Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Failed Lib Dem Candidate attacks Barnet Bloggers

I was truly astonished to see a very nasty and sly attack on Barnet Bloggers by the Lib Dem candidate for Hendon, Matthew Harris, in the Jewish Chronicle - http://www.thejc.com/blogs/matthewharris/pro-palestinian-tory-and-local-jewish-community .

Matthew Harris said "I have never wasted much time blogging about Barnet Council. I have wasted lots of time blogging about other things, but rarely about that. There is a band of bloggers who spend all their time blogging about the Council as if it was Parliament and they were Private Eye...One such is Mrs Angry (I know, I know). "

 Harris then continues with a long attack on Mrs Angry. Of course Matthew Harris is entitled to his view. I would point out that Harris came a very distant third in the Hendon constituency election. I worked with Matthew Harris on his campaign as I was at the time standing as a Lib Dem candidate in the Mill Hill  Council ward. Whilst the Lib Dem Council candidates in Mill Hill lost, they polled the highest ever number of votes for the ward for Lib Dems. This was based on sheer hard work and attention to local issues. Whilst I've held my counsel about Matthew's suitability as a candidate, as he's chosen to take a sly dig at my blog, I think the time has come to put the record straight.

I am no longer a member of the Liberal Democrat Party. I felt that I couldn't remain a member given the policies of the coalition government, which I could not possibly support. Having said that I believe that the local Lib Dem politicians and activists are head and shoulders above the other parties in Barnet, both in the council chamber and on the streets. I suspect that Lib Dem Leader Jack Cohen is the only opposition councillor that the Tories truly fear (apart from possibly Labours Kath McGuirk, who I am sure is a descendent of Queen Boudicca). The former Lib Dem Councillors Wayne Casey and Jeremy Davies in Mill Hill and Duncan MacDonald in High Barnet were exemplary councillors and Barnet Council is a far worse place for their passing. The activists who helped me canvass were also fantastic and one of the reasons I have not been more strident in my views on the Lib Dem party is out of respect for these people. I genuinely believe that on a local level, the Lib Dems have a lot to offer in Barnet.

The one fly in the ointment was Mr Matthew Harris. Matthew always struck me as having a very disdainful attitude towards local people, local issues and local campaigns. I used to joke with other Lib Dem activists that Matthew was preparing for a career in the House of Lords. He let slip on a few occasions his contempt for the "Barnet Blogs". I took him to task for this on one occasion and he replied that he was only interested in "real politics" (whatever that may be). Whilst it was clear to me that the only hope of success for the Lib Dems in Barnet was to be seen to be fervently localist in their campaigning, Matthew was not in the least bit interested in stooping to these levels. His attitude to people on the doorstep was a nightmare. He was extremely patronising and he had an awful tendency to lecture people on their own doorsteps. During the course of the campaign dozens of local people privately told me that they thought he was a complete idiot.  A common refrain was to ask whether we'd put him up to ensure people voted for Andrew Dismore, to keep Matthew Offord out.

Perhaps the biggest problem for the Lib Dems in Mill Hill was trying to deal with the strident views of Pro Palestinian Jenny Tonge, a Lib Dem peer. Many Jewish voters told me that they could not possibly vote Lib Dem with her in the party. As I was new to the party, I was at first completely taken aback by the vehemence of this feeling. As Matthew Harris is Jewish and a Member of the Lib Dem friends of Israel, I was under the impression that he should have been able to easily diffuse the issue. Sadly every utterence he made seemed to inflame the problem. At one point during the campaign, he even threatened to stand down, because Tonge had made some pronouncement he disagreed with. Can you imagine Mike Freer saying that, because of Matthew Offords remarks about Gay marriage? In short he was a loose cannon and we had no idea what he would do next. Whilst the rest of us worked as a team, Matthew had his own agenda. After the first TV debate, when Nick Clegg put in a brilliant performance (remember that), Matthew decided that the Hendon seat may actually be winnable. Whilst the strategy had been for him to bolster the council candidates in High Barnet and Mill Hill to help the party build a viable organisation, where there was a realistic chance of winning Council seats, Matthew started demanding that we give him greater visibility. In short, he threw a spanner in the works.

In his comments, Matthew Harris shows clear disdain for the blogs of Barnet. It is a measure of how out of touch he is that he fails to acknowledge the role the blogs have played in changing the face of Barnet politics. I believe that the blogs were the defining factor in the defeat of Brian Coleman in the GLA elections. Whilst many people and organisations played a part, the blogs tied all of these strand together. Harris also fails to acknowledge the scandals that the blogs have uncovered and the money we've saved Barnet. Perhaps he should google "METPRO SCANDAL".

Matthew Harris is an example of the worst kind of politician. He has no interest in the small issues that he can change. He has no interest in day to day campaigning. He only comes out at election time. Worst of all, he is pompous and completely up himself. His criticisms of Mrs Angry, I believe are born as much out of jealousy for her profile as any deep seated disagreement with her. In fact his criticism is nonsensical. He contends that Mrs Angry is wrong to suppose that Tory Jewish voters should be wary of a candidate with pro Palestinian views. Harris suggests that Palestinian supporters would be happy to vote for him, even though he supports Israel and it's various military interventions. These are clearly the blatherings of a deluded fool. That is like suggesting that I as a Roman Catholic should support Ian Paisley because he is a good constituency MP (which I believe he is), despite his years of Anti Catholic bile. Sorry Matthew, but the real world doesn't work like that.

If Matthew Harris worked one tenth as hard as Mrs Angry has over the last two years on local issues and connecting with local people, then he may actually be taken seriously as a politician.


28 comments:

Mr Mustard said...

I'm with you Roger and Theresa. I read the offending post. I don't do religion ( what's that, or Politics Mrs A?) and so won't get into arguments about things outside of my field but we bloggers will stand together.

John Baldy said...

Perhaps Matthew Harris has not noted the recent London election result for Barnet and Camden.

Whatever - Mrs Angry is completely top-notch and anybody putting her down is clearly a fool.

My fave thing about her blog is the way that she completely breaks all the rules about writing on the internet (keep it SHORT - being the main one) and yet she still keeps me reading way down 'below-the-fold'.

More power to her elbow. And to yours Rog T, and to the other Barnet bloggers.

button55 said...

This makes me smile..Well lets put it this way, we don`t have to get out of bed too early to campaign against our very own local Lib-Dum do we!!..

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Mathew Harris is the Lib Dem's Brian Coleman.

Mrs Angry said...

Well thanks, Rog + all: for family reasons I haven't had time to write about this yet - if I can be bothered - and I have as yet no right of reply on the man's blog as I have to be scrutinised first, apparently, before being allowed to comment on the website.

I'm not sure what the point of his post was, except to get at bloggers, whom he seems to resent.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am supportive of Israel, and I have every sympathy with Greek Cypriots. For him to say that the issues of Cypriot & Israeli politics are not connected to local matters is nonsense: and so is the implication that there is no reason to be concerned that many other communities in the borough have no councillors to speak for them, and their own issues, and are in danger of effectively being excluded from a fuller engagement with the local democratic process. Of course our Cypriot and Jewish councillors identify and support their communities - and so they damned well should: but let us have a council that is more representative of women, ethnic minorites and a broader spectum of the very diverse borough we now have.

As for Mr Harris, I spotted him looking very pissed off at the Ally Pally count, and suspect he himself feels excluded from the political mainstream.

I'm afraid I may have upset him by referring to treacherous Libdems. I like and respect our local three Libdems, who have been around since the last Whig government, but I have nothing but contempt for the coalition agreement by Clegg which has sold the integrity of his party for a bag full of cushy ministerial posts.

Duncan Macdonald said...

Matthew has dug himself a hole that is so deep that I'm reluctant to even try and pull him out of it. His attack on Barnet bloggers is silly. Barnet's bloggers provide the opposition and scrutiny that Labour dismally fail to provide with a few honourable exceptions (Stand up Cllr McGurk). On his substantive point it is frustrating when you are campaigning on local issues to be judged on national or international ones over which you have no control, however people are interested in the whole character of their representatives and often don't understand (or don't care) where the boundaries of their responsibility are. In my opinion my local Cllrs view on One Barnet is more important that their view on Israel, Cyprus or anywhere else. Conversely my MP's view on the activities of Barnet Council is of less interest to me than their opinion on matters that parliament deals with.

I have to say that attacking Mrs Angry amounts to either exceptional courage or exceptional stupidity.

Mrs Angry said...

Ha: both, I think, Mr McDonald! Except who is he, and who cares? Will try & write something about the by election again if I get the time later.

Crusty said...

I too have read Matthew Harris's comments in the JC and have tried to register with the JC to submit a response. As yet the JC have not approved my account so I cannot respond there.

Back in 2010 I actually campaigned for Matthew Harris in the General Election. I was fed up with the Brown Government and felt that the Lib Dems time had come at last - how wrong I was!

In my own small way I had in fact contributed towards getting Matthew Offord elected :-(

The LibDems never once contacted me after the election despite me giving up several evenings of my own time to canvass voters on Harris's behalf. What a waste of time that was - and had I known the contempt that he holds the Barnet Bloggers in - I would never have wasted my time on his campaign.

Barnet Council is up for election again in 2014. The LibDems appear to have imploded in Mill Hill at least - so is it too early to campaign for Labour to get the Tories out and reclaim our borough?

Matthew Harris said...

Oh, Roger. Last time I saw you properly was surely when a few of us were in the pub? I rather liked you then.

How is what I wrote on the JC blog "nasty" or "sly" - what is "sly" about writing on a blog? It was not an attack, it was a critique. It only becomes an "attack" if it gets into slagging off the personal qualities of a person about whom I am writing, and I (unlike you) never do that.

You did indeed work hard as a candidate in Mill Hill. You did indeed get a higher-than-ever vote, as (for the first time ever), London's local elections in 2010 were held on the same day as the General Election, so a higher-than-ever number of people were voting over all. Your share of the vote collapsed compared to the 2006 local elections, which is why we lost both of our two (out of three) seats in Mill Hill when you stood as a candidate. As it happens, the share of the vote for me in the General Election hardly fell at all and stayed at around 12%. Very disappointing for us both.

I am sorry that you have left the Liberal Democrats, but I never got the impression that you had much interest in the party's national policies and leaders, so perhaps it is for the best that you have left, perhaps to go back to Labour. I think that the current Coalition Government is a vast improvement on the Blair/Brown Labour Government.

I agree with you that Jack and the other local Lib Dems have a huge amount to offer to the people of Barnet.

I am sorry that you consider me to have been a fly in the ointment. Given the limited resources that we had at our disposal, I didn't think that we'd even managed to have much ointment, with or without flies in it. It is absolutely true that you and I did not always agree on how best to run the campaign. I did not always agree with your suggestions, and vice versa. I stand by my belief that not everybody reads blogs and that more conventional campaigning was needed alongside the approach that you suggested.

I like to think that I am quite a good canvasser, but you clearly disagree - fair enough!

I remember exactly what you're saying about my threatening to stand down. Before the actual election, when Baroness Tonge had one of her high-profile brou-ha-has, I privately (not publicly) told you and other friends that I could imagine leaving the party and not being the candidate if such things kept happening all the time. The incident in question was this one: http://matthew4hendon.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/nick-clegg-right-to-sack-baroness-tonge.html I'm delighted to have stayed a loyal, committed Liberal Democrat and the party has moved ever more in a direction that I am very happy with, particularly in terms of the Coalition, and especially with Baroness Tonge now having resigned the Lib Dem whip - hooray!

I didn't say precisely that about "real politics", what I said is that I believe that Parliamentary candidates should campaign first and foremost on the national and international issues that MPs actually have control over, rather than pretending (yes, pretending) to have control over local issues over which they actually have no control. I wrote about this publicly at the time: http://matthew4hendon.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/liberal-democrats-local-manifesto.html

Actually, I did do quite a lot of local campaigning, as http://matthew4hendon.blogspot.co.uk/ makes clear. My approach to such campaigning was different from yours. For example, on the Thameslink problems, your approach was to complain about how First Capital Connect should lose the franchise. My approach was to speak to First Capital Connect about how they could blooming well improve the service and compensate passengers, immediately: http://matthew4hendon.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/thameslink-news-for-passengers.html This actually made the front page of the Hendon Times, which reported what I had done on this local issue as the Parliamentary candidate.

Rog T said...

Matthew,
Your comments in the JC read as a personal attack on Mrs Angry. I attended the 2010 Lib Dem spring conference specifically to learn about the parties national politics. I liked much of what i heard, especially the pledges about funding of education.

I quit Labour due to national politics and I joined the Lib Dems for the same reason. The Blair/Brown government betrayed us on many issues and lied to us on many issues. It took 11 years before I admitted the truth about the nature of the regime.

Clegg didn't even last eleven weeks before he abandoned his principles.

As to your comments abaout your approach vs my approach. I helped get elaine Holt, the MD of Thameslink down to Mill Hill to meet commuters.

I engaged Holt in dialog and as a result semi fast trains were re-introduced from Mill Hill, a gate on platform 4 was opened and various other station improvements were made. As you correctly pointed out, this wasn't mentioned in the local paper.

The campaign to lose the FCC franchise is one that has lead to improvements. It is ongoing.

Whilst I am sure your recollection of the eventsre Tonge are as you perceived them, they caused consternation within the campaign team.

It pains me to say it, but as you asked the question, I believe this administration is far worse than the one rubn by either Gordon Brown or Tony Blair. I think it would be even worse without the Lib dems, but it is a real wasted opportunity. As we are now officially in recession and even the IMFis slagging off the policies, I think it is fair to say that the facts agree with me.

As to rejoining Labour. I couldn't even if I wanted to. As they had failed to proces my resignation (I have proof that I resigned in the form of emails etc), they "kicked me out" and banned me from membership of the party for five years in 2010 for standing for a rival party.

I am glad that I stood in 2010 and I gave it my best shot. Had you not publicly attacked and sought to belittle bloggers in Barnet I would have kept all of my views private.

Theresa (Mrs Angry) is a personal friend of mine and I believe you are out of order having a go at her. what is even more irritating is the fact that having slagged her off, you then try and pretend you have the moral high ground and that you don't do personal attacks.

I do personal attacks, if I think the behaviour of a person in the public eye warrants it. Following your attack obn Theresa, I felt tduty bound to respond.

Rog T said...

Matthew,
Your comments in the JC read as a personal attack on Mrs Angry. I attended the 2010 Lib Dem spring conference specifically to learn about the parties national politics. I liked much of what i heard, especially the pledges about funding of education.

I quit Labour due to national politics and I joined the Lib Dems for the same reason. The Blair/Brown government betrayed us on many issues and lied to us on many issues. It took 11 years before I admitted the truth about the nature of the regime.

Clegg didn't even last eleven weeks before he abandoned his principles.

As to your comments abaout your approach vs my approach. I helped get elaine Holt, the MD of Thameslink down to Mill Hill to meet commuters.

I engaged Holt in dialog and as a result semi fast trains were re-introduced from Mill Hill, a gate on platform 4 was opened and various other station improvements were made. As you correctly pointed out, this wasn't mentioned in the local paper.

The campaign to lose the FCC franchise is one that has lead to improvements. It is ongoing.

Whilst I am sure your recollection of the eventsre Tonge are as you perceived them, they caused consternation within the campaign team.

It pains me to say it, but as you asked the question, I believe this administration is far worse than the one rubn by either Gordon Brown or Tony Blair. I think it would be even worse without the Lib dems, but it is a real wasted opportunity. As we are now officially in recession and even the IMFis slagging off the policies, I think it is fair to say that the facts agree with me.

As to rejoining Labour. I couldn't even if I wanted to. As they had failed to proces my resignation (I have proof that I resigned in the form of emails etc), they "kicked me out" and banned me from membership of the party for five years in 2010 for standing for a rival party.

I am glad that I stood in 2010 and I gave it my best shot. Had you not publicly attacked and sought to belittle bloggers in Barnet I would have kept all of my views private.

Theresa (Mrs Angry) is a personal friend of mine and I believe you are out of order having a go at her. what is even more irritating is the fact that having slagged her off, you then try and pretend you have the moral high ground and that you don't do personal attacks.

I do personal attacks, if I think the behaviour of a person in the public eye warrants it. Following your attack obn Theresa, I felt tduty bound to respond.

Matthew Harris said...

Roger, if you think that the UK was better off under Brown then it now is under Cameron/Clegg, then we must again agree to disagree. I don't believe that the compromises enshrined in the Coalition Agreement represent a betrayal of Nick Clegg's principles.

Sure, I expressed strong disagreement with what that lady had written on her blog? What is wrong with that? It is not an 'attack'. If I write about not being a fan of Star Wars, is that an 'attack'on George Lucas? Why can I not write that I don't like some things that she has written on a blog? What is wrong with that? I have said nothing about her personally, just about her blog.

You, however, have written at great length about what you consider to be my personal qualities (or lack thereof), so cementing your reputation as someone who appears to enjoy writing angry, highly personal attacks on people of whom you disapprove. The vituperative tone of your post typifies precisely that tone which leads many of us to hate the type of blogging in which you engage. It is possible, Roger, to be insightful not spiteful, and you should try it some time.

What you call "the campaign team" was a group of good friends of mine with whom I had been working for many years before your brief flirtation with the Liberal Democrats, and there was no "consternation" about my standing down, as there was never any serious prospect that I might do so. You have simply got that wrong, demonstrating the same lack of perspective that you often demonstrated during the campaign.

Rog T said...

Re the Coalition. If you think tearing up the pledges about student loans is anything other than disgusting, purely for a few ministerial limo's then Lord help you.

Your JC article was full of sly innuendo and the private response to it I've had (especially from Lib Dems and Ex Lib dems in Barnet) vindicates my opinion.

Your comments about "the campaign team" says much about your perception of people. If someone says they are considering quitting mid campaign, then only an idiot would not be upset and worried.

I have no doubt that most of the team like you, but if you think they weren't worried by your comments, you clearly have no empathy at all for anyone.

You may hate the "type of blogging in which I engage". I must confess that I'm not overly keen on people who are happy to write blogs full of sly digs and innuendos and then make out that they are a better sort of person. In case you haven't noticed, I've had over half a million hits on my blog.

If you look at the conservative home website today, it is used as a point of reference in Barnet. I've written articles for the Guardian on the Mayoral Election and are one of their listed London Bloggers. The campaign I started for the Friern People's Library was featured on the One Show recently, for which I was interviewed. I don't seek validation for what my blog has done, but I have had it. Many of the camopigns I've lead have been highly successful and brought ral benefits for the people of Barnet.

You can sneer all you like about the Barnet bloggers, you can write all the sniffy comments you like, trying to make out you are in some way superior. Every comment you make just reinforces the impression I had that you have an attitude problem and have a chip on your shoulder because you can't stand the fact that the Barnet bloggers have achieve far more than you have, despite your "many years" of political activity.

Matthew Harris said...

I don't think that what happened re:- student fees happened in the way that you portray it as having happened, and that's all on my blog for anyone who wants to get into that...

"Sly innuendo" on my JC blog- so sly that I can't see it myself! Sly means "deceiving people in a clever way in order to get what you want" or "seeming to know secrets". Innuendo means "(the making of) a remark or remarks that suggest something sexual or something unpleasant but do not refer to it directly". Is that really what you meant to accuse me of?

I missed the bit where I apparently made out that I am better type of person! I do not remotely claim to be a 'better type of person'. I do, however, claim, truthfully, never to engage in personal attacks. I congratulate you on the high readership of your blog. The News of the World also had a high circulation before it closed - did that mean that it was any good?

You talk about the "private response" that you have had to what I wrote. Yes, I am quite sure that people sometimes say negative things about me in private. That is something that happens to most people. As the expression goes: An eavesdropper never hears well of himself. So we none of us want to hear what has been said about us in private, I agree.

It really saddens me that you cannot have a discussion with me without making a generalised accusation such as the one about my having 'no empathy at all for anyone'. I am not the sort of person who would ever write something like that about someone; you clearly are.

I am delighted that you have secured media coverage for your campaigns and that you have written for The Guardian. I have not 'sneered' at anyone.

You keep playing the man and not the ball by saying spiteful things about chips on shoulders, etc. It is horrible and a lot of local people do not like it. If you guys are going to set yourselves up as Barnet Bloggers and seek to influence local affairs, then you can expect to be scrutinised by people including me, and if you don't like it, you can lump it.

You say that with every passing comment, I make myself look worse. You say that in the hope that I will see that and think "Oh, I'd better shut up then." But no, I shall continue to tell the truth as I see it - as will you, I hope.

Rog T said...

Thanks for the English lecture. As I mentioned in the original blog, you do like giving lectures. What is "There is a band of bloggers who spend all their time blogging about the Council as if it was Parliament and they were Private Eye...One such is Mrs Angry (I know, I know). " If it isn't a sly innuendo? What does "I know, I know" mean?

If I wanted to shut you up I'd simply delete your comments, that usually works pretty well. As to "expecting to be scrutinised" by people like you, fine if that's what you want to do. Personally I'd think that as an opposition politician , you'd be better off scrutinising the local Tories, but strangely you don't seem to interested in that.

It is beyond my comprehension that you are more interested in slagging off bloggers than trying to stop the One Barnet project or help local traders fight obscene parking charges. Maybe you think that your stnce shows a degree of empathy for your fellow citizen. I don't.

Matthew Harris said...

I am not an opposition politician. I am a Lib Dem blogger who mainly blogs about foreign policy. I don't actually have a lot to do with local politics, having rejoined that Silent Majority which does not often get actively involved in such things. I agree with Barnet's Lib Dem councillors about council policies, but I am not actively involved myself. I am not even that well-informed about the detail of council activities, nor do I claim to be. I blog about whatever on different blogs, and nobody ever has to read it if they don't want to. I thought that Mrs Angry's comments were worthy of comment on my JC blog. So I blogged about them there and elsewhere. My "I know, I know" was a acknowledgement on my part of the likelihood that many people would think it ridiculous for a blogger to call herself Mrs Angry. I think it's reasonable for me to have said that. It does strike many people as being silly when people blog under silly pseudonyms. I'm sorry, but it does.

Rog T said...

Your comments about sily pseudonames show an extraordinary level of ignorance. Theresa started the blog initially because Barnet Council housed a problem family in a private landlord house next door to her. The family made her life hell and eventually she decided to write a blog out of desparation. Her ire was directed at the Council She initially wanted to be anonymous as her Brother was a senior Barnet Council officer and she didn't want him getting shit from his boss as a result of her comments.

When he retired, she came out and her name is widely known. There are dozens of reasons why people may wish to use an anonymous handle to blog. To use such a patronising town about it is ridiculous. I have been on the receiving end of person threats, abuse and at one stage a concerted campaign of lies being told about my family as a result of my blogging. I suppose you think that people are immature if they wish to avoid that? I've always made my real name known. If other people don't want to that is up to them. The issue surely is the quality of what they wrote.

If your blog had merely said "I don't agree with Mrs Angry's views in her blog, I would have had no problem with that. Sadly, that isn't what you did at all and it is rather sad that you are trying to make out that is what happened.

As far as I'm concerned, say what you like, but don't get all self righteous when people have a go back.

Matthew Harris said...

By all means let someone use a pseudonym if they need to or want to. The choice of pseudonym is a creative decision. I am allowed to criticise a creative decision. If one calls one's blog Mrs Angry, one risks looking a bit silly in the eyes of some neutral observers. I felt ridiculous quoting a blogger called Mrs Angry and I was acknowledging how ridiculous it was. If I needed a pseudonym and chose to call myself Mr Grumpy, would people not be entitled to laugh at me for doing so?

Matthew Harris said...

Do you call your blog Barnet Eye in reference to Private Eye? I had only just realised that. If so, then that would explain why you thought my JC blog posting was having a particular go at your blog. It wasn't. I was explaining to my reader(s) that there is a bunch of bloggers that talks about Barnet Council as if it is Parliament, and I do find that daft as most people don't know who all the local politicians are and so it's all bit obscure. But, on the other hand, that's blogs - the people who choose to read them are those for whom it's obscure, and that's the whole point, perhaps.

I still say that the bloggers are in a constant state of outrage about Barnet Council, and that constant state of outrage does not represent most people. I still say that it's possible to blog critically without having a constant go about personalities, and without treating everything as if it is an emergency.

And I don't like blogs being used to express a personal dislike of someone, which you do all the time, and it's part of what puts people off blogs.

Matthew Harris said...

I meant "those for whom it's NOT obscure"

Rog T said...

If it puts people off my blog, how come I've had over half a million hits? As to me "talking about the council as if it's Parliament", well I don't know if it's ever occurred to you but decisions in the council chamber can have as devastating an effect as those in Parliament on a local level. Hasn't it occurred to you what effect the abolition of sheltered housing wardens had? Or the effect on local traders of the abolition of pay and display. You may have a total disdain of local politics and think that people who take an interest are somehow "less worthy" than those who read Hansard. I take the opposite view, because there is more scope to change decisions that affect my life and my community. I would have thought that as a Liberal Democrat, you'd understand the importance of localism.

I started the blog because I believed that the council got away with murder. The local press give no coverage at all and bad decisions go unchallenged. You may not like my style, you may think that calling Robert Rams a TWAT is undignified. I happen to think that holding such people to account is an extremely important part of politics. If someone shuts my local library, I want to know who he is, why he did it and if he has made a bad decision that affects lots of local people I want to make sure that every one else knows too.

When I started blogging, I loosely based my style on Simon Hoggart who is the sketch writer for the guardian. He lampoons people for their weight, wearing wigs, being pompous and their bad dress sense.

I enjoy his style of writing. You are correct that Barnet Eye is a play on Private Eye. I assumed that anyione with a modicum of intelligence would have spotted that. You do realise that I am not an optomotrist?

I make no claims for my blog, that is up to the reader. People can slag it off all they like, that is there choice. It is my choice as to how I respond.

Matthew Harris said...

I find Simon Hoggart very funny. He does not engage in character assassination of the sort that you use, of which this post was a nasty example. I haven't said anything about people being "less worthy" or anything like that. Why do you say that I have? Again, why can you not engage with someone (me, in this case) without saying things like 'you don't have a modicum of intelligence'? Some other people manage to debate without abusing each other like that - why can't you? Yes, you've had half a million hits, great, but blogging over all is discredited by this thing of people constantly slagging each other off and being so rude to each other. You used the post above to basically explain that you don't like me personally. That sort of thing does get the Internet and blogs a bad name. That's not what Simon Hoggart does! He is very funny as a writer and his tone is warm and good-humoured.

Rog T said...

What complete utter shite. Blogging is discredited is it? Not in Barnet it isn't mate. More hits this month than ever and a massive upsurge in support due to effective campaigns.

So when Simon Hoggart takes the piss out of Michael Fabricants wig, that is OK is it? It just ain't OK in a Barnet blog.

What gives blogs a bad name is your blog on the JC, which is petty, bitchy and spiteful. Where was the humour and warmth in your comments about Ms Angry.

In short you are a complet utter hypocrite, who hasn't got the balls to admit it.

You lecture me, you claim I can't debate without abusing people, yet you started all of this off with an unprovoked slagging off of Theresa, which as far as I can see is only motivated by jealousy.

If you'd said nothing and not insulted her, your comments would have validity, but given what you wrote, you clearly are just a playground bully who can dish it out but can't take it.

I used the post to explain why I felt your attack was out of order and why I felt your comments were without merit. In the Matthew Harris book of ethics, it is fine to slag people off, so long as you do it in a sly and nasty way. You clearly are too thin skinned to accept honest criticism.

I think such behaviour is cowardly and despicable. I'll let you have the last word now, because to be quite honest, I can't be bothered responding to your waffle anymore. Fire away

Matthew Harris said...

You say: "Harris then continues with a long attack on Mrs Angry." I did no such thing. I did no more than to comment on the substance of what she had written; that is not an 'attack'. Readers can judge for themselves, as here is the passage that Roger calls "a long attack on Mrs Angry":

"Having heard that Daniel Hope's 'online newspaper' the Barnet Bugle had run some interesting stuff about the Conservative candidate in Barnet Council's Brunswick Park by-election, I had a look, and that linked to this post of Mrs Angry's: http://wwwbrokenbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/how-to-lose-election-broke... I really do not like her suggestion that the Jewish and Greek Cypriot communities are "represented" by councillors who happen to be Jewish or Greek Cypriot, while other communities are (she says) not "represented" at all, as there are no councillors from those communities - those communities apparently including Irish Catholics and Turkish Cypriots. Jewish and other councillors are elected to represent their wards, not their "communities". I have known councillors across London who give a great service to all residents, regardless of their ethnicity and faith. Also, Mrs Angry suggests that this Tory candidate (who is apparently involved in the Conservative Muslim Forum) won't win support from Jewish and Greek residents of Brunswick Park, because of the (Muslim) candidate's possible views on Israel and Cyprus. What have Israel and Cyprus got to do with municipal politics in Barnet? Mrs Angry suggests that the Tory lady might have signed a letter opposing Israel's role in the Lebanon War of 2006. Well, so what if she did or did not? I supported Israel in that war - does that mean that Muslim residents couldn't vote for me to be their Barnet councillor? Of course not."

Rog T said...

Matthew, I suppose for you t6hat is a "one liner"

LibDem Candidate said...

The Matthew Harris I knew:
would sweet talk a widow who was prominent in the local party, then when she had left for the evening, he would tell you that she was mad and neurotic;
once attended a telephone canvassing event at Monroe Palmer's home, once it had finished and everybody had left, he texted everybody to say that it had been a rubbish event and badly organised [unfotunately he accidently included Monroe in that text];
he would say everything that you wanted to hear when he got you alone and wanted something from you;
would wait to judge the prevaling opinion in the room before forming his opinion;
has two faces.

He does not like to hear contradictory opinions - it makes him quite angry.

Is incapabe of doing anywork once he has left the room: if you rely on him to work independently [and if its not in his direct personal interest] you are going to be disappointed.

Will say yes to any suggestion that has broad support because he knows that it is better to fail as a group than disent as an individual.

You can be sure that Matthew will always be working for his own political advancement and has a thoroughly vile character.

LibDem Candidate said...

PS did you notice that at the 2010 General Election the LibDem share of the vote went up nationally, except for Matthew's share of the vote which went down.

LibDem Candidate said...

Did I say that Matthew Harris will stab you in the back? it doesn't really matter who or what you are. It's sort of an unconscious act on his part, he slags everybody off behind their backs.
It's very carefully crafted to destroy their credibilty and advance his own, and gently done.

When he was on the same focus team as David Nowell, in private he would slag off David, his home and David's parents.

What a vile individual.