SOUBRY: CONSERVATISM WITH A SMALL C.

soubz swearz

As you may have heard, after I questioned Soubry’s manners when she called a constituent a liar in public, and had a spat with ‘Conservative Campaign Manager’ Michelle Patel after she waded in to defend the indefensible, stuff took a turn for the nasty (party).

I was alerted to individuals on the NET Tram Ranting Room discussing how much they wanted to physically attack me. This was scary: I was assaulted previously out of the blue in an unprovoked attack; and was severely beaten, burnt with cigarettes and had my head plunged under water until I choked and swallowed bath water when I was subject to a home invasion by three coked-up thugs when I lived abroad. Violence is an awful thing, and threats do exactly what they are meant to do: they terrorise, they intimidate, they try to silence with force. Anna Soubry and Michelle Patel were seemingly endorsing those who use this method.

I called the police, who are now investigating. I was also advised to write to my MP to see if she would calm her rhetoric and not incite, and to request the Conservative Campaign Manger, Ms Patel, not to keep fanning the flames that were scorching any chance of reasoned debate.

Soubry and Michelle Patel (white hat, back of pic) on the campaign trail together.

Soubry and Michelle Patel (white hat, back of pic) on the campaign trail together.

I thought this a good idea, and duly drafted an email. Soubry responded, evading the question and instead turning the blame on to me instead.

I wrote back: the full, unexpurgated transcripts of these emails are below.

Then today, this story broke: Soubry had been filmed, allegedly  calling Ed Miliband A ‘sanctimonious c—‘. I’m loathe to link to the Daily Mail, but will have to make an exception this time, hold your nose and click: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2967589/An-unspeakable-obscenity-Minister-s-rant-Ed-riddle-scene-cut-BBC-Inside-Commons-documentary.html

Soubry of course denies it, in a blustering response where she threw legal threats out willy-nilly, demanded they didn’t print it, claimed as she was ‘an old feminist’ so would never use that word (although I have been told she has used it against me off record before, as well as to others -I’m sure CWU reps would agree), and, hilariously, manages to use an (albeit much milder) swear word in her blustering counterblast. When requested she view the footage, she claimed she was ‘too busy’ and scampered off.

She has form, of course. After an interview she gave to Total Politics where she comfortably used other words for a female genitalia I wrote a piece explaining that her definition of free speech was not universal, but seemingly restricted to her own effing and jeffing.

She also behaves like a spoiled child in the House of Commons, bringing the good name of Broxtowe into disrepute with behaviour such as this: 

Below, I have reproduced the emails uncut, unexpurgated, aside from leaving my personal contact details out. I think they give a measure of the character of the politician who is now in deep trouble for the very behavior I have been trying to make public for many years:

Dear Ms Soubry

As my MP, I am writing to you to inform you of the effects of your behaviour, and that of others who are part of local Conservative Party activism, purporting to be Conservative Campaign Manager.
As you are aware, I am an active member of the Beeston Community, co-running the hugely successful Oxjam Music Festival; editing the popular and purely volunteer-ran community magazine The Beestonian; an active member of Beeston and District Civic Society, a co-founder of Beeston Continuum, a non-political advocacy group looking at ways to bring a more democratic approach to local planning issues; as well as working on various freelance projects in my capacity as a journalist, including the very exciting bid to make Nottingham a UNESCO City of Literature. I am not, and never have been, a member of a political party. My view is to put the civic before the political every time.
As such, in my spare time (what little I get these days) I run a well-read blog called Beestonia, which has no fixed aim, writing about anything from my grandmother’s passing, to civic matters, from pieces on local culture to local politics. I am sure you are aware my politics are left of centre, but I don’t identify with one party, or indeed, one fixed ideology. 
I have been subject to many attacks through my writing on the blog, including many disparaging remarks from yourself, and threats of legal action from your partner, Neil Davidson. This is part and parcel of my role as a freelance journalist; the legal threat was evidently spurious and thus easily ignored, and even if you don’t agree with my reporting. I’m sure you approve that pluralistic debate from your constituents is the very life-blood of parliamentary and local democracy, especially in these times of voter disengagement and disapproval of the worst excesses of our elected members.
However, of late, the attacks on me have taken a very nasty and violent turn for the worse, to the point where yesterday I had to call in the police, who are now launching an investigation.
This began on Twitter, where I noticed you accused a constituent and well-respected member of the civic community of’lying’. I thought this an awful allegation to publicly make. If you used that language in the Commons, you would be suspended by the Speaker, and rightfully so. When I pointed this out, MIchelle Patel, who’s Twitter biography describes herself as ‘Conservative Campaign Manager’, and is frequently part of your doorstepping activity, took over from you to attack me. After not backing down, she stormed off.
A few hours later, after she variously threatened to ‘sue me’ (on what grounds I do not know), and suggest I should not be involved in the Beeston Oxjam Festival, editing The Beestonian Magazine, judging the Beeston Business Awards and writing a monthly column for the Nottingham Post. These comments were all made on the aggressive Facebook group NET Tram Ranting Room. This sparked a torrent of comments against me, calling me mentally ill, various parts of genitalia, a ‘mother-fucker’ (as I’m aware you are friends with my mother perhaps you’d like to ask her about that one) and suchlike. As I mentioned before, I do not mind this abuse, as it shows itself up for what it is: a lack of coherent rational debate leads to childish abuse.
However, things took a dark turn for the worse when a contributor to the site, Rob’Chopper’Harris wrote the following:
 threat1

 

This if of course unacceptable. Threatening physical attacks on journalists for holding a view is absolutely against democracy and freedom of expression. As a former journalist, and an active and vocal member of the NUJ, I am sure you find such threats abhorrent.
I have no right of reply on the discussion group, due to the moderators blocking me, but I did post up a note on both Twitter and Facebook explaining that I would be taking this matter to the please. I assumed Michelle Patel would be as horrified as myself, but no, as the following exchange on the ‘Ranting Room’ demonstrates:
 patel sinclair

 

Not only is she condoning Mr Sinclair’s actions, but also labelling him a legend for doing so.
This is abhorrent behaviour from a Michelle Patel, and your continued endorsement of the NET Tram Ranting Room is also serving to create a tone of argument that has gone well past fair comment. I do not want the Ranting Room to shut down: as mentioned before, I passionately believe in free speech. I would like you to please consider this strategy of siding with those who call for violence against me; and consider Michelle Patel’s position in your campaign. 
I am aware there is an election on, and your slim majority means desperate times require desperate measures. Yet using proxy attacks on myself is a nasty tactic. I can’t see why you and your Tory colleagues resort to this: it sickens the electorate and does you no good whatsoever. For a politician who is well-known for hardly espousing the virtuous theories of One Nation Toryism (stating ‘I got into politics to fight lefties’ is hardly an inclusive message to those who are paid to represent), this can only be damaging for your reelection chances. 
Please assure me that you condemn all threats of violence, and those that label those that make these threats as ‘legends’.
Best Regards
Matt Goold
_________________________
Dear Mr Goold,Thank you for your email.I am more than happy to condemn genuine threats of violence and I also condemn the use of foul and abusive language on social media sites.Over the years and especially more recently, I have received a significant number of complaints from constituents about blogs and postings made by you. In some instances, my constituents have expressed their distress at being on the receiving end of your comments.

On a personal note, you have made numerous comments about me, many of which have been of the offensive nature that you profess to abhor. For example, you have previously directed the following comment towards me in one of your blog posts, “Please, please piss off to Rushcliffe asap, Anna. You are a fucking disgrace. An utterly shit politician and Broxtowe cannot wait to see the twatting back of you.”

As I am sure you will appreciate, comments like this do not reflect the attitude that you promote in your recent email, however, I look forward to your future postings being considerably more measured.

Yours sincerely,

Anna
______________________________
Dear Anna

Thank you for your response.
I am very disappointed with your response on a variety of levels and feel it is highly insufficient.
Let’s get your mischief out the way first. You quote a line from a blog post, without acknowledging the context. The swearing was written to satirise an interview you gave to Total Politics: http://www.totalpolitics.com/articles/368512/anna-soubry-on-tory-and39twatteryand39-and-refusing-to-be-nanny.thtml where you freely swore on record. I picked out these words and phrases and refashioned them to show an example of how you communicate. The article was on how you claim to believe in free speech, and I gave examples to the contrary, then showed the only free speech you seem to truly believe in was the use of offensive language. If you can’t grasp the concept of satire, however ham-fisted, then you’re really going to struggle with the notion of irony.
I am also curious to your claim that:
 “I have received a significant number of complaints from constituents about blogs and postings made by you. In some instances, my constituents have expressed their distress at being on the receiving end of your comments.”
I find this hard to believe. I write primarily, if not exclusively, about politicians. When doing this, I submit to the first principle: talk truth to power. I have never cajoled, bullied or made threats against anybody. I have held politicians to account on numerous occasions, and will continue to do so. As the traditional media dies back, the checks and balance system of democracy is increasingly having the donkey work done by people like myself.
I take offence that you accuse me of bullying others. If this has been done unwillingly, to the extent that the offended has sought advice from their MP, then why has this never been reported to me? I have a very visible, very open presence on the internet, allowing comments on my writing and willingly encouraging debate. I have never been accused of bullying in  seven years of published writing. If the allegations were this serious, how come they were never followed up? How come you have never written to me to represent said complainant, or passed the matter onto the police? If you judged these serious enough to warrant mention in your reply, then why have I not been made aware of them until I push for an inconvenient answer from you? Is it perhaps that such complaints do not exist?
I do not have your legal training, or experience at the Bar. My work in law is solely confined to eight years photocopying documents at a local law school, and doing the occasional security guard shift at weekends for the same place. I learnt much about toner, less about tort. However, I am savvy enough to recognise a legal trick you have applied here.
Instead of addressing the issue to hand, you have swiftly dismissed it then bought up other issues to distract and divert my point. The very clear issue at hand here, the reason I was driven to write in the first place, and the very point you refused to address with anything but the most vague touching upon, was that of the Conservative Campaign Manager, Michelle Patel, and her endorsements of violent threats made against me.
I would think that with the application of the consistency that you call for the sacking of others caught behaving appallingly, you would have already assured that Michelle Patel has been told that her activities have led to her being dismissed from your campaign. If this has not been done, then I am now calling for it to be done. She is bringing your party, and your campaign, into disrepute with her activities. She is endorsing violent threats against me.
Please let me know that you have done this, and issued an apology for her behaviour, and the mistake in hiring her.
I  await your response
Your Faithful Constituent
Matt Goold
____________________________
Dear Mir (sic) Goold,
Thank you for your email the contents of which have been noted.
With best wishes,
Anna
ANNA SOUBRY
Member of Parliament for Broxtowe
Minister of State for Defence
______________________
That is where we are up to. Soubry and Patel have both blocked me on Twitter, and my insider in the Tories claim they are in something of a meltdown, with CCHQ not too happy. More as I get it. Please feel free to share as widely as possible. At last, she has been exposed to the nation for what she really is.

Tory Meltdown: Soubry Calls Constituent A Liar; Tory Campaign Manager Seems to Agree, Runs Off When Challenged.

Wow. Am I become the new Nostradamus (Nottstradamus?). Just hours after I published the last article about the way certain local politicos bully, Soubry pulls off an act of such stunning point-proving I thought it best not to go on the planned bike ride I’d set my hearty on, but make sure people see what is happening. It’s  a meltdown on par with that other bastion of Conservative values, The Telegraph.

I tweeted that I still haven’t heard from Soubry’s office about whether the monitoring of my Facebook page was paid for with public money. I’m thinking of launching a FOI to see if this is a common practise: it’s certainly a bit sinister. A fellow tweeter sent me a reply not to hold my breath…and this happened:

soubzlie

Erm, did that really happen? Did Anna Soubry really just publicly call a constituent a liar? Incredible.

When challenged by the constituent (a girl guide leader, but that matters little, it’s a bullying, appalling slur to throw at someone in any walk of life) she went quiet and refused to answer. Then, as if by magic, Anna’s chief defender, Conservative Campaign Manager  Michelle Patel appeared and took over, trying to deflect the heat onto me. I asked her, in a straight forward manner, if she condoned or condemned this insulting behaviour towards a constituent. She refused to answer, with a squirmy evasion that would have made Michael Howard proud:

patel2

patel3

When asked directly by the constituent, who probably was increasingly bemused by this bizarre behaviour, she pretended she wasn’t connected to Soubz….

patel4

PATEL5

PATEL6

errrm…here maybe?

patel7

She then decided she didn’t want to be part of this anymore, and flounced off, leaving the question unanswered….

patel8

This is the level of debate. Smear, then run. Do not try and engage, insult, patronise, evade.

Anna Soubry called for Milan Radulovic to resign when he called a constituent to ‘fucking grow up’ on Facebook, when she called him a ‘bastard’. Surely by her own standards she should either make a public apology to the constituent or stand down from her post. This is no way to treat the people that pay your wage, the people you pledge to represent. They are their servants. Don’t let them treat us like their playthings.

BULLY BULLY BULLY!

So goes the rousing call of the Bullingdon Club, Cameron, Osborne and Bojo’s Oxford University exclusively male, exclusively public school dining club, famed for burning £50 notes in front of tramps, proud snobbery, and smashing up restaurants for a laugh, dumping a bundle of cash on to the owner at the end of the night to cover damages. The message being ‘As long as you have money, you can behave as you wish’. It probably defines modern, monetarist Conservatism more succinctly than any lengthy academic tract. The play Posh, now showing at Nottingham Playhouse is a great example of this.

When the recent footage of Chelsea ‘fans’ assaulting a black guy on the Paris Metro, before going on to chant about their proud racism, you saw that same spirit again. The white, male privilege. The pack mentality. That desire of the group, strong in numbers, to attack the weak. We do because we can. Interestingly, it turns out the first guy to be identified was a former public school kid. As my friend Jon pointed out ‘Try and tidily fit that into your box of what a football hooligan is’.

There is little difference here. Bullies work in packs. They rely on the mob round them to operate. With the Bullingdon Club it’s money: they can use that to intimidate. With the Chelsea mob, it’s physical force.

As the election looms. expect this sort of intimidation to get worse. The Tory strategist Lynton Crosby is famed for playing dirty. It’s just been revealed that there was a plot to insinuate Labour candidates in marginals were paedophiles, which is pretty low. Yet Crosby thrives on this. His campaigns are aimed at finding a weak group (in Australia, Aboriginals; here, the poor) and running a ‘us vs them’ campaign. When the story broke last week about HSBC carrying out colossal acts of tax-fraud right under the Government’s nose, they quickly threw out some headline grabbers about the obese being denied benefits; or family allowance being restricted to two kids. Both ideas were swiftly rejected as unworkable, but job done ‘Look at the fatties! Don’t look at the fat cats!’.

Here, things are getting depressingly similar. Soubry needs a local mob, hence her latching onto the NET Tram Ranting Room, The room has around 1,800 members, but few ever post, this being restricted to a hateful core (several who don’;t even live round here) who are watched upon by the much more moderate majority in grim fascination. Recently, spurred on by Soubry and her stooges, they have taken to outright abuse of anyone who dares contradict them, and in a rather nasty turn, posting up pictures of those they perceive to be ‘pro-tram’. These are people often banned from the room so are denied a right of reply. What is the purpose of this? How does this contribute to any discussion?

It doesn’t. It is done to intimidate. It is bullying.

Soubry knows this, but it’s ideal for her. She can wash hands of all responsibility. Rile the mob, let them do the rest. I have been subject to attacks often over the months for trying to have a sensible debate on the tram and local businesses. I’m been labelled a paedophile, a facist (the irony doesn’t escape me), being ran by some shady agency who pays me to write this blog (if any shady agencies are out there, cool, maybe you can make writing this a bit lucrative for me. If you have your own hollowed out volcano I can use as an office all the better). I’m a ‘Labour blogger’ ( nope); I’m Cllr Steve Barber’s son (well, I know the Seventies were pretty swinging times, but I’m sure that my dad is my dad – which also makes me now ‘a bastard’), I’m scum, I’ hate Beeston…and on and on. One particular oaf,  keeps trying to explain that I am ‘mentally ill’ as I don’t agree with him. Sigh. That’s a trick Stalin used to use, Mike. I’m not, I once had a bout of anxiety after my gran died, but I got over that with a bit of CBT and time. Check with my former GP if you fancy: he is a Tory councillor after all.

I get hit by proxy legal letters from Soubry: the intention of her partner’s Neil DaviDson’s threat to me was to bully and intimidate, easily demonstrated when I questioned it’s validity and the demand from the solicitors to pay £1,500 plus VAT for that initial letter, despite being appallingly written to the extent it even got the client’s name wrong on occasion.

Lib Dem Councillors send unsolicited emails to my wife, who has never been part of any of my work, and holds many different views to myself, threatening to ruin our family should I continue to ask difficult questions.

The latest salvo came after Soubry was stung by a piece on the excellent Political Scrapbook site. I retweeted this and mentioned it on my Facebook page, as I thought it important. What was being billed as a way to help businesses through access to a minister was not quite that: parliament would have shut down for the election that day. It was billed as not ‘party political’, but featured two prominent Tory MPs, so looked more like a campaigning opportunity. Could one therefore attend freely, without paying the £25? I think these are valid questions and it is my right in a democracy to ask them.

I wrote to Soubry , as I am a sole trader in Broxtowe. Her response came from her constituency manager, who replied:

Please note that this event is an opportunity for businesses throughout the constituency to raise their thoughts with the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and network with other local business people. I am aware of the adverse comments that you have made both on Twitter and your Facebook page regarding the event and the attention that this has gained from the People’s Assembly Nottingham. As I am sure you will agree, it is important to support our local businesses and should the event have to be cancelled due to threats of protests, it would be a blow both to a wonderful local business which has been kind enough to host the event, and to the many business people throughout the constituency, who are looking forward to attending.
Errr, they’ve been looking at my Facebook page? Why this interest in a constituents social media? Twitter is fine, if I allow a follower they can read what they like, but I’m not friends with Soubz or any of her cronies on Facebook so what is this about? I replied
Dear Emma

 
Many thanks for your confirmation. 
 
I find it rather odd that you have been monitoring my Facebook page. Is this in an official or professional capacity? Please let me know as I feel that viewing my personal Facebook page should not be something that is ultimately paid for by the taxpayer. 
 
I fully support Beeston businesses and have done for many years, despite the awful running down of the town others have been responsible for. I still think inviting George ‘Charities are the enemy of business’ Osborne just days after the Oxjam festival gave local business a hugely welcome was a huge mistake, but ce la vie. 
 
I feel there is a misleading element to this event that should be clarified. Businesses are being told that they will get to meet a minister who will listen to ideas to shape government policy; yet Parliament will have finished by then, and it is looking increasingly unlikely that Priti Patel’s party will gain a majority. Surely this renders the whole event little more than a vanity, campaigning exercise? If I am to part with £25 I feel I would like to know the event is little more than this. 
 
As for Nottingham People’s Assembly, while I broadly support their aims to expose the damage and counter-productivity of austerity, I am not a member of their assembly. Their actions are entirely their look-out, and part of the great traditions of free speech and democracy this country does so well.
I didn’t receive a reply, but Soubry and her lieutenants took to social media to whip up anger, Michelle Patel claiming I’d hit ‘new lows’ by questioning the event, and calling for me to be sacked from the judging panel of the Beeston Business Awards, wile also joining in with Cllr. Mia Kee  and Soubz  as they whipped themselves into a rabid frenzy on Twitter about the outrageous behaviour of asking a person I pay to represent me a difficult question. It’s a bullying tactic, of course. the Ranting Room responded to Patel’s dog-whistle with it’s usual frenzy, not addressing the issues but laying into me.
It’s dull, it’s predictable. It’s not constructive political / civic debate. It is bullying. Poor Cllr. Mia Kee runs an anti-bullying charity, so must be feeling pretty torn up having to be party to this.
She wouldn’t be the only one. Soubry’s plans are massively backfiring. She seems to think that Beestonians think like she does, purely in black and white, or more fittingly, red and blue. Yet we aren’t as shallow as that. Politics for most here come second to a civic responsibility. Accordingly, my work on a civic level could be seen as One Nation Toryism, at a push, Big Society. I don’t divide myself on a political level. I, and I imagine the great majority of Beeston, want what’s best for the town.
Anna’s continued attempts to use the mob of the ranting room, and get people to join the place by repeated endorsements in her newsletter, are counterproductive. The core vote, who are decent, well mannered Tories, are disgusted by the abuse on the site, and the way Anna condones such actions. As mentioned before, the 1,800 people on the site are not all of the same mind, not one homogeneous bloc that can be used at her will. A small core will, but the vast majority watch on, with increasing disgust.
Interestingly, I asked this core that if they would like a debate one-to-one by email. Rather than the mob tactics of being part of the Keyboard Warrior Squadron, if they’d like to engage in a rational, one-on-one email debate. I received not a single response.
That’s the thing with bullies. Once separated from the pack, they are nothing. Insecurity causes them to clump, to hide in the mob, to group attack anything different to them. In this way they are no different than the racists on the Paris Metro, the snobbish thugs of The Bullingdon Club, or the plain old schoolyard bully, always secretly the most terrified, weak individual.

Beestonia: The Movie unleashed…and 2015: time to get creative.

Here’s a little treat for you. Grab some popcorn, and click the link:

http://thebeestonian.co.uk/

We’ve decided to release Beestonia: The Movie today to coincide with the launch of the official website for The Beestonian AND the launch of the magazine’s partnership project with Creative Beeston, more of which later.

Picture by Lewis Stainer must be credited before use The film has been shown in public several times now, as well as leaking    on the internet (we suspect those pesky North Koreans) for a few hours a    couple of weeks ago. It opened the Beeston Film Festival, has had  mentions in the Nottingham Post, BBC Radio Nottingham, trailed on  NottsTV and tons more. I even took it to show MA Built Environment  students last week, as part of their project to design ideas for Beeston’s  regeneration, which I’ll explain in a later post. We even have a fan in the  form of BAFTA winning genius filmmaker Shane Meadows, who we evenshane matt  persuaded into giving us a cameo.

It seems to go down well; it’s far from a straight documentary, more a pyschogeography: a more playful, organic way to approach an urban environment. I will write more on it soon, and tell of the great work done by my colleagues Melvyn and Christian at HiveMind, the production company we formed to make the film, as well as to thank the many people who helped make the film without a budget. Everyone volunteered their time, so thank you. And a special cheers to Jamie Clayden, who was a star throughout, and was such a professional people have asked me many times how much he cost to buy in from RADA. Nowt, me ducks. We’re both Stabbo ex-pats.

Enjoy, comment, share, suggest. And bookmark our new The Beestonian site. We intend to fill it full of wonder. (cheers to Lewis Stainer and Gail Spalding-Frost for the pics)

+++++++

Facebook users who have done the sensible thing and followed The Beestonian on our page there you might have noticed that through January we have been running a weekly feature featuring a local creative ever Thursday called, not very creatively, Creative Thursday. We plan to do this right through 2015, to celebrate the wide, diverse range of creatives in our town. Why? Cos we are stuffed with talent, talent that doesn’t limit itself to the confines of NG9 but shouts at the world to come and have a look at what they have. There are many debates to what we do as a town when industry has ebbed away, and High Street retails plateaus. I believe that a great contribution to keep us thriving and vibrant is in our creatives. 2015 is a huge year for Beeston. This is our way of celebrating that.

It doesn’t cost anything to be featured (though we may take in advertising to pay for the site overheads later on); and hopefully it will add to a huge directory of our creative fabric in Beeston.

If you are a creative, or know someone who needs shouting about, drop us a line at thebeestonian@gmail.com and we’ll get in touch with you. You’ll find our new site here: http://ouryear.creativebeeston.co.uk/.