Tory MP hates social media: “It gives a voice to people who don’t deserve one”

Gary Streeter is the Conservative MP for South West Devon. He is a committed Christian who helped found the Conservative Christian Fellowship. He now chairs the cross-party group Christians in Parliament, and is very keen to give public testimony to his faith, both in his constituency and to the nation. He has been on Twitter since January 2016. He has tweeted 430 times and (at the time of writing) has 984 followers. He obviously isn’t a great fan Twitter, or, indeed, of social media generally. “It gives a voice to people who don’t deserve one,” he says.

Who doesn’t deserve a voice?

The Babylonians captive in Assyria? Socrates, Solon, or the founding democrats of Athens? The peasants of the Great Rising? The slaves of Saint Domingue? The 13 separatist colonies in North America? The Roman Catholics of the Easter Rising? Gandhi and his Non-cooperation movement? Emmeline Pankhurst and any other women who want equality? The poor who visit foodbanks? The Protestants who loathe popery? The nonconformists who reject Anglican oligarchy? The socialist agitators who rile Tory MPs?

History is full of dissenters, protesters, rebels, renegades, freethinkers, apostates, heretics, schismatics, recusants, seceders, individualists, mavericks, eccentrics, misfits, hippies, dropouts and weirdos, whom the orthodox elite would rather not be heard. Social media is the bane of the oligarch’s life: its proliferation offends anyone who holds power by a notion of divine right, or who thinks their judgment is best, if not infallible.

Social media is an affront to the mainstream. It has given a voice to the voiceless; a pulpit to anyone who would preach. With access to the Internet, the poor man at his gate can rail against the rich man in his castle. God might have made them high and lowly, but He did not order their estates in perpetuity. There is accountability. There is justice, righteousness, mercy and peace. Why should these voices not be heard?

Through social media, the power and motivating ideology of the Establishment may be fundamentally challenged and held to account. The news narratives necessarily become diverse and democratised. You may despair and the fracturing and fragmentation of ‘truth’, or, rather, the emergence of a cacophony of competing truths each vying for supremacy. But this is the revolution of our postmodern time. Ignore it (or, if you prefer, hate it), and you neglect (or disdain) the most important communication revolution since the invention of the printing press.

The capacity of social media to bring reformation and enlightenment to our culture should not be despised simply because it gives voice to people like Paul Mason. Challenge and rebuke him; pity his pettiness and bitter politics of envy. But don’t seek to deny him his voice, for even an ass can speak a word from God.

As Lord Justice Sedley said in his 1999: “Free speech includes not only the offensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, providing it does not tend to provoke violence.” That should be the Conservative social-media maxim.

Gary Streeter, a Christian, should welcome the right of all voices to be heard. He doesn’t have to agree with them all, of course, but who is he to determine who deserves a voice and who does not?

“We hate social media,” said the Pharisees when they read Jesus’s blasphemous tweet about the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. “It gives a voice to people who don’t deserve one.”

  • Sarky

    Social media has meant that people like
    Gary Streeter have no place to hide and can easily be held accountable. That’s why they hate it.

  • John

    Really Basil, fancy putting ‘no riff-raff’!

  • John

    There are three schoolboy errors of the English language in that tweet. That’s why I hate social media; it amplifies the voices of people who don’t appreciate good grammar and who see punctuation as optional.

    • Anton

      I think it is better to regard it as like the difference between spoken and written rhetoric.

  • David

    Undoubtedly IT has opened up many dark places and allows the persistent, if they have the time of course, to root out the truth. In this sense it is a force for good.

    But also some IT channels, particularly Twitter, facilitate shallow but superficially impressive “celebrities” to create a herd of followers who then inhabit an echo chamber of unthinking adulation , with zero consideration of the evidence or rival views or explanations. To that extent it is to be disliked.

    So like all technologies it provides mixed blessings, amplifying the virtues or vices of its varied users. But yes, it is at bottom cheap, distributed and democratic. Certainly dictators would not tolerate IT accessible by the people, so overall it does more good than harm.

  • CliveM

    Nah I think he has a point. When you look at what he was responding too, I’d probably feel the same.

    There are people with views so vicious, stupid or narrow minded that I would hope our MP’s don’t give them much thought.

    • Sarky

      Careful Clive, some of the views on here match that description.

      • CliveM

        Well Ive blocked Linus now!

      • Chefofsinners

        Come on. You’re not that bad, Sarky.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    To say that some scum don’t deserve a voice and aren’t worth hearing is true. Instances abound. It’s not to say that they should be silenced; a very different issue.

  • The egregious Streeter has voted for ‘the mass retention of information about communications’ and for ‘mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities’. Terrifying, and he actually believes that, by instituting a police state, he would be demonstrating ‘the love of God and the reality of Jesus Christ.’ With friends like him, Christianity doesn’t need enemies.

  • Anton

    Hillary Clinton would now be US President but for social media.

    • Chefofsinners

      And Donald Trump would be well respected.

  • Merchantman

    How splendid that this site can hold the church hierarchy to account with the wordpress of social media. How the Pope must have hated Caxton.

  • Chefofsinners

    Why limit your hatred to social media, Gary? Giving the undeserving a voice is an equally good reason to hate freedom of speech, democracy, even God.

    When you reflect on this episode you will realise the real reason to hate social media is that it gives you such a huge opportunity to make a complete arse of yourself in front of the whole world.

  • Linus

    Social media doesn’t give people a voice. What it does is let them project their voice much further than ever before.

    It amuses me when public figures agonise over the rise of extremism. Extreme views have always existed, but in the past they generally weren’t heard. Social media has given them a platform, however I don’t believe they’re any more numerous than they used to be. They’re just more audible. And better organised. This makes them more effective at putting pressure on politicians.

    That’s what this disgruntled MP hates. He hates getting earache from people who used to be largely silent. I can’t say I blame him, but technology has changed the world and there’s no going back to how it used to be.

    Someone should tell him to stop panicking. Extremism by its very nature is a minority activity. Bell-curve distribution means the majority always falls somewhere in the middle.

    Blogs like this one are not evidence of a mounting wave of ultra-conservatism. The usual suspects have just found a megaphone and now their carping voices carry further than they used to. Annoying, I agree. But earplugs are a cheap and effective solution to the minor inconvenience they cause.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Extreme views have always existed, but in the past they generally weren’t heard.

      You don’t know much about history, do you?

      • Linus

        Every general rule has exceptions. Sometimes extremists can take power. But rarely on their own.

        Look at Nazi Germany. Hitler never succeeded in obtaining a majority of the German vote. Only by relying on the support of a coalition partner did he manage to become chancellor in 1933.

        Look at Marine Le Pen in France this year. Barely a third of the votes cast in the presidential election were cast for her. And Geert Wilders in the Netherlands didn’t even manage half of that.

        Extremism is for minorities. While it’s true that sometimes they can club together to take power, thankfully it doesn’t happen often. And when it doesn’t, they go back to doing what they do best: bitching and sniping from the sidelines while others govern.

        This is what irks the MP in question. But he’s going to have to live with the irksomeness of extremists because they won’t go away. And not getting what they want doesn’t silence them. Quite the reverse. It makes them shriek even more loudly.

        Earplugs really are the only practical solution. And a sense of humour along with a keen appreciation of the ridiculous can help too.

    • Anton

      Social media doesn’t give people a voice. What it does is let them project their voice much further than ever before.

      Says he in a blog comment!

      Extremism by its very nature is a minority activity.

      I consider you well informed on the subject.

    • Chefofsinners

      Bell curves shift over time, like sand dunes, moved almost imperceptibly by the winds of debate. What was extremism becomes the middle. Opinions which were in the middle become the extreme. That is what people find uncomfortable.
      In contrast, God is unchanging. Those whose minds are stayed on Him are unperturbed by the shifting sands of public opinion.

      • David

        How true.
        Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

      • Linus

        God is unchanging because he doesn’t exist. Nothingness is always the same. Only somethingness can change.

        • Chefofsinners

          Suppose I believed you didn’t exist. Could you prove it?

          • Sarky

            He could just knock on your door?

          • Chefofsinners

            Suppose I refused to believe it was him knocking?

          • Sarky

            Then he could show you an array of identification to prove it was him.

            Sorry but your argument doesn’t work. Linus can prove very satisfactorily that he exists, god cannot.

          • Chefofsinners

            No, he could not show me any identification if I refused to answer the door. And if he did indeed show me identification, but I decided in my own mind that it could be fake, or was insufficient to meet my own self-defined threshold for proof, then I would continue in my unbelief.
            “Behold! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Rev 3:20

          • Sarky

            Was waiting for that one!

          • Chefofsinners

            The motto of the firing squad:
            We aim to please.

          • Linus

            Could I prove I didn’t exist?

            I’ve heard some batshit crazy stuff from Christians before, but that demand has to rate as one of the most laughable.

            If I didn’t exist, I could prove nothing about anything. There would be no me to prove anything to anyone.

            If you don’t understand that, no wonder you’re a Christian.

  • dannybhoy

    “Social media is an affront to the mainstream. It has given a voice to the voiceless; a pulpit to anyone who would preach.”
    I suppose the danger is that unaccountable people can rail against people in positions of authority and responsibility who are both conscientious and doing their best.
    It gives unaccountable maladjusted people who harbour viciousness, hatred and envy in their hearts, to rant , insult and intimidate innocent vulnerable people.
    In that sense I think he is right.

  • Royinsouthwest

    I must admit that I sometimes think that Twitter is a medium designed for idiots, but it does not follow that everyone who uses Twitter is an idiot or that everything an idiot says using Twitter is idiotic. Even idiots can make valid points sometimes.

    If the Internet and social media did not exist the German authorities might have been able to get away with their attempt to cover up the widespread sexual assaults on German women by immigrants on New Year’s Eve 2015. The press and broadcasters were complicit in the cover up until the news had already been spread widely thanks to social media. As a result Angela Merkel wants to muzzle criticism of her policies using tackling hate speech and terrorism – two very different issues in terms of seriousness – as an excuse. The EU will probably do Merkel’s bidding. Theresa May wants to do the same in Britain.

    None of these politicians think that their role is to serve us. What will be covered up in future if they get their way.

    • dannybhoy

      But what seems to be happening is that social cohesion, respect for the individual and compassion for the lonely, the ‘unlovely and different’ is under attack. I think society is seeing the growth of ugly and malicious factions using the media to promote their twisted views.
      Think of the school children who are targeted, encouraged to commit suicide, referring to each other as slappers, ugly, fat etc. Bullied at school, driven into depression.
      The people who spew this poison hide behind whatever media they use to express themselves.

      • CliveM

        A lot of social media is ugly. A playground for cowards. Tbh I think my response would have been ruder than the MP’s!

      • Chefofsinners

        Yes, unfortunately social media reveals people for what we really are: sinners.
        Truly free speech is both a blessing and a curse. The scriptures are wise:
        “It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out.” And:
        “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

        • dannybhoy

          I know it’s slightly off the headline, but we are witnessing the fracturing and coarsening of our society which does not bode well for the future.
          8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ”
          Philippians 4

  • maigemu

    An elitist snob who dishonours the name of Christ.

  • Dolphinfish

    Guess we know now why May is so shot hit to “regulate” social media. Typical Tory.

  • I am surprised at Gary Streeter and I’m not sure he means what he has said. I suspect it was a tweet on impulse and that he now regrets the way it reads. MPs are as fallible as the rest of us so let’s give him a chance this time. It is pharasaic as it is written and I genuinely would not believe that of him.

    • IanCad

      We must all regret what we have said in the heat of the moment, Even in the cold light of day, and given time to reflect, I have written many things I wish I hadn’t – as this blog will attest.

  • len

    Just watched a programme where Nigel Farage is addressing the mainstream media .Farage says (quite rightly) that the Media are in many cases totally out of touch with ‘the man in the street’.
    The media is not just passive but has a definite bias for and against certain groups of people.

    • IanCad

      A little over a year now since, through the efforts of Nigel Farage, our liberty was proclaimed. He is now in the wilderness. Shunned by lesser folk, ridiculed by collectivists, ignored by those in power.
      When? Oh When!! will he get the credit he deserves? A great tower, alongside Nelson’s in Trafalgar Square, would be appropriate.

      • dannybhoy

        He’s a real one off, and this country owes him a great deal. Peerage or appointment as special ambassador for trade relations.
        Unfortunately Nigel is not a team builder, and now UKIP is slowly sinking beneath the waves of public consciousness…

        • he’s a team leader, but needs to be allowed to lead.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        I’m not so sure. They way things are going at present, it is beginning to look as if he may actually have done — in his won words mdash; “a deal with the Devil”.

  • Dunstan Vavasour

    Social media gives everybody a voice, but that’s all. When everybody has a voice, the competition is not for access to the means of being heard, but for attention.

    Lord, give us the wisdom to discern who we should give our attention to.

  • Lain Iwakura

    The difference is that Jesus actually said those blasphemous things about the Son of Man to their faces, and had the courage to be among his fellow man, preach the truth and change lives, he didn’t just moan on Twitter. It seems to be that there’s far too many clergy spending far too much time having spats on Twitter instead of running their parishes and spreading the Gospel.

  • David

    Where’s Mrs Proudie gone ?
    Her witty missives are much appreciated.

    • len

      Probably an attack of the vapours?
      Hobnobs and a cup of superstrong earl grey will revive her.

      • David

        Yes, tea the universal panacea !

        • Mike Stallard

          …and hobnobs!

    • Chefofsinners

      Officer Dibble and PC Lovelength have taken her for a ride in the new Pride of Sussex rainbow charabang.

      • David

        Oh no, send out the rescue party !

  • ecclesiaman

    If I am correct this tweet was a response or comment in relation to one by Paul Mason ex BBC and well known man of the extreme left. Add to that the interview of a Mr Klug of Momentum on This Week late last night on BBC1, which shows a real need to be able to communicate on social media as Momentum scores heavily with wide ranging groups here. Mr Klug showed how much Momentum scored here, and he was pleasant!
    I am not up to speed with twitter/facebook etc., but unless politicians and opinion formers get hold of this technology they will suffer at the hands of the Momentum adepts.
    Twitter etc., takes too much time and Mr Streeter probably has less than some if he is a diligent MP. However, he would be well advised to get his staff to instruct him so that he can respond appropriately.

  • CliveM

    Apologies for slight change of subject but common sense at last?

    • dannybhoy

      I do agree with preaching the Gospel in the streets and open air, but I don’t agree with insulting other people or their sincerely held beliefs i.e. Islam.
      I am pleased they got off but I hope it also makes them wiser in the future.

      • CliveM

        I agree with that DB.

        • dannybhoy

          I knew you would..

      • Lucius

        Concur. But what happens when the mere preaching the Gospel is cast as an “insult” to those of other faiths or no faith at all? I think that is where we are going socially (and in some places already there).

        • dannybhoy

          Persecution is coming to us Christians whether we deserve it or not.
          Whether because the enemy of our souls knows his time is short, or because our culture is sick and dying, persecution is coming.

      • Chefofsinners

        If people find the gospel an offense then we must still preach it. Who wants to be told they are not good and must repent or be judged. Let’s not be like Jonah and run away from preaching lest we upset people. So long as our motives are pure.

        • Royinsouthwest

          You know who wrote about being all things to all men, don’t you?

    • Chefofsinners

      What redress will these men receive for the injustice they have received at the hands of the police and lower courts, due to plain ignorance of the law or, worse, a desire to enforce the law as they wish it to be?

      • Maalaistollo

        It rather looks as if in these matters (ie enforcing the dictates of political correctness) it doesn’t matter greatly to the Police whether they have understood the law correctly; ‘the process is the punishment’, so if they can arrest somebody in a heavy-handed and humiliating fashion and then keep them in the cells for a few hours or overnight before deciding that they are unable to bring any charges, they’ve done the job. I doubt if the person arrested would get any redress in such a case, but defer to any criminal lawyer communicants who will know better.

        • Anton

          Street preacher Anthony Rollins got redress by suing the police for wrongful arrest a few years ago.

      • CliveM

        Nothing I would imagine.

    • David

      Good ! A judge who upholds free speech. Providing there is no incitement to riot everyone should be able to say what they believe. In the market place of ideas let the best idea win.

  • Just for you, Inspector:

    “Green party politicians tossed glittered confetti across the chamber and gay couples sitting in the public gallery kissed and embraced … “

    • Lucius

      How very gay of them. I wonder if at least some homosexual men resent the glitter and rainbows and effeminate stereotypes.

      • Linus

        Only the self-hating ones who suffer from internalised homophobia inflicted upon them by their gay-hating parents, families and churches.

        The rest of us love a good glitter bomb. Preferably one that explodes directly over the head of a dour and prejudiced Christian killjoy like Angela Merkel.

        Oh well, even her sour-faced moralising couldn’t stop equal marriage from spreading o’er all the lands of Western Europe.

        Where next? Will it be Italy? Will nuns and priests be forced to fall back to the Vatican making warding signs and cross themselves furiously as gay couples tie the knot up and down the land?

        Now that would be a joyous thing to behold! Can’t be long now.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    My father used to have two words of contempt for particular categories of people:

    Stumblebums referred to incompetent people in (especially) local government or official bodies;

    Twizzits referred to people without any knowledge or expertise who were allowed to air their opinions on radio or television. They would appear on Any Questions or newsreel discussions, to air their opinions on subjects they knew nothing about, or matters they had no experience of.

    So why blame social media?

  • Chefofsinners

    Who doesn’t deserve a voice?
    Psalm 31:18 “Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.”
    Those who abuse the privilege.

    Islamic State should be expunged from social media. So should peadophiles who use it to groom children. And drug dealers who use it to communicate. And recently many on this blog wanted to ban Linus, and many have blocked the dear little fellow.
    Need I go on?
    It is sometimes legitimate to deny a person a voice.

    • CliveM

      Dear little fellow! Your a bit of an old softy……..

      • Chefofsinners

        For all his bristling, there goes a soul for whom Christ died. Unless you’re one of that limited atonement mob, of course, in which case there goes a soul for whom Christ might have died.

    • Linus

      What do you have against “peadophiles”?

      I didn’t know an innocent liking of fresh green pulses is demonized by the bible too.

      On what grounds? Because Christ is known as the Prince of Peas? Because Muslims append the words “peas be upon him” to the name of their prophet? Or are the unfortunate vegetables associated with Judas’s betrayal and the infamous 30 peas of silver?

      Oh well, whatever the reason for the ban, I’m as happy to flout it as any other. Fresh peas are delicious, so if you disapprove of me eating them, go take a hike.

      • Chefofsinners

        Ah, the joy of the typo! Don’t tickle me too much or I’ll scream.

  • not a machine

    “it gives a voice to people who don’t deserve one” I perhaps have some sympathy for Gary Streeter MP on this one , but not for his particular point .Paul Mason may well be a journalist economist and now more political , he has some interesting economic views on occasion ,but then always seems as though he might like donning the face covering scarf and enjoying a anti capitalist rampage more than contemplating that markets have done more to lift people out of poverty , than what may be termed leftist economics could ever have imagined .Mr Streeter may well view Mr Mason as a leftie posing as an economist and be a little disappointed by how a leftie can conceal the obvious flaws of most of its statis market ideas .In that sense in 140 words claiming Mr Mason doesn’t deserve a voice , perhaps hasn’t translated well , as in some ways to any capitalist type market thinker ,nice leftie economics is a heresy somewhat short on the truth of markets, and the effects different forms of wealth bands which are in dynamic tension , have in terms of effect.
    Now if Mr Mason wanted to make a speech about how a propagandist labour machine , made lots of people believe that a deficit and off balance sheet borrowings and (shhh selling off half the UKs gold reserves in a small note in back of budget) would set a trajectory for nurses in Portsmouth at a future date to be in need of foodbanks , and easy pension planning for but to lets by overpaid civil servants, property boom and deterioration in DWP spending , I am fairly sure (although not certain ) that Mr Streeter would not have felt to use “don’t deserve one” in the same sentence as something around speech (or typing) .Mr Streeter does not abuse parliamentary privilege ,Mr Mason may abuse point making and argument in being unable to call leftie economics a pile of crap in the end , but denying him the right to make poor economic theories glint in the sunshine like gold , seems anti developing ideas or for that matter having to explain them , which parliament can (very rarely these days) explain in its moments of debate, even if power is sometimes given to things that don’t turn out too well and it seems a load of deceivers and slackers have sold nothing but expensive snake oil, and pass the problem down.
    There are hon members and long may it be so , but as your grace points out the undeserved may well always exist , but at least if all have a right to speak it should stop the sorts of power , that we see in some parts of the world .
    My own personal view is we should create a new nation perhaps “on the never never land” and give the glorious opportunity for all uber leftwing economists and thinkers , to build the sort of true society they would like , they can rescind their UK passport , have as much cultural enrichment as they want , free sex , make ime an anarchist the national anthem , and see how atheism works with islam .If after 40 plus years of eurotopia , they want to come back to UK have a pension and enjoy some gardening mostly built around Christian notions and values , I would offer the problem of having to work for a decent society and if he/she should be giving it one last push in “on the never never land” to make it work ,to save them from creating the hell on earth ,that lefties seem to be convinced we would like here in the UK .
    I am reasonably certain the godless leftist argument can and must be defeated , but that will be painful as I see it and I don’t know how we would have an economy , without its counter being present and some drift away from choice, so the after , so to speak is not so easy to properly conceive.
    I am annoyed considerably at how much of what we might term as safety net/pension has been eroded since 1997 , perhaps before , for what I term as manufacturing/shop worker/shop floor jobs , and the new cyber scam your friend business that is starting to dwarf the long history of credit card and credit fraud.

    my problem with social media is that I do not believe it will create a moral let alone Christian society , it is not much more than self propelled wheel meeting hamster in a loss of intelligence replaced with mindless enjoyment .I have made the case before about brain training , or more accurately mind activities .Its a personal view but I think this live your life “only” through cyberspace will be a great failure of humankind , where control and choice will lead to human misery and unstable societies that have little emotional meaning .But there we are that’s me , am I underserving ?

    as for current situations , don’t know ,only thoughts I have is if how we engage is more important that when we engage .I am a little upset at moment as a friend is not well and some people could have certainly been a little better , so feeling a little aggrieved about who ever thought , if I was deserving or not when cant do my outreach work.
    night night

  • Watchman

    Proverbs 19:2 HCSB
    Even zeal is not good without knowledge, and the one who acts hastily sins.

    Solomon seems to have hit the nail on the head here. Social media is the bastion of zealots without knowledge acting in haste.

  • andrew

    Twitter is utterly dominated by an awful cabal of leftists, Muslims, atheists, feminists, anarchists and paid up members of the BBC left propaganda gravy train. It is getting to the point in which I fight myself daily from firmly affirming that leftists and their Muslim allies ought to be shut down for good. Forgive me my grace for such a hostile mental state. In my defence I’m stuck in Bradford – a city that seemingly feels like the leftist/Muslim centre of our dreadful, ugly, unholy multicultural ‘new nation’. One cannot live and experience Bradford without Bradford affecting them.

  • Cranmer’s response here is an ironic confirmation of the problem with a lot of Twitter discourse. He makes no effort to seek any sort of accurate, balanced or charitable understanding of the view being expressed, but instead interprets it in the most negative possible light. He moves immediately to polarise, with no effort to consider whether any alternative interpretation is possible.

    • “He
      makes no effort to seek any sort of accurate, balanced or charitable
      understanding of the view being expressed..”
      Nor do you provide one, which is so typical of people who leap to post the most negatively critical comments about this blog, often beneath the lofty veneer of Christian rebuke. Such people move immediately to judge and condemn, with no effort at all to consider the possibility of integrity, truth or righteous motive.

      • An absurd reply. I made no comment on your motive in posting, in which I have no interest, much less “judged” it. I commented on your *content*.

        • Which is itself, of course, an absurd reply, but you’re blind to your own judgmental hypocrisy. Why not just answer the question? Go on. Instead of patronising and hurling puerile barbs, why not enlighten all the thousands who are reading this? What “accurate, balanced or charitable understanding” may be placed on the assertion that social media “gives a voice to people who don’t deserve one”?

          • You do have very thin skin, don’t you? On the assumption that you are mortal, expressing disagreement with you is not “judgmental hypocrisy”…. it is simply disagreeing with you. I repeat – I have no interest in, and have said nothing about, your motives, much less proceeded from doing so to ‘judge’ them.

            My reading of the Tweet was that Mr. Streeter doesn’t like interacting with people who, in place of dialogue, simply trade insults. Perhaps someone might disagree that Mr. Mason portraying Mr. Streeter as someone who laughs at the prospect of despatching people to food banks is an insult. But that seems to me how Mr. Streeter understands it, and not unreasonably so. As such, I don’t think it’s reasonable to jump from there to portraying Mr. Streeter as an anti-democrat, a Pharisee – the basis for that move is much too thin.

          • There, that didn’t hurt, did it? Far more constructive that your crass character judgments. Bless you.

          • Once more, if you’ve read anything of mine as expressing a character judgment, then you’re badly misreading the words, and going far beyond what they actually say.

          • “He makes no effort to seek..”; “interprets it in the most negative possible light”; “He moves immediately to polarise”; “no effort to consider”. “You do have very thin skin”. No character judgments or ad hom slurs there; no, none at all. And to criticise now for “going far beyond what (your words) actually say”, when you yourself go beyond what Streeter’s words actually say in order to derive your “accurate, balanced or charitable understanding”, represents a further uncharitable judgment, but doubtless you won’t or can’t see that, either. Better to have thin skin than thick thought: it sustains a degree of sensitivity.

          • I believe that your reply makes my points far better than anything more I could add, and will leave it there, allowing you to have the final word as a counter-reply if you wish.

          • “He makes no effort to seek any sort of accurate, balanced or charitable understanding of the view being expressed but instead interprets it in the most negative possible light. He moves immediately to polarise, with no effort to consider whether any alternative interpretation is possible.

            i.e. he is lazy and sought to be divisive. That speaks to both character and motive.

          • One more time… I proffer no reasons concerning *why* the content of Cranmer’s article is (in my view) seriously lacking, because I think that question is both uninteresting and irrelevant.

            If it is your position that it is not possible for somebody to believe that Cranmer could write a poor article, without that somebody also believing that Cranmer is either morally or intellectually defective, then that has nothing to do with me.