The Angry Corrie 55: Oct-Nov 2002

Give the man a break...

Stuart Benn objects to vindictive vendettas

Mr C, one-time rapper with acid house pioneers The Shamen, once stated that he wanted to live "without negativity". That rules him out of being a regular TAC reader, then. What a whinge it's become, increasing amounts of each issue now being little more than folk getting slagged off or responding if they feel thus aggrieved. Whilst most of these tiffs are merely tiresome, one has gone beyond that and is now nasty and vindictive. It is, of course, the vendetta against the other Mr C led by the master baiter in chief, the Ed.

He must have had some favoured outcome in mind when he set off on this crusade (the downfall of Cameron, perhaps?), yet despite the years of effort it's clear that it hasn't succeeded nor does it look like it will. Surely if any damage was going to occur it would have done so by now. But the Ed has no exit strategy. By his reckoning, if he stops now, then Cameron McNeish will win and that cannot be allowed to happen. So we are left with the sight of the Ed ploughing on and resorting to increasingly ridiculous arguments culminating in the charge (TAC54, p15) that Cameron has changed his mind over something in the last four years. Amazing. How about, in the interests of fair play, the Ed sets down everything he's thought, said, done and written over that period and puts it up for public scrutiny. Unless he is the most remarkable person that has ever lived, I think we might just find the tiniest inconsistency or change of mind in there too. Let's face it, it's not exactly earth-shattering news.

Clearly the Ed firmly believes in the righteousness of his cause, but he's doing himself no favours by stooping to these levels. This tirade has become exactly the kind of rabid, tunnel-visioned and basically biased attack of which he accuses Ian (blank) Mitchell in the last TAC (p2). Any sensible points in the arguments get lost amongst the vitriol. Ultimately, all it does is alter people's opinions towards those dishing it out rather than the slagee. You're a lot better than this, Dave. Give it up and move on.

Ed. - Cameron McNeish has acquired various public platforms: he's a high-selling (in hill terms) author, editor of one of the main hill mags, Sunday Herald columnist, president of the Scottish Ramblers, well-remunerated public speaker, occasional TV presenter and media-soundbite provider on matters upland. That's all fine if he got there via his own efforts and acknowledging the work of others where appropriate - but there is considerable counter-evidence.

He's been offered space in TAC - the offer stands - but he's chosen to keep shtum. Does that mean TAC should stop snapping at his heels? Stuart thinks so - but, for better or for worse, I think otherwise. If nothing else, what other magazine would pass comment if TAC decided to back off?

McNeish isn't a Bad Person, and if it turned out that his guidebooks weren't heavily plagiarised and that he had indeed climbed all his hills before writing about them, then I'd eat ben humble pie in these pages. But he's a public figure whose on-the-record writings fall under criticism and scrutiny and, as such, TAC will keep prodding and probing as part of its aim to keep the troops informed and entertained. Quite how the situation will be affected by the imminent sell-off of the Scottish Media Group's publishing wing (including the Herald and TGO) remains to be seen.

On the question of criticising someone for changing their mind... I regularly hold strong views on Monday and a different set of strong views on Tuesday (or four years later). We all do that. But public statements are surely of legitimate interest, be it McNeish changing his mind about "lifestyle" magazines or the anti-war Blair morphing into a militaristic bomber. If TAC suddenly started taking commercial adverts after eleven years of a stated no-ads policy, then readers (and McNeish) would have every right to criticise. And, if they fancied, to do so with feeling.

TAC 55 Index