The following item refers to this:
Dear Mr Makepeace
I too regret that it has come to this. You say that you have repeatedly asked me to qualify my comments or apologise. In fact, prior to your open letter, your only request for an apology or retraction was made on 26 February, in which you demanded "an apology on your blog". Given that the original comments appeared on my Facebook ("FB") wall, not my blog, it seemed to me that the former was the appropriate place for any response to appear. I therefore replied to you the same evening, offering instead to publish something on my FB wall, where the orginal comments had appeared; you did not reply, and when pressed for an answer two days later, indicated solely that you would proceed with your open letter.
I continue to believe that the appropriate place for any response is FB, rather than here, but rather than go on disputing the point, I am writing here anyway. I wish to state the following:
withdraw the comments concerned and apologise unreservedly for publishing
- I regret that I cannot name my source without his permission, which is not forthcoming. The remarks were made to me in a private communication, and I clearly should never have repeated them, even anonymously, without first obtaining the source's agreement. However, he is fully aware of your rebuttal, and has made clear to me that he will not repeat his comments.
As you note, this is not the first occasion when you and I have published scathing comments about one another. For my own part, I can guarantee that it will be the last. The principal lesson I draw from this incident is that it is far too easy for what starts out as satirical fun-poking to turn into something much more spiteful and embittered. That was never the intention when I started my blog, but reviewing the past 18 months' activity, it is clear to me that the tone of both the blog and related discussions has gradually changed and become much more unpleasant, on all sides. As a result, I am closing down the blog with immediate effect, and this posting will be the last.