Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Paul Flynn MP: I think I touched a raw nerve

Paul Flynn: "obsessed and irrational" Moi?

I expect it was the bit about the Iraq war that got under the skin of Paul Flynn, professional politician, in my response to this extract from one of his posts:

They are a strange obsessed group.

My blog of the 28th December provoked 208 comments mainly from opponents of the smoking ban. I printed a typical exchange below in response to my observation that smoking is less prevalent now in the UK. Like the global warming deniers the anti-ban brigade regularly quote reports that they have not read or do not understand. I have taken only a small role in the discussion. Regular commenters have squashed those who are anti-ban.

I would say that was provocative. The long comment thread was mainly the work of various anti-banners arguing with a few pro-banners, led by Kay Tie, rather than Paul Flynn. (as he notes). The post in question was about the government's petition thing, and my first entry into the fray was broadly agreeing with Paul's point, that it's a gimmick.

As is usually the case, a string of such length contains comments spanning the quality spectrum; from intelligent to stupid, from pointing to dull, from polite to belligerent. No doubt, such debates take place between opinionated people, and probably no participant changed his or her views more than a fraction. Flynn's description above is characteristic of this. Nevertheless, calling those who disagree with his opinion 'strange' and 'obsessed' is provocative. So I responded thus:

"They are a strange obsessed group."

No, we just hate control-freaks telling us what to do. I was brought up in the 80s, and thought the tories were authoritarian. Little did I know at the time just how bad labour would be, and if you think that the smoking issue is not important, I see that same self-satisfied, sanctimonious, righteous self-assurance in your war in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis is your party's most telling legacy, Mr Flynn.

The smoking ban was only a symptom of your fanatical zeal for a police state, with your ID cards, and your 'anti-terror' laws, 90 day detention plans and all the rest.

You and your party are a danger to freedom, because you have no concept of any limitation on the power of the state.

Besides all that, there are molluscs with a better grasp of economics.

Now, I don't have any particular animus against the man. I tried to make the argument against his party, rather than him personally, but I didn't expect him to appreciate my analysis. Indeed he didn't:
Trooper Thompson is obsessed and irrational. the smoking ban has the approval of all main parties. Anti ban candidates have had derisory votes when they stood for elections. The Iraq War was backed by all Tory MPs except six and opposed by 139 Labour MPs. You live in a fantasy world of your own creation. Get real.
Followed five minutes later with:

Some of the anti smoking ban zealots are trying to abuse the hospitality of this site by making untrue allegations. They have had a fair run but their tedious repetitive irrationality is no longer welcome. They have their own unread sites to play on. This site is for an exchange of views between intelligent people.
Hence my final comment:

If you don't want to argue, then don't start the argument. Don't give it out if you can't take it.


Mark Wadsworth said...

I agree with you 100%.

But with these debates, do not imagine you will ever convince 'the other side'. This is a spectator sport - there are plenty of people who skim read these internet debates who haven't made up their minds, and if you show that you are a reasonable and fair minded bloke with a good grasp of the facts and logic, you never know, we might end the day with one more of us and one fewer of them.

Trooper Thompson said...

Agreed. I did commend Flynn in an earlier post for allowing debate on his blog, but it seems the limit has been reached.

On the original comment thread, you will notice he lurks in the background, ignoring direct questions, and only jumping in when he can score a cheap point.

Leg-iron said...

I gave up on Flynn a long time ago. I did look over the thread but the last time I left a comment there, I said it was my last and I meant it.

You can't reason with the reasonless and there is no point offering clues to the clueless. As far as the Flynns and Kay Ties are concerned, their way is the only way and anyone who disagrees is a heretic.

Flynn wants cannabis legal and tobacco illegal because in his shrivelled and blinkered mind, the smoke from one leaf contains none of the chemicals of the smoke from another leaf. He hasn't noticed that ASH stands for action on smoking and health. Not tobacco.

Tie insists that smokers are selfish for wanting some places to go but she is not selfish for wanting them all.

There's no point talking to them. You'd have more luck trying to persuade a tree that it's a bird.

Better to talk to smoking and smoker-tolerant voters. Soon we'll include drinking voters and overweight voters and those who like a bag of chips.

There aren't that many Flynns and Kay Ties. We can work around them.

It'll take time, but talking to them is just wasting time.

Trooper Thompson said...

I quite agree. I signed off with an 'Adios' and meant it.