For information only, I copied a Sloglink to a senior contact in Goldman Sachs two weeks ago. He emailed back to say that Goldman wouldn’t allow him access to the site.
In China, you can’t receive The Slog. All EU addresses in Brussels and Washington Government offices ban it. It is banned from commenting at The Guardian, and Huffington Post. If you leave a Sloglink at Huffpost, it will be automatically erased. The Financial Times will not allow anyone to say ‘bollocks’, even though virtually nobody today would be offended by the word in a well-argued context. No Newscorp title allows any leaving of live links to other sites (The Times itself is, like the FT, behind a paywall).
If, using my own pc with its clear relationship to The Slog’s identity, I Google even well-known political sites in Germany, I get redirected to an Austrian site for gays. While this suggests that even spooks have a sense of humour, it does make the flesh creep to discover that using someone else’s pc allows me to get through straight away.
No member of UNITE the Union can follow Slog links in the office. Nor can anyone working for at least two big UK banks – which (if nothing else) shows that my detractors are econo-politically eclectic.
I could go on and on with the list of those who refuse to allow access to the site. I find it flattering, but above all worrying, that a site this small in the greater scheme of things is worth their attention – whoever ‘they’ are. Commercially, cyber-banning (and deliberate blocking) is now an industry in its own right. The Russians, Chinese and Americans lead the way in this area, as they do in the area of cyberblagging crime. Talk to any senior UK policeman off the record, however, and he or she will tell you that Merrie Olde Britannia is pretty clueless in this area.
Blacking out what The Other Side says has become one of those activities where the unthinking no longer even discuss the right of every individual to receive news of no real threat no national security. Instead, they do presentations to equally morally dead clients about ‘incoming traffic purity’ and other such Orwellian tosh. I think this reflects the growing trend over the last decade away from debate among equals, towards the trashing of those designated ‘the enemy’. In economics, climatology, nuclear generation, social ideology, finance, and of course politics, it is a slanging match between two sets of tiny, extreme minorities, during which the rest of us remain unrepresented.
Think for a minute or two about that deadly combo of adjectives: censorious and unrepresentative. They are two of the prime requirements – along with dictatorial elite megalomania, and a distracted electorate – required for the easy creation of a totalitarian State. With the arrival of casual cyber-blocking, Britain has the full set. We’re not the only ones – but we are worse than most.
This oddly mechanical approach to denying access to objective analysis produces insane combinations of policy and ‘correctness’. Observations about them are waved away in a blasé manner by everyone from Dan Hannan to Harriet Harman, but they are no less real for all that. Hannan himself is an interesting case in point, in that he is both wronged and wrong. Those self-same Leftists who claim to be pacifist – and emit affected shock at the use of words like housewife or immigrant – are quite happy to call Dan ‘Tory scum’ and carry placards saying ‘Smash the Government’. Whereas while Mr Hannan gleefully retweets everything these knuckle-heads tweet at him, he is very careful never to retweet a reasoned deconstruction of his viewpoint.
Of late, the chorus of those Slog threaders trying to put me into the cyber-banner sin-bin has become inordinately loud – dare I say, suspiciously so. Their chief inabilities are the wilful refusal to accept that first, breaking the site’s comment rules with personally offensive resentment of myself and others is, um, breaking the rules. So they get banned from commenting. As I’ve said before, this is culling, not censoring. And second, that The Slog is genuinely unaligned with either mainstream political philosophy in the West.
At best, such is seen as indecisiveness on my part, and at worst as a lie. Put simply, if they’re Left wing I’m really a closet Nazi; and if they’re Right Wing, I’m just a fluffy old Leftie pretending I’ve changed but I’m still the same Commie bastard really. Now any even cursory perusal of the site content would tell a balanced reader that it is oligarchic, privileged and unacountable Establishments that I am against; and that what I’m for is the removal of all monied and other power influences upon the political process. But the charges continue anyway. In these cases, my tendency to ban such threaders is more often than not based on a sort of informal Mental Health Act.
Now and again, however, evidence rears its extremely ugly head (evidence is near-universally ugly, because it tends to confirm the existence of things we wish weren’t there) and in the case of Troll-swarms at The Slog, there’ve been one or two odd patterns of late. The one that has me most worried is a correlation between comments to the effect that “You’ve sold out, I used to like this site but now it’s obvious you’re really working for Them” and the cloning of some of my now largely redundant Microsoft Outlook email addresses. (They’re redundant, by the way, because Microsoft blocked my send capability after a few probing pieces about Bill Gates, anti-Trust bribes and so forth. It’s all part of the same syndrome.)
My assumption is that these are all the same sender, but one is still left asking why anyone could hate a blogger so much, he would keep on going to the trouble of inventing aliases all designed to persuade regulars that (a) my facts are wrong or (b) I’m some kind of Fifth Columnist. In short, my suspicion is that the person is a professional troll – ie, he works for someone with a broader agenda. One must watch and see: at the moment, I have an open mind. But a female Blogista remarked to me recently that she suspects the same concerted attempt to spin against her.
It simply won’t do to dismiss this as paranoia. The recent Bell Pottinger revelations showed how perniciously history itself was being written by some of the Bell-ends. It became obvious that Lord Bell’s ‘pr’ company was corrupting Wikipedia entries about an Asian country whose completely illiberal and torturous regime were paying him fat fees. It has always, I’m sad to observe, been obvious that Tim not so much lacks a moral compass, as refuses one on the grounds of them being surplus to his ethical requirements. But there are legions of folks around far, far worse than Tim Bell.
Every major comms service provider on the Net now cooperates with (indeed, gives 100% unfettered access to) the security services in every country where it has a business base. Over the past seven years to my certain knowledge, we have been told so many blatant lies about the cybernation of surveillance, it is no longer valuable to point them out: people either don’t care, or already know. It’s roughly on the same level as saying “the EU hates democracy”. For anyone even half-awake with an IQ over 80, it’s obvious.
In my days as a Student (when I was a liberal, but miles to the Right of most of my peers in the Politics Department) the standard response to any rebuttal of Soviet or Maoist or Trotskyist claims was either (1) to yell “Fascist!” or (2) to describe in an intolerably patronising manner how and why one was the sadly misguided victim of Western propaganda. I remember one particular chap at the time telling me, “There are no facts. Facts are a myth. All truth is relative”. He retired recently, having spent most of his working life as a foreign currency buyer for the Bank of England. So it’s highly likely he still thinks this to be true.
Two things have made the reality (and potential effect) of ‘propaganda’ more real fifty years on…even though, ironically, the word used these days is ‘virtual’. The first is 24/7 news stations, preferring as they do speed and quantity over considered analysis. The outcome of this is the vastly increased ability to tell a dramatic lie and remain undetected…in other words, for ridiculous shibboleths to become received truth. The second – less well understood, but even more Stasi-like in its ability to keep like-minded people apart and dismiss the truth – is proactive cyber truth-bending, blocking and fact invention. This is now the big growth area.
I realise I have blogged this point many times before, but please allow me to say again that, if we care more about our liberties and personal dignity than we do for political affiliation, the internet remains the home of the Real Opposition. However, if we want to have an effect on the culture and constitution of our various societies, there are in turn two realities to face.
The first is that the pressure will be more valuable if it is applied to those who fund (by which I mean bribe) the Establishment. The second is that we all need to raise our awareness of when dirty tricks are in play…and how to combat them.
Anyone in good mental health is rightly suspicious of conspiracy theories. But over the last five years, senior civil servants, MPs, globalist media owners, bankers and governments have shown themselves to be pretty adept at conspiring. And the real inequality in Western society – that placed before the law – has shown how profoundly unwilling Estalishments are to prosecute wrongdoers.
Twas ever thus, but twas never as well armed as it is today. Think on it.