brand as a result of its alleged connection with the Tories and the chai-drinking Chancellor.

‘That’s me boycotting this brand then. Not because it uses imported tea but because of the Tory scum that forms whenever you make a cup,’ wrote one irate person. ‘I will no longer be buying your tea,’ wrote another.

Yorkshire Tea was eventually compelled to respond. ‘Nothing to do with us – people of all political stripes like our brew. Plus there’s no way we’d intentionally stick ourselves in a Twitter storm on a Friday afternoon. It’s nearly hometime!’

Such incidents have happened before on Twitter, of course. But this demented backlash – which is still continuing, five days on – surely shows how bad things have become.

Yorkshire Tea says it responded to 10,000 tweets in the space of 24 hours. ‘Sue, you’re shouting at tea,’ was one memorable response made by the company to an online critic.

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