Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dave Osler, Alex Hilton and Councillor Maria Gatland

Dave Osler and Alex Hilton are - quite rightly - enjoying the support and solidarity of bloggers everywhere in response to the legal action that they are currently involved in.

I'm with Dave and Alex on this as much as the next man. But I think that there's an interesting contrast between this case and that of Croydon Conservative councillor Maria Gatland and the disgusting campaign that was waged against her by a nasty little shithead called Peter Latham.

I know that 'defend the Conservative councillor' isn't a rallying cry that would get most of this site's visitors to their feet, but for me, the contrast between the blogging solidarity that Dave and Alex will enjoy, and the tumbleweed that provided the soundtrack to Cllr Gatland's treatment is telling.

This is an *elected* representative who was subject to personal bullying with a view to making her change a policy makes this (with all due respect to bloggers) a significantly worst case than Dave & Alex’s travails.

I think that it’s something of a sickness that our political culture doesn’t regard this as being similar to jury-tampering. Playing the ball and not the man is to be expected in the wider cut-and-thrust of public debate, but there comes a point at which it debases one of the most fundamental aspects of a democratic constitution - and the Maria Gatland example illustrates this with unusual clarity.

It’s quite telling as well that low-level politicians would not be able to look anywhere for the kind of solidarity that Dave and Alex will rightly get because they are well embedded in the blogosphere. When the blogosphere can bring itself to defend elected representatives, then I promise you, I'll close my annoying blog down.

(With apologies to Justin - I composed a bit of this post in his comments box then decided it was a point that needed making more fully here)

1 comment:

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