Regular readers to my blog will know I am a passionate defender of freedom of speech, especially the concept that this necessarily extends to expressions of opinion that may offend.
Someone who has exercised this right recently is Dr Una Coles, a previous unsuccessful candidate for the position of President of the Royal College of General practitioners.
(My understanding is that if copyright exists on this picture,
it is the property of the Daily Mail newspaper)
In a recent booklet she strongly implies that her own college, in it’s examination procedures, is guilty of racism, sexism, fatism and homophobia. Now I’m all for expression of opinion, but this goes further than that and is an implied accusation of illegal practices, and I would have thought that the laws on libel may well apply here.
Needless to say her comments have attracted widespread condemnation. My only comment would be that if she were to make such allegations I would expect to see some evidence to support them and as far as I am aware all Dr Coles has is one or two anecdotes relating to unidentified individuals. Hardly what I would call evidence.
But it gets stranger. In the article as it appeared in yesterday’s Daily Mail it was stated that another GP had made strong but perfectly valid criticism of the publication on the twitter account of Ms Coles. I think that if someone makes provocative and unsupported statements it is inevitable that they would draw criticism, and that again falls under the laws of freedom of speech. However again according to yesterdays Mail she had responded to this in a completely excessive manner, allegedly reporting the GP to the Metropolitan Police for being a Troll.
Now I’m not sure that trolling even constitutes a criminal offence, but if this were to be true then it would demonstrate a degree of hypocrisy and arrogance that is quite startling. If you want to make controversial statements then you have to expect critical response. Hysterical responses as if your own views are above criticism just makes you look an arrogant twat.
Strangely, in the Mail article as it appears on line today the reference to Ms Coles involving the police has disappeared. And so has Ms Cole’s twitter account.
I too have had overreactions from Ms Coles in the past. I gained the impression that she favours her own freedom of speech, but isn’t too keen on others using it to criticise her, and would like to silence critics. I don’t know if she will be in touch with me, or if she will express a desire to deprive me of my pen. But if she does................
The concept of tolerance appears to have two meanings. In the scientific field it refers to the margin of error inherent in any investigative study. And in the field of human interaction it refers to the ability to accept that others feel strongly about a view you oppose.
But the meanings are the same, they both amount to a willingness to accept that your most firmly held beliefs might be wrong, and to accept that, if you are shown good enough evidence, a good enough argument, then the only reasonable response is to adapt your stance.
I have always been strongly opposed to the concept of judicial execution, the idea that some crimes can justify the calculated official killing of the perpetrator. One of the pillars of that belief has been that this sentence can not bring back the victim, and can not serve any useful purpose.
Norman Tebbit has today written something that has rocked that pillar.
“I have kept track year by year since the death penalty was suspended then abolished of the number of people who have been killed by persons previously convicted of homicide. It has averaged three people a year. About 150 people killed because their killers have been freed to kill again.”
I’ve recently had a small string of abusive comments to some of my posts from a troll well known to previous readers of retired (and missed) blogger Dr Aust. Now I know some people regard deletion of comments on a blog as a form of censorship but I don’t see it that way. I’m not trying to stop anyone expressing their point of view, but nor am I obliged to allow my blog to be used as a platform for people I regard as objectionable. They can say whatever they please, but not here. And so I’ve quietly and without fuss simply deleted his comments and not been drawn into a slanging match. It's my blog, I can do it, and I will.
He’s obviously noticed this and started commenting under a different user name, but the style is the same and I’m not fooled for a moment. His first comment was the single word “to**er” (sic) Why he can’t just write “tosser” I don’t know. And then he accuses me of bringing the entire medical profession into disrepute by making rude comments about past and present health ministers.
I think that’s rather good, being accused of bringing the profession into disrepute by a man who has previously been dismissed from his post because of gross misconduct.
I think I may be a little behind the times here, and most people might already know this but our new health minister, the one in charge of the entire NHS, believes in homeopathy and other CAM modalities. This is the vacant looking twat here!
One has to question the state of intelligence of a prime minister who thinks that such a fucking ignorant and opinionated moron is a suitable incumbent for the post. Jeasus wept! What a government!
“Godwin’s law” refers to an internet phenomenon whereby, in any ongoing discussion, on any topic, it is only a matter of time before one of the comments will make a reference to Hitler or fascism.
My most popular post by far has been the one on the “nutrascience scam” which has now had almost 20,000 visits. Also it has attracted 233 comments, and so far Godwin’s law has not applied. Scientifically speaking I think that that may constitute enough evidence to support the view that the probability of Godwin’s law applying is not 1, but <1.
Having said that I fully expect now that someone will go and put a mention of Hitler on the thread just for the hell of it.