Thursday, 11 September 2008

Just to repeat...

Not everyone , unsurprisingly, can be bothered to trawl through the numerous comments which have been posted, mainly anonymously, on this blog over the past couple of days.

So, for the benefit of those people, I would like to repeat here a posting I made this morning in one of the comment threads:

With regard to my original post about Happy Hour promotions at Darlington Football Club, in a post which no longer has a title, I wrote:

"I am happy to repeat my apology for the heading on my original post, which I have removed. The heading was intended to be controversial: it was not intended to cause offence and I apologise to anyone, including anyone at Darlington Football Club, who was offended. I am happy to acknowledge that the football club itself suffers very little from alcohol related problems and its bar is well run and stewarded.

I have already expressed this opinion to the Echo, though it remains to be seen whether they print it.

I have also acknowledged, in my original post, that the football club needs help to survive.

However, I still maintain my original position: I believe it is unfortunate and it sends out the wrong message, for a family-oriented sports club to promote Happy Hour drinks prices. I acknowledge that the promotion is not as long-lasting or as cheap as in some of the bars in town, but the football club is a leading organisation in the local community and my personal view is that it does itself no credit by joining the Happy Hour drinks culture.

This opinion is not shared by many, mainly anonymous, posters. However, I have received, through emails, telephone calls and personal conversations, from people who would never get involved in a on-line blogging debate, considerable support for my views.

Alcohol consumption, particularly among the young in this country is too high: it causes immense individual and social problems and something needs to be done about it. The Government has wittered on for some time about a mandatory restriction on Happy Hour promotions, but has so far relied on the drinks industry to take voluntary action - to no great effect.

Next month, the football club is the venue for a conference on the problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption. I am sure the club in no way condones binge drinking. However, I still maintain it should be setting an example here by not using the phrase "Happy Hour" to promote its bars."

For the time being, until I think anonymous posters will refrain from using certain words beginning with f, c and w, and until I am satisfied that further threats against myself or my business will not be forthcoming, I shall leave "comment moderation" on. This means that comments will be reviewed before they are posted. I hope to lift this restriction as soon as possible.

I shall not be near a computer (oh, great joy!) for the rest of the day, so if you choose to post, it may not appear until this evening.

Just a quick note for the people who wanted to close my business down, or picket it: perhaps you could have given some thought to the people who work for me: most of them loyally and enthusiastically for many years. They would not thank you if you chose to pursue this course of action.


ian said...

Welcome back Mike,
Whilst I may not accord fully with your views on this, the response of the "fans" is quite ridiculous and ott.
DFC over the yrs have done alot of good for the community and i myself have benfitted from their hospitality. However this should not exonerate from them from critisism if handled appropriately.

And as for the so-called offensive language? well, we all know how averse football fans are to any sort of foul language....dont we?

Ian White said...


Look at it like this you are not the first and wont be the last to of upset someone on a website or blog. Todays news tommorows chip wrappers.
Good luck.

Chris Close said...

Apparently the issue of ‘Fairer Charging’ was tabled at the Cabinet meeting of DBC last night and went through without demur from anyone.

Councillors passed a measure which affects people without a voice with no real debate.

Perhaps the obvious conflict of interest needs to be now pointed out.

The ‘saving’ or ‘income’ gained from ‘robbing’ these disabled people will be less than half the cost to Darlington of the ‘allowances’ of these self serving ‘Councillors’ who were elected to represent the interests apparently of themselves.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

A direct example of how this affects people is of one of the people who uses our service who currently is ‘charged’ £60 per week out of an income of £120 to pay for the ‘care’ he receives over which he was given no choice and was not consulted about.

They argue ‘we did write to him’.

He cannot read.

Nor can he speak properly.

I wonder why they did not just go the whole hog and ‘mug’ him for the rest.

Oh yes, they will do that now because he will also now be charged £10 per day for his day care which will leave him with nothing.

No-one claimed responsibility.

“We are only following orders”.

Now where have I heard that before.

This is a scandal.

Chris Close said...

Now if there was anything on which I would condemn Mike Barker, it was this failure to vote against a measure which will affect the most vulnerable in society.

All of the Councillor shewed this through with no real debate; merely patronising the representatives of Carers and the disabled.

This is to me, a far greater crime than upsetting a few football supporters.

Noticeably silent on this one Mike?

No-one claimed responsibility.

Mike Barker said...

But I'm not in the Cabinet, Chris!!! I don't get a vote. I'm a Liberal Democrat. The Cabinet is made up entirely of the ruling Labour Group.

The Leaders of the Conservative and Lib Dem Groups (or their replacements in my case), the Independent Councillor and Alastair MacConachie are all invited as observers and, just like any member of the public or any councillor, we are entitled to speak if we wish - but we don't get a vote!!!

Chris Close said...

Not wrath, Mike, disgust.

However, I was given the impression that opposition Councillors were members of the Cabinet and I made, obviously, the assumption that you had a vote.

For this I completely apologise.

However my disgust is aimed at the likes of Veronica Copeland the rest, including Nick Wallis and Bill Dixon who as Social Workers in their professional lives should know how this issue will affect vulnerable people.

What I found bizarre was that apparently their own query was whether they could maintain these increases in line with inflation.

No queries were raised by anyone within the Cabinet as to the morality of what they were doing.

No-one suggested for example, that the Councillors could sacrifice some of their huge allowances which in essence amount to higher salaries than we are paying any of the lowly paid care workers who administer to the needs of these vulnerable people.

We are also talking about real poverty here.

One of the people I work with has been 'assessed' as having to pay £83 per week towards their care from an 'income' of around £140 with also rent, Telephone, food etc to pay on top.

They are creating a subclass of disabled people and using their own money to do it.

My 'briefing' paper was circulated widely and posted also on my blog and someone copied it onto Wallis with no comment from him.

This is a morally bankrupt party and if you feel this is not something the LibDems subscribe to then please come out and say it because at the moment, the only voices raised in opposition to this appear to be mine and the disadvantaged people themselves.

I do however fully apologise for mistaking your silence. I did not know that there is absolutely no point in having opposition presence at Cabinet because you have no voice.

This country has become in essence a one party dictatorship mirroring the worst despotic states of Eastern Europe before the 'Cold War' - the only thing currently missing are 'death squads' to take out 'miscreants' who speak out against it.

Chris Close

Hurworth Resident said...

I have just read the rivals site and they are that proud of their club they don't even know which ward it is in or who is their councillor, I tried to post but I am not registered, so much for their freedom of expression.
For those DFC fans who are following this it is in Hurworth Ward and the Cllr is Martin Swainston (LibDem)

Mike Barker said...

This is a common misconception. The football stadium is in Eastbourne ward. The ward boundaries weave about a bit at this point.

Maps of all the ward boundaries can be viewed on the DBC website. I think this link address will be too long to display properly here, but it is:

miketually said...

I thought it was Hurworth, too - I'd always thought the railway line was the boundary.

Forgetting for the moment that you're the PPC for the whole town, it's interesting that a lot of posters on the Rivals forum feel that only the councillors who are the representatives for that ward should have anything to say about the club.

Anonymous said...

i think your comments about DFC happy hours are ridiculous.i agree that some happy hours can lead to excessive drinking , the fact is DFC has not been troubled with this in the 15 years ihave been drinking in their bars.Today for example i had 2 pints and my grandaughter had 2 cokes everything was the same as usual a nice pleasant drink after the match.i feel you have let yourself down badly with your coments and probebly lost yourself a lot of votes.Now lets see if your man enough to print this and admit you did'nt know what you weretalking about about what were