Sunday, 7 December 2008

Change of plan - response to comments so far

Very predictable set of comments about censoring free speech and predictable use of 'I bet you won't publish this' just so that I will. The one about 'the real world of grown up argument' really made me laugh. If anything it's the juvenility of some of the comments that is so fundamentally depressing; playground bullies hiding behind their anonymity. And yes, Northern Lights, I've had people (actually, all young women) say to me that they are scared to post comments in case they get a torrent of abuse back.

My argument would be that it is you who are not engaging with issues, e.g. in reducing every issue to overblown paranoid rants about a police state, or by posting comments which constantly hark back to that theme, and bear no relevance to the subject matter. Not everyone shares your obsession, or your views - in fact, judging from my postbag virtually no-one does. I've actually been going round asking people 'Do you think we're living in a police state?' or 'Do you think Britain is roughly on a par with Zimbabwe'? They look at me as if I'm mad. (And no, not because they think I'm stating the obvious!)

You are perfectly free to express your views on your own blogs, but I don't want you hijacking mine. Why on earth should I give someone a public platform to call me 'a sanctimonious cow' or to talk about stringing me up from a lamppost? More importantly. I am simply not prepared to allow this blog to be used by anyone to publish racist views - and yes, I regard repeated references to 'Somali pimps' as racist, or referring to Obama as 'Barack Hussein', or making derogatory comments about the black children I met in Miami (something to do with a zoo, and gangsters, wasn't it?) I am prepared to publish views which are far too right-wing for my liking, and might be seen as racist by some -Dave A springs to mind, although I'm sure he would disagree with that assessment. But not the puerile, wilfully offensive stuff.

So - ditch the juvenile insults, ditch the 'completely irrelevant to the original post' paranoid rants, and all will be fine. If you feel compelled to carry on in that vein, go off and harrass John Redwood or whoever else still allows comments... And if you can't find an MP who does, ask yourself why!

Off to do Westminster Hour now...


DaveA said...

Kerry, always nice to get a mention, if only for the wrong reasons. There is a consistency to my views. Two things have outraged me recently. The first is the Brtish pair in Dubai who were drunk and involved in some sexual antics. From what I know of the middle east that really would of offended the Muslims who live there and I look upon their deportation as a let off. The Dubai authorities were really sensitive, imo quite needlessly.

The second is a left/liberal friend of mine who told me that in parts of Spain where the British are and own businesses, the local Spanish have had to learn English. This really gets my blood boiling. Ignorant British who don't even have the manners to learn the local language. If the Spanish wanted to deport them I would support them.

Lastly a few years ago Jean Marie Le Pen while describing Brits as "agreeable" wanted them deported. As a Francophile I looked at it that it was his country and if there was a majority of French who agreed I would be happy to leave.

timbone said...

I have just popped in after playing and conducting in a delightful Christmas Concert to see if there was anything new - interesting.
As you know, I enjoy the variety of your blogsite, and sometimes make comments, maybe with a serious element, often frivolous, but never intended to be offensive.
I understand the difficulty of allowing open comment from the world! I have sometimes had comments about my youtube contributions, which I have kept on, because everyone is entitled to their opinion, although I do of course answer such comments. I did erase one, because it was unnecessary, inflamatory and untrue, although I did not remove the subsequent comment insulting me for doing so.
I have found some of the comments on your blog synical but amusing, and I have also noticed that you can give as good as you get. I have to admit that I did wonder why sometimes a comment was there which had no relevance to the blog.
I understand your reference to the fact that you would like this to be more for your constituants than for a larger public. This is a problem however, because this is not an 'intranet' blogsite. I would also have thought it to be a compliment that there are people, yes, that includes me, who have bookmarked this blogsite because it is a place where one can sometimes have a good read, learn something, be amused, maybe sometimes get fired up by something we don't agree with.
Anyway, there we are, I have said my bit, well, said a lot, but I know you will read it all, even if it is longer than three paragraphs.

labourparty said...

So does this mark a change of policy Kerry? Comments will be assessed for validity and decency, irrespective of whether you might agree with them? If so, good for you and about time too!

These people pollute any comments section where they either think that they can influence the author and it's worth doing because they're an MP, MEP, etc., or where they think they have a free platform to shout to the nation (see BBC blogs).

As you've worked out, they represent a tiny proportion of real world opinion and whilst some do indeed have their own blogs, they mostly find it hard to get many readers.

It's the broken window theory at work by the way:

rapunzel said...

Well done Kerry.

I am relatively new to the world of the blogs. I love debate and well rounded argument, have strong party loyalties but enjoy hearing the other point of view. I do not think my party is perfect and it frequently makes me furious, but I spring instantly to its defence if it is attacked mindlessly. A good argument might make me change my mind, but bullying, swearing, insults, humiliation, abuse, name calling most certainly will not. I loathe some of the rabid posts and if there are several in a row simply stop reading. I like bloggers who address a wide range of subjects, some political, some personal, some serious, some frivolous and I like to see posts that respond in kind.
I know you'll leave posts that disagree with you and you'll engage in vigorous debate, but I see no reason why, or any other blogger should be bullied or insulted.

Peter Black said...

Actually, I was surprised that you were not moderating comments. You are particularly vulnerable as an MP to Standards complaints especially as you are responsible for everything that goes on this blog, including comments. That applies to libel as well. The only sensible course of action is to pre-moderate comments. If people dont like it then they can always start their own blog.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to my former remarks, I regret I must post just once more (subject to moderation of course).

I referred to Mr Obama as Barack Hussein. I am sorry if you regard this as racist. I regard it as nomenclature. At no point did I refer to Mr Obama's race, nor make disparaging remarks of any kind concerning this. I commented on his unwarranted (in my view) intervention in UK politics and his policy commitments which seem to me to be contrary and mutually exclusive.

I would greatly appreciate not being branded a racist on your blog, especially in light of the fact that my wife is of a different racial group to me and my soon to be born first child will be of mixed race. Please refrain from throwing around wild and inaccurate allegations.

Kerry said...

That's disingenuous in the extreme. Everyone knows the only reason why anyone cites Obama's middle name is because it's a Muslim name.

DaveA said...

Kerry, I read your post in a bit more detail and honest answer time. I can see, from your political background, why you would view my posts as racist. However if my starting off point is Martin Luther King, apologies for any paraphrasing, I am judging people not from the colour of their skin but the content of their character.

As someone who in my job comes into contact daily with Indians, you will never find me criticing them at all. Also where I live in East London, after befriending a mixed race South African I have boycotted the local Afrkaaner pub as the attitudes of the punters are pre apartheid. Let me quickly say not because of the management's policy but the punters.

The only Somalian I know is the one who owns/runs the local internet shop. I don't have a printer, so use his and often engage in conversation with him, he seems very decent.

If I do go off on one it is because of sustained exposure to these people living in the inner city area that I do, or have read about them. It is not nice watching a grown man urinating in public 2.30 pm in a residential street. Also three doors down in Hackney a neighbour has 4 kids, does not work but owns 5 cars that appear to be taxed and insured. He is also very rude and ignorant person too. I think I have mentioned getting set upon by 6 youths in Bethnal Breen on Christmas Eve 2003, for no reason.

It is not I have got up in the morning and have these overwhelming desire to hate someone, it is my day to day intereaction with some types of people. It is evidence based, rather than simple prejudice.

bevanite said...

I fully support your decision Kerry in moderating some of the unacceptable comments which appear on this blog. In fact I am surprised you could put up with the threatening and abusive messages for so long... on this site you allow for a dynamic and purposeful debate and unfortunately, like you say depressingly, some take that to be an opportunity to spout hurtful and prejudiced hatred. I see the purpose of political blogging to widen participation and engage with those who otherwise feel dissafected with politics. Your lively blog allows for that and I'm glad that young people and people of all races and backgrounds may be able to look on this site and see policy and news debated vigorously but sensibly without being offended or targeted. Nice one.

bevanite said...
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