Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Iain Dale v Guido: hate the sin, not the sinner

The right-wing blogger Paul Staines, who blogs as Guido Fawkes, had a disappointing weekend, having excitedly and confidently predicted that the Sunday papers would be splashing on the major Cabinet scandal he has devoted his blog to energetically promoting over the last week. However, his target William Hague's statement that the blog's allegations are simply baseless would appear to have been fairly effective, while seeking not to fuel the rumour mill excessively.

Tory blogger Iain Dale has had enough:


The campaign against William Hague on the Guido Fawkes blog is nothing short of reprehensible. The lies, smears and innuendo are pathetic.


I think he's right about that.

However, Dale knows Staines considerably better than I do, and is happy to vouch that his fellow blogger is not homophobic. That is reassuring.

This does, though, present Dale with the challenge of finding a formula which can somehow reconcile that knowledge of Staines' character with the Fawkes' blogs active encouragement and celebration of pretty vile homophobic abuse which is consistently published in the comments threads of the blog.


Guido Fawkes is not a homophobe, but the way he is writing about this allows those who think he is homophobic to confirm their own prejudices.


Hate the sin and not the sinner! And there is some tricky logic around evidence-based prejudice there.

But, since Iain Dale here demonstrates a generosity of spirit, let us all hope that the Guido Fawkes blog does not (continue to) cross that line.

6 comments:

Old Holborn said...

Yeah, let's censor EVERYTHING

Sunder Katwala said...

I refer Old Holborn to the answer given in the previous post on this subject - there is a difference between public criticism and censorship you know. You could even call it speech if you liked:

"The Guido Fawkes blog has just come top of Total Politics' libertarian blogs category. The enthusiasm with which it would seek to "out" a Minister perhaps sits oddly with that. (Whether it does so erroneously in this case, while important, is not the central point there). Staines has also again proved willing to host long threads spattered with homophobic comments - some very vile - on his blog. No doubt he would offer a free speech defence of that. It might reasonably be questioned whether that fully addresses the enthusiasm with which they are encouraged and in effect celebrated - such as with special caption competitions in effect offering a green light to further rounds of homophobic comments. (Next Left isn't calling for Staines to be banned from doing this: we are simply publicly criticising him for being willing to so actively encourage homophobic attitudes, when these are thankfully much more marginal than they were a decade ago)".

Old Holborn said...

He owns a white wall. Whatever people to choose to write on it is not his concern. Nor yours.

michaeltmerrick said...

'However, Dale knows Staines considerably better than I do, and is happy to vouch that his fellow blogger is not homophobic. That is reassuring.'

'But, since Iain Dale here demonstrates a generosity of spirit, let us all hope that the Guido Fawkes blog does not (continue to) cross that line.'

Anyone else think that that just sounds... well, creepy? Like some sinister warning from a high-ranking official in an Orwellian Department for Right Thinking.

Old Holborn said...

Dale has the monopoly on any comment regarding homosexuality as the self appointed and unelected Govt HomoCzar. Woe betide those who don't run their stories past him first for "approval" as Paul is finding out.

I'm tempted to start shouting "Heterophobe" as loudly as I can. It might get me on Sky News "review the papers" or a job in the media

Sunder Katwala said...

OldHolborn,

Sure, why don't you try it. Sounds like a great strategy.

I'm sure that must be the criteria Sky News use.

On Murdoch's orders.

Quite a conspiracy isn't it?