National Media Museum – the final scene?

NMEM4Sadly, Bradford’s National Media Museum is under attack again. Last week a story broke which has got worse and worse. What started as “cultural asset stripping”, even “cultural rape”, is being seen as a winding down of The National Media Museum which could lead to Bradford’s biggest and most popular museum being downgraded from a national museum and the end of UNSECO’s first City of Film losing all of its film festivals.

Firstly, the museum’s photography collection is to be broken up with hundreds of thousands of items being shipped down to London. This will almost double the Victoria & Albert Museum’s photography collection, making the world’s largest and most prestigious single collection – but almost half of that collection will come from Bradford. The Royal Photographical Society laughably said that the a London-based collection would be geographically more centralseriously! Many have asked why the greatest collection of photography in the world could not be held at the National Media Museum, erstwhile National Museum of Film, Photography & Television, and actually more geographically central; none have answered.

NMeM3

Next was notification of redundancies and cost cutting. Ironically, one of the main excuses for the move of the huge collection of items, described as “Bradford’s treasures” in The Guardian, is that budget cuts have meant that The National Media Museum can’t properly curate the collection nor facilitate the large number of students & academics who want to study the collection. This appears to be creating a vicious cycle where the budget is cut leading to a reduced capacity to handle the increased (yes, *increased*) visitor numbers & collections, which allows powers that be to cut the budget further.

Later came the potential renaming of The National Media Museum. Science Museum North is one option, as NMeM changes focus to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) to increase interest and participation in these disciplines. A worthy cause, but surely the NMeM’s present role allows for this without being turned into a provincial outpost of the capital’s Science Museum; and doesn’t Manchester’s MOSI already cover this remit? The beauty of NMeM is that it is so diverse, and can not only show the science & technology of the media but interweave that science with the art & culture & beauty it produces. I wonder how Hockney, Priestley, Delius and Rothenstein would feel about art being ripped from the heart of their city.

NMEM1Last March, the Science Museum trustees’ meeting began talking of the move of the collection and it and a name change were decided last July. The minutes note that this could be seen as “taking the best from Bradford” and giving it to London, and both needed “local consultation”. Have you been consulted? Have any of our leaders? Did anyone outside the M25 know about the changes until this week? We’ve been kept in the dark about decisions made in, by and for the benefit of London. London’s arts get £4 per person for every £1 spent everywhere else in the country; the V&A can, at a whim, double (temporarily) its photographic gallery and increase its staffing to cope with increased demand for the new mega-collection. How much more valuable, in terms of economy, decentralisation, the message behind the Northern Powerhouse and support for regionalism, Yorkshire & the North, would that investment and those jobs be if created here in Bradford? What would it say to us if instead of losing (at least) 6 highly-skilled, academic curator positions, we gained some, we expanded, we got something from London? How would that feel? Sadly, it remains a rhetorical question because it’s never happened… at least, not since the National Museum of Film, Photography & Television was first opened.

NMeM March 2015

March 2015 Minutes of Science Museum Group

Finally, The National Media Museum has dropped the Bradford International Film Festival (after also abandoning Bite the Mango and Bradford Animation Festival) leaving UNESCO’s first International City of Film without its film festivals. Surely a further demonstration that our National Media Museum is being wound down.

National Media Museum Bradford West Yorkshire EnglandSo, what to do? For most of us, ire, anger and a deep sadness is only softened by the fact that we’re numb through desensitisation to this: repeated misrule, undermining and ignoring of us & our needs in favour of London and Leeds has left little for the ordinary Bradfordian to do but shrug and expect the worse; it even took a Londoner to set up the 38 degrees petition (now with over 23k signatories) to decry the decision to send the photographs south. The Media Museum nearly closed a few years ago; BBC Radio Leeds & Asian Network left the city; HMRC are closing all its offices in Bradford and move jobs to Leeds. The list goes on. And on. And on.

I asked what we should do. I’m still waiting for answers. I’ve asked this before of politicians when writing about education and got little in the way of useful replies. But if I’ve learnt anything recently, it’s that we can’t leave it up to politicians (as vocal as many have been about this recently). If we want a National Media Museum, an International Film Festival, to be more than a provincial backwater led by donkeys in Leeds or London, we must do something.

At the minimum, sign this petition to show the powers that be that you want Bradford and the North to retain one of its artistic & scientific institutions…

Then, get mad.

  • Write to your council and your councillor. They probably agree with you already but if they go into meetings with Science Museum Group, MPs, Department of Culture, Media & Sport, etc with 100s of letters, each a concrete example of support for Bradford to continue at the head & heart of photographic & cinematic curatorship & research, they will be well armed in the fight to come. Find your councillor here or tweet Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford’s lead on Culture, to give her your support.
  • Write to your MP. Three of Bradford’s MPs, Judith Cummings (South), Imran Hussain (East) and Naz Shah (West), need your letters to fight the fight they’re taking on. Kris Hopkins (Keighley) and Philip Davies (Bingley) have been quiet on the issue – and they’ll see no reason to speak up & speak out unless the people they work for – you – speak to them. Find your MP here. And remember, this is the NATIONAL Media Museum – whether you’re in Bradford or not, tell your representatives that you want art & culture here in the north, accessible to more people more easily.
  • You can also tell the Department of Culture, Media & Sports that we need, we demand, a significant demonstration of the arts in Bradford and West Yorkshire. You can email DCMS here or minister Ed Vaizey here. You can also tweet Ed Vaizey or tweet James Wharton (Northern Powerhouse minister; afterall, what’s a powerhouse without a heart & and an eye?).
  • The Science Museum Group knew about this nearly a year ago and said local public consultation was needed – but wasn’t asked for. Let’s give them the consultation they need by contacting them.
  • Of course, The National Media Museum needs your support and your input. Tell them you want a National museum, you want a world renowned photography collection, you want film festivals and, most of all, you want them to be great. Email them here or tweet the here.

Send this post to friends and ask them to contact too. Get everyone from the North to understand that this is about all of us, not just Bradford. Get those who love art and want to share that love to write: how many great artifacts already reside in London and how much more good could they do here? Get people to speak up for the injustice this clearly is. These photos, these festivals belong to you and me and Bradford and the North and the rest of the UK outside London. Get them to demand it.

A 2 second tweet, a 2 minute email or a 20 minute rant – whatever amount of time you can spend, spend it today. Ask yourself, in the future, will you have done something to save our National Media Museum… or will you wish you had?

When I started writing this, I expected to get angrier and angrier. I haven’t. Maybe it’s the desensitisation I mentioned earlier… but maybe, just maybe, Bradford’s got enough going for it to make a change, make a difference and make people take notice. Now, wouldn’t that be nice?

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The Broadway

Source: The Broadway

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Birmingham and Bradford, UK – 1980s

Travelling without moving far

Tales from two cities - travels of another kind by Dervla Murphy Tales From Two Cities – Travels of another sort by Dervla Murphy

If I’d researched more thoroughly, I might not have read Dervla Murphy’sTales From Two Cities and that would have been my loss. Having previously enjoyed A Winter in Baltistan, I was expecting a travel book and had been looking forward to seeing two places I know (Bradford, fleetingly and Birmingham, in depth) through the eyes of another.

As soon as my copy arrived, I realised this was a different kind of book. Murphy called it ‘Travels of another sort’, which offers a flavour of what follows.

Again, poor research, I’d thought she’d spent time in Bradford and Birmingham after the riots in the mid eighties, but Murphy has a far better nose for a story than that. She was already living in Bradford when the battle for Drummond School happened and she provides a breathtaking…

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Galloway’s Legacy to Bradford

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.32.59Bradford is a Galloway-Free Zone. Were sweeter words ever written?

After the shenanigans of the election, with allegations of electoral fraud here and criminality there, a lie for a lie being the order of the day (if one is to believe the parties and, let’s face it, why would you?), the dust is beginning to settle. So, what next for Bradford and Bradfordians?

If you read my blog or follow me on Twitter, it’s obvious that I got the result I wanted: Galloway is gone. Yes, he’s rearing his ugly head saying he’ll sue Bradford, sue Shah, sue Labour, sue everyone, which might be good for the local economy as his solicitors are based in Bradford, but the decision is unlikely to change and, even in the unlikely event of a re-run, he’d be a fool to run again here.

So, now he’s gone, what did Galloway ever do for us? I think it could be more than we first appreciate – if we play it right.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.36.20Galloway did very little for us in Parliament. He spoke in just 4 debates last year, and his 11% voting record made him the most expensive non-former-PM backbencher (ie salary / votes), and it was the contention of many, myself included, that he cared more, acted more and spoke more about foreign policy than about Bradford’s issues and national issues which affect Bradford disproportionately, such as education, unemployment and crime.

The Bradford Spring

When I voted for Galloway, which I did in 2012, Bradford’s political landscape was one of ignorance and abuse. There we were, a big city, in the north, with a multi-cultural electorate and suffering from the post-industrial diseases of poor education, poor skills and poor job prospects. Labour ignored us; the Tories punished us.

The left wrung its hands and watched us decline, ignoring our kids’ failure as first London then Manchester and Birmingham got their Challenge initiatives, ignoring our City of Film and Media Museum to send Aunty Beeb to Salford, and ignoring our lack of infrastructure to give Sheffield & Manchester trams and London whatever it wants.

The ConDem coalition, well, they trimmed our funding to the bone, taking far more from Bradford and giving it to their fattened southern heartlands, a punishment made worse by 3 of 5 Bradford MDC MPs being coalition partners. Respect, such a laughable misnomer as it now seems, were the answer, and their firebrand standard-bearer was a shoo-in.

I truly believed that Bradford West and her partners within the city, so long stalwarts of Labour and painted red religiously at almost every election, would actually get something, anything, out of this slavish, parasitic relationship if once, and it needed only to be once, we bit the hand that barely fed us and said, categorically, ‘Please, sir, can we have some more?”

In short, I thought Galloway’s election would stop Labour taking us for granted.

2015 – Bradford Summer?

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.39.25Fast forward on and it quickly became apparent that Labour – local, national or a mixture of the two – hadn’t learnt its lesson. I saw Naz Shah, whom I am delighted to call my MP, called “the accidental candidate”. If her election was an accident, so be it – I voted for her and am delighted thus far with the result. What is unconscionable is the execrable manner in which she came to power which was entirely despite Labour’s activities. The Labour Party put up council lambs to be slaughtered by wolfish George; picked a southerner without experience and watched her scamper back down South; then picked an unknown, inexperienced candidate who, by luck rather than judgment, had the balls to take on one of the most seasoned, vicious, uncompromising opponents in British politics… and win!

Labour threw her to the wolf and, this time, the lamb won – but no thanks to the party and entirely down to the lamb having fire in her belly and the strength to fight. For us in Bradford, the Labour Party still took us for granted. It’ll be up to Naz Shah to demonstrate that her party can deliver for us – even under a Tory government – or, as recent history demonstrates, we’ll look elsewhere.

Galloway’s Legacy

GALLOWAY - sadSo Galloway’s legacy hasn’t been to stop Labour taking us for granted… but maybe it is something far more important than that. Personally, I won’t put so much faith, trust and responsibility in politicians. Perhaps his greatest legacy is to teach us that we must do it for ourselves and not rely on politicians who are, like us, human, fallible and frail. Galloway, a promised panacea that turned out to be a placebo, has, maybe, taught us to do things for ourselves and use politicians as conduits, as tools, for us to use and, when they have been worn out, discarded and traded in for new.

What a legacy for George it would be if we treat politicians as we should, and make them fear being picked for Bradford West, a constituency with such active, vociferous, uncompromising, unforgiving voters that the incumbent trembles and the upstart shivers; a constituency which sends chills down the back of the media and SPADs alike; a constituency that becomes the rocks on which careers are smashed.

What a legacy it would be if George has taught us to push politicians to perform and produce or be punished.

A Toast: Cry God, Naz Shah & St George

When I raised a toast, vociferously echoed around Bradford Brewery, to “the memory of the memory of George Galloway”, perhaps it was an elegy to my trust in politicians. You see, for most of us, we say we’ll do a job, we get employed to do that job and either we do it and get paid or we don’t and we get sacked. Galloway might have poisoned my political well but politicians have the best of both worlds: five years’ guaranteed work, a golden parachute payment if you’re so shit you get kicked out and the easy get out clause of blaming the other guys don’t deliver (without anyone mentioning that, if the other lot stopped it, you failed at persuading them or your party failed at persuading enough people on it).

11127_10152661456977411_8088205202470936190_nNaz Shah, I believe, won’t be a career politician like those that came before. I hope she’ll be so knackered serving us she returns to use the influence she’s found and friends she’s made in parliament to do other good work – for Bradfordians and others. She’s made promises to us and, if we remind her of them, I believe we can trust her to do her utmost to deliver. But we must remember that she works for us, unlike George who never failed to remind us what he’d done for us, in truth or lie, nor what we should do for him.

As for doing it for ourselves, politics is not the be all and end all. We can’t take part once every 5, 3 or 2 years and hope it’ll all turn out for the best. We have to do something if we want things changed; if we want it, take it. If we’re happy to hope what we want will fall into our laps from the Westminster table, we’ll always be disappointed.

Personally, I’ve had a think and realised a few things:

Slide1Firstly, I need to get these buggers working for me and not just taking my vote; and if I didn’t vote for them, well, they work for me anyway so I want my pound of flesh. In practice, this means that I’ll continue with fighting for fairness in education, asking again and again, over and over why London, Manchester and Birmingham all got the Challenge, and why Bradford and Yorkshire didn’t; asking again and again why, now London’s schools are the best, education is no longer top of the agenda. Want to help? Get in touch.

politicsinthepub_genericSecondly, I’ll try to work out more about my own political ideas and thoughts. I’ll read a bit more and, maybe, see if there are few souls who enjoy discussing politics and drinking beer, and start up politics in the pub – give me a shout if you’re interested.

bd_angryFinally, and most importantly, I won’t rely on politicians. If summat needs doing, I’ll do it for me sen – and if I achieve this and Bradford achieves this, what a legacy George will have left.

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Bradford Brewery & the Theatrics of the Election

indexStood in Bradford Brewery surrounded by politicos of every hue, an odd feeling of being duped overtook me. Maybe it was because I’d just, in a small way, pushed myself into the politics of Bradford West during a campaign that was easily one of the dirtiest, meanest, vilest contests in recent history; maybe it was because of the frenzied attack of that campaign that the participants were so glad it was over; maybe it’s because I’d wolfed down a couple of the brewery’s delicious ales a little too quickly. Whatever the reason, I felt like a member of the audience who had willingly suspended disbelief but is confronted with the actors in the bar after the show and is unable to comprehend that it was all just a show; or, perhaps, the ‘victim’ of one of those hidden camera shows who, to the delight of the audience, is taken further and further into the extremities of farce only, at the last moment, for a mask to be lifted, the truth revealed, and, cue microphone, hilarity to ensue.

What had hoodwinked me? Politics. Like, I suppose, it does most of us every 5 years.

image-20141121-1040-21hs1iForget the Battle of Bradford West for a second and take a look at the national picture. For months – months – the Tories had been shouting that Labour would ruin the economic recovery, bring the country to its knees, move the country towards a leftist, neo-Marxist position (OK, maybe that was just the Daily Mail), open the borders to allow anyone in and, generally, turn the whole shebang into a dog eared, pig’s breakfast within seconds of Milliband entering Downing Street. On the other hand, Labour said the Tories would sell the NHS, sell education, sell, well, everything, cut social security (fuck ‘welfare’, let’s call it what it is), end human rights, punish the poor for being poor whilst rewarding the rich for giving them lots of money to win an election and, in general, turn the whole shebang into a dog eared, pig’s breakfast within seconds of Cameron re-entering Downing Street.

The right-wing Tory press (ie most of it) screamed about Red Ed’s inability to eat, think, count, write or breathe (without the permission of the unions). The left-wing press, such as it is (ie the Daily Mirror, Polly Toynbee, Deborah Orr and Owen Jones), screamed incandescently about inequality, injustice and income. From “Save our Bacon” and “save us from Red Ed” to “Five more damned years”, Osbourne’s “bone-chilling” vision of a “brutish future” and “where will your children live?”, this was not just a competition, this was a battle for the economy, morality and spirituality of our nation. The left was so wrong, its winning would be the death knell of any form of prosperity ever by anyone and we would live cold, hungry and shivering. The right was so wrong that the poor, elderly and infirm would be immediately be pushed on to the streets and left to rot.

imgID22764872.jpg-pwrt2So, on the back of this, I went to the pub to meet a few people I’d been tweeting with about the election but, as we’re in Bradford, mainly about George Galloway. At the pub were some of the vanquished. Not Galloway – though he would, I have been assured, have been welcomed. Naz Shah didn’t make it down but, I would imagine, there was probably a media person or two to speak to about her victory. Putting media before constituents was the downfall of the last chap so I’m sure she won’t make the mistake again, but this once could be explained away easily enough.

George Grant – looking, sounding and acting every inch the Tory (and there are quite a few inches to him) – beamed, grinned, shook hands and was enjoying the freedom of not being on the campaign trail. He was, much as I and most others expected him to be, pleasant, entertaining, thoughtful and a decent enough bloke to have a pint with (until he started on the whiskey sodas – yes… in a brewery!). Celia Hickson, the Green candidate, was chatty, smiley, lovely and everyone’s friend. Harry Bootha, UKIP’s candate, shook everyone by the hand, chatted pleasantly and seemed as at home in the Brewery as he did at the hustings – meaning he said little of substance but you were jolly glad he was there. Alun Griffiths (LD) was working and had said he’d come later; James Kirkaldy (independent) didn’t make it; and the Eng Nat was, well, who gives a fuck?

Also around were Labour & Tory councilors, including Simon Cooke (Cullingworth) who I finally got to meet, however fleetingly, in person; defeated local candidates, including Dave Ford, who I disappointingly didn’t get to meet; activists and supporters from all the parties; and anti-Gallowayers, like me. Any way, suffice it to say, it was a group which spanned the political divide: from the right of Tory & UKIP to the left of Labour and Green, all were present. And they got on brilliantly. The bastards.

George Grant did so well in his campaign that, possibly, another party will be writing him a letter of recommendation. Celia Hickson – petite, delightful, lovely – was taken warmly and, in an act of camaraderie, ardently embraced by George Grant – tall, posh, and no-less lovely. Bastards! There was little these two agreed on in the campaign: from Grant being a A-bomb-addicted, war-mongering, poor-bashing Fascist to Hickson being a tree-hugging, economically-incontinent, give-our-nation-to-the-Commies hippy, these two were diametrically opposite. And here they were, buying each other drinks, sharing jokes about the campaign and reminiscing about hustings past. Bastards!

They told us to hate the other when, in the end, they get on well enough. Bastards!

This disparity was shown in all its vulgarity a couple of times: Simon Cooke and friends, in their Conservative rosettes, were briefly but loudly accosted by a passing drinker; another drinker seemed about to come to blows with Harry Bootha over UKIP’s (in the drinker’s eyes) racist policies. The public cared more, were more outraged, were more passionate about the differences in policy and their reaction showed the policies meant more to them than the politicians. I saw myself in those drinkers. I didn’t call Simon Cooke a c*** – though, in my head in front of Twitter, I probably have. I wasn’t the guy threatening Harry Bootha and his “racist” party – in fact, I stood between the two when, were it Nutall or Farridge and on the TV and not my local, I’d probably have been happy to see them decked. People don’t behave like this generally in Bradford’s independent quarter – it was politics that had brought out the worst in us.

cameron-fascistHearing the hype, listening to the news, reading the papers, I’m one of those that leaning towards the Tories being poor-baiting fascists and you might be one of those who believe Labour are the commies who let all the paedos into the country. In reality, they’re two sides of the same coin… and it’s a very thin coin used to buy our votes.

I saw then that politics, really, is just a con. The politicians whip us up into a frenzy, promising the Earth if we vote for them and hell on Earth if we don’t. But, at the end, they all go to the same pub, slap each other on the back and buy each other a drink – like they’ve just played a game of 5-a-side on the rec ground: it was loud, passionate, meaningful during the match but, in the end, counts for nothing.

So, who’s to blame? Is it the politicians for whipping up our fears, the media for whipping up our hate or us for believing that they believe what they say and that our vote makes a difference?

At the end of the day, when all the votes were counted, the politicians politely disagreed on a few things, and positively agreed on most things, including that a) the world isn’t going to end because of an election and b) George Galloway is a twat.

Galloway had gone and it should have been an unadulterated happy moment, even if Cameron was going back to number 10. It wasn’t: the curtain had been lifted; the magician had slipped and shown me the trick. The hate and the hubris were just for my benefit and I felt duped I’d cared about the outcome of the election thinking it was a crusade for the just, not a theatrical bun fight.

But I bet I’ll get taken in again in 5 years’ time.

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Galloway, Bradford Brewery and the Tragedy of the Bradford Spring

AnotherCountry

When you see the pictures of Galloway’s victory parade around Bradford, its easy to see why he is one of the most exciting (and indeed excitable) politicians of his generation.  Basically no one else acts like that anymore.  Apart from maybe Dennis Skinner, there really doesn’t seem anyone who can turn on anger, clarity and oratory like Galloway.  Ranting and speaking, declaring the “Bradford Spring” from the top of a double decker bus.  As you see him, genuine talent eclipsed by the outrageous bombast of his cigar, hat and glasses, you have to wonder if, up there on his double decker victory bus, he thought his time in Bradford might be refreshingly uneventful.  “Surely”, you can imagine him thinking, surrounded by people chanting his name, “after a career like mine, Bradford must be sedate, and not a place where controversy and scandals are”.

I am not a professional politician and neither…

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George Galloway: It’s not Him – It’s Me!

GALLOWAY - sadI got in bother with Bradford West candidate George Galloway this weekend. It’s ended up with me apologising to a couple of people, not least the person who Mr Galloway thinks I am. That might need clarification…

I was in a conversation with a feed which I thought was about “friendly banter” concerning Bradford’s political scene. I said something, which I won’t repeat, about the Respect Party. In summary, I incorrectly and foolishly (thinking I was speaking to a general, friendly discussion feed) repeated allegations as fact. I apologised. Correctly. It was due to brevity and the limit of 140 characters. This is how it all started.

After suddenly realising that the conversation I was in wasn’t quite what I thought, I felt that it would be right to withdraw the comments – which I did. However, the people I was speaking with weren’t happy with that and, it would seem, shared my error with Mr Galloway.

A lot later, Mr Galloway tweeted this

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 10.08.58I didn’t see it at the time. Mr Galloway didn’t include my handle, so the message didn’t pop up as a notification. He’s blocked me on Twitter so I can’t easily see his tweets and would’ve been unlikely to have come across it accidentally. He also has my email address, but didn’t use it.

Oh, and one more thing: that’s not me.

I believe there is a Mr Atkinson at Bingley Grammar School. It’s not me; I’m not him.

Sorry, Mr Atkinson – it’s me he wants – not you.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 10.10.09But back to the tweet. He chose not to use my handle or my email and didn’t put the tweet as part of the conversation, so I was unlikely to see it. But he did put in what he believed was my place of work. I don’t know why. I felt that it was intimidatory – a kind of ‘I know where you live’ but, well, not quite as close to home. Was this him telling me that, unless I stopped, he was going to report me? Would an employer be upset at what I’d written? Possibly, but I thought I’d dealt with exactly as how the people I was speaking to had asked and had taken back my error. Is it right to report what someone said in (what I believed was a personal, friendly) conversation about politics to the person’s employer?

Mr Galloway knows my Twitter handle; he knows my email address; I think he knows my address as I’ve probably included it in emails; so, why did he just include my last name and (incorrectly) my place of work? What was the point if not to intimidate? If it were you, would you feel intimidated?

I’ve tweeted and emailed Mr Galloway yesterday explaining the situation – and haven’t got a reply yet. I’ve also apologised to Mr Atkinson of BGS as part of the conversation (but I don’t know if he’s on Twitter so can’t say that he saw it) and will write to the school and to Mr Atkinson if I find out Mr Galloway or anyone else has put in a complaint to the school about him / me. I hope Mr Galloway will do the same.

indexOn another note, Mr Galloway was in the news this weekend for a much reported spat with new venture and local beer purveyors, Bradford Brewery. (If you don’t do anything else in April, make sure you go and have a pint or two.)

Mr Galloway, amongst other things, seemed to threaten to close the brewery down if he is elected.

Tweets from the brewery and Louise Mensch seemed to think it was, and the latter warned him, that any action after the election could be illegal.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 11.33.48Mr Galloway also retweeted (but that does not necessarily mean he agrees, obviously) a call for the MP to use his influence with the council’s head of planning to have Bradford Brewery shut down.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 10.09.04Also, he and some of his supporters have suggested that “complaints abound” about the brewery. I’m not sure they do, so I asked how many have been received. I haven’t got a reply yet. I also put in an FOI request to Bradford Council to ask how many complaints have been received about Bradford Brewery to date, and how many of those were received before Mr Galloway’s twitter argument with the brewery. I’ll let you know when I get the information back.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 11.37.21Mr Galloway made me feel intimidated and bullied. It seems to me that he has also threatened a local business during a Twitter “spat” – which a Respect spokesperson described as ‘trivial’ – with closure because they were a bit pissy with him – but this might not be what he meant to say and I would urge you to seek clarification on his view in case, due to the limitations of 140 characters this isn’t what he meant at all.

It’s been a learning opportunity, and I’ll certainly be more careful with what I say about my former and possibly future MP on line.

But, most of all, I apologise to Mr Atkinson who, through no fault of his own, has been called some most hurtful and damaging names by a politician and (probably) Bradford West’s MP. Really – I’m sorry.

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