There are a few issues all rolled into one here and they all need addressing.
1. We are, most of us, too busy to worry about petty issues. This blogger will be blogging more lightly from time to time, especially in the next few days and there are RL issues pressing down which need my thought and lateral resolution – issues of bread to eat and a roof over the head.
I’m sorry but in that context, blog arguments come second. Not only that but the blog itself – especially the new one in its still embryonic form – is not some sacrosanct, revered item one lives and dies for – it’s just a convenient forum for ideas.
2. If a blogger lays out a policy, then it’s wise for him to look at people’s comments on that policy and to keep that in the back of the mind for future reference. That policy though, might well be there as a result of long experience of the consequences of not having it.
It peeves some.
A year or more ago, someone left a comment [still up] saying something along the lines of F— you James, with your F—ing stupid f—ing comments policy. That’s the last you’ll see of me. Good luck with your blog.
Similar to someone yesterday, without all the effings.
I’m truly sorry about that because no one likes to lose readers, especially readers who contribute so much to the debate, surely the type of reader the political blogger wants. However, comments policy is comments policy.
3. On this blog, anyone out in the public arena is fair game for comments of whatever ilk and with as much “language” as the blog can bear – “language” is a valid way of emphasizing a point. However, when it crosses from “that was a total load of bollocks” to “you’re an effing moron”, then I step in because the latter is ad hominem and doesn’t advance the argument.
Attack the idea with maximum prejudice but lay off the speaker of the bollocks him/herself and instead, fisk his argument. That’s what I intend to do with the ridiculous argument yesterday which asked the question: “If this is a Yes vote today, are you going to challenge it?”
It’s a logical non sequitur because the principle at stake is not tit-for-tat equivalence but:
1. Is the people’s voice in a referendum sacrosanct or not? That is, if the people are called out to vote and they vote, then is that an end of the matter or is it not? If not, why not? Because to say it isn’t, to say that “this needs to be reviewed from time to time” denies the rule of law and the voice of the ordinary man and woman as being the governing principle. It says that because the government doesn’t like something, it shall be done again.
2. The idea that we elect representatives who then have the power to do exactly as they wish in parliament and take no heed of the people’s voices thereafter is a very dangerous principle which cuts at the whole basis of free society which we were under the illusion that we were operating in and substitutes a totalitarian model instead.
That’s what all the discussion around the web has been about, those are the principles at stake, not some spurious and mocking gybe about whether we will accept a Yes vote as legitimate.
The answer is “No.” No, it is not legitimate because the people had already spoken one year earlier. There is also no precedent in western “democracies” for a referendum to be run again because a government doesn’t like the result.
Point to any other national referendum in the west which has been overturned on the grounds that the result was wrong.
You can’t and it is disingenouous to suggest that to do so is in any way legitimate.