Islington Tribune – ‘Roadkill’ jibe sparks storm: Islington Tory Paul Newman should have known that jokes on the internet can backfire. Mr Newman, 42, maintains he was referring to his colleagues in Mildmay when he contributed what he thought was a witty riposte on a blog by national Tory pundit Iain Dale. However, Islington Lib Dems seized on the comments. Mr Newman, who works in insurance and is vice-chairman of Islington North Tories, wrote: “I have to confess that the denizens of Mildmay are almost bestially stupid. There is not a lot you can do with them… they live from roadkill and sleep under newspaper.” He was, he says, referring not to the residents of the ward, but to his own political colleagues and their inability to deliver documents on time.
Liberal Democrat Voice – “Almost bestially stupid”: top Tory’s verdict on Islington residents
Islington Newmania – Anyway back to me …
Sword in the Lake – Newman Offers “Galloway” Defence
Islington Newmania – Bovvered I am not
1. It is my own personal opinion that Mr Newman is a partisan arse of not-quite-the-highest order, but…
2. This has a whiff of the Jody Dunn affair about it (relevant blog entry archived here), and the Lib-Dems involved should know better.
3. If you read the relevant comments in sequence/context (1, 2, 3*) it’s pretty clear that Newmania is indeed talking about his Conservative colleagues and not the residents of Mildmay in general.
4. There are many far more interesting/damaging comments posted under the name ‘Newmania’ on a variety of British political blogs, but not all of them can be guaranteed to be from Paul Newman…. especially on blogs like Iain Dale’s. Dale is desperate to keep his comment numbers up (it’s a measure of popularity dontchaknow), and so has returned to regular use of the system that allows anyone to post under any name, and even pose as other Blogger users if they wish. And, because Paul Newman does not use a profile image, under these conditions (i.e. on a Blogger-based site where anyone can comment, not just registered users of Blogger), *no* comment by ‘Newmania’ can be confirmed as authentic without he or the relevant blog author confirming it. A handy situation for sock-puppeting nitwits and any genuine profile user who wishes to enjoy a level of plausible deniability.
5. Hooray for the playground-level taunts and insults currently being thrown about by Paul Newman’s supporters. You actually have a case to make, and you’re wasting time and effort calling people names? WTF is up with that?
6. Efforts have been made to avoid tarring all Conservatives with the same brush during the recent Bit Of Necessary. Perhaps Paul might consider the possibility that the actions of one or two Liberal Democrats fall a little short of establishing a ‘Fib Dem’ theorem.
7. Paul, when Catherine Tate’s character Lauren Cooper insists that she ‘ain’t bovvered’, she actually reveals how bothered she really is (and/or, in some cases, presents a clear example of a rather reckless dismissal). Please try to use this catchphrase correctly in future.
8. You can look forward to more of this as the council election campaigns heat up. Keep a sharp eye out for the following from all sides:
a) This kind of cherry-picking
b) Anonymous weblogs that go live with smears and false claims that campaigners dare not publish in local literature
c) Similar abuse of weblogs that allow people to comment or otherwise submit material anonymously
d) Co-ordinated sock-puppet attacks on anyone who dares to blog with any level of transparency/integrity.
I did try to warn you about the latter elements. Oh, and if you think this is fun, just wait until the next general election.
[*Psst! Iain! Individual comment permalinks do come in handy on long discussion threads… please sort it out.]