Sunday, 7 December 2008

Change of plan

I've decided - suddenly, spontaneously - that this has gone on too long. Someone told me the other day he finds it 'depressing' to read the comments on this blog, and I have to agree. I'm not at all comfortable with the fact that some deeply unpleasant people are using it to promote their deeply unpleasant views, or that I have reached the stage of praying that some of my constituents don't read some of the comments, or that I decided against posting some pictures of Ugandan orphans performing at No. 10 because I thought it would attract abuse. Or, indeed, the fact that I'm almost self-censoring myself from writing about topics such as immigration or the Shannon Matthews case because of the comments that are likely to follow, which would be offensive and insulting to many of my constituents (who are the ones I really want to read this).
So, I'm going to moderate comments - reluctantly - from now on. And there are some people I just don't want on this site, and won't be accepting comments from.


Remember Remember said...

Funny, I was just about to post a comment about you doing exactly that soon (but got distracted).Soooo predictable!
I'm not at all surprised you want to censor all dissent. LOL!

Bristol Dave said...

I'm genuinely sorry you feel you have to do this, not least because I wanted to see what your views on the Shannon Matthews case were, and read other's views in the comments.

Remember Remember said...

You better "revise the framework" of your own rules then:

My blog = my rules!
As Monica says in Friends, "rules are good, rules help control the fun!"

First: if you're after a detailed response, you should email or write to me. If you're a constituent (or perhaps a very special case), I'll respond; if you're not, you'll have to contact your own MP.

Second: you can't use the comments section to try to introduce a different topic that I haven't blogged about. Well, you can, but you're unlikely to get an answer from me.

Third: I don't have a problem with trenchant criticism of me or the Government, or vociferously expressed opinions, but if you're abusive or aggressive I'll probably choose to ignore you. And I reserve the right to delete highly offensive comments.

That's all!

The Scumbag said...

Kerry, since you've previously said you won't take me seriously, I have no idea if you'll approve this (though not much sleep will be lost either way). But this is you waving a white flag and admitting you either can't, or don't want to engage in dialogue with the voting public.

Even the Lady Dale has binned comment moderation in favour of registered posts only. Step up to the plate and debate the issues rather than hiding behind censorship and a desire to make this a members only club. It's a public blog not a website - if you only want sterile praise from pro-labour zombies then scrub the blog totally and just run with a website.

bofl said...

i find it depressing that you only want posts that go along with your views!

it smacks of dictatorship-not democracy.......

surely if everyone was so happy about you and Labour then the comments would all be full of praise?

but the truth is that all of our right dishonourable members of the h.o.c seem to think they have a divine right to rule.

i cannot think why?

The Penguin said...

But Kerry, whilst I appreciate totally that it is your blog and your rules, do you not think that the benefit of a completely open debate is that your readers are then free to make up their own minds about the arguments and the personalities of those putting forward their points of view?

By moderating comments and banning some posters, are you not treating your readers like children who have to be protected from the real world of grown up argument?

Is that not a retrograde step?

The Penguin

Anonymous said...

Then may I say how much I have enjoyed reading your blog.

Thank you and Goodbye

pagar said...

I am sorry you have found it necessary to do this. You are the owner of your own blog and are quite entitled to moderate comments if you wish but,I have to say, that a blog where a free and open debate is not allowed is not,in my view, worth contributing to.

I believe that, by debating real issues with citizens who have serious concerns about the way our country is being governed, you were providing a valuable service. In certain areas of the debate I even sensed there was some progress being made.

There are few enough avenues open to ordinary people to try to influence those close to the political machine and closing down dialogue is potentially dangerous. What happens when the talking ends and we still feel utterly helpless? That's the scary bit.

Northern Lights said...

Well done, and not a moment too soon

It's a shame that a small group of disturbing people have managed to hijack an amusing & intelligent blog to further their own political agendas

I know their offensive comments prevented other, more sensible people posting for fear of being insulted - so lets hope we now have more sensible debate from now on :)

swindon_alan said...

Ah, censorship.

Nice one Kerry. That fits in well with your party's legislation as well.

Guthrum said...

Sorry to hear that

Cato said...

And now there's me thinking that a socialist like yourself would be in favour of free speech.
Oooops, unless it's the sort of free speech that you like.
Now, let me guess on the chances of this post being allowed.

Leviathan said...

Labour MP doesn't like public's opinion, censors it.

Et tu, Kerry?

Northern Lights said...

Oh I just LOVE all the posts calling this censorship - which are then published - delicious

It's not about censorship - it's about allowing people to read this blog and not be ambushed with vile and abusive opinions

But of course, it's easier to shout 'censorship' isn't it...

Hughes Views said...

Good choice, I'm afraid that political blogs, especially those written by real politicians, attract comments from some desperately sad (in both senses) and hopelessly unrepresentative souls.

Good luck...

Bristol Dave said...

Northern Lights said...
so lets hope we now have more sensible debate from now on :)

Basically translated as

"Let's hope we have more pro-New Labour debate from now on"


To carry on with the subject in hand - I'm not particularly aware of comments appearing that were particularly offensive - maybe with the exception of Old Holborn - I enjoyed his comments but I can understand why others did not.

Maybe a system where you delete offensive ones rather than having to approve each comment individually would be better?

Kerry said...

It's not just the offensive comments - of which there have been plenty - but just the sheer tedium of having to have the same arguments over and over again.

Not to mention being used as a proxy when you want to insult every other MP out there. (E.g. I don't drink, I don't have a lucrative job on the side, I don't have a £10k kitchen off the John Lewis list, I don't pay family members to do nothing).

If you genuinely see some merit in MPs blogging, perhaps you should save the abuse for the vast majority who don't, rather than those who do?

Ben said...

I couldn't agree more.

No one's freedom of speech is being denied. Everyone is free to say whatever they like on their own blogs. You do not have a responsibility to provide anyone else with a platform to express themselves.

Debate is fine but I don't think anyone can honestly think that unmoderated comments were leading to serious debate.

This blog is a way for you to engage with people and I think you're very good at that. I can't think the hostile atmosphere was helping.

Northern Lights said...

Bristol Dave - no that's not what I said at all now is it

Some of us can appreciate that sensible debate isn't the same thing as mindless abuse, nor is it the same thing as blind self congratulation - it's somewhere inbetween

Please don't put words in other people's mouths - it just sounds childish

Ruth Kelly's plaything said...

A shame you've felt it necessary to do this. I'm not quite certain what your reasons are, but it does appear that some posters are in sympathy with some of your aims. Others are (intentionally?) misunderstanding what I think you are saying.

It is perhaps not an unmixed blessing that some 'young girls' will not post for fear of attracting abuse. Ah, bless. Their desiccated education will presumably not have introduced them to the idea that 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me'.

In most cases, it seems to me that abuse is deserved: one does read some dreadful old tosh on blogs (usually from government apologists declaring black to be white), though it must be admitted that there is the odd person doing the equivalent of shouting at the traffic; just as in life, one learns simultaneously to pity and ignore them.

For some 'young girls' a little abuse (of their ideas or their inarticulacy) might be an incentive to (a) assemble information, (b) formulate a coherent position and (c) express it cogently. I think that the ejukayshun industry calls them 'life skills'.

Once upon a time, in a now-distant youth, I used to be very left indeed, but then I grew up, via socialism to my present libertarian position (which is not at all the anarchy that you have labelled it as). I now realise that the left's urge to remodel human nature and perfect our motives and behaviour always ends in tears for them or dictatorship for us. Please, please, Kerry, look at history, ponder that thought and in your politics learn to facilitate people's dreams rather than seek to impose on them what the high priests of your dogma prescribe.

Back to the blog. For myself, I don't feel the need for Nanny to look after me here as she does increasingly comprehensively elsewhere. If that makes me a misfit here, as in so many other parts of Brown's Britain, so be it.

It's been fun pulling your leg.