Saturday, 6 October 2007

Worst Blogging Experience

Those of us who hide behind pseudonyms do so for all sorts of reasons – some good, some bad. But it's a conscious choice, for whatever reason. Protection of pseudonymity is the main reason for my having declined Normal Mouth's kind invitation to be profiled, some time ago – there are questions that I would simply not wish to answer.

But there is one of his standard questions which I do now wish to answer – the one about my worst blogging experience to date. It is this: writing a post, to which someone else responded by writing a post of his own, to which someone else responded by commenting – and then both of them lost their jobs.

I am referring, of course, to Keir Hardly (aka Marcus Warner), and Dave Collins, both researchers working for Labour AM’s. I didn’t agree with Dave Collins’ comments at all; and I disagreed with a lot of what Marcus had to say on the language, but neither of them deserved to lose their jobs for expressing their opinions. I cannot, of course, accept any responsibility for what they said; but I do feel a degree of responsibility for having made the posting which led to them saying it.

Their opinions are not unique, and statements made publicly by some elected members have also expressed a less than enthusiastic attitude towards the language without them being in any danger of losing their jobs. And those opinions are more common than some supporters of the language might wish to admit. Dealing with them by means of witch hunts instead of by reasoned argument merely hides opinions; it doesn’t change them.

So, welcome back to Marcus, with whom I am sure I shall continue to disagree on occasion, and best wishes to both of you in looking for new employment. Your sackings say more about your employers than they do about you.


hafod said...

It's appalling that anyone should lose their job for their opinions (not matter how crass) and I think both would be on good grounds for wrongful dismissal.
But I don't think anyone actually called for their dismissal either - the sacking of Collins was a bolt from the blue as was that of Marcus. It's even more surprising as it seems to have been a case of shooting the messenger (and way too late to stop the message getting out!)
Irene James and Ann Jones have shown themselves up to be appalling employers.

Lenin Cymru said...

Ceredig, once again I agree with you wholeheartedly. Irene James and Ann Jones, not David Collins nor Marcus Warner, should have been sacked. Let's hear it for freedom of expression!

Hafod, you're wrong, so-called Leader of the Opportunists Nick Bourne, called for Collins' sacking. A totally irresponsible call.

Che Grav-ara said...

I found what Dave Collins said about the Welsh language deplorable, and I have never been able to agree with much of what Marcus said. However I think it is a sad reflection on the Labour party and society if people are sacked for voicing their opinions. Dave Collins position was slightly worse, but from what Marcus has outlined in his new blog he has been sacked simply for having a blog. That can't do anything to help encourage activity in politics. How are people supposed to engage in politics when those who attempt to ignite debate are sacked for doing so?

Anonymous said...

good post Ceredig, but you seem naive, Labour need to stay in power due to the chronic mismanagement of public money and cronyism that would be exposed if another party ever managed to take over in Cardiff, I have little sympathy for Marcus he knew what he was doing and was happy to lambaste Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives in his blogs when he thought no one knew who he was, as for employers Irene James and Anne Jones are the majority view in Welsh Labour - what does it say about us the electorate that we continue to put up with this?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Marcus Warner isn’t alone in being sacked as a blogger in the Assembly. If he reads this I am sorry to hear about his predicament and I hope that he lands on his feet soon.

I’m afraid that he is not alone in this, as it has already happened to another in Wales, which hasn't reached the news yet.

He was wise not to reveal anything and contact a solicitor. I hope that he also contacts a trade union rep as soon as possible and completes a claim for an employment tribunal.

‘An old friend’

Ceredig said...


Naïve? Moi? Possibly; I suppose I've always had this idealistic tinge to my beliefs. As far as Marcus is concerned, he has said he wants to move on; I intend to respect that view and make no further comment on his circumstances.

As for the Labour AM's concerned; well that's another matter - as elected politicians, they're always fair game. Why do we put up with them? Well, "it's democracy, Jim, but not as we know it". Actually, it's exactly as we know it. Parties select candidates, put them before the electorate, and then all of us go out and put little crosses by their names, and the most popular get elected. You're right, of course. It says as much about us as it does about them.

hafod said...

Didn't know Bourne had called for his sacking (shame his researchers weren't more forthcoming...)
What I was referring to, though, was the Welsh-language lobby not pushing for any sackings.

"I’m afraid that he is not alone in this, as it has already happened to another in Wales, which hasn't reached the news yet."

Anon - c'mon you've GOT to tell us who else got the sack!

Glyn Davies said...

I don't know if its sympathy with fellow bloggers - but I too thought it wrong to sack people for expressing an opinion, no matter how much I might disagree with it. David and Marcus seemed decent enouigh men to me. I cannot be totally 'outraged' though, because I do not know whether warnings etc. had been issued beforehand. It would have been reasonable to issue a 'carpeting' for making such stupid remarks if it was a 'first offence' - but to deprive a researcher of his livelihood, especially where an apology and retraction had been issued is way over the top.