An open letter to bloggers

To whom it may concern –

I’ve read a lot of blogs critical of this present government which seem to be obsessed with the personal appearance of Labour politicians and revel in the comments made about it.
Quite why it’s a phenomenon that’s peculiar to a certain blog demographic, I don’t know, but it’s extremely annoying, mindnumbingly petty and adds nothing to anything that seeks to call itself mature debate.

Politics isn’t about personal appearance.

If it was, then people like Edward Heath, Alec Douglas Home, Harold McMillan and Winston Churchill would never have got as far in politics as they did.
What would you rather have? MPs and government ministers handsome and beautiful enough to be pin ups who haven’t got a clue how to do their job? Or a line up that looks like the offspring of some unholy three-way between the Elephant Man, Quasimodo and Medusa but secures prosperity, peace and liberty for its people?

Of course, in the real world you’re going to get something in between, but what’s the main thing any of us want from our politicians?
Good looks and a perfect physique or sound judgement and effective policies?

I know this entry goes over some of the same ground as an earlier one I wrote, but it’s beginning to really concern me that having exposed people as clearly dishonest and/or disastrously ineffective it’s then necessary to have a bitch fest about how ugly they are.

Of course, the victims of this are clearly at a disadvantage being in the public eye and pretty heavily photographed. The bloggers and people who comment on blogs are rather more anonymous and whilst we might have a very good idea of what someone like Damian McBride looks like, most bloggers’ physical appearance is a total mystery. Consequently, the people who comment on McBride’s lack of good looks may look far more hideous than they judge him to be.

Let’s take the most famous UK blogger of all – Guido.

We know what Guido looks like because he’s famous and has a high profile.
Now, I’m not dissing the guy at all; he’s done a great job and many people, myself included, are very grateful for the way he’s exposed Labour for the sham that they are, and whilst, he’s not going to win any ‘Most Handsome Guy of the Year’ award, he’s not ugly.

But, what if he looked like the result of some nightmare cocaine-fuelled one night stand between Anne Widdecombe and Neil Kinnock? Would that make what he’s done any less effective?
Would his blog attract fewer views?
Of course not, because it’s what he does and writes that’s important.
Not what he looks like.

Guido never gets personal – he says something and backs it up with solid evidence. He showed Damian McBride up for what he is – a devious, machinating bully – but he didn’t then add ‘Oh, and he’s fat and ugly, too.’ He might think that, but he doesn’t write it because he knows it’s not relevant and, indeed, it might weaken the thrust of any point he’s trying to make.
So, maybe we should take a leaf out of Guido’s book and criticise people based on what they do, rather than what they look like.

It seems to work OK for him.

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