Friday, February 24, 2012

This isn't just any consultation response, this is a quality unionist consultation response

Just when you think you've seen it all. It appears Michael Moore has given up hope of manipulating the raw numbers in the UK government's referendum 'consultation', and is instead trying a different tack, if this tweet from Torcuil Crichton (approvingly retweeted by @Admin4TheYoonYoon) is anything to go by...

"Moore says consultation will be judged on qualitative responses - strength of arguments - not quantity. Code for cybernats need not apply."

Hmmm. Perhaps this novel principle could also extend to the referendum itself - ie. quality of votes counts for more than quantity.

Code for Yes voters need not apply.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Tory bully-boys win again : after brief outbreak of common sense, Scotland rejoins the Holocaust as one of only two banned topics on Political Betting

Yes, I know this is murderously hard to keep track of. Last Sunday, we were led to believe that Scottish posts had been subject to an utterly random near-blanket ban on PB. On Tuesday, we were told that it had only ever been intended as a ban for a single thread on Sunday - although that explanation had the distinct feel of a retrospective reinterpretation about it. This morning, however, the writing was on the wall again as a succession of hard-right, Jock-bashing members of the PB Tory Herd returned to their relentless "something must be done, Mike" efforts to squeeze the life out of yet another dissenting group. Note : as you read the following comments, you might be forgiven for not picking up on the fact that the subject of Scotland was actually introduced to the thread by a Labour poster...

SeanT : "So this thread went offtopic and on to Scotland by comment TWO.

I appreciate that it wasn't a Nit Wot Dunnit, but really, guys. pb is like a favourite local pub that's suddenly been taken over by transsexuals.

The regulars are squeezed into the corner while the hairy freaks with their pre-op manboobs dance and jiggle to Barbara Streisand Goes Techno next to the bar billiards.

Can't you get your own place? Really? Or maybe book a room at the back of the boozer, it's called pb2.


Marquee Mark : "Sorry, OGH, I don't press the contribute button so it can be James Kelly's own personal Nit echo-chamber.

It's been great as a site for the past six years I've known it. Probably my favourite meeting place on the web. But its delightful balance of immediate flags for interesting news, insight, whimsy, humour and occasional invective has been lost in recent weeks.

I know the formidable effort you have put into it. But I suppose all good things come to an end. I hope I'm wrong and that it can be rebooted and that balance refound.

But cheerio. I'm out of here."

Slackbladder : "Second post in and it's already hijacked by Scotttish stuff...I'll come back in the next thread.

I really can't be arsed anymore."

RodWarner : "Morning - Scotland again? Goodbye..."

But of course we could rely on PB's right-leaning Liberal Democrat proprietor Mike Smithson to demonstrate his neutrality and independence from his site's Tory Herd by standing firm against such pathetically unsubtle attempts to blackmail him into selectively censoring an ideologically undesirable group of posters, couldn't we?

Oh, don't be daft. Right on cue, we had this announcement at 12.07pm -

"From tonight, unless there is a specific post, discussions on the Scottish referendum shall take place on the NightHawks thread. If posters want to continue during the daytime they will be directed there."

To adapt the old joke about Gwynfor Evans' hunger strike, Marquee Mark barely had to forego his PB lunch before getting the bully-boy website of his dreams back. Admittedly, it's a somewhat more carefully-worded ban this time, but it does still mean that "the Scottish referendum" will, along with the Holocaust, be one of only two banned topics on the majority of threads - absolutely every other off-topic discussion under the sun (cheese, the Zapatista rebels, Katie Price, and above all else 'Ed Miliband is crap') will remain perfectly OK, regardless of the theoretical subject of the thread. And will other Scottish/SNP topics not directly related to the referendum still be allowed? I suspect we won't have long to wait to find out, as the newly-back-in-harness Stuart Dickson isn't the sort to be cowed from posting about whatever he feels like posting about. Unless of course Smithson bans him altogether yet again, which wouldn't entirely surprise me, given the somewhat capricious set of rulings we've seen over the last eight days.

And, as I observed the last time the ban was imposed, this could easily amount (depending on how the rule is enforced by moderators) to a constructive ban on all pro-SNP posts on all threads other than "Nighthawks". Supporters of every other political party in the entire world will not be subject to such a ban. Which makes it all the more gloriously ironic that just before censorship was re-imposed, the ever-delightful Plato was amusing herself by chortling away at my 'paranoia' for writing on this blog about an anti-SNP moderation policy at PB.

She then of course instantly 'liked' the decision to impose a ban. You just couldn't make it up - and luckily with Plato you don't have to.

UPDATE : After the PB poster AlanBrooke made the observation that "lots of people like the idea of free speech until they see what it looks like", I added this comment -

"Not a bit of it, Alan. We've established today that the Tory Herd love free speech. For themselves. Free, unchallenged, undiluted by dissenting voices, unionist Tory free speech."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Telegraph demands that no more powers be passed to a non-existent body

A typically restrained Telegraph editorial of the "no appeasement to the separatist animals" variety prompted me to leave the following comment -

"The Prime Minister must not give more powers to the Scottish Assembly."

Dear God. There is no body in existence called "the Scottish Assembly". I don't know how anyone can take an editorial seriously after that headline.

"We applaud the commitment that the Prime Minister brings to promoting the cause of the Union. There is nothing in it for him either personally or politically"

Apart from the North Sea oil revenues, the loss of international clout from being PM of a shrunken country, and the headache of where to put Trident once it's removed from Scotland? Yes, apart from those things there's nothing in it for him politically.

"But David Cameron is passionate about maintaining the union between Scotland and England, for no other reason than that he thinks it is in the best interests of both countries to continue with the arrangement that has enriched both for more than 300 years. "

For no other reason than that, the North Sea oil revenues, the loss of international clout from being PM of a shrunken country, and the headache of where to put Trident once it's removed from Scotland. Yup, just the four reasons.

"Mr Salmond’s poll ratings have dipped slightly"

But the SNP's haven't. As for Salmond's personal rating, he's still got a frightening distance to travel before he falls as far as Cameron's UK-wide rating, let alone the PM's rating in Scotland.

* * *

What a difference a week makes at Political Betting. Last Sunday, it appeared that all comments relating to Scotland had been arbitrarily banned from the site, except for the rare occasions when a thread specifically related to Scotland. By Tuesday, the ban had been lifted, and then later in the week the site owner Mike Smithson made the cryptic comment that "contrary to the impression given, no Scottish posters are banned". That contradicted what we had all assumed to be an indefinite ban on the SNP's "King Over The Water" Stuart Dickson, so I wrote to Stuart to check if he was aware that he was no longer banned. It was the first he'd heard of it, so he emailed Mike Smithson to seek clarification. I've no idea what the response was, but the net result is that Stuart is now back in harness for the first time since 2010, to the evident delight of the usual suspects -

"I see Stuart Dickinson coming back has cured the nitteration of all threads issue. much."

My heart bleeds for them.