Sunday, 3 February 2013

I was wrong: Philip Hensher was wrong. (Although I'm more likely to be tasered.)

I posted the other day (Hensher is not wrong, but he misses the point. January) that Hensher wasn't wrong, just limited. I feel that I may have been naif. I took him, as I'm afraid I've always too easily taken people, on his own terms. I happened to read johnnyvoid's posting later, which got me looking at both sides more carefully. ( There is some nastiness (on a few sites) against Hensher, but two points were clear: (1) his supporters were more frightening than his detractors and (2) Hensher's research was not as up to scratch as I had assumed. It doesn't change my essential point however: we on this side of the battlelines are losing the PR war at the moment - their side is more organised, after all - and we don't help our cause by abuse.

The media are quick to condemn verbal abuse by those who protest and readers are quick to nod and agree. They are both much slower to condemn the substantive abuse by the other side. Unfortunately that's the way it is. Somehow we've got to change that...


The middle-aged man tasered by the police outside Bucking Palace today (widely reported)...

The police said 'he tried to make an exhibition of himself ', holding a knife to his own throat, although he had not in any way threatened the general public. (He reacted aggressively when the police challenged him).

The knife, the tasering, the fifteen policemen, the tourists, the witnesses, all provided quite a lot of copy for the press.

Will we hear at such length why this guy was behaving in such a way? (I lay odds of 3:1 that ATOS and/or DWP come into it somewhere.)

It won't do very much good, but he had a more immediate impact on the media than did the Commons backbench debate on Work Assessment the other week. (In the latter case, it was Hensher who took the limelight over the next few days. Ho hum.)


As a matter of interest, did the backbench debate do some good? I wasn't expecting banner headlines, and I know it was part of a long and sometimes subtle battle, but I hoped for some reaction in the media.

[Of course Mechanica McVey, the most immediately concerned minister, wasn't there. She's not that stupid: if she had attended, she might have had to think on her feet... I must stop this ad hominem abuse, I know, but, thankless job or not, I can't think how in any conscientious government she would ever have become a minister.]

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