Why we need a political opposition, Part 327: To toughen up our thin-skinned politicians

Tony Grew in the Bel Tel quotes Lord Black of Brentwood…

“As a journalist, I can tell your Lordships that it is not so much what happens in the courts but the prospect of what might happen which has such a chilling effect on free speech and encourages the imposition of self-censorship.

And he added: “After talking to diverse journalists in the Province, it seems to me that many of the Province’s politicians are notoriously thin-skinned about criticism.

“Journalists and writers complain of their easy resort to the threat of defamation and keep [solicitor] Mr Paul Tweed, whom the noble Lord, Lord Lester mentioned, busy issuing threats of defamations.”

Most opposition that’s not coming from Jim Allister (whom Squinter dubs as Slugger’s Man of the Year), is coming from the media. The retreat from political opposition on the hill (Phil Flanagan of SF seems to be the only other MLA playing that role at the moment), means that there is no coherent political critique of this and other issues available other than that which journalism makes on its own behalf.

Besides one of the notable characteristics of the current set up is just how sensitive the folks on the hill are about anyone speaking out of turn. Hardly surprising since it so rarely happens in the chamber, that early (and often unreasonable/unsustainable) resort to the law has become commonplace.


Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.