Lefty misfits and tossers…


A WORD of thanks is due to chivalrous – and dry-witted –  former Camden and Islington councillor Arthur Graves, who saw the Camden New Journal taking a bit of a messenger-shooting hit among Liberal Democrats in the wake of Thursday’s reporting of the party’s local election losses and told Facebook users: “It’s not really that a shit a paper.”

On the screengrab sent to me by somebody not sure the fury was so justified, members and friends seemed to be reacting angrily to the front page which showed the cast of councillors who lost their seats. We are all ‘tossers’, apparently. Or ‘lefty misfits’.

It all sounds a bit harsh to me (the paper, one of the last independent local titles left in the country, isn’t owned by a Labour Party member). They might not see it this way now, but the fact such losses were a chief story for the local papers is actually testament to the stake the Lib Dems earned in Camden’s politics. Imagine, losing 12 out of 13 seats and nobody caring, everybody ignoring it, or tucking it away on page 92 under the scouts’ big cheque. 

You can’t win, though. Many Lib Dems have congratulated the paper on its double campaign to save the Whittington Hospital, for example. And while Lib Dems seemed to be frustrated with being front page news in the New Journal, they seemed delighted with the efforts of its sister paper, the Islington Tribune, to raise concerns with the near one-party state in Islington on its cover.

Now if only we could do something about the ink…,

UPDATED: The Lib Dems have clarified that Tim Wilmott is not a member of the party.


9 Comments on Lefty misfits and tossers…

  1. Ho hum.. guess now they’ve got nothing to do but harp on.. about the nasty public and the media.. and how it’s all “Just not fair..” or cricket or something.

  2. moderation? censorship? ooooh.

  3. Keith Moffitt // June 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm //

    Hi Richard – I think this is getting a bit out of hand! I put this up on my personal Facebook page because it was so striking and my comment when I posted it was pretty neutral: “We seem to have hit the headlines in our local paper the Camden New Journal. This is how a lot of constituents without internet access got the news that some of their favourite councillors had lost their seats”, and I agree with your analysis that “the fact such losses were a chief story for the local papers is actually testament to the stake the Lib Dems earned in Camden’s politics”. But I don’t have any control of what my Facebook friends – not all of whom are Lib Dems by any means! – choose to write by way of comment!

  4. Graham Peasantry // June 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm //

    Richard – we’re all wondering if Daviyani’s damning letter has arrived at New Journal Towers yet!

  5. So much bad feeling about CNJ. Why? The annihilation of Lib Dems was the front page story on pretty much every paper in London where … the Lib Dems were indeed crushed. In Haringey, Islington and Camden it was the same news story. Topline: “Labour Landslide”; sub-head: “Lib Dems crushed”. To ignore this feature of the election would have been bizarre journalism. Good for Arthur Graves (also a onetime Lib Dem Cllr in Islington after a spell in Camden (he quit, his wanderlust taking him next to Tasmania, and caused by-election just over a year ago where the Lib Dems were crushed). Very bad form from Laura Willoughby also a onetime Lib Dem Cllr in Islington and a paper candidate on May 22nd. Wash out yer mouth, Laura, please.

  6. LiarsWeAre // June 3, 2014 at 11:19 am //

    * FibDims are finished ; bury the dead.

  7. Andrew Haslam-Jones // June 3, 2014 at 12:07 pm //


    To be clear, I think the CNJ and your coverage of the local elections was fair and balanced. My tweet was a response to the question of why people hate the LibDems, evidenced by some of the previous day’s tweets:
    Julie Bindel “If you vote Lib Dem today I swear I will hunt you down and kill you”
    dandelion101 “@bindelj A bit harsh!”
    @bindelj “@dandelion101 No. I forgot to add that I will torture you first”
    m_jelly ‏@monsieur_jelly “@bindelj libdem voters needs to be burned in cat piss acid trough. then made to drink themselves through a straw.”

    Andrew Haslam-Jones ‏@andrewhj “@bindelj Define “illiberal”.”

    There has been a concerted effort (not one which I have noticed the CNJ joining in) to paint the LibDems in such a way that the vitriol evidenced in the above tweets (and even some of the replies to your article) becomes acceptable. (Fair to say that the LibDem publicity machine has not been up to fighting this.) Why would such a moderate and progressive party elicit such hostility? It appears to be more down to some undemocratic belief in the god-given entitlement of the two bigger parties to swing this country to left and right, like two crones arguing over a cardy at a jumble sale, unchallenged and unrestrained.

    All the best,

    Andrew Haslam-Jones

    PS I like your writing.

  8. Andrew, it might be that the Lib Dems are indeed weak, untrustworthy, vague enablers of “nasty” legislation. It may also be that this perception has grown over the period since 2010 because the public have seen through the “Coalition to save Britain from bankruptcy” rhetoric and all those people swept up by Clegg mania feel betrayed. That perception is rife within the Lib Dem party itself with thousands quitting its ranks. Widespread collapse in LD party morale is witnessed by their failure to put up serious candidates in local elections, absence of people doping the stuffing, delivering and doorknocking without which few LDs over the years have ever been elected. This downwards spiral of decline leads the party to desperate measures which invariably backfire leading to even greater morale loss, activist desertion and voter antipathy.

  9. Andrew Haslam-Jones // June 4, 2014 at 11:28 am //

    Paul, yes, that is indeed the counter-narrative that the Labour party has been very successful in pushing and that has in large part been helped by the image of the LibDems and Nick Clegg in particular portrayed in the media. Images are not always the truth – you will recall the media onslaught on Neil Kinnock prior to the 1992 election which, frankly, bore little relation to the real person, a pale charicature at best. But history has been littered with such distortions. That’s not to say the LibDems can simply ignore what has happened. Far from it. There should be sufficient material for the LibDems to present a clear and cogent argument for people to vote for them. But that’s not going to happen on its own and the LibDems as a party must bear some responsibility for not getting its message across. I do take issue with your reference to the reason for the creation of the coalition as “rhetoric”. We were never going to be Greece, but without a stable government, things could have been an awful lot worse. You seem to have forgotten the three Greek bankers who were burned to death in the rioting on the streets of Athens the weekend after our 2010 election. There is some truth in what you say but, as for the LibDem decline, that has bottomed out and in some places has already been reversed. As for voter apathy, that is something we all have to contend with and, frankly, bandying around empty, partison rhetoric and shooting poisoned darts at other parties (in the vain hope that they will cease to exist) will only add to that apathy.

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