I enjoy rational debate – but sometimes I despair of the critics we find on social media. One of their favourite tricks is to assert their own prejudiced ideas of what they think we in UKIP might think – and then attack the false proposition that they themselves have put up! It’s the Straw Man tactic. Mind you there was a BBC Radio 4 “comedy” programme today that presented Nigel Farage and Donald Trump as long lost twins, linked by their “Xenophobia”. I can’t speak for Donald Trump, but of course Nigel is married to a very charming German wife, and like all UKIP MEPs he constantly works with colleagues of many nationalities. Looking back over my parliamentary career I have hired staff from at least ten different countries and several ethnic groups — yet we’re still accused of xenophobia.
Repeat after me: rational concern over immigration is not xenophobic. Especially when we’re concerned about an existing British immigration policy that prioritises unskilled Romanians over highly qualified Commonwealth citizens.
The latest example of this “Straw Man” tactic is a recent Twitter notification as follows:
This lunatic knows that I challenge the IPCC position on climate. And no doubt he accepts without question the old canard that “97% of scientists agree with the IPCC”, so he assumes that my position is anti-science. He clearly hasn’t read the recent Danish government study showing that fewer than half of scientists working in the field of climate science agree with the IPCC. He then jumps to the bizarre idea that I must therefore reject other scientific theories too.
Mind you, he has a point on Creation. I’m sceptical about it. I just don’t believe that God made the world in six days, in the Year BC 4004. It is very clear that all living organisms on earth share a common ancestry, and that evolution has proceeded over the last three billion years, give or take. In fact I have read widely, from a layman’s perspective, on evolution in the context of modern molecular biology, and I daresay I know a bit more about it than Bothwicky does.
I certainly know more about Einstein than Bothwicky does — for a start, I know how to spell the name. If he fully understands Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity then I owe him an apology. My maths didn’t go that far. But I suspect he does not.
I don’t get upset about his persistent, deliberate and derogatory mis-spelling of my name — if he can’t spell Einstein, perhaps he can’t spell Helmer either. But it does underline the puerile, anti-intellectual nature of his criticism. He can’t or won’t debate the facts, so he uses class-room sarcasm — to little effect.