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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A close shave for one of the good guys

The excellent “swearblogger” at Devil’s Kitchen, recently suffered a nasty car accident. He’s okay, although his car was damaged. I could not help notice in the associated comments that some character called Neil Harding chose to make a cheap political crack about how this proved that we “individualists” who like cars should take the train instead. It was not a friendly word of sympathy for someone involved in a potentially fatal accident.

Maybe I am in a grumpy mood today, but please, would these car-haters, these collectivist train fans, please, please just go off to North Korea. Not everyone can rely on public transport, Mr Harding.

20 comments to A close shave for one of the good guys

  • I’ve been following Neil Harding’s blog feed for quite a while (it’s a nasty job, but somebody’s gotta do it) and I’m afraid his unpleasant remarks on The Devil’s recent near-escape entirely typify the whole tone of his sour left-wing blog – it is no surprise to you, I’m sure, to know that he is a Labour supporter who seems to want to take that Party back to the much-lefter nonsense that rendered them so unelectable for years; on reflection, if people like him gain the ascendancy in Labour then we can be doubly-certain they’ll be out of power soon and for a good long while 😉

  • For those not in the know, it should be pointed out that Neil Harding is a strong contender (albeit against some very stiff competition) for the title of The Internet’s Stupidest Man.

  • Sidney Ruff Diamond

    Nuked the fridge here.

    Neil Harding said…
    DK: Glad to hear you didn’t become one of the 12,000 people killed or seriously injured on the roads every year

    Seems pretty harmless to me. Especially so given the insane amounts of foul bile and immature torture cream dreams DK has doled out over the years; and Neil Harding had been on the receiving end of more than his fair share.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Seems pretty harmless to me. Especially so given the insane amounts of foul bile and immature torture cream dreams DK has doled out over the years; and Neil Harding had been on the receiving end of more than his fair share.

    Most of the victims of DK deserve it. And DK’s rants are usually pretty amusing, although I admit he is preaching to the converted.

    SRD, you omitted to mention the rest of Harding’s lovely comment:

    the price of lovely individualism. In comparison only 48 people were killed traveling by train last year. Still individual liberties require that we take massive extra risk of death in our stride, eh?

    How nice.

  • Sidney Ruff Diamond

    Most of the victims of DK deserve it.

    Perhaps, but not necessarily.

    And DK’s rants are usually pretty amusing


    Given, though, that his febrile imagination concocts repugnant painful experiences and/or death for swathes of people, me included on at least one occasion, though not as an individual but as some sort of collective punishment (tres libertarian that), the fact he’s just had a brush with death himself is not without a certain irony.

  • RobtE

    Sidney Ruff Diamond –

    Thank you for the link. I’d somehow missed that post. DK and Samizdata are two among the several blogs I check several times/day. I still reckon DK as one of the good guys, for whom I have much time.

    It was (not at all) surprising how many of the comments on his post were about the late and very much unlamented Verity. She dominated any discussion here when I first washed up upon these shores. And I was greatly relieved to see her move on to pastures new.

    The point is, DK’s post that you cite is several years old. He has moved on in his understanding of libertarianism, just as I have. There are things about which DK and I disagree, sometimes vehemently. But he is a man of good will, with whom one might disagree most congenially.

  • RAB

    Up yer kyber Sidney!

  • zack branagran

    last time i checked, north Korea has an immigation policy just like every other country. (apart from seemingly this one)

    what a stupid suggestion.

  • James Waterton

    Sidney Ruff Diamond: hrm, I’d forgotten about that particular rant of his. You’re right, he is a bit of a loose cannon at times – as any reasonable person who could be bothered to read through his post and then note the brief exchange with myself that he refers to – would surmise. Still, I generally find his stuff amusing and for the most part aimed at appropriate targets.

  • Kevyn Bodman

    I like Verity.
    Her posts are clear, there’s no doubt what she thinks.
    I agree with her sometimes, disagree with her at other times. But to single her out as being unreasonable or insulting in a very crowded field is absurd.
    And loads of people comment many, many times.

    I don’t think much of the DK blog. Swearing and abuse don’t change minds.
    Yes, I’ve told him this; no I don’t go there now.

    But surely, looking at how this post and discussion started, any decent person will be glad the Devil is OK after his car accident.
    And to battle about trains v. cars after an accident like this is in very poor taste.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Kevyn, the problem with dear Verity is that she tried to tell other commenters – including the editors and the main posters – what she thought we should, and should not, be writing about. The last straw came when she chided a commenter for having the impertinence to write about a foreign country’s domestic affairs. What annoyed me about that is that Verity, like a lot of those who like to comment on how terrible Britain is, has not lived in the UK for many years.

    She was quite amusing, sometimes very acute, but her comments were marred by this undertow of hysteria. In the end, we ran out of patience with her, and she has not come back since.

  • Ha! Even I had forgotten about that Samizdata rant. Yes, I have changed and — dare I say? — matured since then.

    You will also note that I replied to Neil quite reasonably, and nor was I self-pitying in my post.

    The point is that these things do happen when driving: I just wrote it up as an interesting (if mildly terrifying) experience. And, frankly, I’m just happy to have come out of it uninjured.


  • RAB

    Ah Verity!
    I used to enjoy jousting with Verity, but she flounced off when I was in Italy for a few weeks, and nebver really knew why.
    Well I did really.
    As Johnathan says, she could be very acerbic and funny on subjects she knew about.
    Trouble was she has a limited knowlege but insisted on posting on things she knew nothing about.
    I bet she even told Dale how to build rockets!

    So you have custody of her now Devil ?(congrats in the survival stakes by the way. We used to have a Corolla. Damn fine cars!)
    I’m sure you can cope 😉

  • James Waterton

    RAB: actually, I believe it was Mr Pearce himself who sent Verity packing! He didn’t order her to leave – it was something along the lines of an exasperated “why don’t you just bugger off” or some such. And she did, never to be heard from again.

    I liked her. Again, the “loose cannon” tag springs to mind, but she added a bit of colour.

  • Sorry, James, but I have to disagree with you. I thought she was tiresome and self-righteous. It got to the point that, during her final days here, when she was lecturing one of the regulars (I think it was Jonathan, but I’m not certain) about not commenting on the affairs of third countries, I seriously considered going through recent posts and reminding her of the comments she made about third countries..

    I don’t lament her departure one bit

  • RAB

    So that’s what happened.
    Well I must say it must have been very exasperating for Johnathan, coming from a woman who was more than happy to comment on the state of Britain, while living in Mexico.
    I got the feeling that she hadn’t actually lived in Britain for about 20 years.
    I used to put comedy catchphrases in my posts to her.
    Nothing tricky, just ones that anyone who had turned a TV on for five minutes in the last few decades would recognise, hoping for a reaction.
    I never got one. Which led me to believe that she had no idea what I was talking about.

  • RobtE

    Yes, Verity added a certain amount of colour to Samizdata, for a given value of “adding colour”.

    Let’s see, erm, it was she who passed off urban myths as friend-of-a-friend-no-really-honest stories.

    And it was she who failed to get any fact concerning the death of Dr. David Kelly right (apart from the fact that he is indeed dead), yet somehow saw this as proof that he was knocked off by Blair and his Secret Squirrel operatives.

    It was she who utterly failed to understand the epidemiology of birth defects amongst the British Pakistani community, despite Guy Herbert’s best efforts to educate her otherwise.

    So yeah, she added a certain amount of colour (cough, cough) to Samizdata.

  • RobtE wrote:

    So yeah, she added a certain amount of colour (cough, cough) to Samizdata.

    Please turn your head when you cough.

    (How’s that for color?)

  • Jon

    Obviously Mr Harding has never experienced the pure joy of being slammed into your car seat as your friend who is less driving and more piloting a 700 hp car romps down the highway at 160 miles per hour.

    One of the most exciting and terrifying moments of my life.

    It may be less safe, but damn is it more fun!

  • Sunfish

    Is that the same verity as who shows up on UK police blogs and claims to have been molested by basically everyone?