I wonder where the trolls will be tomorrow?

Jolyon’s right: he and I disagree on many things for whilst he is a member of the Labour Party we are very clearly in different places on the left. But, and this is the key point, if this gives rise to serious, policy based discussion rather than crass analysis in support of the status quo or based on myth and not fact (all seen far too often in comments from supposed professionals who should know better on this blog, including today) then I’m very willing to take part, be shot down, take the bruises and then come back for more. That’s how issues are resolved and matters properly taken forward.

My own first contribution is, I think, out tomorrow and made me think during the course of its writing. That’s no bad thing. So, I’d like this policy Jolyon is promoting to work – but it does rely very heavily on his ability to edit appropriately and to keep commentary to the straight and narrow, which by necessity means keeping the trolls at a distance.


45 thoughts on “I wonder where the trolls will be tomorrow?”

  1. I generally shrug when language evolves, but “troll” is a sad loss to the English language. It used to mean someone who was disagreeing with you or insulting you just to wind you up, not because they actually disagreed with you. Surely that’s a useful word on the Net. It’s replacement with “anyone who disagrees with me” is just linguistic and intellectual shite.

  2. “I’m very willing to take part, be shot down, take the bruises ”

    There’s no link, but I assume Murphy is saying this? If so it is jaw-dropping.

  3. Mr Murphy could eliminate most of the trolling from his own comments section simply by not posting his own stupid and intemperate replies to sensible comments.

  4. Ritchie?

    “we are very clearly in different places on the left”

    On the left? Who does he think he’s fooling? He’s part of the far right. He’s not a marxist anti-semite, he’s a fascist one.

    “I think”

    Another false statement, coming from Ritchie.

  5. S2: Not just narcissistic shite (“only a troll would disagree”), it’s shutting down debate. Blatant ad hominem.

  6. @S2

    ‘I generally shrug when language evolves’

    The left have been ‘evolving’ the language for years.

    It’s his de haut en bas style that amuses me – just who the fuck does he think he is?

  7. I’m one of Ritchie’s “trolls”, yet I manage to have perfectly grown-up debates with Jolyon. I suspect Ritchie’s line that “they’ve all got it infamy” will look increasingly ragged.

  8. I wonder if Jolyon will allow any of Murphy’s comments in his typical irascible and insulting style to stand? And wouldn’t it be fun for a similar comments policy to Murphy’s own to be applied to his comments on another blog. Would be even funnier if Jolyon treated Murphy in the similar insulting fashion to the way Murphy treats commenters with whom he disagrees.

  9. I’ve had a look at Joylon’s blog, and he’s clearly several grades above RM in critical thinking ability. He appears to be more open to criticism and learning, perhaps because he is younger. If he takes over from RM as the left’s leading tax expert, it’s a vast improvement already.

  10. And today we have the quite glorious “As usual? I was right”

    Alan Partridge has never been on better form.

    (Actually, isn”t he from Norfolk as well?)

  11. Two comments under the Murphmonster’s posting
    miles dean says: what’s your definition of a troll?

    Richard Murphy says: You and your friends on twitter are for this purpose my definition of a troll. Offering bland, repetitive, ad hominem comment without an argument to sustain it, always in pursuit of an ideology and never based on the reality of what happens on the ground, and throughout it all offering distain [sic] towards anyone who does not subscribe to your belief system for that reason alone

  12. The following is awaiting moderation by Murphy…doh, I mean the moderator:

    “Hmm. So…you’re not driven by your own ideology?”

  13. Link or don’t quote. I think I know who Jolyon is, but I’m not sure. I assume it is Murphy speaking, but if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t know that he existed. So your policy of not linking doesn’t work.

  14. I would like to open a book on Murphy’s death date. His blood pressure must be through the roof, and he can’t be getting much sleep, plus although his missus is a doctor 1) they kill more people than they save and 2) she has to live with the fucker, so even if she’s competent… Well, handwriting is so easy to misread on a script. I think some time around 2016 he’s a goner.

  15. Luke, don’t worry, just fuck off and let someone else with access to google and fingers read it for you.

    Or start your own blog with your own rules, rather than cutting about the place issuing pompous decrees, you precious twat.

  16. Murphy’s “As usual I was right” post is hilarious as he claims that HMRC deny Google do not avoid tax (I’m sure HMRC have never referred specifically to Google’s tax planning), then claims that George Osborne will collect hundreds of billions of tax from ending Google’s tax avoidance. Of course, Osborne didn’t mention Google and claimed hundreds of millions would be collected.

    Still why worry about being wrong three times in one short post when you are always right.

    What a plonker.

    Meantime, will Osborne’s claim for hundreds of millions match up to HMRC’s claim that IR35 would bring in over £200m a year in tax and NI? Only time will tell.

  17. @ Dave
    You are clearly a troll
    Even thje Graniad does not claim that Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were on the right. Murphy, with his unshakable conviction of his divinely-inspired rightness and refusal to tolerate anyone who disagrees could be described as Norfolk’s reflection of Pol Pot.

  18. As someone others would say has some right leaning its hard to place Richard on the spectrum. He’s both far left and far right to me even on the same day.

  19. Reading his first entry at the new site and the comments below it, I can’t see Ritchie sticking at it for long. There’s no way he’ll be able to remain civil (he’s already ripped into Tim’s comment with his usual ad hominems), so he’ll either storm off in a huff or Jolyon will pull the plug.

    Either way, it will be fun to watch.

  20. I suspect from Mr Maugham’s latest post – on the subject of when to moderate/delete comments – that he has had his ear bent by a certain retired accountant from Wandsworth and WGCE who is finding the heat not to his taste.

  21. I hope that Jolyon Maughem continues with his experiment, not.least because it produced excellent contributions from Tim Worstall, Andrew Jackson and Christie Malry. All swatted Murphy away with an ease, disdain that is bordering on the embarrassing.
    The quality of debate was wonderfully high. No surprise then to see Ritchie revealed for the flat track bully he is. After his venomous response to Tim, Maughem made it clear contributions needed to be on topic. Faced with being unable to rig the rules to suit himself Ritchie ran away; there really is no the way to describe it. He has retreated to his own blog and his own adoring idiots.
    It turns out Richard that YOU are Hector the Cocker-Spaniel, running and hiding from the big dogs.

  22. Richard Murphy or Murphy Richards?

    “The only reason you are having this discussion is that no one wanted to engage with the reality of the points I had to make: they wanted to play any other issue they could find.

    Unless you keep those who want to do so out of the comments section serious people will not want to engage in debate on this site.”

  23. It’s hilarious.

    Not a single post supports Murphy, many of well phrased, based on experience and frankly reveal Murphy’s argument to be the long flabby turgid stream of nonsense any rational person would conclude and his response is little better than “WAHH, it’s not fair”.

    Seriously the guy is deluded if he sat back after writing that garbage and thought it would get any other response.

    Funniest blog I’ve read for ages. Here’s some more algebra;

    C = the first part of Murphy’s argument
    R = the next bit
    A = the next bit
    P = the last bit.

    Now, Murphy, follow Brave Sir Robin’s advice when attacked by the rabbit;

    “RUN AWAY”

  24. Tim having taken the trouble to write on my blog, it seemed to me the very least I could do to return the compliment. My post, I’m afraid, is going to be rather more insular than Tim’s.

    My Editing Waiting post wasn’t inspired by Richard bending my ear – you can read the comments to it (including mine) and form your own view – but by my own awareness that it’s a problem that bedevils Richard’s blog, one that I don’t want, and one that I hadn’t previously thought about how to deal with.

    It’s a subject I’ve written about more than I’d want but, again, what I like about Richard is that he goes out into the world and says substantive stuff about tax policy. You might think he gets it right as often as a stopped clock – I’d say it’s a little more frequent than that – but either way there’s value in putting ideas out there. Or so it seems to me. Having had some fairly spectacular tussles with Richard – if anyone cares to look on twitter I publicly accused him of lying about me (quite a big deal for a lawyer) – I just made a decision that, actually, it was worth appreciating his positives and overlooking his negatives.

    I have told Richard that I will subject any comments he cares to make to the same deletions (of irrelevant personal attacks) as everyone else’s. I rather regret that I hadn’t thought about the issue earlier, so that I could have nipped it in the bud earlier. But I think we’ve come out ok.

    Perhaps more importantly, I don’t want Waiting for Godot to be a place where only the left hangs out. That would destroy its value. I’d love to have stuff of quality from the right. But what I’m striving for is transparency. I think it’s possible to write in a way which sets out the stuff which is just fact – and which also makes political judgement calls about what those facts mean. What I’d like is for the writer to tell the reader when s/he is doing that. And that’s what I mean by transparency.

    Anyway, please read, offer, comment.

  25. I’m sorry but, for the Lukes and others of this world, I feel obliged to provide the link:


    Because I am absolutely shocked how utterly one sided this discussion turned out, in a fair (and moderated) exchange – quite simply Richard didn’t appear to have done the most basic of homework, despite being the one to have written the article.

    To use an analogy, Tim (and Andrew) simply flipped him into touch with nothing more than a slight hand-off (at least from where I stood).

    I’m actually very surprised. To quote David Giles on the thread: “There is nothing really that anyone can add to Tim Worstall’s comments on Utility”.

  26. @ Jolyon

    “I don’t want Waiting for Godot to be a place where only the left hangs out. That would destroy its value.”

    Could not agree more, if you are looking for a genuine exchange of ideas.

    That’s the fundamental problem with Richard’s blog. He has an agenda (and which of course is fine), but which comes before any genuine useful debate.

    He has confirmed that in the past when he agreed that all tax was politics.

  27. Jolyon

    As somebody who lives in a different place to you politically, I can assure you that your blog will not be a hang – out for the Left. I have enjoyed being introduced to your work on it and, if reassurance were needed, David Gauke’s interest should provide it.

    Today’s experiment needs to be seen for the success that it has been. I quite agree with your decision to hold those of us who wish to join your discussions to a high standard; it is necessary to create an environment in which quality contributors can feel able to offer their insights. And so, yes, I accept your editing (although I think my comments were mild compared with Murphy’s).

    So I hope you are not in any way swayed by the impertinent lecture you received this evening, as linked to by Christie.

  28. Jolyon

    Many of those on here (Pellinor, Christie, David Giles, Tim Worstall to name a few) attempted to point out the issues in plain, relatively unemotional responses on his blogs, pointing out the fact that there were errors and incorrect assumptions in much of Murohy’s work. His response was either an intemperate rant, recourse to the word ‘troll’, to delete the comment, or to emphasize that the comment was ‘in breach of the comments policy’, which has been subject to four revisions this calendar year.

    The point made by Christie is unfortunately unanswerable ‘no one wanted to engage with the reality of the points that I had to make’ the argument, which he seems unable to grasp is that whilst these may have corresponded to his reality, actual reality reflected a far more nuanced picture, and one he was unwilling to accept.
    I applaud your effort to engage him and others of a different political bent in a common forum but I feel it is likely to prove a fruitless exercise because he has no interest in engaging. In his world, he is all-seeing, all- knowing and as such any criticism,by definition, has to be the work of a ‘Neo- Liberal’, ‘Troll’ or suchlike. There is no real point in engaging him in debate because for him there is no debate to be had.

  29. Thanks for responses.

    Not sure I want to respond further. I’d rather talk about the stuff that matters, and I’m not sure how much, ultimately, this does.

    But v pleased to hear it shan’t become a ghetto.

  30. Jolyon,

    A good decision to take Richard Murphy as a first contributor, should get you some traffic.

    Move forward with some new (perhaps anon) writers from all sides of the political spectrum, all sides of the tax industry and let the debate flow. Richard Murphy doesn’t debate which is why he attracts ad-hom comments – trying to point out he’s wrong or just a hypocrite is all that’s left.

  31. I enjoyed the reading the comments (once I’d figured out the site Tim was referring to!) and learned a lot too.

    However, I found them very difficult to read after two or three levels of indentation, as each comment became just a narrow column of words, one per line. Something needs to be tweaked in the CSS I think.

  32. Thanks.

    I have certainly issued a number of invitations – some close to home – to all parts of the spectrum (and, indeed, others whose position on it is not known to me).

    The nested comments thing is difficult. Perhaps I should reduce the number of levels of nesting to three…

  33. Nesting comments is a problem. I like being able to see how comments relate to one another, and so I once tried having unlimited levels of nesting; unfortunately, the blog then suffered from the same problem as you’re encountering: the longer a debate goes on, the harder it is to read.

    That changed my mind for me, and now I think three levels is enough. In practice, discussions tend to branch earlier rather than later, with long discussions generally, being between two participants. As a result the number of occasions in which the thread becomes disjointed as a result of only three levels of nesting is very much outweighed by the number of occasions in which you have a to-and-fro discussion which would become unreadable without a nesting limit.

    If the software used the whole width of the screen (or more – one can always scroll across) if it needed to, then more levels would work. But it doesn’t so they don’t 🙂

  34. @ Christie & Andrew

    Are we completely sure that Murphy (t’other one) didn’t sneak in and write that?

    It just makes absolutely zero sense (unless I misread it)? Or perhaps the editing changed the meaning?

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