An interesting comments policy

Secondly, the comment offered must be intended to develop the themes I am discussing. There are ample opportunities in a wide range of media for opposing the opinion I offer and you are welcome to use them. This blog is not one of those places. This blog is focussed on providing creative solutions to the tax and economic issues we face in the interests of all rather than a few. If your comment is not a constructive contribution to that process it may well be deleted.

ie, don’t tell me that I’m wrong.

38 thoughts on “An interesting comments policy”

  1. “Secondly, the comment offered must be intended to develop the themes I am discussing.”

    And if the theme is trolling… Should we behave like trolls?

  2. If you’re the leading voice for the tax equivalent of the Flat Earth Society, then you’re pretty much required to stick your fingers in your ears and scream “la la la I can’t hear you”. By the laws of Dawkins, it’s the only way the meme can survive. If Murphy and his believers actually listened to reason, they would quickly be struck by the foolishness of it all and would disband.

    Ritchie is thus compelled to ignore dissent, for if he didn’t, he would quickly be proved wrong and would fade into obscurity.

  3. He spends a lot of time explaining his comment policy, doesn’t he. I think he’s trying to justify to himself why it’s OK to delete comments that provide challenges he can’t meet. His current tactic (on those applicable comments that he allows through) is to be rude and/or to obfuscate, and I think he’s smart enough to see that only his most simpering sycophants can’t see through that.

    He needs those comments to not be there, but (to his credit, perhaps?) needs a reason to delete the offerings of people who are intelligent and courteous in their disagreement.

  4. May I make a simple point: nobody is suggesting he doesn’t have the “right” to edit his own blog, or to bar certain contributors and certainly he has the right to delete any raw offense. It is simply that in doing so he reveals himself as hyper-sensitive, weak and, bluntly, out of his depth in the debate. In short, he is a poor blogger.

    Let us be clear why he is writing this today:

    A couple of days ago he opened a thread on trolling…and got mashed.

    Apparently “trolls” have invaded his blog, ruining it for the decent thoughtful people who of course all agree with him all the time. No examples were given, just a claim that the “trolls” hurl empty nasty abuse. A couple of the “trolls” actually revealed themselves as experts in their field, e.g. Andrew Jackson. Richard responded with a string of invective – ‘absurd’, ‘neoliberal’, ‘fascist’. So poor was the quality of his responses that he was at one point reduced simply to screaming that I had a ‘stupid moniker’. All this remember on his post about trolls!

    He also, fabulously, allowed space to an individual called Andrew Dickie – the same Andrew Dickie who had just declared that as a school governor he worked on the basis of “the only choice parents needed” was the choice he decided they needed and no other. This Mr Dickie launched into an apologia for the Soviet Union (bit of a problem on the human rights front, but great schools & hospitals and the Russian people would so love to have it back). Ritchie doubled-down for him demanding that we take a nuanced, balanced view of the USSR’s achievments, pointing out that some people actually did quite well out of it (??!!!) whilst of course condemning its excesses. Those who responded to the effect that this was complete and utter codswollop were then of course condemned as “trolls”.

    There were in truth not many “trolls” revealing ourselves yesterday. Only a couple of us argued with him and, unless there was indeed naked abuse that wasn’t posted, nothing I read could remotely be considered trolling. All I saw was an idiot who cannot handle open debate.

    I will admit that I enjoyed getting right under his skin. I guess I’m going to need to find a new puppy to torture from now on; I have no intention of changing my moniker.

  5. Well, that’s an interesting new use of the world ‘develop’. As a quondam etymologist, I don’t think I’ve seen it used to mean ‘fawningly echo’ before.

    I love Ritchie. He actually does behave like a cartoon wannabe dictator of his own little fiefdom. He is the Roderick Spode of the Left.

  6. On the USSR front: one does wonder what proportion of the Soviet population did well out of it. Greater or less than 1%, do you think?

    Is Murphy perhaps saying that if say 1% of the population does well out a political and economic system, then the system must have some merits…? 😉

  7. I had a little too-and-fro with him recently, pointing out a few glaring mistakes in his work (with evidence) then the naked hypocrisy of making a significant amount of money from the anti-tax avoidance industry, then avoiding tax on it.

    Unsurprisingly he simply resorted to abuse, deleted my posts (and now I can’t post any more) and then sent me a few nasty emails.

  8. Also on the USSR front, it’s amazing how everybody recognizes that excuse-making for totalitarian collectivism is evil and beyond polite society when that collectivism is perceived as coming from the right; but, when it’s coming from the left, suddenly it’s almost expected to have excuse-makers.

    Michael Totten had an article on Ernesto Guevara the other day, and the Communist apologists immediately showed up.

  9. “He is the Roderick Spode of the Left.”

    Indeed he is.

    I wonder if we took up a collection and bought him a very large Berkshire sow he’d give it a rest and morph into Lord Emsworth.

    Lord knows he has the brains for the part.

  10. “He is the Roderick Spode of the Left.”

    Sam, I like that. I wonder if, among friends, he wears black footie bags?

  11. @ Ironman

    I’ll dig the emails out. here are a few choice comments though:

    “And as for the Oxford Centre for Business Taxation – they are deeply discredited in the eyes of many for one good reason – they are the ultimate paid hands for hire for big business. I have heard almost no academic who has regard for them and their deep arrogance. Of course they are opposed to my findings. And of course they are all about rational economics – which has led us to disaster. That’s precisely because I have credibility that the likes of Oxford have not – not last because I actually know how tax and the real world works.”

    “I delude no one, myself included”

    “I just offer well reasoned argument and people have accepted it from our PM down”

    He also suggested I would be “wise to be cautious what I say” till I told him that a) all the information I used is in the public domain b) the email conversation was just between the two of us, so no chance of libel and c) my girlfriend is an advocate, so I won’t be paying any legal fees should he choose to persue me.

    I quizzed then quizzed him on his financial arrangements (his company/LLP accounts are freely available on companycheck) and why he uses such a tax efficient structure, whilst railing against those others who do the same. So he then stopped replying to me. Shame.

    I might put together a little spreadsheet expose on how much tax he has (legally) avoided over the last few years. Think it would make interesting reading to a lot of his most ardent followers – and have him tying himself in knots. The non-payment of tax is an abuse of human rights don’t you know!

  12. Tyler

    “Of course they are opposed to my findings.” “That’s precisely because I have credibility that the likes of Oxford have not…”

    Mate, there’s the giveaway. You’ve been spoofed by Murphy Richards; not Richard Muprhy. No real person writes about themselves in those terms…they don’t do they?

  13. @ Ironman

    I thought so too at first – but the real Richard Murphy doesn’t have the wit of Murphy Richards….and he used his real email address.

    Personally my favourite line was
    “I delude no one, myself included”

    It’s basically the thought equivalent of an Escher painting.

  14. @tyler @ironman I got a couple of emails 2/3 years ago when he banned me. Unfortunately my email provider at the time is now bust, so I don’t have them, but the jist of them was that he was (on his blog) talking about how conspiratorial the right wing are, and I (commenting) protested that I was not in the pay of the Global Neocon Conspiracy ™.

    His emails were along the lines of how he didn’t know the nature of my involvement in The Movement, but I was clearly a benign force and he had my card marked. Come the revolution presumably…

    I’m a mid 40’s office worker. I don’t burst out loud laughing very often, but that did the trick for me. The man’s a adolescent conspiracy theorist nutjob.

  15. This is the best response I’ve seen yet from Ritchie to one of his “troll” opponents (coincidentally also called Richard):

    “Have you read the Courageous State?

    Give it a try and then come back again”

    Marvellous and, amazingly, not abusive!

  16. Ironman (various)

    That was hilarious – he is the worst debater I have ever seen (maybe Owen Jones?) – but I notice with some of his allies (Horrocks, Dickie) the sheer lack of historical awareness mean all they have left is ad hominem attacks – thus his comment on your moniker. The response to your post from Andrew Dickie basically read like something from the pages of 1970s Pravda. I would say its shocking but the one thing that is shocking is that these type of people will (potentially) have control of the UK (and if their campaigns against ‘secrecy jurisdictions’ succeed) a large proportion of states in the world dancing to their tune.

  17. I also enjoyed his comments:

    ‘and commenting on Worstall’s blog becomes noone’

    ‘And Worstall permits abuse

    I don’t and I’m proud of that fact’

    He gives it (in spades) but those who use it are apparently beyond the pale? Really, I’m growing ever more convinced that Murphy Richards might have to give up the ghost, as the satirist A.N Wilson did when the actions of Tony Blair simply became impossible to parody….

    The sockpuppets (Reed, Horrocks, Theremustbeanotherway, Dickie) are even more hysterically funny.

  18. Basically the same policy as the Graun’s Comment Is Not Free then, where trolling is just disagreeing with the article or raisng any contrary position.

    I think Murph has much more moral right to do this than the Graun, since it is just his personal blog and he’s entitled to want a discussion rather than a debate or an argument. The MSM is more problematic. The Telegraph is a bit odd, because you can say illuminati jew conspiracy Hitler had the right idea no problem, but if you say arse, they delete that.

  19. Another MR or RM moment. I had both blogs open at the same time and was genuinely confused which I was reading:

    “As is now apparent flooding is going to potentially cripple significant economic activity in the UK unless it is tackled.”

    Beautiful satire. Or is it?

  20. Van_Patten

    It was hilarious wasn’t it; I’ve laughed all over again tonight. And his cheerleaders make it even better. Theremustbeanotherway is a true moron, Howard Reed is the comedian’s ‘economist’ and Andrew Dickie is clearly completely tone deaf to the mad sound emerging from his head. My personal hero, however, is Ivan Horrocks. Never in the field of literacy have so many words been devoted to such emptiness. He really, really does believe he is an academic, oh the glory!!!

  21. Ironman

    Absolutely – I had ripostes prepared to Dickie’s absurd claim that ‘neoliberal’ states apparently had no education systems or healthcare but as you rightly point out – that kind of debate is not what they are interested in, so didn’t even trouble to engage with such a ridiculous claim. I especially like his revisionist outlook that the ‘West’ would have been in ‘real trouble’ had the Bolsheviks not subverted the ‘glory’ of the February revolution. As Gary says – an adolescent conspiracy theorist…

  22. I’m sure this will be blogged on soon enough by Tim, but Richie is now a legal expert as well – he’s using the UN universal declaration of Human rights to justify that non-payment of tax is an abuse of human rights meme.

    Problem is, once again, it’s nonsense.

    Tax law is wholly independent of fundamental human rights, and is also independent of property rights. Not paying tax when you buy a property for example, has no bearing on your right to own that property – the one does not automatically transmute to preventing the other (in this case, you would be prosecuted for the non-payment of tax, not the illegal ownership of property).

    The only time when your property rights become subject is through acts such as “the proceeds of crime” and again, this independent of tax law.

    Hat-tip: Advocate girlfriend and her senior counsel friends.

  23. I have clients operating in Dubai. I’m very worried about them: they pay no tax over there, so they must be at enormous risk of losing all their property… 😉

  24. You should be pleased; this and related policies of Richie was what drove me (then sympathetic, but feeling that he was being imprecise and/or over-simplifying) to Google “Richard Murphy critic” (or similar) and led me to find your blog. I can’t imagine I’m the only one…

    I don’t agree with everything that our host or commenters says here, but I appreciate the confidence in their beliefs that they tolerate – encourage, even – debate.

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