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The truths they don't want you to read....

Thursday, July 02, 2009

An underlying nastiness

John MacLeod got an opportunity to make his point about Sunday ferries on this blog and it provoked a furious backlash, which I am sure that John was more than prepared for.

He has then taken his correspondence to Hebrides News where - if anything - the vitriolic and personally offensive campaign has become much more vicious.

I'm offended that this blog is no longer the sole location for anonymous mindless personal attacks, but let's not let personal pride get in the way of a vaguely serious point.

The advice that anyone 'go back home' is offensive, whether they were born in Glasgow, Krakow, Lagos or Tennessee.

Once the debate reaches that level, I start to despair, and like many others, I am sure that I get turned off by the very nature of the comments.

It hasn't made me change my views, but it certainly makes me less likely to espouse them as publicly in ase I am tarred with the same brush....


Anonymous said...

Erm, hang on. Both sides have given as good as they have got. Problem with many of the letters from the pro-ferry side is that JMs sly, but clever, needle-ing has got to them. A provoked response is what he wants and what he got. Although I disagree with pretty much all he has written, he wins out in terms of steering the argument.

The best thing the pro-ferry folk could do would be to ignore him. The sheer volume of letters/length on Hebrides News from him indicates some other motive, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

did he really say to "go home"?

I just switched off with all the letters - his go on and on whereas his opponents keep it breif and simple....

I am personally for sunday sailings but respect the views of those who dont want to see them. If only JM would think likewise (vice versa of course).

Anonymous said...

I despair that people take him seriously as his letters are hilarious- overstuffed with verbosity and pseudo-rhetoric in the guise of insight or wit.

I think laughter is the best policy...

Anonymous said...

There is a reason that most are of the view the LSOS is an organisation looking backwards and not acting like christians. there is a reason why people shun the churches on the Isle of Lewis as they peddle their narrow minded views - John Macleod.

Anonymous said...

Whilst I might admire John Macleod's writing style, his content and analysis leaves a lot to be desired.

Those people that he is baiting via the Hebrides News are responding to it. Perhaps the best thing do do would be to ignore and not lower themselves to respond. After all, he's still got his column in the Daily Mail where he can air his views and his take on the world.

John MacLeod said...

Hi, Angus - thanks for the nice note.

To kill two rumours at once, I was not born in Glasgow, but Inverness - at that time my father was minister of Kilmallie Free Church, Lochaber, and there was then no hospital provision in Fort William. We moved to Glasgow when I was four and to Edinburgh when I was thirteen; but I was brought up in a Gaelic-speaking, Free Church, Lewis environment; I have lived here since 1992 and most people would agree I have an island accent (with the odd Lochaber and West End vowel here and there and, after a 12-year sojourn south of the Clisham, more than a hint of Hearrach.)

I am more amused than annoyed, then, when the odd jerk shrieks 'Go back to Glasgow!' Anyway, who would have dared shout to the late Cllr Angus Graham - still more robust and controversial - that he should return to America; where, indeed, that splendid old rascal was born?

Secondly, I write regularly at present on the excellent Hebrides News website because this issue has to be debated and, if I do not speak up for the Christian position and in defence of the Lord's Day and our island way of life, no one else will - apart from two outings by the highly respected Rev. Andrew Coghill (CofS, Lochs), I am all on my tod.

It is also much fairer, and more profitable, to conduct this argument on a platform where all contributors must publish a name and address.

I have no other agenda and no other motive and I wish emphatically here to make clear that no one has suggested I stand for Parliament (either Westminster or Holyrood)and I would NOT accept nomination to do so. The skills of a good journalist are wholly different, and in conflict with, the skills of a professional politician; in any event, as a freelance writer, general elections are very good for business and I would lose a lot of money by strutting about the Western Isles as a candidate rather than round Scotland as a reporter.

In any event, while an outstanding Independent candidate could do respectably in the Western Isles, I do not believe the seat could be won by one and certainly not on a single issue of limited traction.

The few Independent MPs elected in the last twelve years or so have all won on a single and uniting issue (the corruption of a Tory incumbent at Tatton; the threatened closure of a local hospital at Wyre Forest - and SDtrathkelvin and Bearsden; the imposition of an official tokemn-woman candidate by Labour Party HQ at Blaenau Gwent)and in a rotten-borough seat where one party has complacently dominated.

Sunday ferries are not such an issue and the Western Isles is a marginal SNP-Lab seat. The best 'Independent' camopaign here in my lifetime was that of Kenny MacIver for the SDP/Liberal Alliance in 1987; and he still only managed 20.7% of the vote.)

I hope I haven't deliberately set out to needle anyone in this ferry debate. It is important that when dodgy arguments are put orward, that they are scrutinised; and, when false assertions are made, that they are challenged. The incoherence and silliness of the pro-Sunday ferry lobby just makes it a whole lot easier.

Anonymous said...

'Scuse if I am being dim but not following you Angus. Tarred with which brush? An incomer - thought you were from here? A racist - thought that is what you were finding offensive? Or is it the Sunday ferry opinion that you will be keeping to yourself, or is it the golf? Am I missing some subtlety?

Cheerfully and forever Anon

Anonymous said...

"The sheer volume of letters/length on Hebrides News from him indicates some other motive, perhaps?"

Possibly to steer debate away from the Stornoway Gazette, which he heartily loathes? If so, he's succeeded. The Gazette's letter page is now as dull as...well, as dull as the rest of the paper.

John MacLeod said...

Anonymous 11:57 - as I have explained, I am pretty well a one-man operation on the Hebrides News website and often have to deal with several hostile letters at a time. It's not always easy to keep my own epistles brief - especially trying politely to deal with different arguments from different people with different agendas - but I take your point on board nevertheless.

As for Anonymous 8.16, I am not a member of the LDOS, I have never attended an LDOS meeting, and - between you and me - I don't like the LDOS either. I don't approve of single-issue Christian pressure groups at the best of times, and in recent weeks the local LDOS has been silent and invisible. They're very keen on a campaign against Sabbath ferries as long as other people do it.

And, Anonymous 9.18, this Sabbath ferry controversy is a local issue and not a matter of much interest to my Scottish Daily Mail readers. If I did devote a column to it - and I've only written one piece for the Mail about this in the last five years - wouldn't you guys be the first to say I should get a life?

And... yes, Anonymous 2.58, the Stornoway Gazette is a pathetic paper. Admittedly, it's been frightful for as long as I can remember ('Two Towels Lost In Marybank House-Fire'!); but in the last couple of years it has slid from merely appalling to downright abysmal.

The paper is once again publishing anonymous letters (some, I suspect, actually written by staff); it has refused to published not a few in defence of the Lord's Day (including several of my own); its news coverage of this Sabbath ferry issue makes no pretence of neutrality or fairness - any more than does its political reporting; and its website is pants.

With far fewer resources, Hebrides News is much superior and is fast emerging as the most reliable and respected source of local news: fair, full and accurate. I haven't even bothered to buy the Gazette in weeks, and I suspect others are quietly forgetting it too.

Anyway, much as I'd love to hang around and chat, I have to write a big article on Andy Murray now. Life goes on.

Anonymous said...

Please don't feed the Troll!

Its one of the main reasons that he john MacLeod) comes back for more. If you don't feed him he has far less to survive on and his importance is diminished.

Anonymous said...

So you are against the Sunday ferry Angus? Still a bit of SNP left in you then?

Anonymous said...

I take it "guys" is being used in its widest context by John Macleod - or heaven forbid that women not only have an opinion but exercise it as well?

MadEddieH said...

I think Angus that Mr. MacLeod's tone of writing tends to rub people up the wrong way and cause them to respond intemperately.

I totally agree that it is regrettable that the tone of the debate has dropped so low recently but a fair proportion of the blame can be put down to Mr. MacLeod's provocative style of writing.

Of course another chunk of the blame has to go to the medium I think as well. Somehow we don't have the same "Should I say this?" type of filter running when we send an email as we do when we actually have to sit down and write a letter.

Sometimes if we are responding to a letter in which something or someone has aroused our ire the actual writing of the response can be quite cathartic and cleansing. When we write it with pen and paper we can frequently finish writing the letter and then when we go to address the envelope we think "Actually that's a bit full on, I'll maybe rewrite it/not send it".

Sadly that space for reflection is missing in the electronic world and all too frequently the send button is thumped as a final punctuation on our rant.

While we may later regret some of the things that we said it is usually too late by that point.

I usually find it is best to deliberately pause before responding when a debate seems to be getting heated - it is amazing the difference leaving it a day or two to respond can make. Of course in this day and age you will sometimes get the kind of muppet that declares themselves the winner and publicly pats themselves on the back for their greatness if you don't respond to them in nanoseconds. Overall though the advantages of taking your time to respond more than outweigh the disadvantages.

Anonymous said...

i must say that is a hearty letter to read JM... A's ls

Hairy McLairy said...

See this 'Hebrides News'? There's no news on it. It's just a funny little JM half-blog with some cheapo Google ads, not even as nicely turned out as your own, Angus. So I think we can all calm down.

Exciled Lewisman seeking employment said...

Macleod has yet to learn:

Unwanted by the LDOS
Unwanted by the Herald
Unwanted by the Daily Mail
Unwanted by the SNP
unwanted in tarbert
Unwanted in Shawbost

Simply unwanted

He has no job or patrons - he is simply looking for publicity.

Wants he up to?

New book or Candidate for the Sabbatarian Party at the election?

Sorry mate your simply unwanted

Captain Swing said...

Tried to book a ferry to get off the island with a car next weekend (10th or 11th July) yesterday 7th July. Friday miday ferry fully booked as are both ferries Saturday so have to get up at 5am to get early ferry Friday. So trying to book 5 or 6 days in advance and can't get a reasonable booking. What if this was an emergency not just a holiday break? How far are we expected to know in advance of our travel arrangements? Who says that we do not need Sunday Ferries?

Anonymous said...

I see John MacLeod has his own Top Trump card now :-)

Anonymous said...

"Astronomers have recorded the creation of a small black hole on the Isle of Lewis.
They believe this was caused by the catalysmic imposion of John Macleod, creating a singuarity of self-righteouness"