Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blogger Down!




Every once in a while, blogs can get inundated with hostile/obscene/defamatory comments. Darlington Councillor seems to find itself in that position at least three times a week.

For other bloggers, however, this can be a new and unnerving experience, and I was sad to see Mike Barker's blog is now only readable "by invitation only".

As I'm sure most will be aware, Mike has incurred the wrath of Darlington FC fans after criticising the club's drinks promotion policy online and via the media. A particularly virulent thread has started up on the Forum of the Darlington Rivals site.

Entirely in character, Mike tried to take his message (and build a few bridges) by answering fans' complaints on that thread, but 130 or so angry fans' posts and 4,000 views later, he presumably gave that up as a bum job. As a disinterested observer, I particularly noted the comment from one fan;

This Barker bloke is full of his own importance read his blog, he is a self publicist. He is part of that town lier crew who complain about everything to do with Darlington...If they hate the town and its folk so much why dont the leave and go back to Reading of wherever they came from.

...presuming, of course, Reading will have them. There were some other choice observations about the Liar and its contributors, which I daren't repeat here.

Locking the blog in response, however, does seem pretty drastic. From their comments, I don't think the Darlo fans are going to go away, and some are even talking about picketing his shop.

As I see that LibDem MEP Fiona Hall and the LibDems nationally have received protests, I do hope that Mike hasn't been ordered to take down his site by some Cowley Street supremo. Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mike's views on Darlington FC, blogging in Darlington is all the stronger for his presence, and I hope that this matter gets straightened out soon.

24 comments:

Mr S Lawson said...

Dear Mr Wallis,
Having been an active member of Darlington Football Club for over 20 years,i feel that Mr Barker has over-stepped the mark in order to achieve political gain,however,it is totally unacceptable that with all the problems in this town (which im sure you are aware of) he feels it nessesary to talk to anyone who will listen about his views on something he has never witnessed.I would like you Mr Wallis to give your perseption on this.What other methods could OUR football club instigate to survive?What will Labour do to help what is a great asset to the town,to help it/us.
I await your reply with eagerness.
Mr S Lawson.

miketually said...

My guess would be that there have been some pretty dodgy comments made and Mike has locked the blog so others can't see them until he gets chance to clean them up.

I hope so, anyway. As you say, having our local Councillors blogging and engaging with the public is fantastic for the town - good on Mike for using the rivals forum to respond too.

Anonymous said...

...presuming, of course, Reading will have them. There were some other choice observations about the Liar and its contributors, which I daren't repeat here.


if you wish to discuss 'choice observations' then I hope you would comment on Mr Barker's blog which suggested that Darlington FC have no interest in getting people to the football but all they want them to do is come and (in his words get 'PISSED' if he opens a blog that actively encourages swearwords then he can't complain when one person put a single swearword in their thread. The arguments wrere reasoned and unanswerable that is why he blocked his site.

Anonymous said...

Hell hath no fury like a football supported scorned.......apparently....

What a ridiculous over-reaction to Mikes piece. He is entitled to his view and should be free to express it.
Have to say hearing these dfc supporters complain about the use of swear words seems hypocritical in the extreme given the language used on grounds right around the country. I had no idea that the football supporters were such delicate creatures.

Seems to me it the supporters that should get a life, if all they have to worry about is one cllrs views on a drinks promotion they should consider themselves very fortunate.

Anonymous said...

why is it a ridiculous over reaction?? it initially started when he was asked to jusify why he singled DFC out when compared to places in town that sell cheaper beer every day of the year and all day long the club only do theirs for 16 days of the year and for 2x90minute periods. saying basically sod the football just come and get pissed is offensive not just to the club but to the supporters/families that attend the matches and might well take advantage of the offer now if you do not see that then you are either pretty dumb or the man himself?
He failed to do it himself so as you are keen to defend him (and nobody would illogically defend the undefendable) you explain why the suddenly silent MB publically slates the football club for minimally doing what bars n shops do all year round - tell me why he doesnt campaign in areas where it matters, why he allows bluebottle bend (formerly charlie browns) to grow in its volumes of cheap cider bottles bought from within the town centre. Yes campaign against cheap drink but hit the right targets.

Anonymous said...

What a depressing website Darlo Rivals is.
This particular thread so grotesquely epitimises the pack mentality.
Not reasoned debate but semi literate barking and ganging up on a lone man.

I don't particularly agree with Mike Barkers view but I can't understand the excitable over reaction.....
Or rather I can - somebody dared speak something slightly against the grain of their football team.

A lot of footie fans are fools who are undyingly loyal to a team which may well be owned and run by businessmen who could well support their bitter rivals.
They love being ripped off, paying well over the odds for any item which has their teams stupid emblem on it.
They can be devoted fans of a player or manager one minute and calling for their heads like a mad crowd of muslims the next.

I am not a Lib Dem and I don't particularly agree with Mike Barkers comments but I can sympathise with him about the comments which he has had aimed at him in such an aggressive manner.

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks for the comments everyone - I don't think we'll know any more about the status of Mike's blog until he comments on it himself. Although we cross swords regularly, I genuinely do want to see him back and blogging again.

Mr Lawson - you ask what the Labour Council can do to support the club? I would simply ask - look at our track record. At times when councillors from other parties have been keen to whip up sentiment against the club and its ground with local residents (remember Janet Mazurk, who stood for the Tories in 2 local elections?), Labour never played that game, but ensured that Town Hall officers worked constructively with club officials.

As I think the Northern Echo has acknowledged a couple of times in its leader column, that wasn't always the popular thing to do, but clearly right for those of us who think that the town benefits enormously from having a thriving football league club.

The success of the Elton John concert recently, again in the teeth of opposition, proves the point. Local residents have rights too, of course, but we will continue to work with the club to try and ensure success on and off the pitch.

Mike Barker said...

I have not heard anything from Cowley St or Fiona Hall, nor do I expect to. Our's is not a party (and I'm not suggesting here that anyone else's is) that tells its members what to do or say.
I have removed the blog from public view for time being while I decide what to do with it. I may continue, I may not.
The dozen or so abusive posts I allowed to remain on my blog were the relatively acceptable ones - generally not much worse than Nick has to put up with on his blog. It was all the other posts I had to block or delete which made personal threats or were just obnoxiously unpleasant that caused me to decide to close the blog for the time being.
Many people may not agree with my point of view, but, even if they do not agree with me, that does not justify the virulent outpouring of abuse and personal threats to which I was subjected. I am entitled to my views, and I do not see that a football club is above criticism for its policies, any more than is any other business, be it British Gas, Orange, or even a local health food shop. If a business which deals with the public does something we don't like we should be entitled to criticise it. Over the past 23 years my businesses have been favourably reviewed in the local press but a couple of times they have been criticised. I did not launch a vicious campaign of abuse against the journalist responsible and I do not understand why I should be subjected to such abuse because I decided to criticise the football club.
The only thing I regret about my original blog posting was that I used the word "pissed" which has apparently offended so many Darlo fans.
As a frequent attender of matches both at Feethams and the Arena, I'm sure I have heard worse words used. Turn on the tv any evening and you'll hear worse.
However, accepting that the word has been found offensive by so many fans, who used much worse language in their postings on my blog, I removed this word and apologised on my blog for any offence caused.
The abuse and threats continued, however, so I have blocked access to the blog for the time being.
The Echo is planning an article, presumably to appear tomorrow, to give the fans their opportunity to put their point of view. They are entitled to present their side of the argument, which hopefully, since they will be in the Echo, will be well argued, restrained, mature and persuasive.
If I am in a minority of one, so be it, but in a liberal democracy even those in a minority of one should be entitled to express their views without fear of personal threats and abuse.

BNP Volunteer said...

in a liberal democracy even those in a minority of one should be entitled to express their views without fear of personal threats and abuse.


Do I take it by that rule of thumb you support BNP teacher Adam Walkers right to hold an opinion without fear of personal threats and abuse from the powers that be?

BNP Volunteer said...

I read this on a forum


Labour has to rethink delivering election leaflets after dog mauls Preston councillor through letterbox

Councillors are to change the way they deliver election leaflets after a Labour man was left permanently scarred by a dog.

Coun Brian Rollo needed two hours of surgery after his right hand was savaged when he put it through a letterbox in Sycamore Road, Ribbleton, Preston.

He was off sick from his job at BAE Systems for four weeks and still suffers daily pain from the incident in June.

He said fellow councillors would be changing the way they postleaflets after the terrifying attack.

His wife Trisha is even trying to come up with a way of making it safer to post the paperwork.

He said: "Colleagues were very worried about putting things through letterboxes.

"Rather than folding leaflets into quarters and pushing them through, we'll be rolling them up into a tube and pushing them through. My wife's looking at developing a prodder.

"And we will not be using help from anyone to deliver leaflets. It's far too dangerous, so that's off the cards."...

A contributor offered this comment

Going back a few years, nothing to do with politics but anyway.
I had an appointment with a customer, knocked on the door, no answer, little dog barking like mad the other side.
After knocking a few times i concluded the lady was out so dropped a note through the letter box to say i had called, before the note hit the floor, the dog jumped up, ripped it out of my hand and chewed it up, second attempt, same thing.
I went back to the van, got a tack hammer out of it and shoved it metal end first through the letter box, lots of growling, tugging and a loud crunch as his teeth bit into it.

Peered through the letter box, little dog sitting there looking up rather shocked with bit of blood on his lips, dropped another note through the door which little dog ignored completely.

End of story.

ali hardwick said...

Any news on Alan Oreilly's disciplinary hearing yet, Trev?

Darlington Councillor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darlofan189 said...

As said above it’s correct to go about reducing binge drinking, but bullying our little club is completely the wrong way to achieve this. I can say confidently that much less than 1% of alcohol consumed in our town is from Darlington F.C and as such even if alcohol was even banned from the stadium it still would be a complete waste of time as it would have no effect on the town.

Surely there is much bigger problems than our club trying to survive in anyway it can?

Darlington football club is a part of our town’s history which needs to remain a part of the town, our club over the next few years will face numerous difficulties (mostly off the pitch) which we will do well to come out of with anything.

As for comments not surprisingly left by anonymous about darlofc.co.uk the website is well run and carries out a good service and I’m sure most people agree that Scott’s efforts are invaluable.

“This particular thread so grotesquely epitimises the pack mentality.” Is it a pack mentality or just lots of people agreeing over something which is clearly correct? If I were to ask if democracy is the correct way for a country to be run, and you all agree, will that be pack mentality? NO!

Again a comment from anon, “Not reasoned debate but semi literate barking and ganging up on a lone man” I believe that most of the comments were well informed answers from people who know more about the fans behaviour than anyone else. Also don’t tar all football fans with the same brush, if you attended any Darlington football match you would see that most of our fans are very respectable. As for being “semi literate” I am highly educated as are some of my fellow Darlo fans. The comment about ganging up on a lone man also doesn’t hold water because if u choose to put yourself in the corner and come out fighting then that’s your fault.

As for people not understanding the reaction take a long look at the town, there are lots of problems, binge drinking should not even be in the top 10 things to sort out. Even if it was Darlington F.C. should be one of the last places you look at to reduce binge drinking as it happens in such little numbers. Also I don’t think the people of Darlington realise how much financial trouble the club might be in, I would go as far as saying in eight years time I will be pleasantly surprised if D.F.C. still exists. All this happy hour will do is get some of the crowd to move their drinking habits from one pub to the football club which will hopefully make the football club some much needed money.

I totally agree with politicians speaking to the public online and long may it continue but there must be rules for everyone, if Mike Barker uses adult language, then anyone also used foul language you can’t complain.

Mike you say you regretted putting “p*ssed” in your blog because it offended darlo fans, it wasn’t that you put p*ssed (and you know it) but you used foul language then closed the discussion because a fan used bad language. Also the fact that you put it across that the football didn’t matter anymore, if it didn’t matter and all I wanted was to drink lots of cheap booze I would go to Tesco or the town centre not the stadium as its much cheaper.

I, like many other are waiting for your public apology to Darlington football club for the potential damage you could have caused its good reputation.

Mike Barker said...

My blog is now open again. The worst examples of posts containing personal threats and abuse have been removed.

I have this morning added the following post:

"I am happy to repeat my apology for the heading on my original post, which I have removed. The heading was intended to be controversial: it was not intended to cause offence and I apologise to anyone, including anyone at Darlington Football Club, who was offended.

I am happy to acknowledge that the football club itself suffers very little from alcohol related problems and its bar is well run and stewarded. I have already expressed this opinion to the Echo, though it remains to be seen whether they print it.

I have also acknowledged, in my original post, that the football club needs help to survive.

However, I still maintain my original position: I believe it is unfortunate and it sends out the wrong message, for a family-oriented sports club to promote Happy Hour drinks prices. I acknowledge that the promotion is not as long-lasting or as cheap as in some of the bars in town, but the football club is a leading organisation in the local community and my personal view is that it does itself no credit by joining the Happy Hour drinks culture.

This opinion is not shared by many, mainly anonymous, posters. However, I have received, through emails, telephone calls and personal conversations, from people who would never get involved in a on-line blogging debate, considerable support for my views.

Alcohol consumption, particularly among the young in this country is too high: it causes immense individual and social problems and something needs to be done about it. The Government has wittered on for some time about a mandatory restriction on Happy Hour promotions, but has so far relied on the drinks industry to take voluntary action - to no great effect.

Next month, the football club is the venue for a conference on the problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption. I am sure the club in no way condones binge drinking. However, I still maintain it should be setting an example here by not using the phrase "Happy Hour" to promote its bars."

ian h said...

" Anonymous said...
Hell hath no fury like a football supported scorned.......apparently....

What a ridiculous over-reaction to Mikes piece. He is entitled to his view and should be free to express it.
Have to say hearing these dfc supporters complain about the use of swear words seems hypocritical in the extreme given the language used on grounds right around the country. I had no idea that the football supporters were such delicate creatures.

Seems to me it the supporters that should get a life, if all they have to worry about is one cllrs views on a drinks promotion they should consider themselves very fortunate."

Just to make clear, this was not from Cllr Barker, but myself. And it IS ridiculous a over-reaction by the "fans"

What the cllr says is not anti DFC, he is simply concerned about one of their business promotions, which he has every right to express.
I am only too aware of some of the excellent work the club does for the community, but that should not exclude them from any form of critisism if appropriate.

As for the language used, i see he has already apologised for any offence caused, but really, if anyone is truly shocked by such language i doubt very much they go anywhere near any football ground.

BNP Volunteer said...

ali hardwick said...
Any news on Alan Oreilly's disciplinary hearing yet, Trev?


You can help us here.
Let us know exactly where O'Reilly made these comments with as much information as possible and he will be suspended.
At the moment everything is a bit vague and hearsayish so it is not progressing as fast as I would like. It is all on the say so of a bitter rival at the minute and that isn't too legitimate.

Look forward to your responce Rick

BNP Volunteer said...

http://www.mediafetcher.com/article_full.php?id=35285

Can we expect to see Lib/Lab/Con or any of the other Left Wing selective anti racists to take offence and take action against this savage hate crime?
I doubt it.
How could any civilised person behave like that, especially towards a woman?
No wonder Mike Reids daughter, Stuart Pearces brother and the country's number one ballerina Simone Clarke are joining thousands of other brave British patriots and making a stand on behalf of the BNP.
I understand a top snooker player is also a BNP member.


http://www.mediafetcher.com/article_full.php?id=35285

1superlidds said...

The vast majority of those posts removed were neither offensive nor threatening - you took off large numbers simply to implicate a pack attack feel to the thread.
regarding the 'semi literate' comments, they are pathetic. The vast majority of supporters are as educated if not better educated than the average councillor. Being a football supporter is not a compensate for lack of education. Lets face it most councillors aren't exactly the brightest of creatures!
The fact remains as has been said above sending a hammer down on the 16 days a year that the football club put these deals on is not going to solve the problems in the town centre, its not going to clear blue bottle bend of the homeless drunks and its not going to solve the anti-social behaviour currently running rife in our parks.
If MB has plans on tackling alcohol related issues then hit the town centre.
He was not aware that the deals had been running previously at the stadium - only finding out by an advert, the reason he wasnt aware was because the club do not have any problems with drink related anti-social problems.

Ian Carter (have posted as 1superlidds & also annon when rushing but I have nothing to hide)

BritnProud said...

Still London being London I wouldn't mind betting that a lot of those that get filmed getting attacked are cosmopolitan lefties in love with their multi cultist dream until it turns into a nightmare and comes back to slap them.
I bet they previously had no time for the BNP until .....WALLOP!

Anonymous said...

From Chris Close's blog


"Apparently the issue of ‘Fairer Charging’ was tabled at the Cabinet meeting of DBC last night and went through without demur from anyone.



Councillors passed a measure which affects people without a voice with no real debate.



Perhaps the obvious conflict of interest needs to be now pointed out.



The ‘saving’ or ‘income’ gained from ‘robbing’ these disabled people will be less than half the cost to Darlington of the ‘allowances’ of these self serving ‘Councillors’ who were elected to represent the interests apparently of themselves.



They should be ashamed of themselves.





A direct example of how this affects people is of one of the people who uses our service who currently is ‘charged’ £60 per week out of an income of £120 to pay for the ‘care’ he receives over which he was given no choice and was not consulted about.



They argue ‘we did write to him’.



He cannot read.



Nor can he speak properly.



I wonder why they did not just go the whole hog and ‘mug’ him for the rest.



Oh yes, they will do that now because he will also now be charged £10 per day for his day care which will leave him with nothing.



No-one claimed responsibility.



“We are only following orders”.



Now where have I heard that before.



This is a scandal.
Apparently the issue of ‘Fairer Charging’ was tabled at the Cabinet meeting of DBC last night and went through without demur from anyone.



Councillors passed a measure which affects people without a voice with no real debate.



Perhaps the obvious conflict of interest needs to be now pointed out.



The ‘saving’ or ‘income’ gained from ‘robbing’ these disabled people will be less than half the cost to Darlington of the ‘allowances’ of these self serving ‘Councillors’ who were elected to represent the interests apparently of themselves.



They should be ashamed of themselves.





A direct example of how this affects people is of one of the people who uses our service who currently is ‘charged’ £60 per week out of an income of £120 to pay for the ‘care’ he receives over which he was given no choice and was not consulted about.



They argue ‘we did write to him’.



He cannot read.



Nor can he speak properly.



I wonder why they did not just go the whole hog and ‘mug’ him for the rest.



Oh yes, they will do that now because he will also now be charged £10 per day for his day care which will leave him with nothing.



No-one claimed responsibility.



“We are only following orders”.



Now where have I heard that before.



This is a scandal."

Is this nor more important than some stupid willy waving exercise like this?

ali hardwick said...

Trevor said
You can help us here.
Let us know exactly where O'Reilly made these comments with as much information as possible and he will be suspended.
At the moment everything is a bit vague and hearsayish so it is not progressing as fast as I would like. It is all on the say so of a bitter rival at the minute and that isn't too legitimate.

Ali says:
Nothings happening is it, Trev? You haven't got the bottle to complain and he's too valuable an asset for the bnp to get rid of. As long as the bnp's made up of inadequates like you and Oreilly its going nowhere.

BNP Volunteer said...

So no evidence then Rick.
Seems like a few in the BNP fell for a bit of left wing mischief making about Alan. I hold my hands up as one of those guilty few and I believe the man is owed an apology.

Alan holds strong Protestant views but on scrutiny there is nothing to show anti catholicism.
If there was you would be providing links right, left and centre.

Valuable asset?
He is a mere standard member like tens of thousands of others in the BNP.
He has only been in the BNP 3 years, has never held an official position and has never stood as candidate.

What makes you think that I am Trev?
He is not the only BNP activist in County Durham.

Keep scraping the barrel (P)Rick.
PS May the force be with you!

BNP Volunteer said...

So no evidence then Rick.
Seems like a few in the BNP fell for a bit of left wing mischief making about Alan. I hold my hands up as one of those guilty few and I believe the man is owed an apology.

Alan holds strong Protestant views but on scrutiny there is nothing to show anti catholicism.
If there was you would be providing links right, left and centre.

Valuable asset?
He is a mere standard member like tens of thousands of others in the BNP.
He has only been in the BNP 3 years, has never held an official position and has never stood as candidate.

What makes you think that I am Trev?
He is not the only BNP activist in County Durham.

Keep scraping the barrel (P)Rick.
PS May the force be with you!

ali hardwick said...

Give over, Trevor. If you had anyhing about you then you'd google Oreilly and find out for yourself - if you were that interested/concerned or offended because of your Irish Catholic background. Seems you're not and are too afraid to rock the boat, probably because not many in the NEbnp take you that seriously.