My blogging inertia over the last few days has partly been because of Deasy (turned out it was a massive heart attack; surprising because he kept himself in good shape, exercised a fair bit, ate healthily, smoked, but please let's not go there) but also because I've been looking at more other blogs than usual. And whenever I've had the germ of a blogging idea in my head, you can guarantee someone - or usually several someones - has already beaten me to it. So you end up with blogs which simply refer to other blogs, in ever decreasing circles and with ever greater repetition, until we're all saying exactly the same thing, and before you know it, Blogs will Eat Themselves. Hence my focus on music, and girlie things, and disturbing dreams about my whiteboard being violated. (I had an even more disturbing dream last night about my eldest sister morphing into Nadine Dorries... well, she's blonde, she lives in Mid Beds. I think it was an anxiety dream about the fact she's coming to stay with me in August).
Speaking of girlies, I've been looking at Lucy Powell's blog on The Guardian website, about latest Lib Dem strategy. And this comment, from a pleasant fellow called Rob:
"For Christ's sake girlie, didn't the tactical voting, predominant in the South-West that went on in the late 80's due to Lab-Lib stitch ups bother you?
You're far too young, naive and inexperienced to know anything about it.
Strangely, despite this ignorance, you consider yourself suitable to become a member of parliament.
Heaven help us all."
Well, Lucy is 33. She's been a Labour Party member for 18 years. She went to Oxford. She worked for a Government Minister (Bev Hughes). She ran Britain in Europe, which took her to high-level meetings in No. 10 on a regular basis. And yes, she's done normal, non-political things too. She's fighting the Manchester seat where she grew up, went to school, etc, and was described to me by one Cabinet minister as 'the perfect parliamentary candidate fighting the perfect campaign'. (Worth noting too that her age/background isn't much different to that of two present party leaders when they got into parliament, and Labour's last one - except she's not a product of our public school system).
She's making a perfectly valid political point about the Lib Dems getting into bed with the Tories, and in doing so, reminding disillusioned Labour voters that voting Lib Dem might well result in a Tory/ Lib Dem coalition running the country. And yes, I'm sure she's well aware that a lot of Labour supporters voted Lib Dem in the 1980s/ 90s, and vice versa, to try to get the Tories out. (Dorset being a prime example). So? That doesn't in any way invalidate the point she's making. What is noteable is that Rob is resorting to the tactic employed by many who comment on blogs - attacking the person, not the post. After all, it's much easier to describe a woman as a naive, ignorant girlie than it is to construct a proper critique of what she's saying, isn't it? (See more than a few of the comments on my site too, if you want more examples!) I can't say I've conducted an authoratitive survey, but it does seem that women are particularly likely to be subjected to this kind of response. But of course that's only to be expected if we have the effrontery to express political opinions in public.
P.S. In checking out Lucy's blog I noticed that Michael White's blog begins: "As regular reader(s) may well have spotted I love quarrelling with the Daily Mail, many of whose vices I have been enjoying first thing in the morning for decades." See what I mean? There is nothing new in the blogosphere. I'm going to check out Nads' site now to see what she's saying about my sister.