There goes Newton, there goes the neighbourhood, and there goes the show..

I really don’t know what to make of this. After deciding to make Newton Emerson the one piece of spectacular talent on the replacement for Hearts and Minds, the BBC have sacked their ‘official smart arse’ over something he said about the SDLP on Twitter [It was Facebook you a*, ah, better not – Ed].

Now, I don’t know whether to laugh or weep. The SDLP just put the in the complaint they say. They didn’t ask the BBC to sack him. Well, quite. But hey that’s what happens when you disband a production team that had experience, judgement and nerve.

Besides as Alex Kane has already said on Twitter, did they not know who they were getting when they booked him?

All political parties will try it on, with journalists, bloggers or bulletin board owners. This might as well be an advertisement in 12 foot letters, we’ll do whatever you ask, if only you put it writing and send to the complaints department.

It’s not the first time Newt’s been sacked for stepping on someone else’s tender toes. Depriving someone of (part of) their livelihood is a great way to keep the whole self censorship gig in motion.

But really BBC? Someone in Ormeau Avenue is mistaking current affairs for light entertainment. Sometimes BBC NI is just a little too eager to give the impression they actually serve politicians rather than the licence fee payers.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty