One of the difficulties with blogging is fighting the urge to control debate. As a liberal, I believe in the concept of freedom to publish. On the other hand, there is a responsibility to protect the wider society where hurt or offence may ensue. As a publisher, I want to propagate my views and, by attracting favourable supporting comments, gain greater credibility for them. This, in turn, creates a larger audience and thus a virtuous circle is created.
Liberal Democrats tend to be keen to debate, partly because liberalism tends to balance the needs of individuals against those of the community, however defined. That said, discussion within the Lib Dem blogosphere usually remains courteous. Those among us with a reputation for 'edge' generally aim their invective at the opposition. However, when an argument becomes heated, we like to see it unfold. Censorship of public disagreements is frowned upon, as long as criticism is open, and not hidden beneath a cloak of anonymity.
We also tend to dislike hyperbole. Exaggerating your case to the point of ridicule will attract... ridicule...
It looks as though one of my fellow bloggers has overlooked this. Like Bernard Salmon, I read Bob Shaw's comparison of the 1933 Enabling Act with efforts by the Catholic Church to influence the debate on embryo research, and thought that it was an absurd exaggeration of the case. Unlike Bernard, however, I took the viewpoint that Bob was demonstrating his lack of a sense of history and of perspective and left it at that.
Bernard felt more strongly, and chose to comment. Bob's response appears to have been to play the man rather than the ball, resorting to invective. After an exchange of views, Bob then seems to have decided that the exchange shows him in a bad light and removed it.
Sorry Bob, but that's rather foolish. Now that you've been outed as someone who censors merely to protect his own reputation, it is clear that engaging with you is futile, and that comments posted on your blog must agree with your line. In short, what credibility you have is damaged, and credibility is much easier lost than won.
And before anyone gets too excited, I freely admit to censoring comments posted to my blog. Anonymous comments attacking third parties are banned, unless they contain coherent, logical and verifiable argument. I don't believe that anonymity should be encouraged except in very limited circumstances. Otherwise, I'm perfectly happy to publish comments critical of me or my positions on whatever issue I have blogged about.