Sunday, March 20, 2011

The ugly face of global warming scepticism (there's a surprise...)

Now, even by the recent standards of Political Betting, this was vicious. I've mentioned quite a few times how my old haunt - once a haven for genuinely ecumenical political banter, debate and sharing of on-the-ground intelligence - has become increasingly dominated by right-wing posters who show little or no tolerance for alternative views. In particular, the current 'Poster of the Year' Plato tends to lord it over what she evidently regards as her own territory, delusionally 'calling people out' on what she deems to be inappropriate behaviour (taking issue with her robustly is generally sufficient to fall into that category), and cramming virtually every thread with 'retweets' and links relating to her own hobby-horses - such as climate science scepticism, the nuclear lobby, and opposition to electoral reform.

And yet these people repeatedly deny that they have any interest in driving us 'lefties' from the site. So to test out my theory that alternative perspectives are about as welcome to 'the PB Herd' as the proverbial bucket of cold sick, I decided to 'do a Plato', and enhance a few threads with some rival retweets of my own - pro-electoral reform, anti-nuclear, and accepting of mainstream climate science. On the latter front, this is just a small selection of the pleasantries I received for my trouble -

"You really are moronic sometimes James."

"Of course if you would rather be a sad little feckwit instead of taking part in a reasoned conversation than that is entirely your affair."

"No James you are moronic"

"In short you are a sad little troll who knows sweet FA about the subjects you comment on."

"After all, what was said by whom is all there in black and white - or perhaps in your case in green crayon."

"Of course she [Plato] committed the cardinal sin of being flippant about the holy James Kelly. Let the wrath of the Scot descend upon her."

"What I object to is idiots (and I do use that word advisedly) like you..."

"stop polluting the site with your inane drivel."

I think the phrase that springs to mind here is "they do not like it up 'em".

Incidentally, if by any outside chance Plato stumbles across this post, on past form she will doubtless take time out of her hectic schedule to pose the question - "what sort of sad person writes blog posts on the interweb about people they've never met?". To which the answer is pretty simple, I'd have thought - political bloggers. That sort of sad person. In my limited experience, it would be rather challenging to write any sort of political blog without discussing people I've never met. You know, people like David Cameron, Barack Obama...


  1. Once again I have to ask if people like you posting on there allows the site to still claim to be a proper broad political church, rather than being seen as the more extreme version of Conservative Home that it actually is?

  2. Ha ha ... I love the one about green crayon. I wish I were ‘famous’ enough to engender that kind of vitriol. Congratulations James.

    People always thing that they are being incredibly clever when they write these put down lines. The fact that they are not, never seems to cross their minds...

    Oh damn, look, I've just done it myself, so what do I know?

    It's a site I can't recall visiting, but I suppose I should now that you have drawn it to my attention.

    Fancy calling yourself Plato. It's a tad pretentious, n'est-ce pas?

    I might go on as Sophocles, or Aristotle just to keep up. Tris sounds so.... hmmmmm middle class boring!

  3. When I first visited the PB site the number of Tory posters then were few but civil. You could spend a good hour or two on the site discussing elections - on the ground info past and present- with posters from all parties but not now. I got to like and still do many of the posters from the different parties represented. Those days of friendly competitive banter seem to have sadly gone. I aways tried to avoid being rude to any poster on that site (all sites actually) as being rude, what does it achieve? You can disagree but why be offensive.

  4. "Fancy calling yourself Plato. It's a tad pretentious, n'est-ce pas?"

    What's even better is that she seems genuinely miffed every time someone assumes from her chosen moniker that she's male - apparently we're supposed to realise that she named herself after a cat!

    Ezio - you're right of course, and I did try and take your advice the last time round, but posting there is a bad habit that's murderously difficult to break out of. I think the only way of doing it would be to stop visiting the site altogether, because almost every time I go on I see something that I can't resist responding to. What's been winding me up as much as anything in recent days and weeks is Plato starting virtually every single thread with either "oh no, not another AV thread, AV is so boring" or "yippee! a non-AV thread" - and then of course she'll be along later with 1174 anti-electoral reform retweets and links.

    All of the abusive comments I quoted above come from one person - Richard Tyndall, who clearly regards himself as the thinking man's climate science sceptic, tackling "moronism" on both sides of the argument without fear or favour. Curious, then, that he honestly seemed to believe I was lying when I said that Plato had offered up snow in her garden as proof that global warming isn't happening - something that both she and others have done roughly seventeen billion times over the last couple of winters, often with comments like "several inches of AGW have fallen in the last few hours". I'd have thought a man like Tyndall might have prided himself in not only spotting such repeated non-scientific idiocy, but in tackling it full-on himself. It seems not.

    He was also moaning that by endlessly posting tweets and links to blog posts, I wasn't treating the subject of global warming with the seriousness it deserved - apparently oblivious to the fact that all I was doing was deliberately mimicking what Plato has done on that site day in, day out for years without (to the best of my knowledge) a trace of rebuke from him. Well, if nothing else, the double-standard has been exposed, but whether he and others have the self-awareness to realise that is, of course, another matter.

  5. This comment from a few hours ago sums the site's problem up rather neatly -

    "PBers used to be fairly diverse in outlook. Increasingly, some 80% at least seem to belong to a general consensus;

    David Cameron’s agenda to reform Britain should be allowed to succeed.
    Ed Miliband is a useless and illegitimate Leader of The Opposition, because he is too electorally successful. He had a duty to lose Oldham East & Saddleworth in the recent by-election, in order to give David Cameron a fair wind. He failed completely in that duty.
    Barack Obama should stand down without anything as excessively democratic as primary elections. The more his poll ratings improve, the more urgent this demand becomes.
    The AV Referendum should be a NO vote, or better still, Nick Clegg should do his duty and agree to cancel the Referendum - particularly as most reliable polls (non-YouGov) show YES likely to win.
    And many other issues.

    I disagree with with all the above PB consensus, and my arguments have often prompted angry responses.

    These disorders in the PB pub have only recently become serious, but if it were a real pub, I would have doubts about my physical safety.
    Particularly as I walked back on the sidestreet where it is located to the main road."

  6. Just released Marcia's comment - for some reason it got caught by the spam filter.