Thank you so much for your reply.
I do understand about the Comment Awards being a platform for excellence, rather than an endorsement of particular views.
However, I feel I should draw to your attention the fact that Matthew Scott is supported by a large group of Twitter followers – with names such as “spirit of Savile” and “falsely accused” – who have an agenda to discredit child sex abuse survivors and campaigners and to seek maximum publicity for false memory and false accusation claims. This can be clearly seen by looking at Mr Scott’s Twitter followers and recent tweets, retweets and favourites – his own and his followers.
I think there is a serious risk that Mr Scott’s name has been submitted by this pressure group for reasons which are deeply suspect .
Because of this, once again, I urge you to remove Mr Scott’s name from the shortlist.
A large group of survivors and campaigners are seeking justice on historic child sex abuse. These individuals and groups are deeply upset at the ridicule, rudeness and dismissiveness of Mr Scott’s Twitter friends.
Furthermore, Mr Scott’s blog is hardly “independent”, touting as it does the establishment line reported in the Mail, the Telegraph, the Times, the Independent and the Guardian – that child sex abuse allegations are probably the work of “fantasists” and “Walter Mitty” characters, or gold-diggers, or the mentally unbalanced, and that those accused of abuse are innocent men hounded by a “gay witch hunt” or because of lurid speculations in an irresponsible press fed by a public “lynch mob” mentality (the reality of course being very much the opposite, in that almost without exception, the mainstream press defends suspects and accuses witnesses).
If Mr Scott’s blog posts tended to focus on racial discrimination, for example, and his posts repeatedly suggested that those alleging discrimination were making it all up, I think the Comment Awards would have no choice about rejecting his nomination.
This is an equally sensitive issue. Vulnerable child sex abuse witnesses, and whistle-blowers with their careers and families damaged by their revelations, are at risk.
It is not a laughing matter and I think this needs to be taken into account by The Comment Awards.
I do hope you will rethink.
Subject: The Comment Awards 2015 – Independent Blogger of the Year
Thank you for your note and your interest in the Comment Awards. The Comment Awards are not an endorsement of a writer’s opinions, but rather a recognition of the quality of their comment within their awarded field, celebrating freedom of expression across the media.
To confirm, the Awards nominations are drawn from public submissions – anyone can nominate their favourite UK-based commentators for the Comment Awards. Of these entries, a diverse judging panel of 75 individuals then draws up a shortlist.
The point about comment is it is just that. Not everyone agrees. Decisions relating to entry shortlisting are entirely at the judging panel’s discretion – the Awards team does not influence or interfere directly in these decisions.
Best regards, The Comment Awards team email@example.com
Hello, I am writing to express my incredulity that you have shortlisted Matthew Scott’s “barrister blog” for Independent Blogger of the Year award and to urge you to withdraw his nomination.
Mr. Scott is well known, on Twitter at least for his offensive tweets, as a child sex abuse “denier”. His frequent posts and tweets on the subject of child sex abuse are invariably dismissive, with a tendency to ridicule and the use of emotive language such as “public hysteria” and “lynch mobs”, when describing survivor’s allegations. His post on Lord Janner, for example, ends with the observation that “the torrent of prejudicial material that has been published about Lord Janner …would make an unbiased jury almost impossible to find”. On Edward Heath, he declares that “Allegations of paedophilia should not be bandied around lightly”, as if survivors have nothing better to do than make allegations. On Proctor, the “titillating gobbets of evidence” apparently “will strike many as exceedingly unlikely”, and “encourage speculation amongst a small army of self-appointed internet paedophile hunters who seem to have nothing else to do”.
This sort of biased and unsubstantiated critique is immensely hurtful and offensive to survivors of historic child sex abuse, almost all of whom have had to fight long and hard against a culture of indifference if not outright suppression to have their allegations taken seriously and investigated by the police. These same survivors, with the support of campaigners, are now pressing for their alleged abusers to be prosecuted and finally face the justice they have for so long managed to evade.
A quick perusal of Mr. Scott’s blog brings up the following posts on paedophilia and child sex abuse:-
– Harvey Proctor, Exaro and the pursuit of justice – Wiltshire Police were wrong to name Sir Edward Heath – We Shouldn’t Draw The Wrong Conclusions From Ben Fellows’s Acquittal – Cyprus Paedo Scare: A Near Kidnapping Or A Near Lynching? Mark Williams-Thomas Must Get To The Truth. – Lord Janner: Was The DPP Right? What Can The Complainants Do Next?
I am sure, had I had the inclination to go right back through his archives, I would have found many more posts of a similar nature. The 5 examples above, however, are quite enough to illustrate beyond any possible doubt the biased nature of Mr. Scott’s arguments, and the denigrating tone he adopts towards survivors and campaigners.
In my opinion, which I hasten to add is certainly shared by many survivors and campaigners, the suggestion that Mr. Scott could possibly receive an award as “Blogger of the Year”, in any capacity, is offensive and repugnant.
I sincerely hope The Comment Awards will think again and come to its senses.