This entry was posted on
Thursday, September 17th, 2009 at
10:43 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.
I found out yesterday that Adam Macqueen of Private Eye is off on holiday until Tuesday, and I’ve no interest in conducting an ambush in his absence (i.e. while he’s not able to answer for himself) and so this morning, I’m going to abandon the schedule briefly, then slip out of my arse-kicking boots and into a comfy pair of bunny slippers so I can tell all about… the guy behind me.
No, not the rabid Tory with a knife. No, not the other rabid Tory with a knife, either. No, not even the faux-libertarian with a chainsaw.
What I want to talk to you about is the next guy in line.
It’s sometimes said about me (usually anonymously*) that I’m an arrogant bastard, with unreasonable expectations of a reply or action about this or that, but I’d like to try and clarify this point if that’s OK with you:
While I’m (quite rightly, I feel) concerned for myself a wee bit this week, for the most part, I do what I do and stick my head above the parapet because I’m concerned about what’s going to happen to the next guy that comes along with the same problem… and the next guy, and the girl behind him, and the poor sod behind them, and so on down the line.
Take, for example, the way Iain Dale cheats in comments on his blog; here, Paul Halsall countered a post of Iain’s with what may or may not have been a valid point, but was rewarded not with a reply from Iain (even one rejecting the point would do), but with largely personal attacks, many of which could have resulted from a single unregistered fanboy using multiple names. Some of that abuse was (eventually) deleted, but it shouldn’t have seen the light of day in the first place, especially when Dale was operating with full moderation in effect (as he was at the time). This ‘leading’ blogger has repeatedly claimed that he doesn’t allow anonymous abuse (presumably that means it’s OK if you do it using a name/nickname), but I know that’s not true; Iain Dale does allow anonymous abuse when it suits him. In fact, he often uses it to his advantage by having others do his dirty work for him, which they gleefully do, usually by shouting down or badmouthing naysayers (and here, I give Iain the benefit of the doubt in assuming that it is not he himself posting anonymous comments to his own weblog, which would be the saddest thing imaginable).
Derek Draper emailed a whole bunch of people in the political/web industry accusing me of arrogance because I dared to object when he was playing comment-censorship games very similar to those used by Iain Dale, Paul Staines, Donal Blaney, (I could go on, and usually do)… and we all know how he turned out, don’t we?
Further, a recipient of that email then sent a message out to the same private list, accusing me of arrogance because I dared to expect an answer from The Sun newspaper over my claims that Glen Jenvey had falsified the evidence of extremism that they had so readily sensationalised… and we all know how that turned out, don’t we?
(*Psst! By now you may have guessed the reason why the accusation of arrogance is so often delivered privately or anonymously; were it otherwise, the visible hypocrisy would be at a height likely to interfere with communication satellites.)
The post I originally had planned for today involved a writer for Private Eye unfairly taking credit for my scoop, countering my claims with a description of me as a ‘nutter’, and then claiming that my objecting to that in any way proved I was a nutter. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out, but I find myself wondering how often this kind of thing happens in and around that magazine and how often Ian Hislop deals with people (who don’t wave lawyers around) by simply ignoring them. FFS, he’s supposed to be one of the cuddlier ones, and his magazine one of the more credible titles in the country.
I also have some concerns about David Cameron and CCHQ in general; twice now (1, 2) I’ve been forced to take my case to them when someone visibly/closely associated with a Conservative MP has sought to ‘address the issues’ by anonymously accusing their opponent of being a paedophile, and twice now they’ve shown absolutely no interest in the matter. (I’m guessing this has something to do with their inability to make political gains on the back of it, as they did with the Draper/McBride affair.)
And don’t get me started about Google, who were months ago alerted to multiple instances of a web user using their system in contravention of their own Terms of Service and Content Policy to pose as a Daily mail reporter and make multiple false accusations of paedophilia; they repeatedly responded with stock answers saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) ; “under U.S. law, we don’t have to do anything, so we won’t”. Their Great Big Bloody Corporate Firewall makes it damn near to impossible to reach a human being and initiate a sensible conversation, and the facilities they have in place to report your more standard(!) attack of this kind are far from adequate and woefully under-staffed; surely that’s something that should cause us all concern, and even if you disagree on this and every other example I’ve raised, I say this to you:
You may say that it’s not my/your problem, but I beg to differ; it’s my problem, and your problem, and everyone’s problem when a community cannot police itself, and those in a prominent position in any community choose to abuse their power (or use it so selfishly as to guarantee ongoing harm to others).
You may not want to take action when this kind of thing happens, but as long as I’m in a position to do something about it, I will.
If I’m in a unique position to do something about it, and you’re the one in the wrong, then look out.
Tut… looking down, I find that I’m suddenly wearing my arse-kicking boots again. How did that happen?
No matter. If you’ll pardon my ‘arrogance'; I’m off out to see someone about what’s right, wrong and downright reasonable.