Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, May 27, 2003
I KNEW IT WOULD COME TO NO GOOD, when The Weekend Australian gave Margaret Simons a right to reply to Christopher Pearson in last Saturday's Enquirer supplement (no link). Whether that action was prompted by the cowardice recommended by lawyers or the same editorial standards that give us Gastropodial gushings in their Weekend Magazine, who is to know. The result is not informative.

I fear that if that precedent is followed we shall all be beset by buzzing clouds of Margarets of impregnable moral vanity.

Margaret Simons now demands right of reply on ABCWatch. This is her case:

I have never attacked Pearson, Brunton et al by calling them names, nor have I or would I suggest they are "a racially motivated conspiracy". Those are your words, and most certainly not mine. Nor does "white men who steered events behind the scenes" (which is a matter of fact - the evidence is in my book) mean the same as "conspiracy of racists" which again are your words, not mine. I have never, nor would I, use the words "racist" or "conspiracy" to describe these people. I don't believe those terms to be true, and "racist" is, in most cases where it is used, exactly the kind of "name calling" I deplore.

You are entitled to your views, Margaret, but to me, "white men who steered events behind the scenes" does indeed mean the same as "conspiracy of racists". If the race of the conspirators irrelevant, why mention it? If 'steering events behind the scenes' does not mean 'conspiracy' what does it mean? If they didn't 'steer' events, you should not say so. If they did, you've got a good story, and it's a conspiracy story.

The history of religion establishes that piety and hypocrisy go hand in hand. Those of non-theistic faiths provide many examples.

I wonder if your publisher will provide the people you condemn with a right of reply?

Get your own blog, Margaret, that's Uncle's advice.