Saturday, February 18, 2006
PART III OF IV - MY "IILLIBERAL" BUT CERTAINLY TRUTHFUL BLOGS
I admit to expressing myself 'robustly" (I would rather say with unflinching honesty). I note that on absolutely no point has Mr Fraser chosen to dispute the factual accuracy of what I have said merely whether it is right to say it. I regard this as "illiberal". I have mentioned my party allegiance on my site but dispute that anybody reading it could reasonably conclude that I was writing purely official party policy. Mr Fraser has chosen the piece entitled "Why I Quit" as an example & I submit that anybody reading it would conclude that I had quit the party. Nonetheless, to satisfy your objection, I have now put into the heading of my blog a statement that the party wish it to be known that this is not an official party site.
Mr Fraser has said that I "frequently" mention my party membership in letters. This is untrue. It may be that I have done so once, though I confess I have no memory of it. Nonetheless if Mr Fraser is in even the slightest degree honest I must have done so & I am forwarding this paragraph directly to him so that he can ensure he presents his evidence of this - or not as the case may be.
My reasons for not mentioning party membership in letters are twofold. Firstly because I think starting every letter with a reference to my party membership would tend to discourage publication. Secondly that I generally, at least while a party member, while not restricting myself to parroting the party line attempted to paint the Lib Dems as better than the alternatives.
I include a letter I had published in the Scotsman shortly before the EU election in which I portrayed the Libs (& more equivocally the SNP) as more supportive of economic success than Labour & Tories. In light of present events this may have been unfair to all 3 but at the time I believed it. No party member, at the time, suggested that this letter would have been improved by mentioning my previous allegiance. I have not previously been told, even by Norman, that this wasletter was harmful.
LETTER IN SCOTSMAN 31/5/4
Being a bit of a political anorak, I went to the hustings meeting in Glasgow last week. All but two of the candidates - Elspeth Atwooll (Liberal Democrat) and, more equivocally, Alan Smyth (SNP) - came out firmly against a growing economy. Even Struan Stevenson (Conservative), from whose party we might expect more stodgy common sense, weighed in with the opinion that it just allowed the Chinese to buy more of our concrete rather than conveniently starving as they used to.
There was a time when politicians were, at least publicly, committed to reducing poverty. This matters more to the really poor of Shettleston, who are thereby robbed of a future, than to the chattering classes of Hyndland, who already have it. Nonetheless it shows a contempt for ordinary people among the political class that feels it proper to make people's lives harder.
I absolutely dispute Mr Fraser's claim that anything I have said is "illiberal" unless Mr Fraser is allowed to so completely redefine the term that the founders of the movement are classed as "illiberal" as discussed above.
Mr Fraser objects to me including links on my blog with which he disagrees & for whose opinions he holds me liable. This is an argument from "guilt by association" which I absolutely reject as illiberal. Voltaire said "I absolutely disagree with everything you say & will defend to the death your right to say it". This statement is in many ways the basic axiom of liberalism & I will not, under any circumstances, accept that the party has a right to tell me who I may or may not bloglink with. By this argument does the fact that Paddy Ashdown & Osama bin Laden frequented the office of the Bosnian Moslem leader prove that they share philosophies?
In any case I provide links to Slobodan-Milosevic.org, England's Sword, Antiwar, Jerry Pournelle, Lenin's Tomb & the Adam Smith Institute. I obviously cannot endorse all their views. I doubt if there is any subject on which these would all agree.
Sample Postings on ‘A Place to Stand’
13/11/05 ‘Communists Support the Right to Bear Arms.’ Paddy Ashdown a perjurer and condoner of child sex slavery.
This merely reprints evidence presented in court & not now disputed that Mr Ashdown did say under oath that, standing on the Albanian border, he saw Yugoslav soldiers ethnically cleansing named villages & that said villages are not visible from that location due to mountains being in the way. This evidence is literally rock solid. The other incident is that a woman was indeed found, in a UK court, to have been wrongfully dismissed for objecting to a member of Mr Ashdown's administration purchasing & keeping a young girl as a sex slave. This was reported in 2 British newspapers. Mr Fraser makes no attempt to dispute the facts. He has elsewhere stated his attitude towards child sex slavery.
7/11/05 ‘Islamic Fundamentalism…’ An extraordinary attack on Lord Bonomy.
Exactly where in the Lib Dem constitution does it say that when a senior judge makes a particularly foolish statement we are required not to object? Lord Bonamy said, from the ICTY Bench, that fundamentalist Islam does not pose a security threat. I suggest that this is a statement, particularly in relation to Mr bin Laden, with which robust disagreement is reasonable.
24/10/05 ‘Glorious Defeat at the Lib Dem Conference…’ Neil’s speeches at Glenrothes were right (he says).
Of course I said they were right. Am I required to say that my speeches were wrong? These were public speeches made where the party had invited journalists to attend. They were in no way confidential. I spoke in favour of Free Trade & against having government political correctness officers throughout Scottish business & while I was heavily outvoted my opinions were & are consistent with the traditional Liberal position. Eileen McCartin said in her summing up that the position I was defending was no longer liberal because "principles change with time". I disagree.
I strongly suspect that it this, as much as the official charges, is the reason for the present circumstances. I spoke to a conference, whose mind I believe was already made up, to say that the motion, that North Korea & Burma are producing better economic examples than South Korea & Singapore, was wrong & that the motion saying that political correctness inspectors in Scottish business committed to satisfying the "expectations" of "special interest groups" would "increase productivity" was also wrong. When both motions were passed overwhelmingly Mr Fraser decided to use the expulsion card he has kept in his pocket since May. This redifinition of "liberalism" & purging of those who disagree is not liberalism in any sense - it is Orwellism.
Under Chairman Mao party members, whose opinions were found to be different from those of the Party were forced to engage in self criticism sessions but his party was not affiliated to the Liberal International. It is worth pointing out that I specifically invited those who voted for the motions, including Mr Fraser, to put their opinions on my blog - that none chose to do should not be held against me.
10/08/05 ‘So the Australian Media Censor…’ Neil denies the Srebrenica Massacre took place.
I do not deny that a massacre took place at Srebrenica. That thousands of unarmed Serb civilians (3,800 named individuals have been identified) were killed by Mr Oric, many by beheading, has been stated by the NATO general during the Milosevic "trial". Nor do I dispute that some Moslem soldiers died also - it would be a strange war were that not so. However it is a matter of fact that what were initially described as mass graves were empty & that, of what was initially described as a garrison of 7,500, 7,000 are now known to have escaped. I dispute that I have any duty not to mention the facts - indeed I deal with this principle later.
03/8/05 ‘Lies, Damned Lies…’ Neil attacks the Guardian on the same issue.
01/08/05 ‘Srebrenica Massacre a Lie’
24/5/05 ‘Question Time Lie’ an attack on Matthew Taylor who stated that in his opinion the war in former Yugoslavia was legal.
He stated that launching an aggressive war against Yugoslavia without a UN mandate was legal but neglected to say why. Since Nuremberg aggressive war has been prima faci a criminal act. I asked both him & the party to say why this one isn't but have yet to receive a reply. I would have been perfectly willing to post a reply. If Mr Fraser is treating all races equally he MUST be calling for the expulsion of all members of the Lib Dems who say that launching an aggressive war on Iraq without a UN mandate is illegal. I look forward to watching his campaign with interest.
I do not believe that there is a single member of the party who is honestly convinced that that war was legal & or anybody who has fully investigated it who believes it was moral. The refusal of Mr Taylor or any party representative to say why it was is indicative. I repeat my offer to post their response on my blog. So long as the party claims to support the rule of international law this is going to continue to eat away at its credibility & produce questions like the audience remark on Question Time.
03/04/05 ‘Hail, Hail…’ the Pope gave money to and smuggled arms for Croatia.
He has made an error here. While I have reprinted publicly available evidence that the Pope provided an unsecured long term interest free loan of $2 billion to Mr Tudjman the article on Caritas arms smuggling referred to the shipment of 1,500 mortars
I have, on reconsideration, already removed this item on the grounds that the title was somewhat flippant & that my reference to the theological implications for the soul of the Pope, while doctrinally sound, were inappropriate bearing in mind that I am a nonbeliever. Nonetheless the article is factual & Mr Fraser has made no attempt to assert otherwise.
21/11/04 ‘Why I quit’ Neil’s view of why he left the Party in 2004.
Is it seriously suggested that I should not have given reasons or that this could be mistaken for official party policy.…