Opinion’s valid unless inciting hatred – thoughts on Jonathan’s apology

I am sorry that this apology has been published. I like Jonathan Stapleton and respect his integrity . This apology does not read right to me.

The article Barry Parr wrote was an opinion from someone known to hold strong opinions.  These opinion aren’t shared by  people who comment on social media but they are still prevalent in society.

There are points in the article which are important to be discussed. Adrian Boulding discusses the points on divorce on the VFM podcast because of the article.

Taking down the article and replacing it with an apology of this kind is driving the debate on diversity and inclusion in trusteeship into a dangerous corner and encouraging a kind of moral imperialism from D&I’s champions.

It is also humiliating to Jonathan- I think unfairly so.

There is a better way to share opinion

Publications that operate online, usually allow for online comments. Professional Pensions doesn’t.  This blog does. My comment is that digital media is as much about the comments as about the original opinion.

And occasionally, the comments become so personal , so injurious that an editor can take them down. I have seen the capacity to comment removed by the FT over one particularly vicious exchange. Responsible editors know where the line has to be drawn.  Bu human resilience is strong – the opinionated  tend to tough things out and take the stick.

More generally, the comments are there to assess the popular opinion and Professional Pensions would do well to allow them. The reader’s comments are a form of self-regulation – a safety valve for the publisher and editor. Professional Pensions miss a trick by not offering a comment box.

Instead, comments on the article are  littering linked in. Nikesh Patel’s condemnation of the article is followed by a sensible discussion on the rights and wrongs of publication. It includes a call for the article to be re-published so more  people can read it and express their opinion. You can read the 31 comments on Nikesh’s posts by clicking this link

If you think Nikesh’s article or any of the comments are harmful , you can ask that they be taken down.

We wish Jonathan Stapleton a happy holiday.

Jonathan Stapleton, who is now on holiday, should not be spending the time in penance. If he is ruminating (which I hope he isn’t) he should be asking why , when the watchword is diversity, this conversation is not happening on his website. When Jonathan comes to hang up his boots, I hope he will be able to look back at this incident as the making not the breaking of him.

The article should be reinstated and a statement made with regards the editorial view of Professional Pensions.

For, until Barry Parr’s article is reinstated, it will be the subject of ill-informed comment, ill-informed because the words of the writer have been supressed.

Having read the article, I do not think it incites hatred, that is my opinion and I’d be interested in yours. If you have a view, feel free to share it in my comments box, I will only moderate if the view is likely to be harmful to Barry Parr or to other people.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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5 Responses to Opinion’s valid unless inciting hatred – thoughts on Jonathan’s apology

  1. Derek Scott says:

    While I can recognise a sense of some of Mr Parr’s original comments, I also think it betrays quite a common trait among trustees of a certain generation, allowing themselves to be overly led by consultants and/or by regulators. At the same time, trustees need to be aware of not-invented-here behaviours which can also creep in to some decision-making.

    While I’m now retired, I have once upon a time bemoaned a lack of gender balance (eg one female trustee at most even when a scheme’s membership has at least 20% females and rising to over 50% among beneficiaries) and also calculated the rising average of the board from time to time.

    At the same time (repeating myself), I would like to think those on the “woke” side of this argument are prepared to consider their own weaknesses as well as their strengths.

    As Robert Burns concludes in one of his many poems, ‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us / To see oursels as ithers see us!’ Such a power or ability could save us a lot of bother and ‘foolish notions’; but I accept that we cannot always (or even often) see ourselves as others see us.

  2. Dr Robin Rowles says:

    I did not have an opportunity to read the original article so cannot comment on that, but it does seem to me that these days people seem need a “target” and all too often choose the wrong one! Yes, we all have opinions, and yes, very often it makes more sense to keep them to ourselves. But if we don’t keep them to ourselves and so upset some people, surely the reaction should be to explain nicely why, not make the situation worse by reacting badly! “WOKE” is all very well, but all to often it misses the point completely!

  3. David McNeice says:

    For Gawd’s Sake, get a grip, Jonathan! It was an opinion, not an exocet missile! Never explain, never complain, never apologise. You are allowed an opinion.

    • byronmckeeby says:

      Curious about the origins of that strategy led me to Admiral of the Fleet Lord “Jackie” Fisher and “Never Deny: Never Explain: Never Apologise.”

      I think Henry has tried to explain Jonathan’s dilemma, given the overreaction by a very small number of UK industry speakers “in the wake” of Barry Parr’s column.

      Like you, David, I wish Jonathan had just left it out there and gone off on his holiday. Smacks of appeasement to me.

  4. Kevin Smith says:

    I didn’t read the article but Nikesh’s points are valid in condemnation of it, if that was the tone of the article and if the term “woke” was used in a negative manner, this does show that the author is completely out of touch with the world around him, but obviously not his circle of contacts.

    My interactions with some trustees have been shocking in their lack of understanding of the world around them, harking back to the good old days when men were men and women were women. Not understanding the world around them has changed and the attitudes of 50, or even 60 years ago are not acceptable.

    For a professional trustee to spout these opinions its pretty worrying.

    In regards to hatred, opinions don’t spark hatred other than against the person spouting them. If someone said to be X group were bad it wouldn’t go OK mate, I’d push back.

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