Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Wrongs and Rights of Tom Watson

All bloggers censor their comments, but not usually when the comments disagree with the blog author or point out a slight hypocrisy. Labour MP Tom Watson
In a comment thread on Tom Watson's blog, this appeared...
Tom Says: after publication. -->March 11th, 2007 at 9:59 pm
…Iain - I don’t get why you are so angry about Al Gore addressing the shadow cabinet. I understand the frustration with all the marketing gimmicks (don’t worry you don’t have to respond to that) but Gore was the Vice President of the USA for heaven’s sake.

Nothing wrong with that. Perfectly valid point to make. But when Sarkis Zeronian posted this comment on Tom's blog in response, it mysteriously failed to appear...
"Would you be happy to have Tony Blair invite VP Dan Quayle to address his
Cabinet colleagues?"

Surely Tom doesn't censor comments that make him look a tad silly? Good job we all don't go down that road!

Actually, I am going to praise Tom Watson, despite the fact that he doesn't have a link to me on his blogroll. Since he resigned from the government to spend more time with his blog, it has again become one of my daily reads. It's consistently entertaining, full of just the sort of political gossip he criticises me for writing, and gives a good insight into the inner thoughts of the Labour Parliamentary Party. I would say he has reclaimed the position of the Number One Labour Blogger (sorry Kerron!). Let's hope he doesn't go back into purdah when his hero Irn Broon takes over.

63 comments:

Andrew Ian said...

I don't censor my comments. I only delete comments which are merely spam and have no comment in them at all. I prefer to let idiots condem themselves with their own word.

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain "the hypocrite" Dale, pot calling kettle black? You're censoring on 18DS has led to it being called 18boringstreet and analogies are starting to be drawn with Joseph Goebbel's propaganda machine...

Anonymous said...

Jailhouselawyer definately has a point. Don't you think those puerile attack ads will come back to haunt you in the future Iain?

I don't know how you can now ever not be associated with low-level 'punch and judy' politics.

Kafka said...

A couple of points...

First to IDD at 12:07 -- Being a bit presumptuous about our host's tastes, don't you think?

Second to Jailhouselawyer -- Followed the trail back to to yuur blog -- it seems only yourself & one anonymous (to us) e-mailer are the source of analogies to Goebbels.

wrinkled weasel said...

I think you are under the impression that there is a set of rules that apply to the publication of blog comments.

I was not aware that there is consensus on this.

Accordingly, would you care to share your own criteria for moderating comments, and let us know if you have binned embarrassing or personal posts?

jailhouselawyer said...

I'll have a point of whatever Kafka is drinking...

verity said...

Good for Sarkis Zeronian!

jeremy said...

Yes, well done Sarkis. Consistently one of the sharpest pundits on 18 Doughty Street.

Anonymous said...

You going for hypocrite of the week Iain? Come off it you censor posts on here. That of course is your prerogative. Its your blog after all. But please don't come the high and mighty when others do it.

In any case who cares if sarcastic Sarkis' comment was deleted? Its a poxy point. Pity his debating skills have barely come on sincce Soton univ con club.

mitch said...

Sorry Iain, I have to support your nomination as hypocrite of the week. Your own comment moderation is overly sensitive.

Newmania said...

I think its amazing what you do let Through Iain although you do delete my comments from time to time .

I have wondered a bit about the Doughty Steet effect .Its adds to your "Stalinist" preeminence and while I love it whan I can eget the time there a certain respectability about it .

What I notice is that the world of Blogs and the world of fledgling polticos does not mix all that well.
Still you can hardly be blamed for succes

Praguetory said...

I would venture that you can expect a visit from Manic.

Holy Fool said...

Yes, Iain, I would venture that you can expect a visit from Manic.

*simpers*

Athos said...

PragueTory
Are you implying that some or all of Guido 2.0, Manic and Tim Ireland would take an opportunity of a cheap shot on Iain's Blog? The person/people who kept "Iain Dale is a Lier" as his avatar for an extended period?
Shame on you for assuming the worst of someone.

That being said, there is a difference between moderation to ban IDD's style of rude comment and deleting anything that destroys ones own argument. Without access to the logs or Iain's conscience, we really can't compare him to this.

Sarkis has a point: saying that a man deserves respect because he was once a Vice President of the US is to forget that an unwritten part of the VPs job is to make the President look good in comparison.

Praguetory said...

Nothing to do with the subject of the post. I'm suggesting that if you criticise one of Manic's clients, he takes it personally.

Guido 2.0 said...

Iain, you are guilty of far, far worse. (And that's *if* what you claim is true.)

Praguetory, it is you who is guilty of bias... and hypocrisy.

Manic waits for you right here.

peteblogging said...

Iain

I have had submitted comments never published on your blog.

Pot and Kettle.

and jeremy said...
"Yes, well done Sarkis. Consistently one of the sharpest pundits on 18 Doughty Street."

Most.Backhanded.Comment.Evah.

Iain Dale said...

Jailhouselawyer - The only person who has drawn that analogy is you and your two blog readers.

Anonymous, 12.19 What is puerile about it? I was pointing out he didn't post a quite reasonable comment. I then praised his blog. Get back to work at Labour HQ. I am sure you have better things to do.

Wrinkled Weasel, I have done this on numerous occasions. I don't delete anything unless it is grossly offensive. For example, someone has started posting under the title Iain Dale's Dildo. Those posts are deleted. I don't delete posts which criticise me personally or politically unless they are homophobic or full of four letter words.

Mitch at 1.04 How so? For the last few weeks I have swtiched Comment moderation off completely. I could hardly be less sensitive if I tried. However, the astroturfers are showing signs of coming to life again so I am now introducing registration - you have to register to comment. This will be a week long experiement to see what happens.

Guido 2.0 said...

Iain said... so I am now introducing registration - you have to register to comment. This will be a week long experiement to see what happens.

About time, too.

Luke Akehurst said...

Funny, you and I both chose to feature "Thicko" Watson in our posts today. That worries me deeply. Maybe I'm becoming so right wing I'm starting to think like you.

Michael said...
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Michael said...
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ezra said...

"Get back to work at Labour HQ. I am sure you have better things to do."

Iain to me. Ironic given that I'm a Tory party member. I just find your attack ads awful.

Newmania said...

Good for you Iain, there is a line to be drawn on the spectrum of witty provocative to grossly offensive and while I sometimes cross it, its usually an accident. There must , either way , be a line .

I cannot imagine what anyone is moaning about and to be slightly obseqious I think your last remarks are almaost inspirational in their modest way.

Yeuch that felt bad ....

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain: Sorry to correct you, this from the email I received drawing my attention to the similarity: "IS this not the same sort of literature which got the Nazis into power in pre-war Deuschland???". And, if you think I only have two blog readers you can click on the site meter button and check my stats. Admittedly, not as high as yours, but still, caught you out telling another porky...

Praguetory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Praguetory said...

Manic = Pavlov's dog.

I can assure him that I am going to continue to irritate him due to the subjects of my future posts. Enhanced quality control is a function of your popularity. Congratulations, Iain.

wrinkled weasel said...

FWIW I have always thought that you are ahead of the rest in a number of ways, and in respect of censorship you take a very liberal and very sensible approach.

Despite allowing lots of four letter words, Guido, by comparison, is much more sensitive to personal criticism or even the odd piss take and deletes it without delay.

I thought it might be worth prompting you to set out your stall once again to make it clear because the ground rules are by no means obvious to all.

Guido 2.0 said...

"Praguetory is a nasty, evil, hypocritical ego-driven partisan parasite. Contrary to what he might think (or have others think), it is not the 'heights' that he scales that makes him dangerous or in any way significant... it is the depths that he will sink to." - (source)

Manic is waiting for you right here, Praguetory. He has the evidence you wanted.

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

You seem to have a link spammer in your comments Iain...

jailhouselawyer said...

I think we should build a bonfire, why wait for November 5th?

dizzy said...

Link spamming is clearly evil, except when I do it, in which case it's as pure as the driven snow because I'm so great.

Tim Ireland Too said...

Come to me Mr Praguetory. I feel so terribly alone.

Bel said...

Perhaps this is a new policy on Tom's blog? I for one am baffled as to why he would delete that comment. Sarkis made a good point, but it wasn't an unanswerable point, so I don't know why he would delete it.

I have criticised Tom fairly harshly on his blog before, and he has allowed the comment to stand, so I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe the comment went astray or something, it happens.

(By the way, this comment registration thing. So if you don't have a blogger account, you can't even post using your wordpress details?)

tom watson said...

Iain complaining of blog censorship? That's very funny.

I have taken to emailing people who make rude or forthright comments on the blog because I'm trying not to allow abuse of third parties from anonymous posters on my site. Just looking at your comments section suggests to me you might like to try it Iain.

If the anonymous posters or suspect names don't get back to me after a few days, then they end up in the bin. It's a bit cumbersome and some people end up getting their comments deleted but it's the only way I can screen out the cowards.

Kerron said...

It was a short stay at the top, but I'm sure I'll cope.

Praguetory said...

FFS can someone give Tim Ireland some traffic? I've only got 3 hits from his site today. For the last week he's been waging a campaign to get me to condemn (I won't) someone for saying (he didn't) that somebody else is a paedophile (they aren't). Those that think I'm not responding to him just to wind him up/enjoy him wasting his time might have a point.

Newmania said...

It was a short stay at the top, but I'm sure I'll cope.



You both talk utter bollocks anyway Kerron so its not a major issue

Ron Knee's Rants and Raves said...

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain "the hypocrite" Dale, pot calling kettle black? You're censoring on 18DS has led to it being called 18boringstreet and analogies are starting to be drawn with Joseph Goebbel's propaganda machine...

12:19 PM

Afraid I must concur on this one. 18DS is starting to feel a tad "nazified" (if that makes sense,) and just to nullify any possible misconceptions, I am not, neither have I ever been "anonymous".

Iain Dale said...

Ron Knee, can you explain exactly what you mean? The word Nazified is a strong one to use. There is no possible justification for using that word.

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain: What struck me was this from wikipedia "Goebbels was known for his ... perfection of the so-called Big Lie technique of mass propaganda". The 18DS smear ads spring to mind. Ron can speak for himself, but in the email the World without America was cited. Maybe anonymous @ 12.36 is right: "those puerile attack ads will come back to haunt you".

Ron Knee's Rants and Raves said...

No, Iain, perhaps I should have used the word "Goebbelized instead. Slip of the keyboard. I thought that the snippets on 18DS concerning dear Mr Livingstone especially are of the the type of campaign which Goebbels would have dreamed up. "Hate this man, he eats children!"
"The Jews are stealing your livelyhood"
My dear old daddy remembers such propaganda, he lived through the second world war. I try to judge a party on the policies that it delivers, it makes me wonder somewhat when said party has to resort to attempting to blacken the reputations of their opposite numbers. To my thinking it reveals that the party has nothing worthwhile to contribute.
It may be truth, truth just bent somewhat. Like the film "True Lies".
You have to laugh, don't you?

Guido 2.0 said...

Praguetory, the last time you tried to answer Manic's question you came off looking like a bit of a homophobe.

Would you like to try again?

Hannibal said...

Just so you all know, I'm yet to receive my email from Tom Watson asking me to verify myself.

Hannibal said...

tom watson said...

I have taken to emailing people who make rude or forthright comments on the blog because I'm trying not to allow abuse of third parties from anonymous posters on my site...

If the anonymous posters or suspect names don't get back to me after a few days, then they end up in the bin. It's a bit cumbersome and some people end up getting their comments deleted but it's the only way I can screen out the cowards.

--

Just so you all know, I'm yet to receive my email from Tom Watson asking me to verify myself. And my comment was neither rude nor especially forthright.

Sarkis

Hannibal said...

Sorry for the double post, this registration thing is tricky for us technophobes. By the way, I'm flattered someone remembers me from my old Student Union politics days. They were over a decade ago but clearly we were such a good and active Conservative Association on campus the memory is still burnt into our opponents' minds!

Praguetory said...

I'd like to see the line of argument whereby you conclude I "look like a bit of a homophobe". Why not be a bit more direct so that I have an actionable slander case?

Guido 2.0 said...

It's right here, Parguetory.

Now did you want a copy of the podcast where Guido repeatedly slurred someone as a paedophile or not?

Praguetory said...

I refer you to my previous answer.

Guido 2.0 said...

There isn't one.

Did you want a copy of the podcast where Guido repeatedly slurred someone as a paedophile or not?

Praguetory said...

I've heard it.

I repeat I won't condemn someone for saying that somebody else is a paedophile if they didn't.

Guido 2.0 said...

I've heard it.

Oh, really? So no more suggestions from you that the transcript is inaccurate, then?

Seriously, how do the multiple exchanges linked above *not* count as slurring someone as a paedophile?

(waits)

Praguetory said...

I think I've given Alex Hilton enough abuse over the months. I'm sure Mr Oaten is loving the stance you're taking on his behalf. Why not take it to a bigger stage for him?

Guido 2.0 said...

Guido was there, too... as you well know. Now please answer the question:

How do the multiple exchanges linked above *not* count as slurring someone as a paedophile?

Lobster Blogster said...

Isn't Guido Fawkes Esq. the one who wants to link up with the BNP? I think you readers ought to be told!

Hannibal said...

1. No Guido doesn't want to "link up with the BBC", so nothing to tell there.

2. Is this really the best forum for Guido 2.0 to exhibit his monomaniacal illness? Can't he take his issues somewhere more relevant?

Hannibal said...

Damn! I meant BNP, he doesn't want to link up with the BNP.

BBC? What was I thinking? Heh!

Lobster Blogster said...

But he did once

Guido 2.0 said...

hannibal:

One of the main whiners about comments not posted at Tom Watson's weblog is Praguetory, who has accused me of political/personal/professional bias over this matter in this very same thread. Praguetory regularly embarks on dishonestly-framed attacks like this, but when his political chums are actually caught out doing things that he declares 'unacceptable', he has nothing to say. It is my right to take him to task over that in this thread.

The comments regarding Iain are also totally justified and on-topic... in was Iain who brought the issue of comment registration up in this thread. The link I inserted provides Iain's readers with proof that I've been calling on him to do this for quite some time now.

Hannibal said...

Lobster,
Is that the article the journalist asked to be withdrawn? The one with the allegations the newspaper no longer defends?

Guido 2.0 said...

hannibal: The facts of the article have not been disputed... even by the journalist in his letter (note - a personal letter from the journalist involved is *not* a retraction); he merely had a change of heart about the perceived intentions of the young man involved. Possibly after a great deal of begging.

The only reason the article has been removed from Lexis Nexis and not re-published by the Guardian is a quirk in the libel laws that a certain 'libertarian' is more than willing to exploit.

PS - You cannot be Asian and racist. This is a fact. Apparently.

Lobster Blogster said...

The article has not been withdrawn. I took two copies at the British Library Reading Rooms in Collingdale a few weeks back.

The version that was circulated by Guido 2.0, Postman Patel, Clairwil, Tom Watson, Jailhouse Lawyer and a few others may be slightly inaccurate. In the first instance, the title and subheadings are wrong (yes folks, even punctuation matters).

I have got in touch with the Guardian with respect to copyright, so they are well aware that I would like to publish. T'internet is after all the place where this article belongs.

At this stage, neither the Guardian nor Staineboy have asked me to remove this material, and because I have contacted them both I know they are aware of my intentions. I am genuinely suprised that Iain "Arfur" Daley has not deleted my two earlier comments, so I must credit him with a bit more sense than I had given him earlier. (Sorry also about implying that you might want to commit mass murder in Cambodia Iain, I may have got you all wrong! :0)

tyger said...

I think I've given Alex Hilton enough abuse over the months ~ PragueTory

A little like being mauled by a dead sheep, I imagine.