Self-Appointed Uber Bloggers, unite in resisting the counter-counter-revolution!

My post earlier today, regarding when to take up an argument, and when to let it go, was really just a preamble to a response to Neil Clark’s article on Comment is Free (via Sunny at LC).

Anyone who deviated from the official party line – as laid down by a self-appointed uber elite of British bloggers – faced a cyberspace lynch mob, more in keeping with Nazi Germany than a country which is supposed to pride itself on its support for free speech.

For the self-appointed uber elite of British political bloggers, the fact that someone, not of their number, and who did defy their three line-whip on the Iraqi interpreters issue – was nominated – and then won, in a free public vote, the title of “Best UK Blog” in the most prestigious prize in blogging, is too much to bear.

In the case of the Iraqi interpreters campaign, “self-appointed” we may be. The very nature of single-issue pressure groups is that they consist of people who stand up for a cause they believe in, filling a void that is not being filled by other organisations or political parties. We have certainly never claimed a democratic mandate, or to speak for anyone other than ourselves. The campaign gains its authority, and support, entirely from the strong arguments we have made in favour of the Iraqi interpreters.

Neil’s post on Friday matters, and is deserving of a response and a criticism, because he misunderstands, or perhaps misrepresents, the nature of the debate. The outcry that followed his “Iraqi Quislings” issue was not some orchestrated, strategic smear. It was not the fact that he had crossed or questioned the party line that raised hackles. Rather, it was the reactionary and ill-considered manner of his objections which provoked a response. Bloggers from the campaign were right to vigorously defend their stance, and should not be criticised for doing so. It is a shame that Neil now chooses to ignore the substantive points in the arguments, and instead retreat to ad hominems that so readily invoke Nazi Germany. It is odd that someone who has just won a best blogger online poll, should immediately resort to such a discredited line of attack. As Sunny says: bizarre.


Unity, another self-appointed uber-liberal uber-blogger, takes a fisk to Neil’s article. Given my comments above and earlier today, I suppose I should say that I do wonder at the efficacy of ‘fisking’. I fear it will simply provoke more of the wrong sort of debate.

Again, I ask: At what point should the arguments-about-the-arguments be abandoned? To resort to ridicule and satire is slightly frustrating, I feel, because at that point the attempt to convince your correspondent blogger (and their own dedicated readers) will fail.

5 Replies to “Self-Appointed Uber Bloggers, unite in resisting the counter-counter-revolution!”

  1. This guy really is a total scumbag. Also his hypocrisy borders on the delusional: damning other bloggers for their narcissism while writing whole articles on CIF about how and why “My blog just won the best UK Blog award”.
    But also he complains about the way his enemies “decided that the most urgent priority of the day was not campaigning for an immediate withdrawal of British troops from Iraq – or trying to prevent potentially catastrophic US/UK strikes on Iran, but… to try to gain asylum for Iraqi interpreters…”
    Insofar as that criticism is valid (i.e not at all), if you exchange “gain” for “deny” in the final sentence, doesn’t it apply equally well to him?

  2. Robert,
    There is also an element of ‘last wordism’ in all on-line debates. And these can easily spread from thread to thread, from forum to forum, when the general audience has near as dammit forgotten what it was all about in the first place.
    I, used to, find it near impossible to stop commenting on a thread where the final comment rested with the ‘illuminated parking lot’ armchair warriors of US foreign policy. Then I got tired.
    So, your point is correct.
    Still like the odd ding, dong, though.

  3. I have to say that bloggers sometimes imagine they have more importance/influence than they actually have. I mean, is there any evidence that on line “campaigning” works, or that blogger spats are of interest to anyone apart from bloggers ?

  4. In the case of the No2ID pledges, or the Iraqi translators campaign that Neil so denigrates, I think there is a certain impact, yes. I also think the impact is likely to grow in years to come. As Justin says, real world reputations forged now may affect future campaigns.

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