ConHome Tory website puts ‘monetary’ value even on commenters


WordPress gives bloggers some quite good stats on visitors to their blogs. One of the features if provides is information about ‘referrers’ – sites from which people have clicked on a link to your blog. If you wish, you can then follow these links back to the source to see who’s mentioned your blog and what has been said.

I noticed in my stats today that a number of people had arrived at my blog by clicking through from the ‘Conservative Home’ website – a site that calls itself ‘The Home of Conservatism’ and describes its purpose as to

champion the interests of grassroots Tory members and to argue for a broad conservatism

As you can imagine, getting visitors via this site piqued my curiosity. My views and those of ConHome, as it’s often known, couldn’t be much more diametrically opposed, so it’s a fairly rare event for my blog to receive traffic from it or any similar site!

It turned out that someone had linked to my site as part of a comment arguing against an inaccurate article about the Plebgate CCTV footage and the ensuing comments. But what really caught my eye was that commenters had a price, a monetary value, against their screenname:


I was curious about these ‘prices’ and what they meant, so I tried clicking on one of them to see what would happen. The click brought up an small window explaining the price:


In case you have any difficulty reading it, here’s the text:

The reputation meter is a measure of strength of all previous comments made on our system by a certain commenter as judged by his or her peers. It is one way to tell whether the comment you are reading is written by someone well-regarded.

This struck me in a couple of ways. First of all, the idea strikes me as completely wrong-minded – yet depressingly unsurprising – that the site expects its readers to judge comments not by the logic, clarity and sense of the comment itself, but by how well the commenter is rated by those (almost all Tories) who use the site.

Secondly, and even more telling but equally unsurprising, is that the site has chosen to express these ratings in cash terms. The number is a number, and can convey its meaning without needing a £/p symbol – but the Tory instinct is to express it as a monetary value.

I believe this says something profoundly true about the Conservative mindset – that it views everything in monetary terms, and values anything only for its financial contribution. As we say ‘up north’ – ‘they know the price of everything and the value of nowt’.

And don’t we just see that in all their decisions – anyone who can’t ‘pay their own way’, but rather needs help from the rest of us to get by, has no value to the Tories. Disabled people, the unemployed, the low-paid (even though their low pay is fattening some shareholders’ profits) – all are natural targets to the Conservatives, because they don’t know how to value people apart from their cash contribution or lack of it.

It makes me deeply, viscerally angry – but I also pity people whose worldview is so diseased and limited.

But we still have to get them out of power and consign them to the electoral dustbin.


  1. Hee hee! Yes, you’re probably right about how they ‘view values’ and perhaps even analyse commenters by their visit/referral stats etc and monetise them somehow.

    However, I tend to poke around dropping comments here and there and have been vaguely surprised that mine haven’t been deleted from that site yet:
    http://bit.ly/ZM7DKj & http://bit.ly/13q3VH6

    Unfortunately, those ‘p’ numbers seem just to be part of the ‘Intense Debate’ software the site uses for posts (http://support.intensedebate.com/users/reputation-scores) rather than anything gruesomely Tory though:

    “Each IntenseDebate and WordPress.com user has a reputation score that accompanies their profile. This is the number next to your profile picture in the comment displayed when you post a comment.

    Reputation scores are determined by an algorithm that takes into account the number of posts you make, the number of up votes or down votes, and also factors in a time variable. Negative votes will impact your reputation score more heavily. Please note that this means that you will not receive an increase in your score every time you post a comment or receive an up vote.”

    Am still not sure what the ‘p’ stands for but, if not pence, could be points, profile, posts, previous comments, peers..

    1. It’s definitely pence – like a share price, your stock going up and down.

      It was your comment that had led to the visits to my site, though I was mildly surprised they’d left it up. Thanks for linking!

      1. It is not pence, it’s points. The score can go negative so how can it be pence. And no, it does not show £ if it goes above 100.

      2. That appears to have changed since the post was written. Wish I’d thought to do a screen grab of it at the time, but I didn’t. Too late now.

  2. ..nevertheless, your post here is far more convincing than my comment above – which I now suspect must be wrong – because the poetic truth you discern surely transcends any medium used to express it..!

    1. It may have changed since yesterday, but if you look on the site there was at least one comment with a value over 100 and his ‘price’ was £1.04, with the £ symbol. 🙂

  3. This monetary value stems from the Thatcher era. At this time Thatcher introduced the concept that everything Gov’t spent came out of the Taxpayers pocket. Thus to put a £ value on it was of interest to those who thought they were paying. This was a deliberate lie. the taxpayer pays for nothing. Gov’t spending is not dependent on TAXES or Borrowing.

    1. I love it that you think IntenseDebate’s point scoring system equates to a monetary value and it’s all Thatcher’s fault.

      As for the concept that everything the government spends comes from the taxpayer – well duh! Where else does the money come from? The magic money tree? Why else doe people like UKUnCut clamor for everyone to pay their fair share of tax. Or are UnCut wrong?

      1. Why is it that right-wingers always fall back on the ‘magic money tree’? We don’t need one – there is no shortage of cash, just misdistribution.

        I’m completely in favour of more effectively-enforced taxation and – in many cases – increased tax rates. However, the government has lots of types of income – income tax is a huge one, but not the only one. Another major one is simply creating money – which happens on a regular basis (but under this government is usually misdirected to banks, who then simply sit on it).

      2. I’m not falling back on the magic money tree, you are. The state gets pretty much all it’s money from tax. Yes, it can print money but if the state does too much of it we get inflation, so it’s not a major part of government policy.

        As for tax, it’s already effectively enforced according to the law. I would prefer the state to be smaller so that it doesn’t need so much of my money to splurge.

Leave a Reply