This blog has a comments policy for the good reason that it needs one given the pile that come in on many days (50 is not unusual) and the legal obligation I have as a publisher to make sure they are reasonably acceptable for publication.
There is a second reason: I find it tedious dealing with the very obvious trolls who try to post neoliberal madness and those who simply repeat the venomous attacks on ordinary people, any minority, all those who work for the state, women and anyone living abroad who did not emigrate from the UK that is the daily fodder of the Mail and its like.
The Mail like trolls seem out in force today – denying the right of any worker to seek to claim a fair reward fro their employment even though one moment’s reflection would suggest that this is exactly what their dearly beloved neoliberalism says they should do. Ignoring for a moment the failure of such commentators to understand their own creed though, let me remind them of the comments policy, which says:
Comments are welcome on this blog. However, they are moderated with good reason: far too many received are not suitable for publication.
For a comment to be published I must be satisfied that:
1. It is legal;
2. It is polite;
3. It includes an argument that adds value to readers;
4. It appears factually accurate;
5. The commentator is genuine;
6. It is not questioning the fundamental tenets on which this blog is based.
This last point is important. Those who wish to argue that tax havens / secrecy jurisdictions are good things may do so, but not here. Likewise those promoting neoliberal economics may do so, but not here: propagating the delusion that an economy can be accurately modeled using counterfactual propositions about its nature is not something I wish to partake in, and will not allow.
The following are highly likely to be rejected:
1. Abusive and personal comments;
3. Repetitive commenting from the same person;
4. Comments that duplicate a theme adequately covered by others;
5. Persistent comments from those promoting libertarian ideals far removed from the political mainstream.
I would stress: agreement with me is not a condition of a comment being accepted, but disagreement must be reasoned and be offered within the framework of understanding that this blog seeks to promote. This policy is necessary to make the comments section on each blog useful, meaningful and enjoyable for readers.
For those who disagree or think this an act of censorship I have one suggestion to make: please go and start a blog of your own. Free speech is valuable. I support it. It is what permits you to offer your opinion as readily as I offer mine. But nothing requires that I must offer your opinion on my site. To say so is an act of editorial freedom – an issue as important as that of free speech.
To out it another way – if I think you’re a troll of any variety I can delete your comment as readily as any reasonable newspaper editor would refuse your letter, and for the same reason - which is that it does not add to debate.
So please don’t waste your time submitting it: you know what will happen.