Yours anonymously

EVERYTHING I’m about to say is on the record. Like the rest of this blog, in fact. Maybe I could have avoided personal criticism of me and my views over the past six or seven months if I had written anonymously, as some choose to do.

But that would be cowardly. This is me and these are my views.

Which brings me on to this piece in The Scotsman, and the criticism of me and views I expressed in a previous post by “One source in the environment sector…” How brave of this unnamed individual to criticise a public figure – someone whose comments, just to reiterate, are attributable and on-the-record – from the safety of anonimity.

Setting aside the self-delusion of those individuals who are convinced that people will change their travel patterns out of purely altruistic motives (based on what evidence or precedent, I wonder?), why doesn’t he/she have the courage of his/her (sod it, I can’t be bothered writing that any more – from now on it’s “he”; if “he” isn’t a “he” then “he” should identify “himself”) convictions and be publicly identified with them?

When I worked on local newspapers, I used to make the argument that anyone who submitted a letter for publication should be told in advance that only those willing to have their names and addresses included would be published. “Name and address supplied” always looked craven to me, except, of course, where someone had good reason to believe they would suffer victimisation for expressing certain views.

I still think it’s craven.

I’m Tom Harris and I approved this post.



Filed under Blogging, Media

17 responses to “Yours anonymously

  1. Well, I’m Bob Piper… and I approve of it too. are you absolutely certain though, Tom, that there is such an individual as “one source…”?

    I know we would all like to think of our journalists as hard working purveyors of the truth… but how much easier to do a hatchet job and ascribe your views to “a source close to…” etc. Why, you don’t even have to leave your desk for that sort of investigative journalism.

  2. CJ

    Causing trouble again…named as ‘Boy George’s unlikely fan’ in today’s Evening Standard.

  3. I know that what you publish on here is “on the record” however what happens if you decide to delete your blog like Kezia Dugdale did. Is it then off the record?

  4. ANON

    It’s great to be anon.

    Try it, Tam, it’s a helluva buzz. Like that first sip of beer after a hard day’s work . . . well, that first sip of beer after a day’s work.

  5. richard

    I think someone’s got a bit too much time on his hands now and has been rewatching “The West Wing”.

  6. Zorro


    You are an MP, your name is known. If you were to make posts on other blogs anonymously that WOULD be cowardly.

    I use an alias. That’s because no-one apart from 20 or so people have ever heard of me. If I posted my real name it wouldn’t mean anything to you or anyone else reading this blog, or any other. The reason for that is wanting to express myself whilst maintaining some level of privacy. I don’t believe that’s ‘cowardice’, do you really think it is?

    Furthermore I post as Zorro/Z on every blog I comment on..

    “One source in the environment sector told The Scotsman that Mr Harris’s views were “seriously disappointing”.”

    ‘one source in the environment sector’ has about as much understanding of the way people work as our Dear Leader… Great to see you understand people a bit better! Don’t you think the man ‘in charge’ of the country should have a better understanding of the way people think/work???


  7. braddogley

    That’s not even a news story!

  8. Madasafish

    As about 90^ of the people who work in the environment sector are bigots who have no time for dissent: see their comments on you : if I were you I would not give a fig.

    (Figs of course are environmentally friendly)

  9. James

    I don’t know why you’re being singled out. Not many of the MPs are doing much in the way of controlling their emissions.
    Tom Watson has downsized to a Mini, for what little difference that’ll make I’m not sure.

    You’re just a normal guy going about his daily business trying to make the best of it, regardless of any criticism from any Tom, Dick or Harry.

    We’re all doomed anyway.

  10. Johnny Norfolk

    But Tom you are spot on. If people behaved like you and said just how they feel it would be a better world. But no, you are supposed to say what is PC even if you disagree. Tom I come to this blog because I see an honesty about you., misguided but honest. You should be true to yourself say it as you see it and move on.
    I said on a blog I do not like public transport as I do not like the look of many of those around me that I have to sit next to, I like to be in charge of my own timetable, stop if I want or not. you should have seen the rsponce, but that is how I feel. Tom do your own thing. be a leader not a follower.

  11. Mo Daniels

    Tom, folk who demand to be anonymous are cowards!

    And as a result of the article I’m going straight to Ebay China and buy a coal powered car; if there is no such thing I will invent it.

    That’s me got that off my chest, now to go and switch on my fan as when I have my central heating on full blast the living room gets awfully hot, more so in my kitchen when the bread maker and my two tumble dryers (one for darks and one for lights) are on.

  12. Rapunzel

    Your trouble is, you talk too much sense. What you need to do is go off on a real sexist/racist/ homophobic/anti-English, anti-Tory, anti-anything and everything rant. Get it all off your chest.
    If you need help on writing style, check out some of the BBC or a couple of the Scottish daily paper comments. You’ll soon learn how to do it. And maybe you’d feel better for it.
    You could practise on Iain’s site. Anonymously, of course.

  13. John

    It may vary from user to user but when I click on The Scotsman link there is a Flybe regional services advert in the middle of the article.

    Honest, didn’t make it up,you couldn’t make it up.

  14. Martin Cullip

    More common sense Tom, thanks again.

    Unfortunately, I’m going to have to have a bit of a dig though. 😉

    It is Labour that have encouraged these single interest nutters. It’s Labour who have believed and encouraged every shonky poll, every dodgy paid-for ‘scientific’ study about everything from global warming to smoking & drinking through to the danger of bacon. In many cases, Labour have even passed laws to restrict the electorate with little of no real incontrovertible reasoning.

    Stop listening to these people and they may stop bleating as if they own Westminster. That is surely what they believe if a democratically-elected person such as yourself is being berated for not toeing the line you are supposed to, according to a self-appointed ‘expert’ who won’t even give their name, if they exist at all.

    Certain kinds of VooDoo probably have more basis in fact than some of the shrill squawking ’causes’ that Labour have backed with legislation. It would take an entire series of QI just to debunk a fraction of the lies that have become fact under Labour.

    Stop this nonsense PLEASE! All we ask is that we can have our enjoyment in ‘living life without worry’ back. Why is that so very difficult for Labour to understand?

  15. Vanessa

    The Scotsman piece is just sloppy journalism.

    As you quite rightly say, unless the “source in the environment sector” fears for his life or thinks you are going to go round and give him a slap, he or she should be identified. (It’s probably Jenny Howarth’s boyfreind, who works on the recycling lorry and does a bit of hunt sabbing on the side).

    Sufficient to say, the comments come out on your side.

    I still think you are mad to travel by rail though; what does it amount to? – Five hours sitting on someone else’s stale farts and anal seepage , with periodic loud vocal assurances by your fellow travelers that they are “on the train”.

  16. Liz

    I don’t drive. However, I totally agreed with your original post – the alternatives are often totally dreadful and getting worse, and not always in rural areas – the bus service in Cambridgeshire is now based entirely on the assumption that a) nobody wants to go anywhere between leaving-work time and pub-chucking-out time and b) nobody wants to go anywhere on a Sunday. In central London, in contrast, you’d have to be mad to drive when the alternatives are both frequent and relatively cheap (I know people whinge about bus and tube fares, but in Cambridgeshire, it costs £3.40 for a twelve-minute round trip to the local Tesco, two miles away…). The alternatives have to be attractive for the people who *have* alternatives, in order to effect any change for those of us who don’t.

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