Sunday, 8 September 2013

Barnet Conservatives, sexism and misogyny

Yesterday I saw the following tweet from Louise Burfitt-Dons

As the Tories at the GLA have a state sponsored spin doctor, I immediately asked Louise if she supported this arrangement. I then decided to look at what she had to say on other issues. 

Louise is hoping to stand for the Conservative Party as a Euro MP candidate. You can read all about her views, they are quite interesting here, I found her views on the role of feminism and women in the Conservative Party most interesting -  As I read this article, I was intrigued to speculate as to what Louise might think of her Tory colleagues in the London Borough of Barnet Capitaville. Louise might be rather surprised to find that Barnet is a hotbed of sexism and misogyny. Last year we had then senior Tory Brian Coleman call female members of the public "two old hags" during a council meeting. Coleman was not reprimanded, in fact most of his male colleagues chuckled at this sexist comment. Later in the year, Coleman beat up local businesswoman Helen Michael. He was not censured by the local party. The affair became so embarrassing that the national party stepped in and suspended his membership. Coleman subsequently pleaded guilty to the assault. Not a single word of apology from the local Conservatives to Ms Michael has been spoken. The sexism is not just limited to senior levels. Local Tory blogger Daniel Hope (a former Tory Councillor, deselected from Brunswick Park ward for his inability to work with Councillor Tambourides) left a highly sexist and patronising comment on Twitter

The "Psychic Babs" he refers to is Barbara Horn-Jacobson. Barbara is the media spokesperson for the Barnet Alliance for Public Services. Barbara is a well qualified professional project manager. Hope seeks to belittle her and patronise her in such a sexist manner as he clearly lacks the wit or intelligence to actually have a counter argument to her criticisms of the local Conservative group policies. Like many sexist trolls on the internet, if a woman makes a sensible argument, Hope responds with sexist insults, belittling the intended victim, in a manner designed purely to intimidate them into shutting up.

It will not come as much of a surprise that both Coleman and his old mate Hope have worked together to gang up on poor unsuspecting locals, spreading all manner of inaccurate gossip and distortions, here is one such example, where they have monstered the North Finchley town team (a group including many community minded local people, with no political affiliation).

In her article Louise says
The majority of conservative voters who happen to be women tend to be pragmatic, realistic, family-friendly, perspicacious, and - if you consider putting the needs of their husbands, children or dependent relatives ahead of their own gratification and ego if and when the time calls for it – super smart. In this way the MAHM The group Mothers at Home Matter, which wants the Government to tax families on the basis of household, rather than the individual, have a strong point. They need support.
This is a fine aspiration, but while Barnet male chauvenist Tories such as Coleman and Hope continue their playground level insults, surely no sensible female Tory would consider voting for them. Helen Michael, who Brian Coleman assaulted is a highly intelligent business woman, as well as a mother of two. If the Barnet Tories had an ounce of common sense, they would have listened to her views on parking in 2011, when she first started campaigning. Instead they followed Coleman, who to the best of my knowledge has never run a business and has little experience of working in the private sector. As a result the Barnet Tories lost a potentially massive vote winning asset.

Louise is spot on with her analysis. The Tory Party needs successful women to engage with them, support them and work for them. To do this, they will have to cast out the trolls and treat women with respect. Whilst Coleman was eventually booted out (following his conviction), there has been no action or apology from the party for the his misogynistic behaviour. There have been no tweets from Barnet Tories disassociating themselves from Daniel Hope and his sexist and patronising comments. Much as I disagree with many aspects of Conservative philosophy, I cannot imagine that it is good for democracy for the largest political party in the country to be such a hostile environment for successful women. In Barnet, it is worth pointing out that perhaps the most highly respected Conservative Councillor is Kate Salinger. She is recognised as having integrity and being honest and trustworthy. She makes a good case for why the Conservatives should listen to Louise. I would suggest that if Louise wants to succeed in her mission, she would do well to have a behind closed doors meeting with some of her dinosaur colleagues in Barnet and let them know why they need to start living in the 21st Century.


Daniel Hope said...

For the attention of Mr Tichborne.

Again, your article is littered with errors and untruths (accidental or otherwise) and this eery campaign of yours against me, as a private individual, feels to me as if it is a kind of stalking.

Your repeated defamatory slurs against me as being 'highly sexist', making 'sexist' comments and a misogynist are unacceptable and a form of harassment. Especially as they seem based solely on a tweet, not even by me personally, involving cupcakes. I can only assume your outdated and stereotypical views on cooking are from the 1950s. Clearly you don't watch BBC's Great British Bake Off.

If you want to pillory publicly elected officials and politicians that is your right but I am not sure what justification you feel you have for pursuing your well established pattern of behaviour in writing articles that seem to attack and smear me and have the affect of damaging my reputation and standing.

Similarly why you continue to republish the falsehood that I was 'deselected' as a Conservative candidate in 2005 when you know full well I stood as a Conservative in the 2006 election is a matter for you. I can only laugh to myself as you continue to peddle rumours that seem to paint Cllr Andreas Tambourides is such a high light in the very same paragraphs!

Similarly I am not a 'tory blogger' but involved in the running of a media company in Barnet.

If you have comments to make about the local publication The Barnet Bugle, please feel free to pass the on to them or publish them on your entertainment / gossip blog but understand that singling out private individual members of their team for harassment is not something that I find acceptable or, I believe, lawful in the way you do it.

You charge me with "spreading all manner of inaccurate gossip and distortions". All I can respond is that people in glass houses shouldn't throw boulders.

I expect you to withdraw your comments and highly defamatory statements that I am a sexist and make highly sexist comments within 7 days or further action may be taken without further notice. I also expect your persistent campaign of harassment against me as a private individual to cease, maybe you put your energies into doing what you used to do: holding elected politicians to account.


Daniel Hope

Rog T said...

Dear Mr Hope,

For the sake of clarity, let me clarify the numerous discrepencies in your statement above.

Firstly you claim you are a "private individual" and that you are not a "tory blogger". Whilst this position may be convenient to you for the purposes of the above comment, it is not how you chose to represent yourself to the Barnet Times, in an interview printed on Monday 19th August, 2013 (less than 1 month ago).
This article

has the headline "Barnet Alliance for Public Services 'reviewing Twitter policy' after row with Barnet Bugle blogger Dan Hope". It is quite clear that you were most happy to represent yourself as a "blogger" to the Hendon Times. The byline to your twitter account makes clear your position as a Tory "Big fans of Boris and @ericpickles radical localism & big society.".

You claim you were not "deselected" from Brunswick Park ward by the local Party. The facts are clear, the local party removed you as a candidate for a safe ward in Brunswick Park and you stood in an unwinnable seat elsewhere. What is your explanation for this? I have asked you to clarify this on numerous occasions.You haven't and you won't.

As to your claim that your comments are not sexist because you watch "The Great Bake Off", these are truly bizarre. I spoke to Barbara Jacobson, who was disgusted by the sexist patronising tone of your comments.

I find it quite disgusting that you attempt to hide behind an anonymous psuedoname of the Barnet Bugle to attack Barbara, whilst publicly identifying yourself as the "The Barnet Bugle" to attack Ron Cohen in the Barnet Times.

Mr Hope, you cannot have it both ways. You claim privacy when you to attack people on your twitter feed, but publicly identify yourself as "The Barnet Bugle" to the press when a public profile suits you.

As a friend of Barbara Jacobson and a supporter of public services in Barnet, I am disgusted by the way you have treated Barbara and the double standard you have applied to your privacy in regards to attacks on Barbara and Ron Cohen, one being a private matter and the other warranting a picture of you, publicly identified as the Barnet Bugle in the local press.

Mr Hope, you have shown yourself to be a total hypocrite. I suggest that you apologise to Barbara for the sexist and patronising comment before you look even more ridiculous.

I would suggest that in future, if you wish to start making idle threats, you give due consideration to your own behaviour and your recent actions and statements to the press.

Ron said...

How unsurprisingly boring. A toad and troll, both their future behind them, One running an imaginary news outlet with fictitious editorial board, consists of one person, and refers to himself in plural (is it a symptom of MPD?)
The other describes himself as one of "the most experienced politician in London", yet being kicked out by angry residents campaign, and unable to control his violent misogynous, what a pathetic couple.

Daniel Hope said...

Mr Tichborne,

The fact you make no attempt to apologise, withdraw from or justify you disgusting defamatory attacks on me says a lot about you.

You must choose your own friends, that is a matter for you. If you are content supporting a ultra left, loony anti cuts brigade who seek to lecture the Jewish people of Barnet on how to think, that is again your choice.

That you report Psychic Babs who hurls all sorts of wild accusations on a frequent basis and claims to know what her members think, even without asking them, is 'disgusted' by such a mild comment is risible! She should grow thicker skin.

I have never, not once, ever described myself as a 'tory blogger'. In fact on many occasions I have corrected those who erroneously described me as such. The only person to persist in this characterisation is you. You will have to ask the Times why they copied your description as I never described myself to them as such.

The notice in my previous email stands.


Daniel Hope

Rog T said...

Mr Hope,

Your comment is a typical distortion of the truth.

It is plain for all to see exactly what you are from your comments, so nothing further is needed from me.

Unlike the Tories of Barnet I do not censor my blog or comments, I let people such as you have enough rope and trust the intelligence of the reader to decide the truth.

Rog T said...

Barbara Jacobson emailed me in response to this blog. Whilst she has no wish to engage with Hope in any way, I felt that it is appropriate to show her response to Hope and his sexist comments.

"Thank you for alerting me to the comments made by the Barnet Bugle. I tried to read that blog a few times but it is so badly written and so inaccurate that I could not take it seriously or waste any time on it. It is the only Barnet blog I have seen where the author is anonymous. I understand Dan Hope claims that there are other people writing the blog but he has failed to name a single one, and he never signs his own contributions, which can only mean that he does not have the courage of his convictions. The only time anonymous writing is worthy is when it is a statement of criticism or defiance by an individual or group oppressed by a totalitarian regime. Otherwise, it's simply cowardice. So there are inaccurate, sexist, misogynistic and really silly comments about me in a poorly written, anonymous blog. And the anonymous scribbler has decided to refer to me by a name used only by my friends, which is impertinent. There is no point in responding to a nameless, faceless non-entity, but I am grateful to you for highlighting such cowardly and pathetic behaviour – you certainly have nothing to apologise for – and hope that your action will help others to see the Bugle for what it is. "