An Open Letter To Suzanne Moore, Orwell Prize Judge
Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that ye be not judged.”
I hear that today the Orwell Prize for blogging longlist will be announced. As you know I withdrew my entry. And you are the reason why.
According to the prize rules, Orwell judges are not supposed to engage in close discussion with, or mention often in public, the people who have entered the prize. That seems only fair. Hopi Sen, your fellow judge, distinctly told me when I was outed, that he was unable to enter into conversation with me about it, or about my related anxiety about the status of my entry in the light of those events. Because those are the rules.
But you didn’t only not refrain from talking about me, you actually joined in- gleefully it seemed- with the people who outed me, putting the knife in. You made sure my character was well and truly dragged through the mire. A couple of examples of your comments about me:
Paul Burston: ‘Hell is a room with Elly Tams’.
Suzanne Moore: ‘I doubt she ever leaves the room, trapped in her own bile and fantasy’.
Suzanne Moore: ‘yes person aggressive, obsessive, stalkerish’.
Suzanne Moore: ‘that person is obsessed and bitter’.
Suzanne Moore: ‘been a journo for v long time and know the difference between ‘sustained critique’ and having to call the police’.
I thought that even though I have critiqued your journalism pretty harshly here at Graunwatch, you would be able to distance yourself enough, as a professional, and judge my work fairly. I didn’t include any entries in the prize that mentioned you personally. I tried to keep it civil.
But the personal element and the ‘threatening’ nature of your comments about me, including mentioning ‘calling the police’, meant I did not trust you to give me a chance in the prize. I withdrew my entry.
During this debacle, I have wondered what George Orwell himself might say about it? For it is in his name we are doing all this. I have a feeling these two quotes from him give us a clue as to what his position would be:
‘What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?’
‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.’
And, as you surely know by now, I value my freedom of speech far far more than the opportunity to be judged by a journalist, one who is not looking too clever these days. Or too ethical.
Good luck with your judging, you have certainly practised on me!
And it’s Doctor QRG to you!
P.s. I am keeping comments open but I am not accepting nasty comments from Ms Moore. This is my right of reply. If she wants to respond I’m sure she’ll find a way.