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Sunday 3 October 2004

The new kid on the blog

'DON'T abuse Ruth here, she gets upset, she writes about it, she'll make you a star in next week's Sindo." So the other week advised a poster to the award-winning sluggerotooler.com, a blog (contraction of web log, you computer illiterates) devoted to discussing matters Northern Irish. 

Before I get on to the abuse, a word about blogging. 

Last month, Dan Rather, CBS News anchorman and long-time US national institution, broke a well-documented story about transgressions of George W Bush during his time in the National Guard. Bloggers with technical and historical information got to work, and, passing information from site to site, proved in no time at all that the documents were forged. Blogs matter. 

Last week, in response to my article in the Sunday Independent on the similarities between the DUP and Sinn Fein, I was described as 'Ruth Fudly' (surely 'Fuddly'?), a purveyor "of shoddy propaganda" with "a capacity for hysterical anti-provoism", "a spoiled girl" (girl?), and a manufacturer of "cynically manufactured and trite" columns. So no change there. 

The only missile that stung was a reference to "one of Ruth's famed dinner parties" - which relates to the fatal error I made at the West Belfast Festival. So focused was I on fighting Provo propaganda that I had forgotten the class war that Sinn Fein diligently foments in its ghettoes and let the obnoxious DP term pass my lips. That I was speaking of places where the chattering classes chat rather than my own way of life was ignored: I became a class enemy. 

Still thanks for reminding me of an important difference between the two parties now expected to strike a deal. 

Despite the holiday homes and fancy cars of SF leaders, few of them have ever had a proper job and they claim to be proles. DUP frontmen include a minister, barristers, an ex-civil servant and two ex-estate agents and are proud to be bourgeois. What challenging discussions they could have over dinner. 

Ruth Dudley Edwards

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