Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Open again

Having had a day to consider the future of this blog, I have decided to re-open it. The many people who disagree with my criticism of the football club may continue to post their views on here, if they wish. However, while I have left about 30 earlier posts on here, I have removed or blocked another 25 or so which contained personal threats or obnoxious personal abuse.

In a liberal democracy I am entitled to my views, even if I am in a minority of one. You are also entitled to your views, if they are expressed in a reasonable manner. If you threaten me or if your posts contain extreme abusive language, they will be deleted.


Chris Close said...

This is a copy of the post I put on the Town Liar

"But you still post anonymously.

Mike Barker is a decent man who stands up for his community.

This vitriol has to stop.

He made a mistake.

Rather him than Alan Milburn who takes from Darlington and gives nothing back.

Stop this attack.

Give him room to apologise.

Chris Close
Apparently the 'loon' some of your friends criticise as being part of the Town Liar posse"

Mike Barker said...

Thank you, Chris.

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.

AllyAEC said...

I and a friend are readers of your blog - and although I can appreciate other peoples views regarding the footie club, everyone is entitled to an opinion and the right to express that and/or an apology.

I would greatly miss your blog - as I find it very informative about Darlington's going ons (even if it is sometimes just for the cycling bits!) and a nice light read in a very heavy dull news world :o)