My reflections on #dirty politics

I was disappointed and saddened by what has come to light in “Dirty Politics.” However much of the revelations didn’t surprise me. I’d been the target of trolling and various, probably tobacco industry funded, OIA requests years ago when I’d been conducting research on point of sale displays and illicit tobacco. Where I ask myself was “lefty blog” outrage about the “attacks” on public health people years ago (circa 2009). Apparently it just wasn’t a trendy or politically expedient thing to get up in arms about or question back then when I could have done with some moral support.

I sit politically, according to both David Farrar’s tool and the recent Vote Compass, slightly left of centre and liberal. However being a scientist I like to see good policy with a strong evidence base and rationale so this may take me left or right depending on who seems most sensible at the time. I’m wary of rigid, extreme ideologies.

I’ve been pondering the potential of Dirty Politics and Rawshark’s hacked emails to give us a highly biased picture of the world. How good is the data? What mix of abhorrent, shocking statements alongside excruciatingly, dull communication would we find amongst other randomly selected groups of people who had their private communication hacked? We’re missing a control sample from left leaning PR/political and corporate connections.

I’ll finish by re-iterating that I don’t like or condone the material and behaviour exposed in Dirty Politics but I do worry about just how widespread and common the behaviour is.