Thursday 30 September 2010

Naughty Mrs Angry: Stand in the corner!

Oh the shame, the disgrace ... how will I bear it? Excuse me rushing this, but I have just received the following email from the Assistant Director of Communications at Barnet Council. I will spare his blushes and omit his name, in line with Mrs Angry's rules of moderation and probably misplaced sympathies: I will write it verbatim, mistakes and all -

"Dear An Gry

We've suspended you as a 'Facebook friend for the next two months. The rules of moderation we run on our site are that we can't allow party political comments, indecent language or statements likely to cause offensive (sic) (in practice these tend to be statements which could be deemed racist). The council is the publisher of the Facebook site and cannot publish anything which is party political political. (sic)

We have judged some of your comments to be party political.

XX Assistant Director, Communications

After I stopped laughing, I sent the following reply:

"Dear Mr X,

Thank you for your communication, which I have received with great amusement.

I do sincerely hope that this does not cause you 'offensive', but I would really expect the assistant Director of Communications at the London Borough of Barnet to be able to write a coherent paragraph, without so many grammatical errors.

I see that I have been dealt the crushing blow of being suspended as a Barnet Facebook Friend for two months, for the apparent crime of being, as you say: 'party political political.We have judged some of your previous posts to be party political.'

I am assuming, therefore, that you consider some of my posts to be party political.

I note that in this administration's view, being party political is seen as offensive as being indecent or even racist. That is very interesting, isn't it?

Can you tell me if you have suspended all the 'friends' who visited this site during the Edward Meakins' debacle and left personally offensive and racist comments, some of which I reported to you? How long for? If you have not suspended them, why not?

What are your criteria for establishing that something is party political? Is this also applied to comments which praise the policies of the current administration? If not, why not? Are party political comments actually defined as anything which might cause embarrassment to the administration, even when the content is true?

Who decides what is 'party political'?

I am of course mortified to be barred from your page for two months.Can you tell me what tariff my two month sentence is based upon? What, for example, would I have to do to be suspended for three months? Do I have to go through a probationary period after that, with guidance in correct thinking, Cultural Revolution style, before I am allowed back? I don't want to step out of line again, obviously.

I note with interest also that I have been 'defriended' by you not after any of my previous wall comments, but only when I pointed out that remarks were being censored.

I look forward to your response, as it will give me something to read in the long, lonely weeks when I am barred from your Facebook page.

Yours sincerely,

(Mrs) An Gry

Oh dear, oh dear ... of course I should have pointed out that I although critical of the policies of the current administration, I am not party political because actually I am not, and have never been, a member of a political party. I fear that logic has little to do with this lunatic council, however, and there you have it, citizens: Big Brother in action, yet again!

BTW, I sneaked back to the Barnet Council Facebook page and found that actually I could get on there with no problem, and so left a suitable message. It's probably gone now, though, eh?


baarnett said...

Clearly the council is keeping a "list".

That means the list is open to disclosure (even if partly redacted) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Documentation involved in the setting up and maintenance of the list is also disclosable.

Mrs A: you are also able to use Section 7(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 to obtain access to your personal data. This may be an electronic record that includes a date when the council deems you able to rejoin the human race.

Go for it!

Mrs Angry said...

Hmmm ... do you know, I am not sure I really exist, baarnett? If I can't be a friend of Barnet Council, my world is devoid of all meaning, anyway. How will I cope? But aren't you glad that such a firm line is being taken on dangerous thinking in our beloved borough?