Last night over on the bizarrely named “Tory Totty Online” blog I was almost accused of suffering from OCD. I say “almost accused” as the author played that silly game of not quite joining the dots. She defined OCD, she said “certain bloggers seem to be having recurring obsessive thoughts about other certain bloggers” and then she drew on some examples from my web presence before ending with:

Now, I’m no shrink, and far be it from me to suggest that there’s any sort of ‘obsessive behaviour’ going on here.

But it was just a thought.

And that’s a classic get-out clause. If I say that she said I have OCD then she can say “no I didn’t but, hey, if the cap fits…”. But it’s pretty obvious what conclusions she expects her readers to reach.

It’s a serious accusation to make, so it’s worth examining the evidence. In my day job I’m a programmer and attention to detail is an important part of what I do every day. Many great programmers are good at their job because they are mildly OCD or autistic. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if I exhibited some of the symptoms.

The blog post implies that I’m obsessing over Nadine Dorries. The proof is apparently that the first two blog posts on my web site yesterday were about Dorries and that I tweeted about her “informed consent” plans yesterday evening. It’s a shame that CateyMaxx didn’t look a little further down the front page of my site as there were three other blog entries listed, none of which had anything to do with Dorries. One was about programming, one was about the campaign to get people to answer the religion question accurately at next year’s census and the other was about choice of blogging platform. Had she bothered to look at my main blog’s front page she would have found posts about political campaigning, data backups and three consecutive posts about the pope’s recent visit.

This blog has been running for over eight years. I have written over 1,600 posts here and it looks to me as though 19 of them mention Nadine Dorries (this will be the twentieth). The earliest of them was almost exactly three years ago. Before the two posts that are currently on the front page, the previous time I mentioned her was in April. I’ve written about her four times this year.

The two posts that seemed to annoy Tory Totty so much are two weeks old. Yes, they’re my most recent blog posts (well, until today) but does that sound like an obsession to you? Nadine Dorries has been on cracking form over the last two weeks. There have been plenty of reasons to write blog posts about her. But I really could be bothered. Doesn’t sound much like an obsession to me. In comparison, the front page of the Tory Totty blog (which currently has posts from 25th October to this morning) has four stories that mention Nadine Dorries.

On the basis of this flimsy evidence, I’m going to have to plead “not guilty”. Obsessed with Doctor Who, maybe. Obsessed with getting these bloody builders to finish the work on my house, probably. But obsessed with Nadine Dorries, I really don’t think so.

There’s a serious side to all of this though, of course. Firstly, there’s the idea that Tory Totty would use something like OCD as an insult. It shows rather an unpleasant attitude to people with disabilities. And then there’s the idea that by labelling an opponent as mentally ill, you don’t need to address their points. I had hoped that Tory Totty (@CateyMaxx on Twitter) was going to be interested in an intellectual debate (I know that her choice of pseudonym made that sound unlikely, but I’m a glass-half-full kind of person) it’s a shame that she has lowered herself to this level.

Wow. That went on longer than I thought it would. I’m starting to realise why Tim Ireland’s blog posts are always so long. Anyway, to cheer everybody up, here’s one of my favourite songs from my long distant youth. It seems somewhat appropriate.


Conversations with CateyMaxx

Summarising @Nadine_MP‘s “informed consent” ideas: A woman can’t have an abortion until a christian nutter has tried to scare her out of it?

That’s the content of a tweet that I sent just before 6pm last night. I thought it nicely summed up the reasons behind Nadine Dorries’ recent speech in Parliament. I didn’t, of course, expect everyone to agree. I wasn’t prepared for the response I got from one corner of the internet.

Having sent the tweet, I went out for the night. Had it not been the era of the smartphone, I would have been completely cut off from the internet for the next few hours. But as I arrived at the venue I checked Twitter to find three tweets from CateyMaxx. For those of you who don’t know, CateyMaxx has been one of a small number of people who have been supporting Nadine Dorries over recent weeks. She said:

CateyMaxx: @davorg lol evening Dave – your usual Stirring self I see! You don’t believe that crap so why on EARTH do you say it? [6:28]

CateyMaxx: @davorg & also – what’s with the ‘Christian nutter’ jibe? @Nadine_MP is advocating informed choice – where do her religious beliefs come in? [6:30]

CateyMaxx: @davorg always presuming, of course, u know & understand her religious beliefs b’cos I certainly don’t! Maybe u’ve had a convo with her? [6:31]

Over the next ten minutes I sent her some replies – which she, in turn, replied to. I think I’ve reconstructed the order correctly here, but we’re often typing across each other.

davorg: @CateyMaxx We already have informed choice [Yes – I meant “consent”, not “choice”] – just not of the kind Nadine wants to see. [7:20]

CateyMaxx: @davorg I’m sure you know all about the choice that’s available to pregnant women? You’re so unnecessarily pedantic. [7:21]

davorg: @CateyMaxx She’s definitely a christian – she has said as much. And she hangs around with mutters [Typo: that should be “nutters” – I hope that’s obvious] like Christian Concern For Our Nation. [7:23]

davorg: @CateyMaxx Informed concent is already a legal requirement before any major medical procedure. [7:27]

CateyMaxx: @davorg ok, so let’s be clear – you say ‘Christian Concern’ (who @Nadine_MP as u put it ‘hangs around with’ are nutters? Can you elucidate? [7:27]

CateyMaxx: @davorg but it’s the TYPE of information which is accessible to ppl that matters . .surely. All @Nadine_MP is trying to do is make more [7:28]

davorg: @CateyMaxx Anyway, I’d love to chat more but I’m at a gig and the first band is about to come on. Have a nice evening. [7:28]

CateyMaxx: @davorg info to a wider no. of ppl – so they no the mental, emotional aswell as physical implications of abortion. What is wrong with that? [7:29]

CateyMaxx: @davorg lol . .you too! [7:29]

And that’s where we left it. Or, at least, that’s what I though. I dipped back into Twitter a couple of hours later whilst waiting for the headliners to come on, only to see this:

CayeyMaxx: New Blog Post: Tory Totty Online: Is OCD Sweeping the Blogosphere? [9:17]

I replied as soon as I saw it and we got into another conversation.

davorg: @CateyMaxx Nicely done. Writing an attack on me like that when you know I’m busy and won’t be able to respond for 12 hours. [9:39]

CateyMaxx: @davorg Havent written an ‘attack’ on you – merely reported what’ on your blog. Why? What’s up? [9:40]

davorg: @CateyMaxx And missing out my side of tonight’s conversation was a nice touch. You’ve been learning from the masters :-) [9:42]

CateyMaxx: @davorg thats because you LEFT the conversation and didn’t answer me lol Its all there in b&w. No-ones attacking u – dont be so sensitive [9:43]

davorg: @CateyMaxx I wrote 4 or 5 replies to you which are missing from your blog post. That’s hardly balanced reporting. [9:47]

davorg: @CateyMaxx Hope your blog comments are working early tomorrow morning :-) [9:48]

CateyMaxx: @davorg in that case . . .I will go back and have a look and then put them in the post . . . . the comments are working fine. Feel free. [9:53]

CateyMaxx: @davorg Oh yes – I’ve found them. Will add them to the post now ok? :-) [9:54]

davorg: @CateyMaxx Thank you. I’ll a comment tomorrow. Must go again. Tunng are about to come on. [9:57]

And at that point, I settled in to enjoy Tunng and CateyMaxx wandered off to do whatever she does at that time on a Saturday night (I think it might involve watching the X Factor results programme).

Obviously I’ll come back to this later today and respond to the points that she made, but I just wanted to start by setting the scene and getting the full conversation written out in the order that it happened.