Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Nailing the Lies on the Liar

This will I guess be my first and last post providing a link to my sane and rational friends at the Town Liar site, but there is a remarkable couple of posts there today by Phil Williams, son of Cllr. John Williams, the Council Leader.

John comes in for a massive amount of stick from the occasionally delusional two or three characters who post there regularly, usually under multiple identities. Without getting into the politics, Phil rebuts the lies and smears one by one, and pays homage to John not just as a politician but also a father. They're posts any dad would be proud to read. Check them out.


Phil Williams said...

Cheers Nick. I couldn't read that stuff and let it go unchallenged. Thick skin clearly doesn't run in the family!

Tom Stebbings said...

Well said Phil.


Having "thick skin" may be a pre-requisite for anyone in a public position of authority, particularly with the cut and thrust of debate and disagreement.
As you know yourself.

This does not excuse personal malicious and defamatory comments that Cllr Williams, and others have had to endure on the Townliar website.

The Electronic Communications act 2003 and Malicious Communications act 1998 state that:

The law of the land relating to written communication equally applies to e-mail and electronic postings on web-sites

This includes defamation.

It also states that it is unlawful to cause, annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety and includes material that, "includes claims of a deceptive nature".Comments that violate the privacy of others, or unfairly criticise or misrepresent others.

The administrator of this site is clearly unaware of these laws.

Rest assured that people who know Cllr Williams are fully in agreement with his sons comments about him and they do not recognise the bilious remarks posted by, as you correctly imply 2 or 3 people with dozens of aliases.

He must be as proud of his son, as Phil is of him.

Tom Stebbings

ian holme said...

I fully undertand and appreciate the comments of Phil Williams.

However, you would be very unwise not to appreciate just how deep feelings are running regarding much of what has happened in our town over the last 18 months in particular.

Many of us have seen first hand exactly how your colleagues and officers have behaved.
I could reel off many many examples of "fibs" and misrepresentation in relation to hurworth school, but feel the time for that has passed.
However, as leader of the council, ultimate responsiblity for the actions of the council stops with JW.

There is no need for personal or libelous attacks on any individual, whatever their position. Let the FACTS speak for themselves.

Ian Holme

Darlington Councillor said...

Phil - well done again. You articulated in those posts comments which many of us have wanted to make for a long time, and did so in such a way as to close down a whole raft of untruths about your dad.

Tom - I completely agree. There is a legal framework, albeit some webmasters think they can say what they like because invariably their internet providers are in another country. The fact that defamatory sites have been closed down in Sunderland and Liverpool recently should give the lie to that (if you'll pardon the pun).

For me, its the personal slurs on officers who can't defend themselves on the internet which I find most objectionable. I still entertain hopes (however irrational) that Ian White acts as a proper moderator and deletes posts and bans people who peddle this hurtful stuff. I've never had any real argument with Ian myself, and think that his site would have 1000% more credibility than it does now (when it often resembles a circus freakshow) if that course of action was taken.

Ian - I agree completely with your final comment. And I'm sufficiently in touch with the public mood to know that a lot of people are unhappy with some things which have happened in the town lately. That means we are trying to work especially hard to retain or regain people's trust.

Ian White said...


You are totally correct

The Electronic Communications act 2003 and Malicious Communications act 1998 state that:

The law of the land relating to written communication equally applies to e-mail and electronic postings on web-sites

However the law only applies to the country of the server and as such the USA has the first ammendment,The right to free spech and as such any complaints are a matter for the FBI. Yes you are correct that the sunderland site was closed down. The truth hurt to much up there and if I recall it to was a Labour Council, and finally Tom a word of advice as I know we have never fallen out however I am aware of things happening about me and people in glass houses simply "shouldnt".

Ian W

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks for clearing up the legal position, Ian.

I simply remain of the view that there should be "lines in the sand" which should be respected - our libel and slander laws are not some recent construct of an overweening executive, but have grown over centuries through the Common Law. Can it be right that they can be entirely disregarded owing to a technicality regarding the location of servers?

It's hard enough attracting people into politics at the moment - one reason for this is a concern amongst candidates for public office that they will be pilloried and yet have no legal recourse when their reputations are dragged through the mud.

I feel that this is doubly true for civil servants and local government officers. The treatment meted out to some officers, following through Council policies on internet message boards is plain wrong, and I think there is a real danger again that able candidates will think twice before exposing themselves to what I regard as internet bullying.

(Incidentally, I might be wrong but I think it was Sunderland Housing Group which had that message board shut down. I don't know of the details in Liverpool, where I understand something similar happened, but that certainly isn't a Labour Council).

Best wishes,


Mike said...

Thanks for reminding me again why I don't bother with the Twon liar forum.

Darlington Councillor said...

I often find myself reading it between my fingers....

Anonymous said...

Christ! Are you still a councillor? When the F*@k will the people of Darlington "WAKE UP".