Within the blogosphere and on twitter, on occasions, that which is written causes criticism from readers and invariably most bloggers and tweeters will respond to said criticism – except, unfortunately, from our politicians and those so obviously within the ‘Westminster Bubble’. Yesterday I took to task John Redwood, MP; and today, Catherine Bearder MEP.
To elucidate, allow me, first, to relay events ‘a la Bearder’. Spotting a tweet in which she referred to a new Civitas paper she stated that it showed it reveals what most of us fear: EU exit could be ‘devastating’ to some sectors. I responded by pointing out that that was not so if we slip into EFTA/EEA then negotiate a new agreement as nothing would change for any sector! Bearder then responded that we then wouldn’t be able to influence legislation imposed on us – e.g Norway, 75% EU legislation, to which I replied that her reply was absolute tripe and she knew it, pointing out that Norway sits on over 200 EU Committees plus they sit on UN bodies formulating standards and asking if she agreed. What I then received in return was two links, one a statement quoting Espen Eide and the other quoting Erna Solberg; both of whom maintain that Norway has no influence with the EU. I countered both by stating that selective quotes were no answer to fact and queried whether she agreed with my previous point about Norway vis-a-viz EU Committees and UN bodies that set standards. Needless to say two hours later the ‘conversation’ remains at a standstill as nothing further has been received from Bearder.
With regard to John Redwood, in answer to an article he wrote, I responded thus, condemning his content as utter tosh in the comment section of his blog; posting a total of three comments on his blog, two to two commenters and the one quoted to Redwood. At the time of writing, all three have yet to appear; and one can only wonder why. Redwood employs moderation, unlike myself – other than to filter out spam. With hindsight I may have been my usual blunt self with Redwood but one has to ask why would anyone moderate comments other than to avoid specific criticism?
Just what is it about our political class that when confronted with dissent or criticism they shun debate, ie ‘run away’? Is it any wonder the public feel disconnected from politics when politicians will not engage? One can only assume that when a politician’s knowledge is shown to be at fault they are unable to admit their ignorance, possibly due to feeling it involves a loss of face on their part.
This desire not to engage is not just confined to our politicians but also to those within the Westminster Bubble. I had just finished reading the Civitas report to which Bearder referred on twitter and was about to post a response when I noticed that Richard North had beaten me to it. Noticeably this report follows a well-trodden pattern – it is written for the consumption of those within the Westminster Bubble, it takes views from those whose opinions are worthless as they know not that about which they engage; and more importantly they quote those of ‘unacceptable’ views to them, yet do not provide the authors of those unacceptable views any opportunity to respond.
The dossier which I handed to David Cameron on the 15th August (and to which a response is still awaited) commenced with a quotation of his on the subject of this country’s membership of the EU and any possible referendum: How can we sensibly answer the question ‘in or out’ without being able to answer the most basic question: what is it that we are choosing to be ‘in or out’ of.
While we have politicians such as Bearder and Redwood (and Hannan who has also ‘run away’ from debate) along with people such as Jonathan Lindsell, misleading us and failing to engage in debate, then what we have is a situation where we are, in effect, being lied to and thus forced to accept what we are erroneously told as truth. That situation not only makes a mockery of Cameron’s question, but more importantly makes a mockery of democracy per se.
Richard North may well believe that such behaviour will dry up and disappear as it has no substance, but I would go further and say that such behaviour is despicable, has no place in a real democracy, is a form of censorship; and is a gross effrontery to the people of this country.
I have to disagree slightly with my fellow blogger because while the outpourings of those like Bearder, Redwood, Lyndsell and their ilk does not have any substance, it will, unfortunately, continue as, (a) they control any debate and (b), are aided and abetted by a supine mainstream media who will not publicise any view that is outside the Westminster Bubble (Booker excepted).
Update: As at 19:20 ‘conversation’ with Catherine Bearder resumed – unfortunately I’ve a headache coming on due ‘head and brickwall’…………