Friday, August 13, 2004

Blackmailing David Lepper?

This Is Brighton and Hove web site posts a news item about this site.

It's fairly negative, taking the most negative view possible on all points (quotes from the article in italics):

A spoof web site lampooning Brighton MP David Lepper ... become the latest victim ... a national campaign to 'blackmail' politicians into starting web log (blog) online diaries.
Some of the "proxy-blogs" are openly hostile to the targeted MP and Mr Lepper will now consider legal action to get the site removed.

I don't intend the site to be 'openly hostile' and I don't think anyone reading it would take that view, would you? I took my cue from Tim Ireland's suggestion that we start proxy-blogs for our MPs in order to shame them into blogging - which is of course only communication with the people who pay their salaries. I have to say that a threat of legal action is not exactly what I expected from my MP. I thought I might get an email from him first, asking what was going on. I thought we might have a discussion and I might get a better understanding of his position on online communication. I am committed to going along to his surgery, so it would probably be better if he doesn't try to sue me. Then we can have a sensible discussion.

Mr Lepper said: "It's highly objectionable that someone is posting information on the internet claiming it has been written by me. "

Well, the site is called 'Almost David Lepper' and it states at the top of every page:
'I'm NOT David Lepper, the MP for Brighton Pavilion. ... I believe MPs should blog. If David Lepper, MP, did blog, it might look something like this. '
I don't believe that anyone could believe that this was really written by The Real David Lepper.

"The Almost David Lepper site steals some of the content from the MP's own site, making it appear genuine".

It's got genuine content and links to the 'real' David Lepper site so that visitors can see what and who David Lepper is. The 'real' David Lepper site is on ePolitix, a site that does not anywhere declare its ownership or background or sponsors or supporters. How do we know that the ePolitix site is the 'real' David Lepper site anyway?

"But it also includes jibes against Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott - following the Falmer decision - and other senior politicians. "

Oooh, now we come to the real problem. There's a poke at John Prescott (and he's a SENIOR politician) on the site. Trouble. ... what are my views on ... Fatboy Prescott's handling of our new football stadium?

"I'm particularly concerned because there is an email address given which purports to be my own. I would hate anyone to think the responses from this address came from me."

Do you think anyone would make this mistake? Maybe you should get an address of your own, eh?

The MP believes he was contacted by the author of the web site who complained his real web site has not been updated.

I phoned up his office to ask his view on the Falmer Stadium site decision and the West Pier situation, as he didn't mention them on his site. I really wanted to point out that these sorts of issues needed a response. I told them I was doing a web site. They asked me to send them details. I asked for an email address, but they said they didn't have one and asked me to fax the details over. Well, darling, I don't do fax. So that was the end of that.

David Lepper is a serious and dedicated MP and does not deserve to be ripped off in this way.

Oh come on. This is 2001. Call it satire, call it irony, call it humour. But don't get so het up about it.

Chill out, David.


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