I really try to like the online magazine Spiked. They are liberals that challenge the paternalism of the bulk of those who think of themselves as liberal. They try to make common cause with the attitude ordinary people, outside the ruling and media elites. But then I read things like this:
Nuclear energy: clean, reliable and powerful. Physicist Wade Allison expertly demolishes fears about radiation. If only he was equally as sceptical about the fear-fuelled climate-change panic.
It links to a book review by deputy editor Rob Lyons. Spiked is trying to resist the scare stories around nuclear power and, separately, climate change. But its writers seem incapable of engaging in a sensible debate. They are happy to agree Wade Allison about the threat from radiation, but can’t engage with his arguments about climate change. Spiked’s writers form a view, cheer anybody that agrees with them, and boo anybody that disagrees. And this case cheer and boo both at once. No weighing of the arguments on either side is attempted.
I have a similar issue with their attitude to AV. Fair enough to challenge the public arguments made by the Yes camp, a lot which are quite shallow, and call for a better standard of debate. But they don’t bother much with the even weaker (and downright fraudulent) arguments made by the Nos. And the arguments they offer themselves are just as shallow as the arguments they reject. Apparently AV will make our politicians even more insipid. As I have argued elsewhere, because AV makes it easier to field spoiler candidates, there is good reason to think the opposite. They only have to look at the Australian experience to see.
Spiked simply doesn’t have the courage to take the higher ground when it is offered them. They won’t engage in real debate because they are too afraid that it will expose their prejudices. What a shame.