Rupert Read and the false allegations

A bit of background for any Voice readers who either have seen some of the slightly elliptical comments posted in earlier threads by a couple of people about the past actions of Rupert Read, the Green party candiate for the Nowich North by-election.

Last year, Rupert Read accused a Liberal Democrat councillor, Judith Lubbock, of perjuring herself more than once. Given that perjury is a serious offence which can result in someone being jailed (see Jeffrey Archer), this is a pretty serious allegation. It was also wholly untrue.

Rupert Read subsequently had to apologise and withdraw the allegations he had made.

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This entry was posted in Parliamentary by-elections.


  • This makes Rupert Read an “extremist”, how?

    A man apologising very quickly to a false allegation is now an “extremist?”

  • Terry Gilbert 28th Jun '09 - 12:55pm

    ‘the extremist comments were, to my reading…’

    Where have you been reading them, Mark?

  • Herbert Brown 28th Jun '09 - 1:16pm

    If the party issues a press release claiming someone is an “extremist”, doesn’t it have a responsibility to provide some evidence for the claim?

    I suppose the reason the press release isn’t on April Pond’s site is that she didn’t (apparently) see it beforehand, and that she’s subsequently disowned the word “extremist”. But surely if it’s a press release there should be a publicly available copy of it somewhere?

  • Herbert Brown 28th Jun '09 - 1:28pm

    Well, Stephen Tall described the press release as “reporting his statements and views”, so presumably it has. Then again, apparently Stephen hasn’t seen a copy of it either, so I’m not clear what his description was based on.

  • Terry Gilbert 28th Jun '09 - 1:36pm

    Stephen publicly asked for a copy on this site!

  • Herbert Brown 28th Jun '09 - 1:38pm

    “Stephen publicly asked for a copy on this site!”

    Yes – that’s when I realised he hadn’t seen it!

  • Grammar Police 28th Jun '09 - 3:54pm

    Good effort here trying to compare being called an “exremist” because of your political views (which I consider quite extreme) and saying someone committed perjury. One is defamation, the other is not . . .

  • The Green Party is attractive to people who might otherwise vote for us because it has not yet had to compromise its idealism by having to cope with the realities of power as Liberal Democrats have had to do at local level up and down the country. Rupert Read is a case in point, having been a LibDem until 1999 and leaving us because of our campaigning tactics. It is difficult to know how to deal with a party whose policies are largely the same as ours but has the advantage of appearing untainted by the political process. As I have pointed out, individual members of the Green Party run the ideological gamut from anarchist to fascist so pointing out the expressed views of individuals potentially has some mileage in campaigning against them, but unless Rupert Read has been on an ideological journey since 1999 that may not work in this case. Pointing out the social and economic consequences of their tax proposals, which would be disastrous, would be disadvantageous to us because many of our proposals are similar but better thought out – the sort of nuancing that does not really galvanise the electorate.

  • Herbert Brown 28th Jun '09 - 4:42pm

    “Good effort here trying to compare being called an “exremist” because of your political views (which I consider quite extreme) and saying someone committed perjury. One is defamation, the other is not . . .”

    I suspect the reason for the original comment was that despite a long discussion on another thread about Rupert Read’s “extreme” views, no one went so far as to give an example of them. The closest we got was along the lines of “he supports a party whose policies are …”.

    So is there really any evidence that Rupert Read is an “extremist”, or are people just saying they think the whole Green party is “extreme”?

  • Tony,
    What happened when the Green Party got into government in Eire? Opposition to incinerators and road-building disappeared overnight.

    The Department of the Environment, headed by a Green Party minister announced that the M3 road project, routed through the historic area of the Hill of Tara, would go ahead after all.

    During the election the Green Party was ardently demanding the complete abolition of the incinerator project; however, once in office the Greens took a somewhat different approach to the issue of incineration.

  • Terry Gilbert 28th Jun '09 - 5:40pm

    In Germany in the 1990s I seem to recall the Greens were in the government which used armed forces to remove anti-nuclear protesters from railway lines…

  • I would imagine that the party may have drawn attention to Rupert’s comparison of eating meet being like the Holocaust amongst other things.

  • Herbert Brown 28th Jun '09 - 6:15pm

    “I would imagine that the party may have drawn attention to Rupert’s comparison of eating meet being like the Holocaust amongst other things.”

    Thanks, but can you either quote what he actually said or give me a link to a quotation?

  • Grammar Police 28th Jun '09 - 8:10pm

    Whether he’s an exremist or not is rather irrelevant. Calling him one is not comparable with claiming someone has committed perjury. One is fair comment/merely insulting, the other is defamatory.

  • Herbert Brown 28th Jun '09 - 8:15pm

    “Whether he’s an exremist or not is rather irrelevant. Calling him one is not comparable with claiming someone has committed perjury.”

    As far as I can see, no one has said that it is.

    What people are trying to work out is why the Lib Dem press release described him as an extremist.

  • I live a more or less vegan lifestyle as well so I don’t think he’s a crank, but I’m not sure that it’s got much to do with party politics, it’s more of an individual political decision. One element of the Green Party’s approach is pretty Fabian, so it really depends on whether he is telling people who he is or whether he is being preachy as to what one should think of this.

  • Grammar Police 28th Jun '09 - 9:41pm

    @ Herbert Brown, this post is about him withdrawing allegations that he made, not about whether a press release called him an “extremist”.

    Therefore, to raise this issue again and again, I can only assume you’re trying to compare the two issues.

  • Herbert Brown 28th Jun '09 - 10:04pm

    I’m not comparing anything – I’m just trying to find out why the press release called him an extremist. I’m far from the only one who has been asking that question.

  • I think the case is moot whether he is an extremist, but what is abundantly clear is that he is a complete nut job…

  • So freeganism is now nutty? Do you not have vegans/freegans in the Lib Dems, or if they are, are they not nuts?

  • Grammar Police 28th Jun '09 - 11:18pm

    But why are you asking it here, Herbert?

  • Grammar Police 28th Jun '09 - 11:20pm

    I suspect that you are actually trying to prove a point with your question, but this rather falls flat as why would anyone on this site, an independent site run by Liberal Democrat members, know anything about the press release?

    Email his local party or him directly if you want to know the answer to your question. Otherwise, you’re just trying to play politics and cover for Read’s rather humiliating climb-down. Doesn’t suggest to me he’s fit to be an MP.

  • Herbert Brown 28th Jun '09 - 11:32pm

    Grammar Police

    Why on earth should I have to email a candidate from another party in order to find out what a Lib Dem press release said?

    This really is becoming surreal!

  • The extremism comments relate to his views on animal rights & his backing of the campaign to close down Huntingdon Life Sciences & refusal to condemn the ALF tactics of violence & intimidation against all those directly working for Huntingdon Life Sciences, their families & anyone doing business with ‘anial abusers’.

    He also wants to close all zoos and ban all animal research & testing.

    These are fruitcake extremist views,

  • ‘animal abusers’

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 12:32am


    Very interesting. But only yesterday you appeared to know nothing about the views of Rupert Read in particular, only about Green Party policies in general.

    Because your post on the other thread started “Rupert Read will be standing for a party whose policies include …” (And that included an allegation that Caroline Lucas had said “flying is as bad as stabbing someone”, when of course she had said no such thing.)

    So forgive me if I draw the conclusion that you’re just making this stuff up as you go along.

    Unless you can either direct me towards the text of the Lib Dem press release, or quote something “extreme” that Rupert Read has said, or else link to something “extreme” that he has posted on the Internet. He has a blog, so if he’s really such a “fruitcake”/”nut job”/”crank”, it shouldn’t be hard to provide some evidence to back up all the name-calling.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 1:41am

    Efrafan Days

    All I can do is repeat what I said above.

    If you have evidence that Rupert Read “supports ALF”, then post it, by all means.

    In my old age I am becoming more and more sceptical about things that politicians say about their opponents which they are unwilling (or unable) to back up. So the more unsubstantiated smears anbout Dr Read that I see, the less impressed I am.

  • Herbert Brown – If someone stands for parliament on a party’s official ticket, isn’t it fair to assume that they are in agreement with the adopted policies of that party?

    And does the Green Party not hold views and policies – banning zoos, banning stem-cell research, banning animal research, zero economic growth, homoeopathy on the NHS, taxing mass produced products to subsidised “craft” products, not to mention the Greens’ MEPs’ recent “success” getting the EU to ban seal products in spite of an official report saying it was not necessary and the hunt WAS sustainable…to name a few – which are extreme?

    If you accept these two points, it seems pretty reasonable to call Rupert Read an extremist.

  • So general opinion suggests that the Greens are an extremist party, with extremist candidates, and you all back the mystery press release no one can seem to discover?

    I suppose anyone who has ever supported Nelson Mandela is also an extremist because of the bloke’s support for violent means to achieve just change?

    (For the record, I am a pacifist and I can not celebrate violence in any way).

  • Grammar Police 29th Jun '09 - 8:25am

    Herbert Brown, why on earth should you contact an independent website about what a Lib Dem press release said?

    This really is becoming surreal.

    As I said, email the local party that published it, or the candidate on who’s behalf it was published.

  • Grammar Police 29th Jun '09 - 8:28am

    Ah, HB, “from another party”. ‘Nuff said.

  • Grammar Police 29th Jun '09 - 8:39am


    That only works if you think the struggle against aparthied is comparable with the implementation of Green Party policy.

    As for the press release, I’ve not seen it, and I think very few people would back something they haven’t seen. Most Green Party activists I’ve met seem to be old style hard left, and in my eyes, that makes them quite extreme.

    As for the Party itself it does seem to have some particularly odd views on some issues that some might describe as extreme, it’s also got some policies I agree with. Given the Green activists I’ve met, I doubt they would be willing/able to implement any of the sensible ideas if they were in a position to do so.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 8:58am

    Grammar Police

    “As I said, email the local party that published it, or the candidate on who’s behalf it was published.”


    What you actually said was “Email his local party or him directly”, which is why I assumed you meant I should email Rupert Read – because of course the press release was published on behalf of a “she”, not a “he”.

    But maybe you just hadn’t read any of the previous discussion?

  • Grammar Police 29th Jun '09 - 9:14am

    A mistake in a post at 11.20pm on a Sunday evening – I meant the local Lib Dem party and wasn’t really thinking about their candidate, who is of course, April Pond.

    Regardless of that slip-up, and I can see why it partially confused you, the point still stands, this is an independent website, and so if you want to know what the press release said, go to the people who published it.

    There’s no point getting narky about it.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 9:23am


    I naively assumed that if it was a press release it would have some degree of public availability, and some of the many Lib Dem readers of the site – including many who have commented on it here – might have seen a copy.

    As has already been pointed out, Stephen Tall also asked on this site whether anyone could send him a copy of the press release.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 10:09am

    “I didn’t say he did. All I said was that ALF were/are misathropic scum.”

    To be precise, you said “anyone who supports ALF is an extremist”, in response to an allegation that Rupert Read had refused to condemn ALF, in the course of a discussion about whether Rupert Read was an extremist.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 10:23am

    Oh, please!

    In the context of a discussion about whether Read was an extremist, in direct response to an allegation that Read refused to condemn the ALF, you write “anyone who supports ALF is an extremist” – and now you’re apparently surprised by the idea that you might have been referring to Read?

    Talk about “protesting too much …”

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 10:44am

    On the contrary, I understand these tactics very well. To my regret, I carried on delivering leaflets containing half-truths carefully crafted to deceive for far too long. The trick is to convey a false impression without explicitly lying.

    Just to pick you up on one thing though – which just happens to be the subject of this thread – you speak of accusing people, “sans evidence, of perjury”. Does that mean you have more knowledge of the perjury accusation than we’ve been provided with above?

    Of course, I realise the answer may be something along the lines of “Can’t you read? I never said Read had done that, I only suggested you might be Read and you sounded like the kind of person who would”. And so on. And so forth.

  • Caroline Lucas MEP did claim that flying abroad on holiday was the equivalent of stabbing someone in the street. Asked on screen if flying is as bad as knifing someone, the Euro MP said: ‘Yes. People are dying from climate change. It’s incredibly irresponsible.’

  • His article on Liberal Conspiracy about the Euro elections didn’t exactly show the signs of someone at ease with their sanity…

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 11:09am


    No, of course she was not asked if flying was “as bad as” knifing someone. We’ve been through all this on another thread. Moreover, the discussion is available online, so you can check for yourself rather than repeating inaccurate statements that originated from UKIP.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 11:18am

    Efrafan Days

    “As for the subject in hand, I have no background knowledge of the spat between Read and Lubbock. In Read’s defence, believe it or not, unless they were of a serious nature and had a reasonable chance of adversely affecting her professional or social life, my gut reaction is that she should have simply issued a retraction. Note, I don’t even know if Read’s blog missive was removed as per her specific request, or if he did so off his own back.”

    Perhaps it would be as well to get back to that.

    (I assume you mean “rebuttal”, not “retraction”?)

    Obviously Read was wrong to make an accusation of perjury if it wasn’t true. And it’s not the kind of thing it’s easy to make an honest mistake about. But without knowing more details it’s impossible to know whether there was blame on the other side as well.

  • This is so clearly a discussion going nowhere that I suggest those involved find something more constructive to do – which might involve seeking to defend April Pond from the many possible adverse comments that might be made against her in the course of the campaign

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 12:53pm

    Whether you agree with what he said in that article or not, you must be aware that the views he expressed are absolutely commonplace among the Lib Dems’ opponents – and many others without a party affiliation, including ex-members.

  • Herbert (or is it Rupert?)

    While the views may be widely held by our opponents the fleck spittled ranting and juvenile name calling is not worthy of a serious politician and suggests some more fundamental problems within the good doctor’s psyche.

  • David Allen 29th Jun '09 - 1:04pm

    “This is so clearly a discussion going nowhere…”

    I don’t agree. It is a beautiful demonstration of petty-spirited mindlessness on the part of most of Herbert Brown’s opponents, and it will make any sane reader question what on earth is the point of voting Lib Dem these days!

    I would exempt Tony Hill from these comments. Clearly Tony would like to challenge the Greens by means of rational debate, by demonstrating that Lib Dems have a more effective plan for tacking climate change and a more cohesive political philosophy, etc. That would be fine. We used to believe in the moral high ground. We don’t seem to do that any more.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 1:07pm


    I’m genuinely baffled. Can you quote some of the “fleck spittled [sic] ranting” for us?

    And do you really think that everyone who finds this kind of mud-slinging distasteful must be Rupert Read under a pseudonym? That sounds disturbingly like a paranoid delusion to me. People in glass houses, and all that ….

  • Herbert Brown, please do not judge everyone by your own standards. I don’t swallow propaganda, I watch programmes myself and then re-watch to ensure every word that I have written is accurate.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 2:16pm


    What can I say?

    The interview is available online (the exchange starts at 13.45):

    Anyone who can be bothered to click on the link will be able to hear that Caroline Lucas was _not_ asked whether flying was “as bad as” knifing someone, as you claimed.

    But what is so incredibly crass about this particular lie is that regardless of the wording of the exchange, it is absolutely clear what Lucas was arguing.

    In response to a UKIP MEP saying that it was wrong to restrict people’s freedom to fly, she made the obvious point that when people’s freedom harms others it is necessary to restrict it – and that even the UKIP man would agree people shouldn’t be allowed to knife people in the street. He then asked whether flying was “the same as” knifing people in the street, and she said it was, in the sense that people were being killed as a result of climate change.

    People like you know perfectly well that Lucas wasn’t saying that flying was as bad as knifing people. You know she was making a perfectly standard philosophical point about when you can justify limiting people’s freedom.

    People keep saying how valid it is to attack the Green Party’s policies. On many issues – such as alternative medicine and animal experimentation, people like me would be backing up those attacks to the hilt. So why on earth don’t you drop the cheap smears and personal attacks, and get on to those policy issues?

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 2:59pm

    “If their ego can’t take rejection they are welcome to do just as Rupert Read did and expound their bitterness from the confines of another party.”

    Is there any point at all asking you to provide evidence that Read left the Lib Dems because he wasn’t selected as a candidate?

  • Rupert Read: an animal rights extremist anti-science luddite who’s likely to be found rummaging through the bins at the back of Tesco.

    Not likely MP material really, is he HB?

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 5:36pm


    “Rupert Read: an animal rights extremist anti-science luddite who’s likely to be found rummaging through the bins at the back of Tesco.

    Not likely MP material really, is he HB?”

    Actually, it might not be a bad thing if a few more MPs took to rummaging through the bins at Tesco. At least it would cut down on claims for food. Maybe Ming Campbell should consider becoming a “freegan” …

    But seriously, last night you claimed that Rupert Read had “[refused] to condemn the ALF tactics of violence & intimidation”. That’s a pretty serious charge. And being cynical, if it could really be substantiated it might be quite helpful to the Lib Dems in Norwich.

    But can it? Have you got any evidence to support what you said, or is it just a baseless smear?

  • I just watched the clip Herbert Brown linked to, and it’s not exactly a great defence of Caroline Lucas. She’s the one who brings up the comparison with being knifed in the street. She then also says yes when asked if it is the same thing as flying! Her opponent is a complete fool, but that doesn’t stop her being one also.

    I suggest you rewatch the exchange yourself.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 5:55pm


    I think you must have jumped straight to the clip, and skipped the rest of my post where I summarised what had been said.

    Anyhow, thank you for confirming that she did not indicate flying was “as bad as” knifing someone.

    But I think you have misunderstood slightly. Lucas didn’t bring up knifing as a _comparison_ with flying, but as an extreme example of an action that forces us to curtail liberty – one sufficiently extreme that not even the bone-headed Mr Campbell Bannerman would be able to dispute.

    I heard his subsequent remark as “the same as”, not “the same thing as”, though admittedly everyone was talking at once. Indeed, it’s not even clear that Lucas heard him properly, as her first response was “What?” But clearly her point was that it was “the same” in the sense that actions causing climate change have to be curtailed, just as knifing people in the street has to be.

    It is quite ridiculous to represent her as saying that “flying is as bad as knifing people”.

  • Having just listened to that clip for a 6th, 7th, and 8th time to make sure I was getting it correct, she is comparing the two very directly. Saying she isn’t is absurd, and I wonder what discussion you are listening to. In the context of what she’s saying, she does say flying is as bad as knifing someone in the street. She sets a moral boundary, and places both of them in the same place.

    You re the one holding the ridiculous position.

  • Squirrel Nutkin 29th Jun '09 - 6:06pm

    1. The above is the kind of exchange that gives political blogs a bad name

    2. Not many people covering themselves in glory

    3. Herbert by “name”, Herbert by nature

  • In 1967 when I joined the Liberal Party it contained people who could have just stepped out of Asquith’s Cabinet alongside libertarian Maoists. It was not a party that was capable of taking on power, and the few councils we had gained in the early 60s had, by and large, been run badly by the party’s councillors. But although we may not have been taken seriously by the media or the political class, within the party a hundred flowers bloomed and a hundred schools of thought contended. Up until the advent of the SDP I used to write all my own election material without any reference to anyone else, and was quite proud that my radical views meant that I never got elected.

    I suspect that the Green Party today is rather similar to the Liberal Party of the past: rather shambolic, replete with eccentrics, and riven with arguments between those who want power in order to implement their policies and those for whom political purity is paramount. In contrast, the Liberal Democrats are now serious about power and in many parts of the country have exercised it responsibly and imaginatively: the thought of a Liberal Democrat government has not made me tremble for years. But elections now bring out the worst in us: our campaigning techniques have to far too great an extent become a matter of style over substance; winning elections is more important than winning arguments, alienating those activists who came into the party for idealistic reasons. We should be listening seriously to what people like Herbert Brown are saying about us, not attacking them as enemies.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 7:37pm


    Whatever your opinion may be – and of course we could both sit here all day, each saying the other’s opinion was ridiculous, without settling anything – the fact remains that no one taking part in the discussion said anything about flying being “as bad as” knifing someone. That is what Sara claimed above, and it is clearly not true.

    Squirrel Nutkin
    “Herbert by “name”, Herbert by nature”

    And thanks to you, for encapsulating the whole discussion in a single sentence.

    Sadly you are not alone in preferring personal abuse to reasoned argument.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 7:51pm


    So just to be clear – about all that stuff you posted about people who are disgruntled because the party doesn’t select them as candidates having the option to “do just as Rupert Read did and expound their bitterness from the confines of another party”.

    You’re saying that wasn’t meant to suggest that Rupert Read himself was disgruntled because the party hadn’t selected him as a candidate?

    In that case it’s just as well I queried it. Who knows? Someone might have got the wrong impression.

  • I’d claim it is true, as it’s a summary of what was said. If this comes up in conversation, I’m not going to go through the entire tv debate word for word. The context of what Lucas said is clear enough. She equates flying as being as bad as knifing someone in the street. I’ll thank you for providing the link to the show, as I had thought it unlikely she would go that far. I was obviously wrong.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 8:30pm


    Well, if you won’t believe my interpretation of what she meant, will you believe it when it comes from the horse’s mouth?

    I suppose not, but I’ll give it a try …

    She said she was talking about the limits to freedom, adding, “Just as society needs to be protected from violence in the streets, so we need to be protected from the impacts of climate change.

    “Of course, knifing someone in the street is in a different league from ‘binge flying’ but both have an adverse effects on members of society. The world’s scientists are estimating that climate change is going to kill huge numbers of people in the coming century and many more will be made homeless.

  • Er, you seem to have undermined your case substantially Herbert. That is a response by her to what was originally said, apparently backtracking a tiny bit. Her original words are perfectly clear.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 8:56pm


    “Er, you seem to have undermined your case substantially Herbert.”

    How so?

    I’ve just posted Lucas’s own explanation of her words, which – strangely enough – is exactly the same as what I had understood by them (which you previously dismissed as “ridiculous”).

    Who do you suppose is in a better position to know what Caroline Lucas meant? Caroline Lucas herself, or you?

  • Er, I’m going on what she said at the time, not what she later said. It’s extremely clear what she said at the time. Backtracking later doesn’t change that. Even her backtracking still manages to link the two, with the ever useful ‘but’. Despite realising she’d gone too far, she didn’t admit it.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 9:50pm


    OK. That’s more or less what I assumed you’d say. No big surprise.

  • Taking a note from your own responses to me earlier, concession accepted. You know how what she said sounds in the context it was said in. It is hard to argue otherwise, and yet you have. Lucas attempted to clarify what she said after, but did a poor job of doing so. An apology for a bad analogy would have been far better.

    As this situation demonstrates, analogies are a dangerous thing to use.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 10:53pm


    “… concession accepted …”

    You misunderstand again, apparently.

    I have conceded nothing, apart from the pointlessness of knocking any sense into your thick skull.

  • You seemed to think I had conceded a point earlier, when I obviously had not.

    Thank you for proving your worth.

  • Herbert Brown 29th Jun '09 - 11:33pm

    “You seemed to think I had conceded a point earlier, when I obviously had not.”

    You had listened to the discussion, using the link I had provided, and I assumed your comments were an acknowledgment that the phrase “as bad as” had not been used by any of the participants.

    If you didn’t even mean to concede that much, I can only apologise.

  • Well, I apologise myself. The exact words used are ‘same as’. I’m at a loss as to see how that is better than ‘bad as’, or much different in terms of the question asked.

    My argument has been focusing on the subject matter itself. I personally find equating knifing someone in the streets with flying to be horrific. It’s rather shocking that you defend this position.

  • Herbert Brown 30th Jun '09 - 12:09am


    “The exact words used are ’same as’. I’m at a loss as to see how that is better than ‘bad as’ …”

    If you’re genuinely “at a loss”, I’ll try to explain it one more time – and I’ll try to highlight for you again the relevant parts of Caroline Lucas’s explanation.

    But I don’t particularly want to waste time going over and over the same ground, so please let me know first whether you genuinely can’t understand what’s already been said, or whether “I’m at a loss” is just a rhetorical flourish.

  • Herbert Brown, Rich,

    Let’s analyse the “Is flying as bad as stabbing?” question. What sort of political question is that? Answer – It’s a Catch-22 trap that has been laid by a smart-ass opponent.

    Answer yes, and you have made yourself ridiculous to the Joe Public common-sense type of listener. Answer no, and you have betrayed your green convictions, since you know perfectly well, and argue passionately, that flying and the resulting climate change effectively kill more people than does knife crime.

    So it’s the perfect question for a smart-ass opponent to ask: it’s one the poor respondent can’t possibly answer, either one way or the other, without being on a loser. Marvellous!

    Now for those myopic LibDems who can’t sympathise with an opponent under any circumstances, let me give another example of this horrible Catch-22 political trick. Remember when the glorious coalition of the willing surged into Iraq, against Charles Kennedy’s protests: What was the first thing the neocons and Tories asked him? “Mr Kennedy, do you support our British troops in battle?”

    Subtext: “Say yes, Charles, and you have just undermined yourself and a million anti-war protesters. Say no, Charles, and we will drum you out of office in ignominy for betraying our noble servicemen who are risking their lives while you sit in a Westminster bar.” A perfect Catch-22.

    Except that too many people, these days, have understood what being a political smart-ass is all about. Too many people recognise the trick that the neocons then played on Kennedy, and that the LibDems are now playing on Caroline Lucas.

    They won’t vote for tricky smart-asses, and they have got it right!

  • I don’t want to waste much more time myself. It’s very clear, having watched that part of the show multiple times, what Caroline Lucas said. Her explanation works if you ignore what she actually said, and what she responded to.

    Her defence does not separate her from her original comment, but adds in her line of reasoning for coming to her belief.

    As I said previously, it’s a danger of using analogies. However, use them she did, and it makes clear her line of reasoning.

  • David, Lucas is the one who brings the comparison up to begin with. She is then asked if she really believes this. She says yes. This is a summary of what was said.

  • Yes Rich, she helped to set herself up for this one, to repeat Herbert’s quote, by saying:

    “Of course, knifing someone in the street is in a different league from ‘binge flying’ but both have an adverse effects on members of society.”

    and it was easy for Smart-ass to take it from there and distort it out of all proportion. So she’s guilty of being slightly non-streetwise and hence at risk of getting mugged by the rogues that you seem to be supporting. And your point is?

  • David, that was not the original quote. If it had been, it would not have been as bad, but still very poorly worded.

    I suggest listening to the show Herbert linked to, as had I not listened to it, I would have been confused over the basis of the argument. Having listened to it, it was rather clear.

  • Herbert Brown 30th Jun '09 - 8:56am


    “David, Lucas is the one who brings the comparison up to begin with. She is then asked if she really believes this.”

    But of course, Lucas didn’t say anything even vaguely resembling “flying is as bad as knifing someone”.

    Lucas brought up knifing because it is an example of circumstances in which the state has to curtail the liberty of some people to protect others. There is no indication whatsoever in what she said that she thought it was in any sense morally equivalent to flying. Quite the opposite – she obviously brought it up as an extreme example, which not even Campbell Bannerman could argue with.

    And that is clearly the sense in which she replied “Yes” to his question about whether the two things were “the same”.

    Obviously she didn’t think flying in an aeroplane was “as bad as” knifing someone – who in their right mind would? As she said herself, “knifing someone in the street is in a different league from ‘binge flying’”.

    And actually, I think you know as well as I do that Caroline Lucas doesn’t believe “flying is as bad as knifing someone”. You’re just playing a silly political game.

  • Herbert Brown 30th Jun '09 - 3:56pm


    “Arguing at length over precise wording when the substance is the same is an empty technical argument …”

    But the whole point is that the substance is _not_ the same. It’s nothing like it.

    The allegation made by UKIP is that Caroline Lucas believes that “flying is as bad as knifing people”.

    Of course that’s not true. She didn’t say that, and she has made it perfectly clear that she doesn’t believe it.

    For Lib Dems to carry on insisting she does believe something so ludicrous is not only dishonest, it’s stupid – because no one is going to be fooled by it for a moment.

    Why on earth don’t you argue the real issues? Why don’t you point out the disastrous consequences of wasting scarce NHS resources on “complementary medicine”? And the disastrous consequences of banning animal experimentation?

    And if you set your minds to it you can probably come up with plenty of other strong policy arguments, instead of wasting your time on ludicrous personal smears that only rebound on the party!

  • Wow, the fact that the Lib Dem commenters here are going to such lengths to try and fling as much mud as they possibly can at Read demonstrates two things about the modern Lib Dems:

    1) They are small-minded, petty people who would rather waste their time arguing with others on blogs than spend time talking about why their candidate should be elected

    2) They are scared sh*tless about the fact that their vote is collapsing and former Labour and Lib Dem voters are increasingly likely to vote for the Greens.

  • Sam the only people flinging mud are the Greens in the form of Dr Read and the only person wasting his time arguing pointlessly on blogs is his supporter (or alter ego possibly) Herbert Brown.

    I’d say highlighting your opponents unacceptable views eg – flying is equivalent to stabbing, support for terrorist organisations and opposing science in favour of tea drinking (or whatever) – is a legitimate political activity.

    The Greens problems is that they have had what limited success they have had by avoiding scrutiny of their mad, bad and dangerous views.

    It’s time for their supporters to grow up and accept that they can no longer have an easy ride – something Dr Read is clearly functionally incapable of doing by all accounts.

  • Herbert Brown 1st Jul '09 - 8:38am


    “simple test – put the alleged statement and the actual statement side by side and let the public decide.

    When you do so I will believe you aren’t trying to manipulate perceptions.”

    For heaven’s sake! I posted a link to the discussion, and I told people exactly where to find the relevant part of the discussion, and I went to the trouble of giving (on another thread) a blow-by-blow account of the discussion – with direct quotations!

    And still people insisted on repeating the same false claim that was made by UKIP in the first place, on the basis that although no one had used the words in question, it was a “summary” – even though this supposed “summary” actually contained the same number of words as what had really been said!

    Herbert Brown’s New Month’s Resolution: Stop wasting your breath on Lib Dem Voice.

  • Herbert Brown 1st Jul '09 - 8:50am

    “Sam the only people flinging mud are the Greens in the form of Dr Read and the only person wasting his time arguing pointlessly on blogs is his supporter (or alter ego possibly) Herbert Brown.”

    If you can read – which I am beginning to doubt – you will see that I have expressed strong disagreement with several Green Party policies. So it should be clear to you that I am not a “supporter” of Rupert Read, let alone Rupert Read himself.

    It’s just that I also disagree strongly with the kind of personal smear campaign that this thread has exemplified all too clearly.

    I’d say highlighting your opponents unacceptable views eg – flying is equivalent to stabbing, support for terrorist organisations and opposing science in favour of tea drinking (or whatever) – is a legitimate political activity.

    Highlighting your oppponents’ views is legitimate, yes.

    Inventing your opponents’ views, and claiming they hold views that they have made clear they do not, is dishonest gutter politics.

    And what has your own contribution been to this edifying legitimate political debate?

    Here it is:
    (1) Rupert Read “is a complete nut job”.
    (2) Rupert Read is not “at ease with [his] sanity”
    (3) Rupert Read has “fundamental problems within his psyche”, as evidenced by his “fleck spittled [sic] ranting” – of which you are unable to quote a word when asked, naturally.

    And you wonder why people are disillusioned with politics!

    Why don’t you get out of the gutter and actually debate the policies? Can’t you see that it would do you much more good that the kind of contemptible personal attack you have been indulging in so far?

  • Here here well done, nice to see an ounce of truth on a lib dem site!

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