I’m in disgrace with Facebook

Something odd has happened today in that I find myself banned from using some Facebook features for the next 6 months.

It seems I can’t comment on other members postings neither can I share postings from my own Facebook page or that of Maghull in Bloom News for which I am the admin. I genuinely have no idea what this is all about.

If I have offended someone who has felt it appropriate to ask Facebook to bring in this ban I would appreciate some clue as to what I have done to cause offence. Otherwise, I can only presume that something unknown has triggered FB to take action and/or that there’s been some kind of IT glitch.

I have gone through FB’s processes to ask what this is all about and await their response.

Update – Today, 20th June, I seem to have been unbanned. Good news but what it was all about I have no idea…….

Conspiracy Theories & Covid 19

The other day I came across a thread on a community Facebook Page where one of the admins was trying to address what conspiracy theorists had been putting on that page associated with their belief that Covid 19 does not exist or that if it does it’s associated with 5G etc. etc.

I blogged about the relationship between conspiracy theories and 5G back in April of this year and here’s a link back to that posting:-


And then this fascinating insight into how outlandish conspiracy theories can even destroy a family. It’s a BBC audio recording that’s well worth taking a few minutes to listen to:-


When you’ve read the BBC website article click on the ‘Trending’ tag at the bottom and this will take you through to the audio only recording.

Sadly, Facebook and other forms of social media are used by conspiracy theorists to try to widen their influence on those who may be taken in by their very odd take on Covid 19 and indeed many other things. My advice? Don’t take things at face value, try to fact check them – that goes for anything any politician tells you too!

Little Twittering for Europe morphs into ‘let’s save Labour’

I don’t know about other progressives and Remain Alliance (Lib Dem, Green & PC) supporters but I’ve noticed that many of the Facebook Groups I subscribed to before the General Election who were backing Remain and also encouraging progressives to vote tactically are now little more than recruiting sergeants for trying to turn the Labour back into a Social Democrat Party.

My thoughts on this are:-

* Why did the centrists, moderates & social democrats leave Labour in the first place?
* Isn’t Labour now a Socialist Party which has thrown off its Blair era past to be a narrower church of the far left?
* Why do moderates, centrists and social democrats think they can return Labour to Blairism?
* Isn’t it better that Labour is a socialist party rather than a generation by generation see-saw party sometimes of the middle ground and sometimes of the far left?
* Haven’t we been here before when Kinnock ‘rescued’ Labour from the far left only for it to return there under Momentum/Corbynism?
* Why do moderates think they can get the left to relinquish power within Labour so it can become akin to Blairite again?
* If Labour is ‘rescued’ again how long will it stay moderate?
* How long will it take to ‘rescue’ Labour again?
* Is it even realistic to try to save Labour?

Being of the left and as someone who thinks of himself as a bit of a leftie I’ve often found that many Labour voters, supporters and indeed members are to the right of me as a Liberal and that’s both when Labour is moderate and when it’s left! My view has always been that Labour is too broad a church, ranging in support from working class ‘Tories’ to posh privately educated socialists and everything in between. I use the word ‘Tories’ quite deliberately but not in a derogatory way as many Labour factions talk about each other. What I mean is at heart they are actually quite right wing but they ally themselves to Labour because it’s their tribe; they’re no more progressive than I’m a Dutchman so to speak. Of course it was this section of the Labour family that the Labour leadership was pandering to prior to GE 2019. It led them to be all things and no things to most women and men on Brexit the biggest issue of the day; indeed their leader was neutral! That was never going to inspire anyone and of course it didn’t.

So Labour whilst being very much of the left under Momentum and Corbyn was actually singing the tune (well mumbling it quietly really) of its right wing supporters many of whom then promptly deserted Labour to vote for a far right alternative! You could not make this up but that’s what happened in GE 2019.

My point here is why are moderates, centrists and social democrats trying to save Labour? Is it because it’s a tribe they were born into and they feel they have to try to save it? If the motivation is tribalism then no good will come of it as tribalism is the fault-line in UK politics not its saviour. Labour’s ‘our way or no way’ approach to politics has bedeviled it and progressive politics over generations except for a brief period when Blair & Ashdown tried to promote inclusive center left politics. If Labour does swing back (and that presently is a very big if) towards social democracy it needs to want to work with other progressives in other political parties. If it pursues the mantra of everyone else on the left is a Tory then nothing will be achieved.

If you want to save Labour for it to become moderate, centrist and social democrat again then good luck to you but I fear you’ll have to keep doing it every 15 years or so, even if you do succeed, because fundamentally Labour is probably more comfortable as a socialist party. Remember in the Blair years when Labour activists often chimed in with the chorus of ‘we are old Labour’? Well they were and they’ve gained control of the party machine this time far more firmly than Michael Foot’s supporters or Militant ever did.

My advice is don’t waste your time if you think you can return Labour to centrist politics, that ship sailed a long time ago.

Maghull – A Facebook Community Group’s demise – Some thoughts

In a surprise move a few days ago the Maghull Community facebook Group, which had around 8,000 members, suddenly closed down. It left me and I suspect many others scratching their heads wondering what on earth had happened. Then a friend sent me this:-

Hi fellow Maghullians. Well it’s been a very stressful 48 hrs. As you are aware, the Community Page has been archived, and MCP would like to inform its lovely members why this very saddening step has been taken.

This site was created for the Community; for the people of Maghull to make friends, share stories and feel part of something bigger than themselves. However, as in reality, a virtual society needs guidelines to try to keep the majority happy. This includes rules like No Advertising – the Business Page is for this, no re-occurring Recommendations – the Recommendations Tab is for this, and of course more importantly being polite and not swearing on the page – remember we all have friends and family on the page – would you like bad language or inappropriate remarks being made in front of your own children, parents, etc?

When MCP first started, it only had a few hundred members, which was a pleasure to cast an eye over. As the numbers grew, it became more difficult to keep on top of requests, complaints about posts, and bullying, etc. Although more members were drafted in to help on Admin, it quickly grew into thousands, and became an impossible task to deal with everything that came along. With almost 9000 members, a 20 minute glance at the page has been vastly increased, and it has literally taken over the volunteers lives. Some say it does not need moderating, but some of the disgusting and disgraceful posts that have been reported or deleted, argue otherwise. MCP reflects that some things could have been handled differently, maybe some could have been acted on more quickly, and some more sensitively, however, it was run by people, not robots, and sometimes emotions get the better of people.

Over the last 48 hrs, a very small minority of the previous MCP have publicly made some very upsetting comments about this page, people on the page, and even guarded threats. This minority has made the last 2 days very disturbing for those involved in the page and has meant the page was amended, to be run anonymously. Subsequent jubilant remarks of MCPs demise, followed by shocking verbal attacks and upsetting and frightening physical threats on other social media pages, has lead to its saddening current status of archive.

MCP has always strived to satisfy the many, to the annoyance of the disgruntled few. These few are now publicly making personal remarks aimed towards people they have never met. These remarks are being read by people who are judging this few, and their behaviour, hopefully unwittingly, but nevertheless, portraying themselves as bullies and verging on a lynch mob.

The written word can often be taken out of context and it’s worth remembering that whatever gets written on the web can never fully be deleted, and will leave a ‘digital footprint’ behind. Once said, it cannot be unsaid – a great lesson to remember is; if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Please remember folks, this is just a Facebook page and to most of us, there are much more important things to focus on. There are lots of FB pages people can join (or leave). Take a look at them; If you don’t like it, don’t join, or read, or comment! Like the MCP, most are not a dictatorship – try it, if you don’t like it, that’s fine, do your own thing, but don’t lower yourselves to trying to belittle, exploit or bully others; it’s not big, and it’s certainly not clever!

MCP would like to thank all of its valued members for your loyal membership, your lovely messages of support over the months, and particularly the last 48 hrs. Understandably, people may wonder why it couldn’t have been handed over to another member. However, it was felt that it would always be associated with the original creator, who as stated, were faced with threats towards them and their home. The young families of all involved had to be paramount. Therefore, the most difficult decision was made, that the only solution would be for the group to be removed completely.

Hopefully someone picks up the mantle to fill this gap; another community group that is about the little things, about being an online community who are there for each other, who are not members purely to gain for themselves or belittle others, but to share in something that is there for the spirit of togetherness and generosity.

Thanks to you all. Finally, let this be the line drawn and move forward. “Forgive, forget, bear with the faults of others, as you would have them bear with yours”. x

Quite a read indeed and my first thoughts were bullying and even the potential for hate crime issues at the extreme end of the troubles outlined.

Although the above is only one side of the story it is a very sorry read indeed. People being unwilling to follow group rules jumps out at you and sadly this must be a big problem across all social media. Why some people behave in ways they know they should not do is interesting on one level and frankly it would be useful to hear why those who gave out the grief to the group admins did what they did. Were they motivated by politics with either a small or a big P? Do some folks simply enjoy the use of inappropriate language and behaviour or is the problem that what is unacceptable to to some is very much everyday behaviour to others. Could the admins have inadvertently brought trouble upon themselves by trying to maintain standards that a significant minority of the group simply did not recognise as being acceptable to them?

Some time ago I was asked whether I was an admin for the MCP. An odd question I thought because all I was doing was placing some of my blog items, that may be of interest to Maghull folk, on the Page. I was also asked by an opposition politician some time ago if the people running the MCP were Lib Dems or words to that effect? Another odd question and to which I responded I have no idea, I only know that one of the admins is a Maghull in Bloom volunteer.

I’m aware as are many others that some folk allegedly got themselves banned from the Page due to inappropriate behaviour of one sort or another. Some of them did not go quietly it seems?

Social media has a big part to play in any community these days but managing a group with literally thousands of members, some of whom may be daggers drawn with each other, must be a quite a challenge and a time consuming one at that. I run a small FB Group where everyone gets on but the responsibility for running one where all sorts is going on day in day out must be very dispiriting indeed. Frankly, I can see why the admins decided they had just about had enough and shut the doors.

In many ways FB has, on a community level, replaced/enhanced exponentially the letters page of the local newspaper, but in the old days you had to go to the trouble of writing a letter, posting it and then having the paper’s editor holding the decision as to whether it was printed or not. Now a community FB page provides instant publicity for your just cause, prejudice, hatred, political stand point etc. etc. etc. The the word ‘instant’ is crucial here because it allows the angry to say what maybe should not be said in the heat of the moment. In other words it’s possible to put out there some useful timely information that many will benefit from knowing about, but it’s just as possible to come back from the pub and say what a sober person would not say. It’s this instant gratification that can often do far more harm than good and no one has yet found a way to moderate social media when it is in the hands of every single one of us. Why even Trump is on Twitter!!!!

Merseytravel – When you ask for an explanation about increases/changes in train ticket prices

Following a concern I saw on the Maghull Community Facebook Page I thought that asking Merseytravel to shine some light on the matter may assist. I’m not at all sure that it does though. Here’s the explanation which is associated with the opening of Maghull’s 2nd railway station (Maghull North) on 16th June and some increases in ticket prices which seem to be related……


There will be a percentage price increase for season ticket customers travelling from Maghull (inside Merseyside/Merseytravel zones to stations in Lancashire and from Lancashire to Maghull, all other ticket prices such as single and return maintain the same relative cost. The basic reason for the season ticket adjustment is explained below, whilst a few season ticket holders will see a price change the majority of customers will not and many will reap benefit of new station closer to their work or home.

The country boundary line will not move, but Maghull North will become effectively the last train station on this line in Merseyside and the ticketing rules / benefits previously attributed to Maghull which held this title (such as that both zones are valid) move to the new station. This increases the distance that customers travelling on a train in the Merseyside area, and thus increases the numbers that can benefit from the more competitive ticket prices available in Merseyside than that are available in Lancashire and brings the train and bus zone closer to parity. Customers can choose to utlise the brand new station and continue the ticket price levels to Lancashire stations previously enjoyed at Maghull.

The building of a new station is a very rare event and on the border of a network and a ticket validity area even rarer, while some customers travelling out of the Merseyside area will pay more; a significant number of customers living north of the current Maghull Station will benefit and season customers travelling south of Maghull North will effectively be able to travel further on a one zone ticket.

The new station has parking facilities and step free access and for customers travelling into Lancashire will benefit from a reduced journey time than those from Maghull.


When you’ve got your head around it please let me know.

The politics of hate and division – It’s peddled by many mainstream politicians and is almost everyday language in our tribal society


The Guardian has this opinion piece on its web site – see link above

That we live in rather desperate and potentially dangerous political times is a given sadly, so this piece by James Graham is an interesting wake up call.

I have commented before about how Liberals were always looked upon with a fondness by the electorate generally but ever since Charles Kennedy stood out against the Iraq War, whilst Labour and Tories alike were on a war footing, attitudes have changed and some now have very negative attitudes to Liberals. At first I found this rather odd but I have come to rather enjoy being hated as a Liberal as to me it means that Liberal ideas are seen as a threat by the rich, by the powerful to the right and the left – we must be doing something right!

But ‘hate’ is an every day word these days and some point back to what the EU Referendum unleashed in terms of racism, intolerance and yes ‘hate’. There’s no doubt that Remainers and Brexiters have been pitched against each other and that there is little if any common ground between them. Do I act with intolerance towards Brexiters? Well yes, quite obviously I do if you care to read the many postings from me about Brexit. But is it right that a Liberal should be intolerant?

My brand of social Liberalism is all about radicalism, its about taking power from the rich and powerful so that the ordinary woman and man in the street has real control over their community and their futures. So hey a radical social Liberal is a threat and I expect to be disliked and indeed to be attacked (verbally of course) for my beliefs.

Ordinary people can only take power and use it if they are in full possession of facts. In the EU Referendum they were not, indeed they were lied to on an industrial scale. The referendum wasn’t an exercise in democracy it was an exercise in the abdication of responsibility by our leaders and of manipulating the electorate to do what the rich and powerful wanted them to do. It did not empower the people, as Brexit leaders claim, it cyclically used them in a way that shames our democratic credentials as a civilised country.

Am I angry with Brexiters? Hell yes. Do I feel my country has been had? Of course. Am I proud of my intolerance? No not really as I should not have had to find myself doing battle over such terrible lies and the consequences of them.

This radical Liberal and trade unionist is indeed angry and in no mood to compromise with people who are deliberately destroying my country and its way of life.

And on a different tack, since I have been using social media (Facebook in particular) I have noticed far too often the reach of huge levels of intolerance often about reasonably trivial matters. Swearing is now common and is almost expected as a social norm rather than the odd expression of shock and disbelief as it was once reserved for. I often ponder on whether folks use bad language on social media as they feel it is expected on them or that they will not be seen as fitting in if they decline to use it?

Yes our society has taken a turn towards anti-social behaviour being an every day thing, but how far will it go before the pendulum swings back towards a less racist, more intolerant and more inclusive society again? Or will we march ever further towards a hate filled fascist-type society?

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.