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141224respect

Blogger kittysjones put out a very interesting article yesterday (Tuesday) entitled Greens: the myth of the “new left” debunked in which the position claimed by the Green Party – that of being the ‘true party of the Left’ – is disputed. The article states:

“The Green Party do not have an underpinning ideology that can be described as left-wing at all. Some of the links with far-right and fascist ideology are very worrying.The fact that the Greens have themselves chosen to regard the Labour Party as their enemy means that they don’t see a potential ally, yet they manage very well in coalition councils, working amicably side-by-side and cooperatively with Tory and Liberal Democrats.

“Don’t let them fail the people of Britain by voting Green next year and allowing the Tories to remain in government another five years. People are suffering and dying as a consequence of Tory austerity; we need to ensure that ends. Vote Labour. That is the genuinely socialist thing to do.”

What is even more interesting than the article (which provides evidence to support its claims) is the reaction to it by some supporters of the party it criticises.

Here’s one: “You really must be running scared to write what you know to be utter rubbish. Thank you for invoking Godwin’s law because it just makes Liebour look all the more desperate and ridiculous.” The author of this comment was unwilling to put their own name to it, being described merely as ‘A Green Nazi’ – interestingly, because Godwin’s Law is, of course, the application of an inappropriate comparison with the Nazis.

The article does indeed compare Green ideology with that of the Nazis, but it does so on the basis of clearly-referenced evidence; therefore it would be wrong to suggest that the comparison is inappropriate. On the other hand, the commenter’s inability or unwillingness to provide any evidential argument against the assertions, relying on disparagement (“utter rubbish”) and insults (“Liebour”) suggest that in fact they are “running scared”, “desperate” and “ridiculous”.

The author’s response was one to which Yr Obdt Srvt has had to resort many times: “If it’s ‘utter rubbish’ then why don’t you explain how, in what way you disagree, rather than being a fascist and proving my point, by simply stooping to insulting the author?” This reply generally provokes one of only two possible responses: Silence, or invective.

Another comment (this one by ‘Nuggy’ – again, not likely to be their real name) attempted to twist the article into a gross generalisation: “Equating all greens with Malthus is like equating all socialists with Pol Pot or Kim Il Sung.”

It was easily put down by a reference to accuracy: “I equated the cited green policies with the ideas of Malthus.” [italics mine]

There was an (unintentially?) hilarious suggestion that the article was libellous; it isn’t, as anyone with knowledge of the laws of defamation will confirm.

And then there were the insults, first mentioned in a reply to Tim Barnden (at last, someone with a real name!) who asked: “Why are you moderating out most replies Ms Jones? Are you in fact not up for a debate?”

This was a continuing theme on the comment column, and the replies indicate the kind of pressure that was being brought to bear by people claiming to represent the Green Party: “I’m up for debate, just not up for allowing personal abuse and bullying on my site… I have had hundreds of comments from largely abusive green supporters… I am getting some pretty terrible personal abuse from Green supporters. But not much criticism of the content and details in the article, unfortunately.”

The Green Party isn’t the only political organisation whose supporters behave in this way.

Vox Political has received exactly the same responses (in different contexts, obviously) from supporters of the Conservative Party (although admittedly this has tailed off considerably since VP was launched in 2011), Scottish nationalism (including the SNP), and most particularly UKIP.

Many, many examples are available if anyone wants to question the truth of this claim.

It’s simply not good enough.

Perhaps those of you who consider this behaviour to be acceptable (it isn’t) may be persuaded against it if sites like VP and kittysjones parcelled up all your abuse and sent it to the head offices of these political parties as examples of how their supporters represent them?

You see, there are rules to this kind of debate and it seems too many people are breaking them. That’s just damned disrespectful and there’s no reason anyone should put up with it.

So, if you are one of those who types out streams of profanity and hits the ‘send’ button before engaging your brain, it’s time to change your ways.

This site values informed debate. We appreciate it; sometimes it can even be persuasive (in VP‘s case this has occurred several times).

But from now on, anything else will receive an appropriate response.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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