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In Defence Of Blogs: A Challenge To Stephen Pound

Tim Montgomerie writes a defence of blogs in response to Stephen Pound’s weak attempts to justify what has become known as “Smeargate” (the unsavoury conduct of Damian McBride for which he resigned)

Apparently I’m a sad little boy who sits at my bedroom computer all day.  That was Stephen Pound MP’s non-defence of smeargate on Sky News earlier when I was debating with him.  He didn’t even try to defend Labour but went on the attack… against bloggers.  And blogs are supposedly the puerile ones?

OK Stephen, I challenge you here and now, in public.

Prove me wrong about your “government’s” obsession with interfering in people’s lives.  Prove me wrong about what I have written about your “government’s” failure to investigate Phorm – specifically that your “government” wants to use this technology to monitor every internet connection. I’ve written lots about Phorm so there should be plenty of material for you to get your teeth into.  Note how Phorm haven’t said a word to me since I rebuffed them.

Prove me wrong about the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report.  You know, the one which says that

29 databases with significant problems which leaves 11 identified as “almost certainly illegal”.

Prove me wrong about my comments to Jack Straw in the Blackburn Labour blog.

Prove me wrong about the disillusionment people are feeling about your “government”.

Prove me wrong about the reports which say your “government” is planning to keep the illegally retained DNA samples.

Prove me wrong about the travel database your “government” is trying to implement.

And while you’re at it, I’d love to hear your detailed response to my Countdown Of The Clueless.

All facts.  Not baseless smears but facts. I know “fact” is a word that this “government” isn’t too keen on, but VFPJ is about facts.  The only spin I’m approving of is the kind you get on cricket fields.  Attributable quotes from reputable reporters rather than garbage from malicious spinshysters.

All facts.  I’ll say it again Stephen – all facts.

Now let’s address your slur that I’m a sad little boy.  I’m 37 years old.  Nothing little boyish about that.  I’m comfortably inside the super middleweight limit, to use a boxing metaphor.  Your Wikipedia page tells me you used to box.  Again, nothing particularly little about that.  My computer is in my study.  Along with a library of reference books for my profession.  All that’s in my bedroom is a bed, some wardrobes, drawers and bookshelves.

Perhaps you would care to define sad?  You will find a lot of laughter and happiness where I live.  Perhaps you define sad as someone who spends time with technology?  Well, I’m a professional techie.  So I have a reasonable understanding of computers and the internet.  Is that what you define as sad?  That I and others like me have a far better grasp of this (relatively) new medium than you and some of your colleagues?

If you look at my Countdown Of The Clueless post you will see that I have little time for Hazel Blears’ views about bloggers.  Blogs provide a platform for people to express their views, opinions and findings.  Blogs provide a platform for discussion.  And all very quickly.

I note that you laid down an Early Day Motion on the 10th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks mourning his loss.  LIke many I wonder what Bill Hicks would make of the state of Britain today and your “government” in particular.  I wrote last month about “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” and I’m going to quote it here for you. I’m sure you’ll recognise the influence:

“Go back to bed, Britain.  Your government is in control again.  Here. Here’s Eastenders, Gladiators and Coronation Street.  Watch this, shut up.  Go back to bed, Britain.  Here is Eastenders, Gladiators and Coronation Street.  Here is 400 channels of rubbish!  Watch these poor one dimensional muppets and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go, Britain!  You are free to do what we tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!”

If you haven’t figured it out already Stephen, let me tell you that bad news travels faster now, in this internet powered age than it has ever done before.  And it is that which enables people like Guido Fawkes to expose those who abuse their positions, act unprofessionally, attempt to spread baseless rumours, et cetera.

Perhaps it is because the blogosphere (that’s the collective word for all the blogs on the internet) is something that your “government” can’t control that you, Ms Blears and no doubt others of your colleagues dislike them and the people who write them.

Published inbloggovernmentPolitics