Like most people, I tend to fail miserably at keeping my New Year's Resolutions (with the notable exception of 2009, when I made two very bold ones and somehow managed to fulfil them both, albeit it took me until September). But I certainly don't have to look very far for a task to set myself in 2012, and that's to keep as far away from PoliticalBetting.com as humanly possible. I drifted back there just before Christmas for the first time in a good few months, and you might have thought that the long break would have meant that I wasn't quite as much of a marked man as before - but not a bit of it. No, all I have to do is turn up and mention the word 'Scotland' or 'independence', and the usual suspects descend on me like a pack of wolves, just like I've never been away. On Thursday I was accused of bigotry for making the blindingly obvious point that it would be profoundly foolish and grossly insensitive of David Cameron to break the decades-long convention of only appointing Scottish MPs to the post of Secretary of State for Scotland. When I clarified for the benefit of the poster in question that "Scottish MP" was shorthand for "MP representing a Scottish constituency", and not for "anyone who isn't English", I was effectively told that it wasn't up to me to decide what I meant!
And then of course there was the annual farce that is the Poster of the Year poll. Don't get me wrong, David Herdson is without doubt an infinitely worthier winner than last year's (albeit I certainly haven't forgotten his pompous and spectacularly ill-judged intervention in an exchange involving me during the summer), but the fact that the only two out-and-out left-wing posters involved in the poll finished last and second-last respectively tells its own story. The under-performance of the superb left-wing/Nationalist poster Mick Pork in the newcomers' poll was also very striking.
I was also somewhat startled to learn from Poster of the Year runner-up Richard Nabavi that "even James Kelly awarded me one star, in a rare show of cross-party generosity" (this was sarcasm, for the avoidance of doubt). The problem was that I hadn't actually revealed to anyone how I voted, and as Richard's information was accurate, I naturally drew the obvious conclusion that my vote had been selectively leaked by the site proprietors. After I complained about this, it transpired that there was an innocent (albeit much less obvious) explanation, but for my trouble I was then subjected to a torrent of inane drivel about my "paranoia" and "MI5 surveillance". And just to make the day complete, I once again had to put up with the site's resident bore "Neil", who paradoxically spends virtually all of his time telling everyone else how boring they are.
But the final straw came last night when I tried to respond to this truly jaw-dropping post by regular poster HD2 -
"An interesting point is why a site with such high average IQ posters (compared to many internet blogs) and which is run by a Liberal LD has such a perceived preponderance of right-of-centre posters!
Particularly as over the majority of the time the site has been running the UK has been under Socialist management, and at no time under Conservative, Libertarian, (sane?) management.....
Is it because we 'righties' have more time (team tim clearly have more than any of us, though) or is it simply that, as I strongly suspect:
a) intelligent people are in favour of individualism, not collectivism, which makes them 'right', not 'left' politically
b) the ACTUAL centre-ground of politics is well to the right of (eg) Cameron, so those on the Left perceive anyone to the right of (eg) Brown as being 'right-wing', when they are merely 'centrist'"
When I attempted to inject a tiny bit of sanity by pointing out that a rather simpler and more plausible explanation was a snowball effect (ie. a site with overwhelmingly right-wing posters tends to attract even more right-wing posters, and repel left-wing posters), my comment was swiftly deleted. Which eloquently illustrates another possible explanation for the dearth of left-wing posters at PB - a rather less-than-even-handed approach by the editors and moderators.
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And that pretty much brings to a close another year of posts at Scot Goes Pop. See you in 2012 - always assuming I make it back in one piece from the Edinburgh street-party, which I'm going to for the first time!