I just had a paper accepted for a conference paper called “Mum’s the WordPress: A comparision of political and mommy bloggers”, didn’t talk much about microblogging, but discovered some of the problems in an interaction with Iain Dale earlier today. I wonder ‘tele-autism’ is manifested greater in microblogging, where offence is easier to occur between people because of the communication restrictions similar to what I as a person with High Functioning Autism experiences elsewhere in public life.
Iain Dale is one of the most respected political bloggers on the Internet. In 2007 he ranked me No 88 in the Top 100 Labour Bloggers. For someone in politics to give me such high regard, means he must be a pretty decent person, looking beyond how as a Labour Party member I was an “outlier” and not typical of the norm.
However, I was slightly shocked today. On Twitter, he called a presenter of Britain’s Got Talent a word meaning phallus beginning with “d” for not letting through a group of black people and instead letting through a “pub singing poodle”. -As much as I would agree with his dissent if the decision was based on race, even indirectly because the person didn’t like ‘Black Music’.
I have been arguing for universities to have quotas for Black people based on the numbers in society, and for international students not to count against this quota. Many Black people in this country don’t “make the grade” for university due not to lack of ability, but a biased exam system.
Black music is not always done by Black people, as Eminem shows, but just because someone is of a generation that doesn’t like this, as Iain was alluding to, someone should not be rejected from a competition because the judge doesn’t like their music which is typical of their race. Equally someone shouldn’t be derided because their nationality is different from the country they are in, as Iain later presented, just because they were picked by a possibly racist judge – two wrongs don’t make a right.
As I said to Iain; that under the Communications Act 2003 it is illegal to send an offensive message via a communications service. As a public figure, and someone who I respect as one of the most knowledgeable people in politics (perhaps why he is not in government), I expected better. The Equality Act 2010 protects people from direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of race, whether against someone who is Black, White or other identity. I would suggest to him to make a complaint to Ofcom if he felt the decision was based on race, as he is right to point it out if that was the case – I just think he should have moderate his language.
Hopefully he will be re-running his Top Blogs some time. I wonder how he will rank me as someone who is a Co-operative Party Councillor and member of the Conservative Co-operative Society who is in coalition with Plaid Cymru on Pontypridd Town Council and has acted as a counting agent for the Official Moster Raving Loony Party and recently been out leafleting for the Labour Party!