Saturday, June 23, 2007

Censorship in Plumstead

Had a look at a local blog The Last Boy Scout and saw that on of my comments had been removed by the author. Now that is fair enough, it is in to power of the author to do so, but in the interests of free speech I thought I would try to go over the issues as fairly as I can so that anyone reading this can make up their own mind.
I have to say the blog in question is not one I read on a regular basis as I find its one sidedness somewhat tedious. The author is a conservative and tends to comment only on politics, and then it seems to me only to mirror whatever ill-informed claptrap he has read that day in the Daily Mail. So you are unlikely to actually get anything witty, thought provoking, or indeed anything that adds to or even resembles reasoned debate. Nevertheless I did have a scan through the other day and found a comment on moves by Tory peers to limit Ken Livingstone to two terms in office. If you have friends and a social life I put up the following quote from 'The Guardian Unlimited' on the 20th June to fill you in:

Mayor of London
The Lords voted to limit the mayor of London to two terms of office - a move which would bar Ken Livingstone from seeking re-election next year. Voting was 177 to 159 during the Greater London authority bill's report stage. But it is expected that the government will seek to reverse this move in the Commons.

For the Tories, Baroness Hanham, saying she was not referring to Mr Livingstone, told peers: "The office of mayor now in this country is the nearest thing we have to a dictator. There is very little that can stop the Mayor doing what he wants to do."

The The Last Boy Scout commented thus on his blog:

'Please let it be true

I have just spotted on the SKY News "Breaking News" strapline that the House of Lords has just voted to restrict the Mayor of London to two terms in office. If I read that correctly, that means that London could finally be rid of Ken!

Please, Please, Please be true.

Update: It's mostly true, as the BBC has tonight reported. The Lods did vote for an amendment to the GLA bill, call for the term of Mayor to be capped. I just hope it becomes law, London derserves better.'

To which I posted this comment, which is still there intact:

'I think Ken is quite capable of imploding of his own volition, it really doesn't need a bunch of unelected nobodies in the House of Lords, to try to deprive Londoners of their democratic rights to chose who they want to be Mayor of London'

I then noticed the previous blog entry on The Last Boy Scout it was about freeing prisoners early, the first line was:

'"Free them", that's the answer from the UNELECTED Secretary of State Lord Falconer.'

So I decided to post a further comment, (so far, in the interests of accuracy I have been able to copy and paste). However I cannot do this in this case because the comment was binned, so I will attempt to quote it as accurately as I can recall (and should I comment again on The Last Boy Scout I now know I have to keep a record). My comment was:

'I see from your previous post you comment on the UNELECTED Lord Falconer, I presume from your use of capitals that you disapprove of people who are unelected having power and making decisions, at least Lord Falconer is part of an elected government. The unelected Tory peers who seek to deny Londoners their democratic rights are part of a Conservative Party that has not won a General Election for 15 years. I have to say that your sheer hypocrisy is only matched by your political bigotry.'

It seems that The Last Boy Scout could not cope with this criticism and had to delete the comment. He also removed the link to my blog, but as I am a tolerant kind of fellow, I have added a link to his on mine. It's a shame he couldn't manage a response, but his response (or lack of it) did not surprise me, and this is why I think he reacted as he did:

Now I like Politics, I have a degree in it. But I cannot stand people who are completely one sided. Nearly all political parties have good and bad people, the competent and incompetent. They have good policies and bad policies, things they do well and things they cock up. No one party has a monopoly on good sense and people who slavishly and unquestioningly follow one side while hurling juvenile insults at the other are no better than the moronic football fan who cannot appreciate good play by the opposition.

I would go further, the danger these people pose is their fanaticism. The inability to comprehend another's point of view and to have the humility to recognise that they may be wrong is the root of dictatorship, intolerance, and persecution. It doesn't matter if they are, Muslim extremists, evangelical Christians, the Catholic Church, rabid little Englander Tories, the BNP or a bunch of left wing nutters, the danger they pose is always the same, they are so sure they are right and all that oppose them are evil, that they are prepared to do anything to try and get there own way.

Now I am sure the The Last Boy Scout is a lovely fellow and kind to animals and children...but, after all Hitler was a vegetarian...

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At 12:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To set the record straight. The only reason I deleted that comment was that it verged on the border of verbal abuse. I did leave your previous comment as it showed your own point of view, and invoked discussion. Of which I more than welcome on my blog.

Yes, I admit I do look at things from a paritcular political persuaion, but then again, show me a politican that doesn't.

As for the link, that was an oversight as I was playing around witht eh layout of my blog. I hadn;t realised it had gone until this post had highlighted it. It has bee restored.

At 10:21 am, Blogger Charlton Average said...

You mad a very good point and one that I think deserves to be made.

Why not repost the comment without the last sentence? I'm guessing that's the big that caused the trouble.

At 10:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right Charlton Average, I would have allowed that as it was a fair point, of that I cannot argue.

And, for the record, yes it was the language and tone of that last line that caused it to be deleted.

At 12:11 pm, Anonymous The ReV said...

er...If you class that last line as verbal abuse (even though its written not spoken) then I would respectfully say you've lead a sheltered life! Lol!
Yeah Sibonetic's comment maybe a tiny bit...strong but I wouldn't class it as offensive, extreme or even "trolling", just a comment. If your going to have a Blog then you have to expect to "roll with the punches" or else it just end's up as a platform for a Rant which is hardly interesting to a general readerhip. Mind you you have come across as balanced in the comments you've posted here and your explanation.

Just for the record I disagree that the Mayor should be limited to 2 terms when there is an election then that is the only option to oust The Newt King of London not by the Govenment/The Lords capping someone they disagree with or is not from their party.
Personally I've raither vote Flying Spaghetti Monster anyway...(click my name for details).

At 3:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hitler was not, in fact, a vegetarian.

At 3:15 pm, Anonymous The ReV said...

Yes 'e was!
"After the early 1930s, Hitler generally followed a vegetarian diet, although he ate meat on occasion. There are reports of him disgusting his guests by giving them graphic accounts of the slaughter of animals in an effort to make them shun meat"
And he was very fond of dogs!

No, not THAT way "fond of dog's"!

Great now i have a vision of toothbrush moustaches, lederhosen (?) and Alsatians...BLUUUUURGH!

At 10:27 pm, Anonymous Nigel said...

Good post Si!
You are not the first to have fallen foul of 'the last boy scout's comment "moderation". "It's my blog and I'll delete you if I want to" is his prerogative, but he'll have to rename 'comments' 'favourable comments' so as not to deceive.
Then again, he's not as bad at deleting criticism as 'Greenwich Watch'.
By contrast I have found that Charlton Average and Pangloss are real gentlemen, who don't use comment moderation as a tool to silence any dissenters or critics.


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