Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nothing is Free

I suggested it might be the case in an earlier post but in today's Sunday Times : "The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal."

Are we surprised if it's true? Probably not and Gordon Brown, will I'm sure have more questions to answer when he returns from his moral-boosting trip to Afghanistan.

Here in Thanet, the so-called Blog wars appear to be becoming even more personal and nasty and from looking at some of the exchanges, I do rather wonder why we bother at times?

From my own experience and having chatted to Tony Flaig and Michael Child recently, it's clear that the majority of offensive comments are left by a group of around six anonymous people; that's half a dozen out of the entire population of Thanet. If you add to these the ones that sign their comments and who are equally paranoid, offensive or disturbed, you can probably find another six or so who regularly trawl the popular blog sites with a visible trend; one of the most offensive individuals being online between the hours of midnight and 2am.

It's a tiny percentage of our local population responsible for delivering a disproportionate level of personal offense and in their own way should be considered as 'grown-up' versions of the teenagers who spray graffiti on toilet walls across the island.

As you are reading this, you are probably one of around 200 people who regularly visit the local Blogs. Most people in Thanet wouldn't have a clue what a Blog is either!

So perhaps we should step back a little and put Blogging in context. It's a useful means of self-expression and a channel for local news distribution. Statistically, it probably attracts the same number of cranks and restless trouble-makers as any gathering of people in the real-world. Blogs are given greater emphasis than they deserve, my own included, by local papers desperate for stories; any stories, true or false, given their own limited and shrinking resources. Most busy people haven't the time, interest or inclination to read our online ramblings and most really don't care what we have to say anyway.

And finally, the people that I talk to who do visit the weblogs are increasingly repelled by the offensive language and personal remarks that they read on some Blogs that vigorously champion the so-called right of "Free speech." What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to rather than defamatory language and personal abuse disguised as free speech! In the end, while I'm sure that a tiny minority will continue to be attracted by some weblogs, much like a child might enjoy the sport of poking a caged animal with a stick, others will simply recognise their attraction to unhappy individuals who express the darker and more unpleasant side of human nature.


Anonymous said...

I presume you are referring to Cllr Nottingham's publication of some inconvenient truths there. I'm not sure he'd thank you for referring to him as 'paranoid, offensive or disturbed' or a 'crank and restless trouble-maker'. But of course that's how you characterise anyone who doesn't agree with you, or you find mildly irksome, isn't it? Perhaps you should dust off the old 'loony left' and start waving that one around?

Still, nicely sidestepped and brushed under the carpet if I may say so.

As for local papers picking up on blogs, again I presume you are referring to your statement on a local blog that there was no plan for a 'protocol' for Thanet blogging. Which was picked up in this week's Gazette and turned out to be another of your economies with the truth, according to them.

Peter Checksfield said...

I've been very actively promoting the Thanet blogging scene during the past year or so & getting as many local people involved as possible, but not any more. Seems like the few people willing to disagree with others & under using real names (you Simon, Tony, Don, myself etc) are flamed down by cowards hiding behind the safety of their anonymity.

Anonymous said...

I use about half a dozen of the Thanet blogs to keep up to date with local events while abroad.
The blogs nearly always provide a direct link to additional information in the main stream media or TDC if relevant and save me having to trawl through pages of irrelevant material. I just wonder what's being missed while the local bloggers are trying to knock seven bells out of each other.

Lisa said...

I just pray he doesn't harm any more people.

Stop Manston Expansion Group said...

quite simple whats being missed Lisa - a request by Manston owners Infratil, in conjunction with Thanet District Councils Brian White to allow scheduled 747 flights through the night (11pm to 7am). Seeing as Checksfield, Flaig, Don and the Doc all are ardent supporters of the airport, this is a nice distraction from the real issues facing Thanet.

Peter Checksfield said...

"...Checksfield, Flaig, Don and the Doc..."

Steve, doesn't the fact that almost all anti-airport protesters hide behind false identities (& consequently do nothing more constructive than slag of other people on blogs) tell you something?

Still, I look forward to seeing you on more live TV debates.

tony flaig bignews said...

Dear Smeg

I am not an ardent supporter of the Manston Airport, yes I would, like most sane people, like the airport to become a prosperous business providing employment and wealth generation to the local community.

Not least I would like it to offer air transport locally so I can cut my personal carbon emissions and thus help the environment.

I've recently become the victim of one anti Manston campaigner who has decided to allow bogus comments to be left on his site despite knowing them to be false probably having created them.

Again I am not an ardent supporter of Manston, just an ordinary person who can appreciate the benefits, and do not see why such an asset should be destroyed on a whim a hand full of activists.

Just why one Manston protester is happy to defame and lie I do not know. It certainly does not help your campaign which as far as I know has no similar intent.

jreed724 said...

Well, what do they want from us...sympathy? He caused so many people to die...well, we'll give him our "sorries" but not for what he did.

Peter Checksfield said...

I've decided to remove links from my own blog to those that either partake in or encourage anonymous malicious comment. Just because I'm a photographer specialising in the naked form doesn't mean that I have no moral standards, & I'm sick & tired of cowards hiding behind the safety & anonymity of their computers.

DrM. said...

You've got a point Peter! I'm appalled as both a 'Blogger' and a human being at the repulsive, malicious bile I'm reading elsewhere!

Stop Manston Expansion Group said...

Pete, I removed links to your porno-masquerading-as-'art' website some time ago.

Tony, your support for Manston is to reduce your carbon footprint, or save yourself a couple of hours each year travelling to an other airport? I think we both know which one it is.

How very community spiritied of you.

There is nothing wrong with the airport being sucessfull, you'd just better be sure what that success criteria is. Your uninformed views at present are supporting an unsutainable 24/7 freight operation. Unless Pete is importing 'artistic' DVD's from the orient, or you post yourself to Magaluf Tony, you are getting something that is only good for NZ pensioners.

DrM. said...

SMEG, I have to ask myself why you can't keep argue your corner lucidly and politely?

People in the minority frequently hold strong opinions and what I read doesn't help your case; quite the opposite in fact. There is a strong economic argument for the airport and there are environmental arguments that challenge it. Proper democratic process will decide on which is the best path to follow.

Peter Checksfield said...

Steve / SMEG, I also deleted my link to your blog sometime ago; NOT because of a difference of opinion, but because of your very rude attitude to everyone who opposes your campaign. I really believe that you'd get far more support if you learnt a little restraint.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone else has noticed that most of the comments following this thread over on ECR are from the same person but badly discguised?