Conor Pope: I told the world about my vaccine cert. It wasn’t long before the abuse started

Opinion: I am a liar, a fool and a sheep, said those who disapproved of my vaccine message

I am a pathetic beta male, a cuckold and liar, a fool and a sheep-like shill for the New World Order. I will have blood on my hands, and be unable to look my children in the eye when the great reckoning comes.

That, at least, was the singular view of some people when they found out I was mildly pleased to have received my updated Digital Covid Cert last weekend.

I’d been waiting no longer than 36 hours for the cert to arrive, and as each of those hours ticked by I grew more convinced – without anything by way of evidence – that I’d given my pharmacist the wrong email address and that the cert would be lost forever in the dead letter office of the Internet.

It’s not like I need the cert for anything now and probably won’t until July at the earliest, but any excuse for a bit of dead-of-night worry, right?

My fears were groundless, and the cert arrived pretty quickly all things considered. Soon after it did, I posted the only very slightly good news on Twitter. As with most of my tweets, I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought before hitting Send.

“Got my Covid booster cert mailed to me today and had it uploaded to the app in less than 10 seconds. The authorities get a hard time from people like me and sometimes get a hard time from actual me but they have done a phenomenal job with the vaccines and certification process,” was my message.

Then I took my dog for a walk, despite his clear desire to stay at home. He’s not mad about cold, wet January weather is Toby.

As I wandered the rain-slicked streets of Dublin’s north inner city, my phone starting humming, as it sometimes does. People were liking my tweet. It was being shared by people similarly delighted to have got their certs. Some others, who had struggled to upload the latest version onto their phones despite the arrival of the mail, were on to me looking for help.

I was happy to help and over the course of an hour, it was all pretty good-natured – as Twitter can be. But then the tone of the messages changed.

I’m not unfamiliar with the rules of social media engagement in 2022, and I know that any time I express a positive view of the vaccine roll-out or the official response to the public health emergency or encourage people to wear masks or wash their hands or say I believe that we are – in fact – in the middle of a pandemic, there will be people racing to call me out for the malevolent lick-spittle they are sure I am.

I also know that expressing doubt that every government in the world – from Beijing to Washington and from Havana to Sydney – has some how joined forces with Big Pharma and tech billionaires in absolute secrecy to fabricate the pandemic, so they can inject me with an “experimental jab” for reasons best known to themselves, makes me a target for a collection of mostly anonymous Twitter users who believe that is what is happening.

I’m not playing the victim card here. I get off pretty lightly all things considered, and the abuse levelled at me is a trip in a clown car compared to the deeply personal, incredibly offensive and threatening abuse directed at others including colleagues of mine – mainly women. Being called a “baldy f**ker” by a man with a cartoon avatar served with side order of tricolour is pretty tame by those standards.

But last weekend the abuse just went on and on.

“Yadda yadda yadda suppose you got paid to write that speil,” wrote one of the first critics out the gate.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I did not in fact get paid by anyone to write that tweet. Nor was I asked to write it by George Soros, Bill Gates, Leo Varadkar, the Editor of The Irish Times or anyone else. It was entirely my own work. And to be doubly clear, no-one asked me to write this article either. It, too, was my own idea.

“Me and my friends got our f**king slave passes updated”... “Long emigration of Ireland’s brightest and best has led to a media composed of inbred servile court reporters,” said someone else with an oddly dim view of court reporting.

I was told that “every day you begone more of a joke” by a man typing so fast he didn’t spell the words correctly. He did find time, however, to tell another Twitter user that he “used to listen to him. But the mask in the pic told me last year he’s a twot”.

“RIP,” came another response somewhat darkly.

Someone else suggested the State had in fact done a “ a phenomenal job” but only at “instituting segregation based on a certificate of state-determined biological purity. I guess the Nazis did a phenomenal job getting all those trains to run on time,” this person added.

There were quite a few references to Nazi Germany in the responses as it happens; my happiness at the arrival of the digital cert was interpreted as tacit support for Adolf Hitler and his crimes.

“Good man,” another user said. “Thumbs up Virtue signalling to the max and adding to the mass, accepted discrimination of your fellow man at the sane time. Pathetic.”

Then there was the person who said “Enjoy your slavery” and the other who simply said “twat”.

Several people suggested that the Covid Cert was a “leper pass” while one person confidently told me that my “tweet won’t age well.”

Their assessment was echoed by a person who said they had taken “a screen shot for when you delete this tweet, and you will”.

Someone else urged their followers to remember my name and the names of others who have ever voiced their support for a vaccination programme “when the kids start dying”.

“Astounding how pathetic these gobsh1tes are, comparing notes on how to be a better slave and how to use their leper pass better, sickening to see the level of compliance,” said one man who – along with a stream of other tweets asked people to “check out all the good little sheep comparing notes on how to be an even better slave and be even more compliant. Have you ever seen anything so f-g pathetic?”

My innocuous tweet lost me at least one fan. “I actually thought this guy had a brain but just another zombie sleep walking us into a totalitarian facist (sic) state,” he said.

Another user wondered “how Conor Pope or anyone who uses this track & trace can look their children in the eye is beyond me given what it means for their future”.

“How much for your soul back Conor?,” asked someone else.

I was also told my tweet was evidence that I was “a big supporter of apartheid now”.

On and on it went through Saturday and into Sunday.

“What the hell is wrong with you? A good job of the certification process? You belong in East Germany in the 1980s, busy working as a good little Stasi asset. You people are pathetic.”

Obviously I didn’t respond to the tweets, and I let the abuse wash off me like dip from a mountain sheep. But the nature of the discourse is illuminating and it’s getting worse, something I would not have thought possible this time last year.

I’m still glad I got the updated Covid cert, even if I hope by the time I need to use it, it will be entirely unnecessary.