I’VE been radicalised by the internet. This is my confession. If an MI5 snatch squad reads this and thinks they need to bundle me into the back of a van and take me away to some Guantanamo-on-the-Clyde, then so be it.

The world needs to know about people like me.

The internet has started to give me violent thoughts. It’s true. It’s even made me fantasise about committing an act of terrorism.

This is the plot that my exposure to the internet and online radicalisation has fostered in my mind: I want to blow up the internet.

I don’t mean ‘blow up the internet’ in the way the kids means it, as in get loads of retweets or likes and blow it up. I mean actually blow it up. The real internet. With explosives.

Boom. Gone. Cyber Guy Fawkes.

But here’s the problem: I’ve no idea where the internet is. And then there’s the fact that I’m a pretty lazy, middle-aged writer who finds it difficult to wire a plug let alone construct a bomb. I also don’t like violence. So my motivation and commitment may be defeated by my character and skill set.

Just in case a secret policeman from the Prevent programme is reading this without a sense of irony, I don’t really want to blow up the internet ... personally.

But I would like it gone. From the face of the planet. At least, in its current incarnation.

If I could snap my fingers and make the internet disappear, I’d do it right now.

This month marks the 31st birthday of the internet. In three decades it’s caused more harm, more quickly, to humanity than any other invention. I struggle to see an upside to its existence.

It’s made a world full of extremists. We may not be lunatics in our real lives but once we get online we self-radicalise. Black, white. Gay, straight. Left, right. Leave, Remain. Yes, No. Trans, cis. Everyone hates everyone else.

When we aren’t hiding behind anonymous social media accounts spouting hate, we become mawkish, sentimental hypocrites online. We bully and abuse some celebrity or royal one week, and then once we’ve broken and destroyed them we cry and tell everyone to ‘be kind’ the next week.

The greatest damage that the internet has done in its current incarnation is to destroy the belief that human beings are essentially good. Online we’re generally bad and stupid.

We’ve given it total control over our lives. It’s enslaved us psychologically. We tell the internet everything about ourselves - things we wouldn’t tell our partners or doctors. We let the internet listen to us, see us, study us, through smart devices and monitors. Then we allow corporations to monetise this information. We’re idiots.

It’s made us poorer. The internet came along and ate up jobs. It put people out of work. It destroyed our high streets and closed shops. Our economy has been continually, unnecessarily and negatively disrupted by the digital world. And at what gain to you or I? Are we happier, richer, safer? The internet proves progress is a myth.

The jobs the internet has created are mostly precarious and low paid. Where once our parents and grandparents depended on a job for life, now our children struggle to keep their heads above water in the gig economy.

We can’t just blame our terrible governments for this - governments are weak in the face of the internet. The internet is the new invisible guiding hand in world events, and governments are here today, gone tomorrow.

The tech giants are like new East India Companies - they’re as rich as small nations, wield power without accountability, flout their taxes, harvest us for data, cause electoral manipulation. They’re corporate vampires.

The internet has changed us emotionally. It’s locked us behind screens at the dinner table. It’s transformed iPads into nannies. People chose their partners by swiping. It’s turned extreme pornography into digital background static. It isolates and dehumanises us.

Culturally, we’re fading away. The internet offers up so much trash that there’s no time or space for real art, real literature. There’s no time for real debate, real analysis. We skim headlines, we don’t read stories. Our attention spans are declining. We’re changing from a book culture to a screen culture.

Fewer and fewer people pay for culture anymore. They want songs, films, TV, books and newspapers for free. If that’s the case then who pays the songwriter, filmmaker, showrunner, writer or editor? Without financial reward, culture dies.

Politically, the internet has fuelled populism, the alt-right, cancel culture, anti-semitism, conspiracies, the extreme ‘woke’ totalitarianism of the left. It’s carpet-bombed the centre ground.

It can be changed, though. My rage against the internet is like blaming physics for the atom bomb. It’s not the science that’s wrong, it’s the way people have harnessed the science which is dangerous.

The internet has the temerity to set itself up as an alternative to reality. You can go online and shop, fall in love, be political, and consume culture, just as you do in real life. Given that’s the case, then treat the online world like the real world.

Police it like the real world. I can’t walk down the street in a balaclava shouting rape threats. So online you should have to show your face and go by your real name, just as you do in the physical world.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter are publishers. Except Facebook and Twitter aren’t subject to the same laws as the rest of the media. End that. Drag a few tech execs into court, the way you can bring a real world publisher into court, and things will change rapidly online.

And tax the hell out of the internet. If you make a buck in Britain, then pay your fair share. Otherwise face being shut down, or prosecuted.

It’s really not too late to fix things. Victorian industrialists thought they could stuff children up chimneys with impunity until society said stop. The world of publishing was a demented free-for-all after the invention of the printing press until libel and defamation laws finally emerged and the crazies got silenced.

Change can be made. It better be made. Otherwise, well, I might genuinely end up getting radicalised.

Neil Mackay is Scotland’s Columnist of the Year