Its a strange job, blogging. I’ve been doing it for seven or so years now, with an audience base of zero when I posted my first piece. Blogging back them was just coming out of it’s rather nerdy youth, not helped by it’s awful portmanteau name that makes it sound like a vaguely obscene thing which leaves your clothes in good need of a wash.
Since then, their growth has risen exponentially to the decline of traditional media, with sites such as The Huffington Post, Political Scrapbook and Guido Fawkes becoming hugely influential and challenging the disintegrating ‘old media’.
Beestonia is in no way in the league of these big hitters, not even close. We get around 8-10,00 readers a week during times such as elections, which i’m pleased with although it sometimes spooks me. When I was hospitalised over Christmas the subsequent piece, the readership was such that strangers stopped me on the street to ask how my innards were. It was lovely, and thank you for doing so, but I started to feel like a bizarre abdominal flasher, rolling up my top to show my scars at little prompting.
It’s therefore strange that, as the readership here increases, my writings get more read and disseminated, and when I seem to be having a greater effect on the local scene than ever before. I’m quitting.
I’m not quitting altogether. To quote our local anti-conservative literary hero, Lord Byron ‘If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad’. I will continue to write, and still use this place to host it. Politics may make the odd cameo role: as its something that underpins everything else, it would be crazy to studiously exorcise it from each article.
Politics is draining. It’s also the best way to make enemies. I can’t count the amount of times people have tried to sue me, including Soubry and her partner on many occasions – yet not one has ever taken me to court, and I have not backed down on a single word. It’s the thing they hate most in journalism: actually writing the truth.
I’ve had several threats of violence aimed at me for having a view. I’ve had people attack my family, print my address, , make accusations that I work for people I don’t work for, attempt to get me sacked from my freelance work, send false communications in my name, make anonymous sweary phonecalls and much much more. I’m ripped apart by the baying mobs of the Ranting Room, as Soubry and Carr whip up the nasty hounds that populate that place.
Soubry has polluted discourse. She has made Beeston more divided than it has ever been. Issues such as Green belt, the Tram, Beeston’s developmental future, and so on have been hijacked from rational debate into the realms of partisanship. Instead of trying to work together to mitigate against the tram works; to carve Beeston a better future from development; to protect our greenbelt in the most kind way against central government-imposed housing demands, Soubry has tried to split us, to divide and conquer.
She has done whatever she can to carry out this strategy: consort with known local nazis, lie to parliament about our postal
workers, lie about her support for those affected by the tram (her party voted AGAINST County Council financial support in 2008 budget, a stance she fervently endorsed. She’s slagged off the local paper because it had the temerity to ask other politicians to talk to it.
The Rant Room has been a gift to her. despite it’s abusive nature, it’s way of attacking individuals who dare say something they don’t like, it’s way of banning anyone who steps out of the rigid anti line and tries to introduce rationality, Soubry has used it to her advantage to whip up hate, lay down false narratives, create an atmosphere of division and paranoia.
Beeston is better than this.
This is her miscalculation. She might see us as just the inconvenient thing she has to occasionally acknowledge as she climbs up the ministerial ladder, but we’re better than that. We’re better than her.
By desperately selecting a huge chunk of the ranting room to stand as paper candidates in the locals, she’s alienated a chunk of her core vote: the polite, one-nation Tories, those who aren’t particularly dogmatic, don’t like the appalling tone of rhetoric being spouted on her favourite site and definitely don’t like the way bullying is encouraged.
There are decent Tories. While I will never agree on their politics, I have met many who really do seem to have the best
interest of Beeston at heart. I’ve chatted to a couple over the last two weeks who have impressed me with the way they are so unlike Soubry: wanting to work with people should they be elected, not judge as either ‘friend’ or ‘lefty who must be fought’. If they are elected, I hope they continue to act in this way.
Yet until then, Soubry, in line with the vast majority of the press, continue to spout nastiness, fear paranoia. Building on the central theme of Orwell’s 1984, they know that whoever controls the history, controls the future. False narratives develop. Here’s a few:
- The 2008 Financial crash was caused by Labour profligacy / immigarion pressures / the poor. The truth: there was a worldwide financial crash caused by the bankers that now do everything to prop up the Tories so they can be shielded from blame.
- Immigration is draining our resources, hurting the NHS and causing the housing crisis: The truth: immigration has a net financial benefit for Britain, in both cash and soft-power. While I was in hospital, the only immigrants I saw were the ones who changed my dressings, operated on me, cleaned the ward floor and propped up the system. The NHS is in need of money, not ‘protection’ from immigrants. The housing crisis is a result of the baby boomers being propped up by successive governments who have created an economy that is asset rich, cash light, thus denying anyone born after the Sixties to struggle to ever own a home.
- The tram is an evil Labour project to divide a town: The Truth: its a central government infrastructure project to relieve the growing congestion across the A52 corridor, greenlit by the Tories and had Soubry as an avid backer until she flip-flopped massively when she thought it might win her votes.
- A Leftish Coalition of Green, Labour and SNP will bring down Britain: The most likely thing to bring down Britain as a union is a right wing coalition, one that alienates Scotland for having the balls to vote for what it wanted; a coalition that would take in the homophobic, religious nuts of the DUP and the frothing idiots of UKIP – whose call for a referendum on EU membership will allow Scotland to leave the UK to preserve it’s place in the EU.
- AUSTERITY IS NECESSARY TO PAY DOWN THE DEBT: The Truth: any economist will tell you that austerity doesn’t create growth, but stifles it. Our national debt is now much, much higher than it was in 2010, and the deficit that the Tories promised to eliminate is still there. It has shrank by a third, however: this only began 2 years ago when some of the austerity measures were LIFTED. The austerity programme is little more than to sell what is ours: Royal Mail, The NHS etc; to private companies and individuals, who return the favour with lavish donations to Cameron and co.
I write to challenge these narratives, with the tiny bit of influence I have. But to do so makes you a target for every bit of spite and malice the right can throw. Yet why do they not challenge the REAL problem of political discourse in this country. As I pointed out on Facebook earlier today:
On Thursday, Rupert Murdoch wants you to vote Conservatives. Rupert Murdoch, a man who doesn’t pay a penny in Uk tax, hacks dead children’s phones and has done more to pollute public discourse than anyone before him.
On Thursday, Lord Rothmere (owner of The Mail) wants you to vote Conservative. Lord Rothmere, a man who doesn’t pay a penny of tax in the UK (he lives here, but registered as a non-dom), and uses his titles to spread hate, fear, paranoia with a slice of xenophobia, misogony and homophobia.
On Thursday, The Barclay Brothers, owners of The Telegraph, want you to vote Conservative. The Barclays, who don’t pay a penny in uk tax (they live as exiles in the Channel Isles). The Barclays, who use their newspaper to further their businesses and threaten any journalist who suggests printing actual news might be preferable.
On Thursday, Richard Desmond, owner of the Express and Star, wants you to vote Conservative. Desmond , who made his name, and still runs, a huge empire of pornography channels; a bilionaire who avoidss tax by channeling his cash out of the UK, gets his papers to write purposely racist false stories to whip up hate and has some seriously worrying connections to organised crime.
Why do you think they want you to vote Conservative? Why are they whipping up fear, forcing down your neck a false narrative on everything from immigration to the economy? Do they care about you?
We need to rid ourselves of the Tories, and their pernicious backers, this Thursday. Broxtowe – Britain – deserves better.
I hope that someone has the will to pick up where I left off. If they want help setting up, and how to manage a site: please get in touch. It’s vital we have alternative voices fighting against the lies of austerity. But for me, I’m planning on a good, long lie down after the election, and see if there is any traction in my idea for a novel based around a man and his love of amphibians.