Will clumsy functionaries paid by tax payers to make politicians look good on social media, please mind their fingers?

I remember as a junior staffer helping out in the organisation of a visit by a Chinese Assistant Deputy Under Prime Minister or something, which from a country of more than a billion people is still a very big cheese. For Chinese TV they wanted the “Chinese community of Malta” gathered at the airport to wave flags and greet him but there just weren’t enough Chinese in Malta at the time to meet the expectations of Chinese TV viewers. A small crowd would give TV viewers the impression that the Chinese diaspora in Malta was less enthusiastic than is appropriate for the glories of the PRC.

So the Chinese government rounded up a crowd of Chinese people from Rome, put them on a plane, flew them here an hour before the pezzonovanta landed here, filmed them waving enthusiastically as someone they never heard of waved back and back they went on the plane home to Rome.

If it sounds like the silly behaviour of a propaganda-driven tyranny it’s because it is. But that was 1999 and Facebook was barely a twinkle in Zuckerberg’s pubescent eye.

Now we have politicians hiring people to praise their Facebook posts so that we can all be impressed at how admired they are. It’s just as pathetic frankly. Except that now the politicians don’t even bother to make the appearance themselves. They hire someone to pretend they’re them to put up a Facebook post and that someone changes their identity to other imaginary names using generic nicked photos in order to applaud the post they have just put up on behalf of the absent politician.

It’s like that Chinese politician hiring someone to look like him to get the applause of a crowd he hired separately while he stays in bed with his secretary.

This is such childish manipulation. And it smacks of pathetic lack of self-confidence. It’s like someone with such low self-esteem that when they have sex with their bored wife they fantasise themselves to be someone else.

And then, occasionally you get this. The rent-a-doppelgänger who goes on Facebook pretending to be the prime minister forgets to switch to some other fake identity before he starts applauding the prime minister for what he’s just written on his behalf. This makes it look like the prime minister is calling himself ‘eċċellenti’, which with Robert Abela is weirdly plausible. You look at this and the image of a man with low-self esteem fantasising someone else is shagging his missus, changes to a man with such high self-esteem he imagines the person he’s shagging is himself.