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Cheers - AE

Friday, 3 September 2010

Lost the gunpowder plot?

I'll say from the outset that I admire William Hague as a debater and think he did a pretty good job when leader of the opposition battering that grinning mutation through the floor of the Commons at PMQs. I'll also say that I don't particularly care much about his preferences in the bedroom any more than I care to know if he dresses to the left or the right, or any other aspect of his private life for that matter. He may have always been faithful to Mrs Hague, I don't know or care. She may in fact be his beard, and again I neither know or care. Either way or anything in between it's their business.

So has Guido gone too far? Has he brought shame upon the blogosphere? Has he committed that most grievous of 21st Century sins - gasp - caused offence? Er, dunno but probably not, nope, and that's for William Hague, his missus, and this Myers bloke to decide, in that order.

First off whether Guido's gone to far or not is very subjective. If he's said anything actionable and someone takes him to court over it then I'd say that objectively he's gone too far, though English libel laws being what they are even that's a little uncertain. I'm very much of the opinion that it's his rules on his blog just as it is on everyone's. He likes being a gossip monger and shit stirrer and probably doesn't think the story about Hague and Myers sharing a hotel room, and mentioning that Myers is both gay and not obviously qualified for the job, is any different from saying that a hypothetical Labour minister had been working late with his hypothetical epic-titted blonde advisor, who is known to be thick as mince. In either case you can expect Guido to go for it. For all I know he may just enjoy the gossip mongering but personally I feel the possibility that there's an affair going on is relevant only in as much as it draws attention to the nepotism, and if that's what it takes to get it into the news then that's what it takes. We know from painful experience that giving the bastards a free ride just because the government is new is not doing any favours. In 1997 we were told that sleaze and favouritism would be a thing of the past. We were told they'd be whiter than white and seen to be whiter than white. What we got was, it seemed to me, a certain reluctance to hammer them for their abuses in the early years. Do we want a repeat of that? Given that the Cobbleition have so far been the disappointment that so many expected, that in many ways they seem to be every bit as bad as the fuckpits they replaced, I'd say no.

Has he brought shame on the blogosphere? Definitely not unless you buy into the kind of collectivist bullshit that so many of us find repugnant about the politics of all the main (and many or the minor) parties. When Blair apologised for Britain's role in the slave trade the implication was that all of us had something to be ashamed of. I can certainly agree that it was shameful - as a libertarian it's natural that I put slavery pretty high up the list of shitty things that people can do to other people - but I also claim that I needn't be ashamed myself. Even if I could trace my family back to the time of Ethelred and even if Blair could point directly at some of them as slavers I still shouldn't be made to feel personal shame about it. I think Tony Blair himself was such a cunt that thousands of years from now the land surrounding wherever they bury the fucker will prove to be a rich source of high grade cuntonium - but I don't blame his kids. In the same way one blogger does not and cannot bring shame on the rest. They can do or say something that some of us, potentially even all of us, think they should be ashamed of, but they certainly can't do anything for which we should all be ashamed unless we're to think that one speaks for all. That might fly in the part of the blogosphere that loves collectivism and big state but in the libertarian blogosphere? Christ knows there's plenty to disagree about - being individuals about things is kind of the point, after all - but that being so surely what one blogger says or does is entirely their responsibility, and no one else's.

Finally, has Guido been offensive? Obviously yes, if only because someone's bound to have been offended by it. Someone always is these days, but if it isn't Hague, his wife or this Myers bloke it doesn't actually matter. I'd be fucking offended if he said it about me but he didn't, so I'm not. In the same way that I am not responsible for what anyone else says I don't get to feel all offended on their behalf either. And even if one or all of them are offended, tough. Look, if Guido has actually asserted something that is untrue and they're upset enough to sue, fine - that's what legal action is for. But if all he's done is the same kind of shit stirring that the tabloids have been at for decades, mixing a few facts with some questions, a Pythonesque nudge-nudge-wink-wink, and retiring to a safe distance while people draw their own conclusions, then I'd say it's just free speech. We don't have to join in, and personally I wouldn't have made anything of the room and the gay driver bit because I'd have been too incensed about the guy being paid with tax money to have even registered it. We don't have to read it, and personally I didn't because I can't be bothered to read anything that even looks like a who's shagging who story (which is why I didn't get incensed about the guy being paid with tax money - I never got that far). We don't have to like it or agree with it, and personally I'm coming to the conclusion that Guido made a mistake only because all the talk is about bloody Guido being mean instead of Hague hiring a SpAd who doesn't seem particularly Sp and whose ability to Ad was questionable.

As a result of all this some might now be watching Guido instead of Hague and if so I'd say that that's Guido's only real fuck up. There's a good reason the teller shouldn't become bigger than story, but did the teller intend that? Only Guido can answer that honestly but if each blogger is responsible for nothing beyond what they themselves write then it's hard to credit Guido with becoming bigger than the story when it's actually the rest of us writing about Guido who've achieved that. And here I am writing half a dozen paragraphs about Guido bloody Fawkes instead of William Hague's decision to pour taxpayer's money into the pockets of someone whose main qualification to be a SpAd seems to be that he has a driving licence.

Perhaps there is such a thing as collective responsibility sometimes.


Anonymous said...

Another "freedom" lover fluttering
about in the invisible cage.
Freedom is purchased with blood,
a bit of dirt ,false or otherwise,
all part and parcel.
If you prefer controlled polite
hassle free debate ,stick to the
Simpsons and Panorama.

All or nothing,choose.

Anonymous said...

"collective responsibility"

That has a bad ring about it ,mate.

Had some of that in the DDR in the
70s,not impressed and neither were 99% of the other inmates.

Seems when OH and others sniff round the Untouchables,, freedom is'nt such a good idea.

For better or worse.

Bill Sticker said...

'Collective responsibility'. Hmm. Only insofar as such responsibility is entered into voluntarily through mutual consent. Otherwise it's just another route to totalitarianism.

BTW; Anonymous. Get an ID so we know who we're talking to.

Angry Exile said...

The operative word in the last sentence was 'sometimes', and as Bill Sticker says it's still voluntary. Everyone who's going on about Guido going on about Hague, including me, did so on their own and helped move the focus further away from Hague's buddy employment scheme. It's certainly not collective responsibility in the sense that a whole subset of bloggers, including many who haven't mentioned it at all, is somehow shamed because Guido's approach was muck raking.

Just to clarify for Anon, did I say anywhere that I thought there was imposed collective responsibility? Or that there's anything good about it? Nope, I criticised the whole idea of that kind of collective responsibility. Another example: Rudd's apology to indigenous Australians. Typical political move but one that pissed me off - I won't deny that the aborigines have often had a shit deal over the years, but implying that me and every white person has some shame over the Stolen Generations is bullshit. Closer to the present than Blair's slavery apology but it still stopped before I was born ten thousand fucking miles from here, so the pretentious prick sure as hell wasn't apologising for anything I've done. There's absolutely no collective responsibility in that sense. None at all.

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