Support the Bradford National Media Museum against government cuts @iloveNMM #iloveNMM

You’ve probably seen how the National Media Museum is under threat from fatal government cuts to the Science Museum Group’s funding.

Well, there’s plenty going on in Bradford from lots of people and groups who desperately want to save this jewel in the district’s crown.

If you want to get involved or help in any way you can, here’s how:

Sign the 38 degrees petition. This seems to be the biggest one so far, and is currently on 18,500 signatures from across the country. Sign it and show your support.

Sign the Telegraph & Argus petition. As the districts newspaper, they are throwing their considerable muscle behind the campaign to save the museum so sign that one too.

Like the ‘I Love Bradford’s National Media Museum’ Facebook page and share it to spread the word.

Follow ‘iloveNMM’ on Twitter, the twitter feed for the ‘I Love Bradford’s National Media Museum’ campaign.

Download the ‘iloveNMM’ twibbon for your twitter and Facebook avatars.

And one of the best things you can do is use the museum! Visit it, go see a film, look at the exhibitions, donate some money and have a great time showing your support for an excellent resource.

I’ll be going tomorrow to watch a pre-record of the play ‘This House‘, see you there!

Philip Davies MP forced to apologise after calling constituent a pathetic liar

The Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies has gotten himself into a spot of bother after a constituent contacted him via Twitter to complain that he had received no response from Davies on an email regarding the badger cull.

‘@Stoatsjackson’ said:

My email to my MP, Philip Davies, about today’s #badgerdebatereceived no reply. But then I didn’t expect a Tory to converse with a pleb

To which Philip Davies graciously replied:

@StoatsJackson Please don’t lie – I reply to every email on this and every other issue people contact me about. Pathetic.

Except he hadn’t.

After his outburst and a further exchange with the constituent, who insisted that not only had he emailed Davies via his website but had also received a confirmation email, Davies finally decided to do what he should have done in the first place, which was to check his emails.

Turns out he had been emailed by his constituent, and then was forced to reply with an apology for the delay, but not for calling him a pathetic liar, possibly because he didn’t realise it was the same person.

The constituent then, quite rightly, took to Twitter to take Davies to task and posted the email as proof.

This time Davies did reply, albeit in quite a mealy mouthed way given that he had called his constituent a pathetic liar:

@StoatsJackson I apologise and for the delay in doing so, but as I have demonstrated I always reply personally to all of my constituents.

By now the issue wasn’t whether Davies replied to emails or not, but calling his constituents pathetic liars. Understandably the constituent wasn’t particularly mollified:

@PhilipDaviesMP Yes you have. You’ve also demonstrated what little respect you have for your constituents. Sincerely. A Pathetic Liar.

Far be it for me to take too much pleasure in seeing Davies caught out like this, but in the Shipley Labour Party we’ve known for some time that when people disagree with him he can snap quite suddenly and become quite rude with people.

We’ve received correspondence in the past from someone who was insulted by him in an email. He branded them ‘completely intolerant’ and said that their statement to him was ‘idiotic’ before signing off his email, seemingly without a trace of irony, with ‘best wishes’. There was plenty of explanation in between of why he thought that, and funnily enough it was in a similar situation where the original email was actually quite formal and not worthy of such a hostile and aggressive reply.

In fairness, MPs often take a lot of abuse, much of it uncalled for and it’s only human to snap from time to time (That said, Davies did bring a lot of opprobrium upon himself when he declared that disabled people should consider asking to work for less than the Minimum Wage because they can’t be as productive as an able-bodied person).

What makes this issue so ridiculous though is that the constituent was being pretty reasonable, albeit with an aside about being a ‘pleb’ in reference to the Andrew Mitchell ‘plebgate’ scandal.

It’s Davies’ reaction that is so over the top. The arrogant belief that someone couldn’t possible have sent an email and not received a reply led him to immediately brand that person a pathetic liar before he even went away to check his emails to see if what they were saying was true. What sort of mindset does that reveal about somebody?

It’s no wonder the constituent wasn’t satisfied with his apology, which Davies gave squeezed in a larger tweet repeating his earlier points.

The simple fact is that if the constituent hadn’t raised his concern, a move for which his MP branded him ‘pathetic’ and a ‘liar’, then he may not have ever received a reply,

It would have been far better if Davies had just issued a full and gracious apology for insulting his constituent so gratuitously, but he obviously couldn’t bring himself to do it and in the end issued a rather understated apology.

It’s very difficult being in the public eye like an MP is, so I have perhaps more sympathy with them than most do. If someone called me a ‘c#nt’, as thousands of people did to Davies when he made his comments about disabled people and the Minimum Wage, then I’d probably snap at some point too.

What is so daft about this incident is that it was so completely self-inflicted due to his  arrogance and aggressiveness.

In many online debates he will often dismiss critics as fanatics, or ‘socialists’, or ‘the left’, even if they’re not making a party political point.

It was therefore, I admit, quite amusing seeing him get some sort of comeuppance after dishing out an insult one too many times.

Well played Mr @stoatsjackson, well played.

You can see the full Twitter exchange here.

Update:

The Telegraph and Argus has covered the story, which details the exchange here.

Philip Davies has also stepped in on Twitter, using the spat as an opportunity…to attack Labour for allegedly having no policies. No, I don’t understand it either. He then accused me of ‘flogging it for all it is worth‘, as if he was the injured party and not the constituent he called a pathetic liar!

Could an English national anthem help save the UK?

Philip Davies has seconded an Early Day Motion (like a Parliamentary Petition for MPs) by Greg Mulholland, calling for an English National Anthem to be sung at events where it is England, as opposed to Great Britain, who is playing.

Although my instinct would be to be very wary of anything Davies supports – a useful habit –  I can see the logic of it, though not from the same threatened and defensive mindset Davies seems to approach it from but rather from a supportive stance to the wider UK.

Wales and Scotland both have their own anthems while it wasn’t too long ago that there was a row in Northern Ireland over their using the UK national anthem as England does. It therefore seems something of an anachronism for England to play the UK national anthem when other member countries do not and it does seem to play into stereotypes about England being an overmighty force in the UK that gives succour to those who would break up the UK as we know it.

As long as England sings the UK national anthem it lends weight to the idea that it is our national anthem and not the anthem for the whole of the UK. When Scots or the Welsh are part of Team GB and they sing the anthem, is there ever any awkwardness over singing a song that doubles as the English national anthem?

If England had its own anthem, would it ‘free up’ God Save the Queen to be a more truly ‘national’ anthem for the whole of the UK?

Would it help cement a more ‘English’ identity that could answer some of the growing concerns about the lack of ‘Englishness’ that have been discussed by some politicians?

In no way am I suggesting it would be a panacea for any of this and done in isolation could even be seen as something of a sop. Likewise any decision to split up the UK will be taken on far more weightier issues than the national anthem.

Nonetheless it might help change the terms of the debate and acknowledge the concerns on both sides of the border about notions of national identity in an era of devolution and globalisation. If it kickstarted some deeper thinking on national identity by our politicians then that could only be a good thing.

If it did happen, arguably you might want to consider retiring God Save the Queen altogether and coming up with something more inclusive.

Ironically the people promoting an English national anthem would probably be the same people who would be mortified at the thought of replacing the UK national anthem with something else!