Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 7 January 2005

Integrity in blogging - or lack thereof

I recently linked to a newish blog called The Candidate which describes itself in its strapline as: "The random and vaguely on-message musings of a Conservative candidate in the 2005 UK general election."

It seems to be, in reality, rather more "on-message" than would necessarily be understood from its somewhat ironic billing. I notice that a recent and moderately lengthy post, and the associated comments, has somehow 'disappeared' from the blog. The subject was a perennial bugbear of Conservative campaigners around the country, namely the alleged 'dirty tricks' perpetrated by one of the other political parties, the Liberal Democrats. Lots of mud is thrown around in politics in all directions about so-called dirty tricks, of course, but I do wonder if it wasn't some of the comments made about this post that have caused 'The Candidate' to chicken out and pull it. For example, a comment I made myself to that post which alluded both to the post's subject and to one of the [many] fundamental problems the Conservative Party still faces if it is ever to regain power in this ocuntry. One of my particular 'bugbears' is gay issues, and whilst I readily admit that I am perhaps not entirely objective when discussing this topic, I try not to let that colour my posts on the matter too much. In any case I alluded, in my comment to the now-disappeared post, to the problem of simmering homophobia which continues to exist in many of the Conservative Associations around the country and most recently came into the public domain when almost the entire leadership of the Falmouth and Camborne constituency Conservative Association was suspended and subsequently removed from office by the Conservative Central Office becasue of the events surrounding their attempts to have Ashley Crossley, their PPC for the next General Election, removed on spurious grounds related to his alleged 'unsuitability', but which really were to do with the fact of this gentleman's homosexuality and the difficulty some in the constituency association have in accepting the fact that the Conservative Party is struggling to lurch into the mid-20th century, even if we're already at the beginning of the 21st century.

I think that whilst the problem of 'dirty tricks' is very real, to focus on this issue whilst attempting to ignore the more basic problems the Conservative Party faces internally (such as the virulent homophobia which exists in parts of the grassroots of the Party, if less so nowadays in its leadership) is extremely short-sighted. How can the Conservative Party ever hope to renew its membership with younger members if it remains so wildly out of tune with present-day British society?

In summary, I will leave the link to 'The Candidate' in place for the present, but unless the writer either re-instates the post, or at least gives some explanation in her blog about its removal, then frankly it is pointless to continue to link to it. The thing about the internet is that one's writings, however banal and inconsequential, or vital and earth-shaking, remain in the minds of readers long after attempts to consign them to the MinTruth 'memory hole' have been made. If the person behind 'The Candidate' doesn't have the integrity to stand behind what she has written, then frankly she has no business ever being elected as an MP. (Indidentally, as there is no e-mail link in her blog, I am unable to communicate directly the substance of my post)

UPDATE: (Friday 7JAN05 13.30 GMT) A propos of the mention of 'racism' in the Conservative Party in the comments for this post, this post in the Tory Trouble blog is highly illustrative.

2nd UPDATE: (Sunday 9JAN05 17.37 GMT) I have placed a message both in the comment thread for this post, and a similar message in the comment thread of 'The Candidate' blog where I made my original comments as follows:

"To 'The Candidate'
I must unreservedly apologise to you. Sorry. I can only assume that I had been looking at an archive page and not realised this.
In any case, I will be following your blog with interest in the months to come.
"

To clarify, I am now happy to acknowledge that 'The Candidate' did not delete a post from her blog and to which I had added a comment, as I alleged. I apologise to her unreservedly.

Well that showed me, did it not? Specially in view of the title I chose for this post; there is a certain irony. The heated exchange which I started did, however, throw up some interesting comments even although it has brought be some [justified] embarrassment.

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