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Friday, July 29, 2005 

Abuse of the open comments system

a•non•y•mous (adj.)

1. Having an unknown or unacknowledged name: an anonymous author.
2. Having an unknown or withheld authorship or agency

cow•ard (n.)

One who shows ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain.

bul•ly (n.)

1. A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to those in a disadvantaged position.
2. A hired ruffian; a thug.

Continued abuse of the open comments system by people who claim to be impartial (but are so obviously biased that it's painful to watch) will not be tolerated. As fun as it may be to watch them dance around the truth and put their foot in their mouths as they do so, it is very time consuming.

If these people continue to abuse the system, I will have little choice but to make comments for 'members only'. This will require anyone who wishes to make a comment to apply for membership directly via email. Anybody will be free to do so, but it's a bit of a fuss and I'd rather do without this barrier-to-entry, which will discourage the casual visitor from making comments.

However, if the current system continues to be abused in this way I will have little choice.

It should be clear that the Miltonites with their empty bleatings about free speech now threaten the ability of others to have their say on this website.

Currently, anonymous contributions are welcome on this site, but if you make a claim or accusation, you had better be prepared to back it up with evidence, see it investigated, or at the very least put your name to it.

Also, people who read this website have the right to know if certain opinions are driven by political allegiance - or perhaps direct employment. (The Miltonites must agree with this point, otherwise they wouldn't go to so much effort to convince people that I'm working for the Lib-Dems. Which I'm not.)

A 'members only' move will help to enforce this, but I would rather continue with the trust system for now. However, there is already one minor change in place:

Comments are now being closed overnight and/or when I am away or busy.

The reason?

Well, let's hear from one of our 'impartial' contributors:

Whether we support the Tories or not is a private matter and I would ask that you respect peoples right to privacy.

Yet, while they hide behind this screen of anonymity, they take every advantage they get to intimidate those who *do* have the courage to put their name to their opinions, statements and findings.

Just one example: This week, one on our 'impartial' contributors started and continued an ever-so-subtle homophobic thread in their comments, suggesting a more-than-friendly relationship between myself and another contributor. When this contributor - a Lib-Dem supporter and activist - responded with a fair comment about 'family values' hypocrisy within the Tory party he was branded a homophobe and threatened with a Tory press release on the subject.

Whoops: This would suggest the 'impartials' have rather close connection to a Tory party office, wouldn't it? And certainly a local one, otherwise they wouldn't bother targeting a local activist.

Whoops: They didn't realise the man they were branding a homophobe... is gay.

They've done worse, and they know it (the 'worse' comments have since been deleted). The overnight closure is in place to ensure that comments that are designed to intimidate (and go way, *way* over the line in the process) come to my attention immediately.

And I'm sorry, but whether you support the Tories or not *stops* being a private matter the moment you pose as an impartial observer... but being a Tory isn't the primary issue here. (I know many Tories and manage to maintain healthy, friendly and cordial relationships with them. We don't have to avoid talking about politics. We don't even have to avoid talking about Anne Milton... because - sometimes 'off the record' - they agree that she's a dipstick. And it was members of her own party that gave her the nickname 'Princess Pushy'.)

No, the primary issue is being an anonymous, cowardly bully acting on behalf of Anne Milton. (Calm down dears; I said 'behalf', not 'behest'.)

And do you know what? The only people who have spoken consistently in favour of Anne Milton on this website have been... anonymous, cowardly bullies.

Says a lot for her support-base, doesn't it?

Something else that says a lot for her support base is the startling number of Tory activists, councillors and people directly connected to her office via employment or family who posed as 'ordinary members of the public' in her election literature. (Ref: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

I once asked Anne Milton directly about the first such pamphlet that came to my attention. I worded my question very carefully. I asked if *all* of the people concerned were directly connected to the Conservative Party and/or her campaign. This gave her an easy out. Only one would have to have been genuine and she could have said 'no' and got away with it.

But she didn't say 'no'... she simply dodged the question and asked why I was such an angry person. And when questioned by a journalist on this same subject?

A blogger has been having great fun outing party activists who are featured on Mrs Milton's leaflets as local people. "Politicians have to be very careful in this day and age," she said and muttered opaquely that it was possible to use a photograph inadvertently. "I'm not going to talk about this blogger. He's an angry young man."

1. Given how many of these 'impartial' supporters of Anne Milton are (or were) Tory councillors and activists, I would argue that any sensible person would have doubts about anyone claiming to be an 'ordinary member of the public' who supports Anne Milton. On this website or anywhere else.

2. Claiming bias due to party-politics (or anger-management issues) is a ploy used time and again by Milton's team to divert attention away from the facts and/or avoid answering questions on any given subject. Milton has done this herself in the past (see quote above and this fine example), and the 'ordinary members of the public' working to defend her here have *excelled* at it this week.

Short version: The 'impartial' contributors show far-from-impartial behaviour. Past form would suggest that they only wish to remain anonymous because they don't want to reveal a close association with Anne Milton... but any judgement on their status as Tory members, activists, councillors or staff-members, I leave to you. The trust system remains in place... for now. Comments will be closed overnight and/or when I've got better things to do than battle with gutless time-wasters.

Cheers all.


The postings did ramble and the argument become tiresome. As the Lib Dem supporters all admitted their allegiance, I can't see why the Tories didn't.

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I don't think 'admitted' is quite the word; any such allegiances had been made clear long ago... but the point you make is more than welcome.

Oh, and I doubt we'll see anyone from Team Free Speech protesting outside parliament on Monday.

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for once I rather agree with Gasbill on all three points. I post on other sites covering quite different areas of interest, and everybody usually comes clean pretty quickly about what interest or interest group they are representing and/or are members of, even if technically they remain anonymous. (Also the posted entries usually remain fairly polite !) In this instance I really cannot see why the Tory faction insisted on being quite so reluctant to declare their overt allegiance. As Gasbill says, the Lib Dems duly did.

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Hi guys,

What's your name Lambethlad? Gasbill? If you restrict this site to 3 chums playing chit chat games in their bedroom, you will render your site defunct. A website for 2 people might as well be called a goldfish bowl. Full of Liberals with big mouths - the fish!!

Ironically, the Liberals on this site (Tim, I didn't say that!!)seem as obsessed with identity of bloggers yet vohemently oppose the introduction of ID Cards.

I note from previous exchanges, this seems to be a sore point and precipatates shut downs and fractured responses.

Your goading isn't working Tim. It's interesting that since a few neutral observers (with or without Tory friends) with views of their own started challenging your post strings, the site has imploded with irrelevant diatribe.

PS: I preferred the summary Tim. People are put off by rants of text that gives the impression an angry man is writing them.

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That sound is the point missing voice-mail entirely or him hurrying past it as fast as is possible.

But you can't really blame him for the latter after his embarrassing performance yesterday.

Summary: You, voice-mail, are a duplicitous fraud.

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Jebus, voice-mail... having re-read your comment it would appear to me that you're determined to prove every point I raised in this post.

Perhaps you *are* a worthless troll and not a Tory activist after all.

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    Hi. I'm Tim. I live in Guildford. I've built a few political weblogs here and there. If you're wondering why I decided to start this particular blog, click here.


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