Tory bloggers: they don’t like it up ’em!

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I was surprised by the size of the response I got to my post on Tuesday about the police treatment of Ian Tomlinson. The level of traffic to this site brought back memories of when people used to actually read this blog.

In terms of the people who have directly responded, they seem to fit into three categories. A number, including Thunder Dragon and Iain Dale, have unfussily expressed their concerns, and that is fair enough. Mr Eugenides offers a balanced response, rejecting some of my criticisms but accepting others.

It is fair to say that people had not had much of a chance to respond by 11-ish on Tuesday night, but this story has been rumbling on for several days. By last Thursday evening, less than 24 hours after Ian Tomlinson had died, the police’s earlier spin that their only involvement had been to try helping Mr Tomlinson whilst being pelted by bricks and bottles, lay in tatters. Yet this wasn’t picked up by any of the blogs I cited on Tuesday – although many of them were very exercised indeed about the treatment meted out by the police on The Adam Smith One, Eamonn Butler. To quote Dizzy:

I didn’t really care about a bunch of crusty hippies marching about London. I had a job to go too. People should get off their high horses and go fuck themselves.

… which is entirely my point. You do tend to lose any claim to moral authority if you openly admit that the death of a “crusty hippie” isn’t worth caring about (the view looks fine from up here, Dizzy, thanks so much for asking).

This brings me onto the third category – bloggers who are very angry at what I wrote but agree with every word. Dizzy is one. Letters From A Tory is another. LFAT’s response has been to explain how the police’s response may well turn out to have been entirely reasonable once we have established all the facts. Why? Because there is something entirely dubious about that Mr Tomlinson fella, and he was probably begging for it.

I paraphrase, but in his Wednesday post, he arguments consist of the following:

1. Tomlinson may not have been “attempting to get home from work” on the basis that he was wearing a football shirt. If he wasn’t “attempting to get home from work” by definition he can’t have been an “innocent bystander”.

2. (My favourite one) “The video said Ian was ‘walking away from them’ – this is outright deceit, in my opinion. Yes, he was physically facing the opposite direction but if you watch the video carefully you will see that he is deliberately antagonising the police by walking slowly right in front of them as the cordon tries to move people down the street.” Yes, that’s right. Walking in an “antagonising” manner is entirely deserving of police assault in LFAT’s tiny mind.

3. He got up again, so what’s the problem?

Now, following the Daily Mail revelations that Tomlinson may have been drunk, a triumphant LFAT has offered us the coup de grace. Apparently we are to believe that these photos are as revelatory as the Guardian video.

It’s almost too easy pointing out the stupidity of LFAT’s position – he’s done all the heavy lifting for me (the sad thing is, he seems to genuinely believe these are intelligent points to make), but let me spell it out:

Whether Tomlinson was a protestor or drunk or not is entirely irrelevant. Whether he was walking in an “antagonising” manner is entirely irrelevant (as a Londoner, I have to put up with people walking in front of me in an antagonising manner every single day). Ultimately, the fact that Tomlinson died of a heart attack is irrelevant in this context (except for the fact that it may make the difference between whether the policeman in question is guilty of manslaughter or common assault). The point is a policeman lashed out at him while his back was turned and his hands were in his pockets. In a civilised society, that is not acceptable under any circumstances. If you don’t actually agree with me on that point, I’m sorry, but you are utterly beneath contempt.

LFAT isn’t representative of the rightwing blogosphere in this respect, but lamentably he is not alone in suggesting that somehow Tomlinson was responsible for being attacked. I offer this fact merely as an observation of what we are up against.

15 thoughts on “Tory bloggers: they don’t like it up ’em!

  1. Whether Tomlinson was a protestor or drunk or not is entirely irrelevant.

    I agree. I even said this before LFAT’s trumpeting of this latest evidence. But LFAT somehow missed that AND missed my twittering on The Sun’s version of this same evidence yesterday (and rejecting its sigficance on that same basis).

  2. Onw of the reasons why Iain Dale’s claims that the Tories are pro-freedom are false. This sort of view is all too frequently found in the right (and its opposite is found in some areas of the left).

    It also show why I increasingly think libertarians, classical liberals and economic liberals must be very careful of the right.

  3. I think LFAT is just angling for a bit of notoriety, in that second-hand LGF style so beloved of British right-wingers. You can practically hear him begging for a place on Iain Dale’s podcast panel – “Pleese! Pleese! Pay me some attention! I’m sooo con-tro-vers-ial!”

  4. I am always curious when people “paraphrase” someone with whom they disagree. Sounds so much less dishonest than “completely misrepresent what they said”, so I tend to look at the original. I am very rarely proved wrong in my suspicions, especially when written by a lefty.

    Tristan

    Try to understand freedom. Liberty can never be absolute, as absolute freedom for one person inevitably means constraint for others. In this case the police were, in general, upholding the freedom of the people not involved in the protest to go about their business, while allowing a protest to be heard. The protestors were actually protesting against freedom, so can hardly complain if their freedoms are cutailed.

  5. Heh, good blog. In fact I find it hilarious that LFAT is getting into a right little tizz that the leftwing blogosphere isn’t taking its cues from him.

    He actually thinks he’s making intelligent points. It’s pure parody.

  6. LFAT is a tool and nothing short of; his attempts at dethroning Praguetory in the stupidity stakes are a constant source of amusement!

    He’s a nobody really but for some reason hasn’t quite realised that fact.

  7. “The protestors were actually protesting against freedom, so can hardly complain if their freedoms are cutailed.”

    Mmmm, I like that tasty, crunchy doublespeak you’re serving up, Sir.

  8. Random: if my paraphrase – which contains direct quotes – is unfair, explain how. It isn’t as if I didn’t furnish you with a link to the original for you to compare and contrast.

    I also think you have a very flawed idea of what freedom is. It isn’t a finite resource. Except in very extreme circumstances (and even then, it is debateable), my freedom of speech doesn’t curtail anyone else’s liberty.

    You seem to talk about it as if some kind of transaction is involved. It may be the case that some rightwingers like to pretend liberty is a commodity that can be bought and sold (and thus only available to the wealthy), but fortunately we can dismiss this view on the basis that it is irredeemably stupid.

  9. It would appear he’s now closed the comments, in order to go and hide in a box. For real amusement, try searching Google for “Sir Ian Blair” site:lettersfromatory.com – his views were very different when the chief of the Met was a Labour pick.

  10. James, I have to take issue with you on a couple of things here. You write:

    “It is fair to say that people had not had much of a chance to respond by 11-ish on Tuesday night, but this story has been rumbling on for several days. By last Thursday evening, less than 24 hours after Ian Tomlinson had died, the police’s earlier spin that their only involvement had been to try helping Mr Tomlinson whilst being pelted by bricks and bottles, lay in tatters.”

    Your comment above referring to Justin McKeating’s post may expose the exaggerations in the police accounts and demonstrate they were in tatters. But that is all. It in no way provides evidence that the police had assaulted Ian Tomlinson, which is the impression you seem to want people to get. Keep it honest.

    The issue concerning Dr Eamonn Butler got coverage because a number of bloggers know Dr Butler and because the story was backed up by photographic evidence within hours. Also because of the irony of the incident taking place given the content of his latest book.

    After your attempt to get exercised about a lack of coverage over a police narrative that was quietly changed, perhaps we can expect you to get similarly het up the next time wild claims by Palestinian groups about massacres get dramatically revised downwards and the left leaning blogs casually ignore the story.

    Returning to the story, you attempt to paint the whole centre-right blogosphere as disinterested and determined to ignore evidence, but even then are forced to acknowledge that centre-right bloggers had condemned what they saw in the video footage.

    For my part as a minor blogger, I posted my views on the assault as soon as I was able to from work. Not all of us obsess about blogging. I had heard claims that police had assaulted Tomlinson, but as there was no evidence presented and passions were running high I waited to see if something more concrete would emerge. Surely you would agree that was a sensible thing to do?

    Unjustified and unacceptable face of policing

    It seems you are trying to take a couple of comments from centre-right bloggers and paint those as representative of all. It is pretty trivial in the overall scheme of things and perhaps you might reflect on your shrill tone and realise you have blown this out of all proportion.

    Best wishes!

  11. Tony,

    I’m not basing everything on a single blog post by Justin McKeating. Read the article. The Evening Standard went from publishing the ‘bricks and bottles’ headline to something less sensational in a matter of hours. They realised something was fishy and responded accordingly.

    And as for making wider allegations about the rightwing blogosphere, I have done nothing of the kind. In the case of LFAT, I have explicitly stated that he ISN’T representative. I have merely made a few observations. if they leave you feeling uncomfortable, that is your concern.

  12. They certainly do not make me feel uncomfortable James. They clearly do not share my opinion on this one. But the title of your post starts “Tory bloggers”. Surely you knew and intended that people reading that would take your post to be a sweeping generalisation of those in the Tory blogosphere.

    The nuance has not been lost on people and your attempt at evasion is just Draper school. Just admit it, you wanted to take a pop at the Tories and took a couple of comments and tried to paint a picture of all Tories having those views.

  13. Loving how this:

    “I didn’t really care about a bunch of crusty hippies marching about London. I had a job to go too. People should get off their high horses and go fuck themselves.”

    Got turned to this

    “You do tend to lose any claim to moral authority if you openly admit that the death of a “crusty hippie” isn’t worth caring about”

    I’ve added the emphasis there James just in case your readers cannot spot the rather transparently constructed straw man that turned my non-interest in a protest into my non-interest with a death of a protester.

    Nice try though.

  14. Dizzy, that’s the first time I’ve had someone complain that I kept their comment IN context.

    Your comment was a response to an article about Tomlinson’s death. This was how you chose to respond. If you are now feeling uncomfortable about it, I’m not your therapist.

  15. WTF? Stop talking bullshit. My comment was a response to why I had posted bugger all on the G20, period. You havn;t taken it in context at all, you took it and created a blatant straw man of what you think I said rather than actually acknowledging what I said.

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