The schools Secretary, Ed Balls, was reported on Radio 4's news bulletins this morning (I heard the 9 am bulletin - ah, the delights of school holidays!) as urging Members of Parliament to distance themselves from some websites that publish personalised and sexualised comments about politicians. Observing that this has been going on for some years now, he referred to comments being "homophobic", "highly sexualised" and "such that I would not want any of my family to read them".
Mr Balls' comments are made in the wake of the McBride affair.
Now, I wonder whether Mr Balls would include within the range of websites that he is suggesting MP's distance themselves from one for an organisation that runs a "bigot of the year" award each year? The nominations for that award certainly represent personalised attacks on the people who are nominated, and are published on the website; and the voting for the award among members of the organisation must encourage an attitude among those taking part of personal hostility rather than argument based on the substance of the issues involved.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols was a nominee for this award in a previous year, because of his opposition to the legislation with regard to adoption by same sex couples.