Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday 22 August 2009

Bill's not popular in some quarters locally it seems

My recent article on the release of Abdel Basset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi from his incarceration in Scotland, as a result of his terminal illness, so that he could return to Libya to be with his family has provoked a certain amount of comment. I expressed a view about that which some people share, whereas others do not. Fair enough, it's what debate is about. A number of people have commented here on both sides of the argument, that's as it should be. I do not pre-moderate current comments in my blog and provided they do not violate the Terms of Use here (see the top of the right-hand column for the permanent link) I never delete comments, but I do enforce the Terms of Use rigorously; further down the page from the same link you can see my 'Links Policy'.

Another blogger in Nairn was kind enough to alert his readers to my article with a short article in his own blog and I left a brief comment there to thank him in the comments for that article (scroll down from the last link to see all the comments).

As you will see from the final comment there, Graisg (who runs the A Gurn from Nurn blog) has closed the comments, presumably because of the tone of some of the comments, many of which refer to me in, ahem, 'uncomplimentary' terms. What follows in the box below is the text of a comment I was going to leave there, plus provide myself with a lazy route to another blog article here by re-cycling that comment into this blog. In the event, because Graisg has now closed off the comments, this is the only place where what would have been my comment will now appear, so here it is 'for the record', as they say:

Hi all

Thanks for all the frank comments about me - it's interesting to read them.

Blogs are personal journals. Every blogger makes his own rules - mine have evolved over the years as a result of some quite unpleasant incidents, a few of which have spilled over into real life (and which I will not discuss here) and I make no apology for them.

I have always been pretty open in my blog about who and what I am; sometimes that carries a cost. Many blogs operate by different rules and good luck to them. I do not allow 'anonymous' comments and have no intention of modifying that; it is possible to set up a GoogleID or OpenID without divulging any significant information; that provides a basic minimum of identification. I have an OpenID myself which is necessary to comment on certain blogs I like to visit from time to time.

Similarly my policies for linking to other blogs are clearly laid out in my 'terms of use' file; this relates to the remarks that iRight made about me. I don't believe that if I had 'de-linked' The Gurn (as I did indeed inform Graisg by email [* -see below] I would do because of an article iRight had posted [t]here whilst Graisg was away if it was not removed) that it would have caused Graisg much loss of link-visits, but I can only assume, and be grateful, that after reviewing the post in question himself he decided it was preferable to take it down; it had not the remotest connection with me personally or anyone I know, I might add. I do not necessarily reciprocate links to my blog, nor do I ever request a reciprocal link if I happen to link to another blog. I do not regard the number of people who link to me as some kind of competition.

As Graisg has stated a number of times in his blog, it is easy to set up a blog - anyone who has a PC can do it, even the homeless can have a blog through a local refuge centre. One of my oldest blog links (which I am proud to say is reciprocal) is with a person who lives in north Florida and has been battling with depression and drug addiction for many years - he was, I understand, formerly an IT specialist who lost his job, wife and home and for several years lived on the streets along the north Gulf coast of Florida and for most of that time he managed to continue to blog and a few grateful folks like me tried to offer him some support, moral and material. Luckily he now has a home and a partner (a lady who escaped from a wife-beating husband), but they battle with debt and the constant risk of eviction. Why do I write all this? Because everyone has his own story and I do too. I like to learn about other people's life experiences - that is why I blog.

I've been blogging since April 2002 and in the early period there were very few bloggers in the north of Scotland, or for that matter in the rest of Scotland or the rest of the UK; many have fallen by the wayside over the years, unfortunately, but they are personal journals and no one is obliged to maintain one, or to read them. I am so glad that in recent years there is a growing number of local blogs in and around Nairn so that all tastes may be catered for. Graisg does an excellent job here catering for the particular niche he has created for himself. I would not dream of trying to emulate him :) Brian's is a more recent blog and it is excellent too, in a different way. There are now several other local or fairly local blogs which I visit regularly and enjoy.

My blog has never pretended to be solely about Nairn, sorry if that upsets some people, but perhaps someone else can set up another blog to write about it, just as Graisg and a few others do so well already.

Now that I've written such a lengthy comment [t]here (and I should, in my defence – lol – point out that I do not pre-moderate comments on current posts as Graisg chooses to do) I now have the material for an article in my own blog - so thanks for that. Being a lazy sort, I'm not too proud to recycle comments I make elsewhere into posts in my little blog.

Have a great Sunday!

- as is mentioned above, this comment will not now appear in Graisg's blog, because he has barred further comment in that post. For the record, as Graisg himself points out in the comments, Graisg and I differ in some aspects of our personal 'ideologies' about a number of things, but on other matters we tend to think pretty much along similar lines; I like and respect him. Indeed he and I and another local blogger, Brian at My Nairn, had the only recorded Nairn 'blog meet' (so far as I am aware) some months ago and I think it's true to say we all enjoyed the experience. A few other local bloggers (and regular commenters in Graisg's blog) were invited to participate, but preferred to maintain their strict anonymity apparently; as I mentioned in the box above, all bloggers are different. Wouldn't it be a boring world if we were not?

* - for the record, here is the text of the email I sent to Graisg and which is referred to in the box above:

Hi [Graisg's real name is redacted]

I noticed an article entitled "[redacted]" on your blog last night and when I first read it I thought it a rather unpleasant piece of 'gossip' with a nasty tone of 'innuendo' lurking in it; reading the by-line of the author brought no surprises. What I find particuarly unpleasant with this article is the cowardice of the author who permits him/herself to make thinly-veiled allegations, but is of course careful to 'name no names' - probably because he/she knows the [redacted] concerned and might find it embarrassing if he/she encountered the [redacted] in the High Street or at church. It is basically no better than a scurrilous poison-pen type effort. Last evening and still today there have been no comments on this article.

I know nothing about the facts of this [redacted] and on reading my copy of this week's Nairnshire [this is the local newspaper in Nairn] am none the wiser. However, if this is the type of article you are going to permit to appear in your blog, then the sooner I get myself out of this nasty, incestuous, inward-looking place the better! Your blog seems to be developing into a sort of village ducking-stool for people with grievances to air their petty prejudices 'anonymously'. Is this really the direction you want to take it in?

You were kind enough to take down an article [again, not an article written by Graisg himself and which of course was not remotely connected to me personally either, or to anyone I know] I wrote to you about a couple of weeks ago; what you do, if anything, in this instance is your business entirely, but I have to tell you frankly that if there are more articles of this nature appearing in your blog I shall be removing it from my blogroll as it is verging very close on contravening my personal 'terms of use' for links in my own blog. I apologise for my temerity in writing to you as I do, but rather than simply removing the link to your blog in my blogroll without notice, I felt it only fair to let you know the direction my thoughts are taking.

With best personal regards

I'll finish off here, by echoing my final remark in the 'comment' above:

Have a great Sunday!


  1. Personally I think it is great that you enforce a strong policy on what is and is not acceptable upon your blog.

    I tend to be a lot more "liberal" and only delete comments if they are personally insulting to someone other than myself.

    I know my blogs on English Nationalists always attract the sort of person who enjoys making petty, personal comments rather than wishing to debate the actual article itself.

    Good work Bill.

  2. Hi Jae

    Your message of support is appreciated.

    Unfortunately the noise about the prisoner release seems to be rumbling on with talk on the internet of a boycott of all British goods by Americans.

    I do not for one moment suggest that this type of development should have factored into the decision-making process about al-Megrahi's release, and it should certainly not have, I merely make an observation about what I'm hearing on the news bulletins.


  3. Wicked, Bill, setting the cat among the pigeons.

  4. Hi James

    Not really. Graisg, the owner of the other blog, is a decent fellow (just like me - lol) and we have already been in touch by email; he and I both know exactly what we are doing, although we deal with things in slightly different ways. We had been planning another 'blog meet' fairly soon with a few other local bloggers, but because of various commitments all of us have it's not likely to take place for a couple of months.

    At the same time, I simply was not prepared to ignore the issue here in my blog; as a courtesy I've kept Graisg advised by email about this article immediately I published it and we have already exchanged emails subsequently.

    Have a great day, James!



Welcome to my comment area. Whilst all comment is welcome you are requested to respect the views of others. To read full terms for use of this facility, please visit my 'Terms of Use' section, linked to under the 'About this Blog' heading at top right of the blog. Note added 12JUL2010 - All comments will now be pre-moderated before they appear in this blog; this is a measure to prevent 'spam' commenting, which has become frequent of late. Thank you.