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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Louise Mensch - A Word In Your Ear

Hello Louise.

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. Things like fact and fiction, truth and lies, facts and opinion, criticism and bullying, intellectual process and rabble rousing, disapproval and sadistic pursuit, task closure and character destruction, interest and obsession, correction and harassment.

Some or all of these concepts may be familiar to you. What may not be familiar are self-awareness, humility, apology, restraint, and something that, as a Christian - you do, I recall, identify as a Christian - you should hold dear: forgiveness.
Why am I taking time out to address you? Well, someone has to. You haven’t listened to anyone else, and there are things that you need to hear, like them or no.

When two or more people disagree about a recollection of events, that does not make one party truthful and the other a liar. Nor does it make one good and the other bad. It does not entitle any other party to intervene and indulge in a campaign of not just shaming, but of deliberate humiliation and, ultimately, of character destruction.

There is no entitlement to whipping up hate mobs. Not for you, or for anyone else.

You do know what I am alluding to here.

We are, regretfully, back at the continuing fallout from your distinctly zealous defence of scientist Tim Hunt. It is a defence so zealous that it verges on damaging the very person it is meant to support: Hunt has given your campaign his tacit approval.

You have, in conducting your defence of Hunt, not merely criticised others, but lashed out at them, name-calling, browbeating, accusing, all the time shouting “liar”. All others are liars, Louise, but never you. You are above such behaviour.

But you are, as is well-known, not above such behaviour. You did, after all, first come to the attention of the wider public when you lied, openly, premeditatedly and deliberately under the protection of Parliamentary privilege, about then CNN host Piers Morgan. The video where you decline to repeat your lies outside Parliament is still available to view; it is included here so all, including your own supporters and defenders, may view it.
When you shout “liar” at Deborah Blum, Connie St Louis, Sue Nelson, David Colquhoun, Dan Waddell, Paula Higgins, and all others who disagree with you, do not forget who really did lie, very publicly, and while serving as a Member of Parliament.

When others make an honest mistake, change their minds, or just suffer a memory lapse, you would do well to stop and think before, once again, shouting “liar” at them. There are so many examples of your doing this yourself that one is spoiled for choice.

As time is short, I will restrict the charge sheet to a series of mis-speaks and misattributions on the case of the Sudanese women Meriam Ibrahim, the laugh-out-loud claim that Charlie Hebdo was a real person, the claim in your now-defunct Sun column that there had been an EU coup in Portugal (totally untrue), your pursuit of the HuffPost over Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman, and your accusation against the BBC that their Songs Of Praise programme that featured a church in a Calais refugee camp  was a fake because the worshippers were Muslims (also totally untrue).

You would not take kindly to anyone shouting “liar” at you for all or any of that. Yet you are more than willing to take that approach to others.
One area where you have proved sensitive, and very recently, is the thought that your behaviour had spilled over into harassment. You challenged Graham Linehan earlier today to provide a citation to his assertion that you had harassed a 17 year old girl. But you know he is referring to Abby Tomlinson of Milifandom fame. And you know what Ms Tomlinson said about what you were doing. And you were doing it during the run-up to her “A” Levels, in the middle of her period of revision.

You have made many comments recently accusing others of some kind of defamatory behaviour, either slander of libel. Once again, the unfortunate Connie St Louis has been a regular target. Yet your claim that she libelled Tim Hunt will not result in any action, as there has been no libel.

Moreover, you seem to forget that you have deliberately libelled others recently: Paddy French of Press Gang was not happy that you called him a hacker. The man otherwise known as Joe Public suffered a yet more egregious defamation: you accused him of both hacking and stalking. On both counts, you were plain flat wrong. You are in no position to claim the moral high ground on that subject.

But what is worse than all these failings, Louise, is the obsessive and sadistic bullying in which you have indulged, and continue to indulge.

You deceived Connie St Louis very deliberately over her appearance on BBC’s The Big Questions: what she did not know was that you had colluded with one of the other guests. You used that collusion against her, and have continued to do so. She made a mistake during the broadcast - it was, after all, live - and you instigated a campaign of bullying against her.

Ms St Louis accepted she had made a mistake; she could have just ignored the social media assault, but decided to do the right thing. Her statement via the BBC was the signal for yet more bullying. This bullying has gone beyond the obsessive to the vicious and sadistic. Yet you keep on, apparently determined to destroy her. Let us understand this well: you want Connie St Louis to lose her job.
That would not be the first time you have tried to deprive someone of their livelihood.

Why you should behave in this way does not so much anger others as mystify them. They, after all, would either instinctively back away from such excess, or someone close to them would urge restraint.

But I suspect, Louise, that there is nobody there - at least, not anyone to whom you are prepared to listen - to urge that restraint upon you.

And so on goes the escalation of your campaign, lashing out at your demons, all those “liars”, who in reality are human beings, as you are. Fallible. Flawed. Yes, Human.

Others have tried to reason with you: Jon Ronson urged caution only today. He immediately identified the problem as bullying.

And there’s the problem, Louise: you’re doing it, but cannot stop. Worse, you cannot accept that you are doing it. You can’t even begin to see that this is harming not just you, but Tim Hunt as well. While he remains silent on the subject, he is by inference accepting what you are doing on his behalf.

You don’t have a monopoly on truth. You are in no position to call “liar” on anyone. You have no authority to pursue others with the objective of getting them sacked. But you are more than capable of putting your own reputation beyond the pale.

And that last is what you are doing with some aplomb right now. Perhaps the time really has come to stop and think. And then do something you are not in the habit of doing: showing some expression of regret - and then apologising. Apologising for all the hurt, offence, upset, nastiness, and, yes, the bullying.

It’s your choice, Louise. I hope that, this time, you choose wisely.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh man, this comes across as seriously creepy. Have you thought of reading your blog posts aloud to a friend before posting them? Mensch is an idiot, as you regularly demonstrate, but you'd have been wiser to have written this as an open letter rather than as a monologue for Hannibal Lecter!

Unknown said...

I think something very unpleasant happened to Louise Bagshawe when she worked in the music industry.

She's already said that she had a bad run-in with drugs earlier in her professional career, and given how sexually exploitative the music industry is I shudder to think at some of the things that she may have been coerced into doing.

I think her vile behaviour as a human being ever since is because she hasn't been able to get through this. The only other explanation is that she was just born bad - but considering that bad people are made and not born I find it hard to believe this. Especially as working for News International is a great way of keeping skeletons locked in closets.

Anonymous said...

This is a laudable attempt to help the woman.

But you're wasting your time.

There's a part of her missing. The part that makes for reasoning and reasonable humanity.

chris westwood said...

I have no wish to hound Connie St Louis to the extent that she could loose her job. That would make me no better than Connie St Louis and her friends, who hounded Tim Hunt to the extent that he lost his job, and hounded Hunt's wife to the extent that she left the country. Whatever you may think of Mensch, she exposed that little lot for the nasty individuals they are.

Tim Fenton said...

@4

Ms St Louis hounded nobody. She gave an account of events.

If she and her friends caused Hunt to lost his job, I am sure you will be able to back that up.

As to Hunt's wife leaving the country, this was already in train before the events which led to the current row.

HTH.

WELSHMAN said...

I bet she's reading this too, having repeatedly googled her name.

Hello Louise!

Anonymous said...

Great insight into the mind of Louise Mensch--and the damage she has been doing to Tim Hunt. There has to be a story, what a complicated and interesting person Mensch is. Bright and well educated, yet is driven to "obsessive and sadistic bullying". It is very focused. She will select a target and then just go after them. What drives her? She has money, otherwise she wouldn't be able to afford the lawyer she uses to push people around behind the scenes and try and silence criticism. So what inclines her to, say, get up in the morning and decide to put her jackboot into someone's face again and again? You touch on her experience with drugs, and I recall she said something on Question Time about this and her ongoing emotional problems only a few years ago.

Tim Hunt needs to stop this. The fact that he has not called off Louise Mensch implieshe approves. It is, after all, a campaign in his name. Why a man of his stature would feel he needs to support this is beyond understanding and diminishes him. All he did was make some sexist remarks and then apologise. Few people really thought it was more than a bad joke gone wrong. And yet now we have to watch the embarrassing spectacle of Mensch's bullying revisionism and attempt to destroy the reputation of another human being. One can only imagine the effect that this is having on CSL's friends and family. Has she had journalists fawning over her trauma? No because Mensch has done her best to make this person so toxic that everyone is steering clear! If Tim Hunt allows Louise Mensch to destroy CSL in his name using lies, smears and bullying, that is going to be a terrible legacy for a Nobel Prize winner. His time to fix this is running out.

mikep said...

Connie St Louis made a variety of claims nearly all of which are demonstrably untrue. She claimed that Tim Hunt’s after dinner comments went on and on for over seven minutes. Time stamping shows he talked for less than three minutes. She said he was serious, but the audio recording shows clearly he was being jocular and ironic. She said he sat down to stony silence, but the audio shows there was laughter and applause. She said that everyone was shocked, but the organisers were so upset they asked him for more informal remarks for that same evening. She said he thanked the women for making the lunch, but this seems to arise from a misunderstanding of someone else’s tweet. The person who does seem to have made a similar remark was the Korean scientist and politician who later demanded an apology from Tim Hunt. Connie St Louis implied that Tim Hunt was given an opportunity to explain himself, but she never spoke directly to him. The “opportunity” appears to refer to Tim Hunt's “appearance” at a Sexism in Science Session. However he was not at that session because he was at a simultaneous session chairing the presentations of two ERC funded female scientists – that’s why he was at the conference. And then he gave an interview to a female Kenyan journalist. Tim Hunt has said that he did make the comments about “my trouble with girls”. And he apologised in the following terms: “I am mortified to have upset my hosts, which was the very last thing I intended. I also fully accept that the sentiments as interpreted have no place in modern science”. Note “as interpreted “. He is also on record saying that the tone and context of his remarks was misreported. Not much for Louise Mensch to apologise for here, but what about Connie St Louis?

Tim Fenton said...

@8

I note that you do not address any of the points I made in this post. I'll just leave that right there.

Anonymous said...

Oh mikep, is this the best place on the internet to rehash this tosh? Can't decide, do you really believe this BS or are you just part of the support Tim Hunt at all costs brigade and want to stick your oar in as a warrior in The Crusade To Save Tim? The people who come here are interested in the truth, that is why they come. Not to listen to some acolyte at the foot of the giant fucking Mensch bullshit machine. What's it like down there by the way? Don't u mind getting occasionally sprayed with unmenschionable stuf. LOL! FFS countless people heard what Hunt said it wud be almost funny some of the made up stuff that Mensch has tried in order to rehabilitate him. Funny if not for the fact that she is trying to destroy another human being.

Seeing as you have an interest then perhaps you;d like to enlighten us about how it is that Sir Tim pushed "now seriously" when that seems to be a porky? Invented by the ERC. Told to the Observer by Sir Tim, pushed by Louise and footsoldiers as some official Euro-report, and pushed by the pro-Tim crowd, Dawkins all that lot. Everyone was crowing about it. Proof positive that it was a joke and everyone knew it they all said. Except 'now seriously' was bullshit wasn't it? Come on, apply your brilliant mind to that question of how those words were not actually spoken and yet they form part of story. Or in the absence of some actual gears grinding in that brain, just ask Louise what to think. I'm sure she'll manage to straighten thinks out for you.

One final question for you genius. You walk into a room and three people tell you they heard a scientist say something stupid--something corroborated by a number of others WHO WERE THERE. Then someone who was never in the room, whose highlight in life is as a rock and roll groupie and WRITER OF FICTION, goes on to construct a theory that not only are those three people lying but they colluded to lie and had an agenda. And that is somehow easier to believe than the fact that the scientist actually did say something stupid???? Don't be gullible. Or if you want to be gullible, can you take it somewhere else please? LOL!

mikep said...

The three eye witnesses you mean did not agree with other. Other eyewitnesses also gave a very different account. These include the memo from the EC observer. The audio showsbquite clearly the jocular and ironic context. I am not in general a Louise Mensch fan, and am very fond of Jeremy Corbyn (even if I did vote for Yvette Cooper).But on this issue Louise has got it right. Given your intemperate reaction I won't bother with any more comments.

Dan Waddell said...

Hi Mike - a few things. The three eyewitnesses agree with each other on what Hunt said and agreed it should be reported. A number of eyewitnesses also present back their version up (see https://medium.com/@danwaddell/saving-tim-hunt-97db23c6ee93#.5cgyk9i7r). The 'EC Observer' you mention was actually an ERC spin doctor who accompanied Hunt to Seoul, and he described the comments as 'sexist and unacceptable.' As has been pointed out, Hunt did not say 'Now seriously' as the memo claimed.

Re your earlier comment, Hunt was given a chance to explain himself well before the Sexism in Science session which has Louise et al so worked up, on the morning of the 9th by Deborah Blum, one of the three responsible for the original report. She questioned him about it and there are witnesses to this interview. Finally, Hunt had been asked to speak that evening at a welcome reception before his comments at the fateful lunch. Bear in mind the person who issued the invitation did not hear what he said at lunch, and did not learn of it until later, as they had a conference to run and organise.

Hope that helps. Dan

Sue Nelson said...

Mike - as Tim says, this post concentrates on the harmful effects of targeted online bullying. The recent escalation of both new abuse and the retreading of old myths and misinformation is entering dangerous territory.

I can't be the only one who was saddened to hear that Tim Hunt had entertained suicidal thoughts. Considering the vitriolic, sustained and more numerous attacks on Connie St Louis, she could well have had similar moments of despair. Online bullying is potentially life threatening and there's only so much abuse people can take. This blog is a call for humanity. Shame on anyone who refuses to hear it.

The continued abuse does, as pointed out by one of the comments above, reflect badly on Hunt. It is being done, and has been done for over seven months now, in his defence, in his name, and with his full knowledge. Yet, despite the numerous media interviews (often about his own victimisation), he has never addressed or condoned the racism, smears or personal attacks on St Louis and others - many of them female scientists. I do wonder if Hunt and his wife realise how much damage this continual public defence is causing them.