article, child, Harriet Harman, Labour, maiden speech, Mhairi Black, Mike Sivier, mikesivier, Parliament, people, plagiarise, plagiarism, politics, rip-off, Scottish National Party, signpost, SNP, tax credit, Tony Benn, Vox Political, weathercock
We’re told that Mhairi Black, the youngest new MP in Parliament at the age of 20, was still in college when she beat Labour’s Douglas Alexander in the General Election. Was she studying plagiarism?
Take a look at the following part of her maiden speech, made earlier today (Tuesday) and quoted in The Independent:
“After hearing the Labour leader’s intentions to support the changes to tax credits that the Chancellor has put forward, I must make this plea through the words of one of your own, and of a personal hero of mine.
“Tony Benn once said that in politics there are weathercocks and signposts. Weathercocks will spin in whatever direction the wind of public opinion may blow them, no matter what principle they have to compromise.
“Then, there are signposts – signposts that stand true, and tall, and principles. They point in a direction and they say ‘this is the way to a better society and it is my job to convince you why’.
“Tony Benn was right when he said the only people worth remembering in politics are signposts.”
Now read this Vox Political article from yesterday, Labour is a ‘headless chicken’ over tax credits.
This Blog’s piece relies heavily on Tony Benn’s ‘weathercocks and signposts’ analogy to make its point about the interim Labour leader’s attitude to the proposed cut in tax credits. While Mhairi Black’s words weren’t exactly the same, it wouldn’t take a genius to read this piece and – if you’re an admirer of the great man, put together something similar using his words.
Is it really feasible that she could have come to this choice of material, in this context, independently? Nobody else has.
Such similarity – in subject matter, tone, and the material quoted – suggests a rip-off. If this is the case, Mhairi Black should be lucky to get off with a stern warning.
Instead she’s the toast of Twitter!
Of course, we’ll never know if she didn’t write her speech independently. If this is the case, she’s hardly going to admit it – and This Writer isn’t going to take any further action because it wouldn’t be worth it.
But This Blog is part of my livelihood and if it seems to me that someone is harming that livelihood, then I’ll call “foul” on it.
As for you Mhairi Black – if you did rip off This Blog, shame on you.
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