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Sep 10 2011

Don’t call me scum*

Scum. Goodbye NHS. Goodbye Lib Dems. RT @skynewsbreak: MPs vote in favour of NHS reforms by a majority of 65

This was retweeted on timeline by a number of people on twitter on Wednesday last. As a Liberal Democrat this upsets me, I take it personally. According to Ben Goldacre, Evan Harris is okay, “good scum” presumably – the rest of us have obtained no exemption.

At roughly the same time my twitter feed was full of people decrying Ken Clarke for describing the rioters as a “feral underclass”, not so many were bothered about me being referred to as scum. Clarke had a point but he made it poorly. His point was that what we should be concerned that 75% of the rioters were already known to the police, our justice system had failed to rehabilitate them. It’s a useful example though: if you use language which offends you’ll find people will ignore your argument, assuming you simply don’t have one.

Interestingly Tony Blair was on the radio this morning, a man that lied in order to take us into war in Iraq and stood by as the country disintegrated, unwilling to persuade the US of the critical need for a post-war recovery plan. People on my timeline were upset but no one called him scum.

*It’s a reference to that fine film, Barb Wire.