Thursday, April 01, 2010

Robert Sayles: Fair Pint and the battle for hearts and minds

Roland, readers generally, this situation is plain ridiculous and surreal. Real people in the real world simply cannot behave as these two people do freely on public forums and get away with it. They post under multiple identities. And, Roland, they know how to falsify isp addresses sent out from their computers. The Fair Pint people they have in their sights post as themselves and even that is used by them to denigrate us as they accuse us of vanity, self aggrandisement and ego building. They lie about Fair Pint and me, do it with a tone of authority, as if what they are saying is true, they get frank responses back and then accuse us of more lies, spin and BS as Roberts likes to call it. These people, Chris and Serenwyl Roberts began attacking Fair Pint and me particularly, because I have a frequent presence there, on the MA forum in something like January 2009. They accused me of profiteering from selling coach tickets to Burton and Stoke for the march on Punch and Enterprise. I responded that the trip cost me personally around £400 which it did. They said I was lying. They accused me of stealing money from an appeal for money to Save The Great British Pub and diverting it to Inez Ward. They chose to take my straight responses to that as more lies and an admission of guilt. They said my motives were to try to get into Inez' underwear but far more crudely. This is deeply offensive to Inez, Craig, me and damaging to the whole point of lessees standing up to pubcos together. I answered all that rubbish too but they just said I was lying and they continue to tell the world the same. They have been banned from both MA and here but keep coming back to keep stirring their poison into every take where Fair Pint has a mention. Later after I posted comments about a meeting I attended in Sheffield with Steve Corbett and Simon Clarke as Fair Pint representatives, it was one of the first GMB meetings, they said I was lying, that I was not even at the meeting. Their principle argument is ‘there’s no smoke without fire’ but they are making the fire and fanning the smoke around. It is very odd. Fair Pint has been to Brussels twice. According to these two stalkers we were ‘living it up on the Fair Pint expense account’. We went to the GMB national conference – to brief GMB and to have an arranged meeting with the Prime Minister. Another freebie on the back of Fair Pint expenses according to them. These are the incidents I can recall off hand. The Mandelson meeting: a whole load of speculation about it on this thread and I post the train of events accurately and what happens? ‘Matlock’ comes back and says it’s all lies and that his account of what happened is the truth. He even uses my being unshaved and not wearing a suit as evidence that my account is a lie. What on earth is going on here? This is ridiculous. Why SHOULD I have to justify the way I dress when meeting a public figure? The TRUTH about my slightly casual dress is really mundane, and perhaps embarrassing if I were less thick skinned, the boiler in my home had broken down a few days before, we had no heating or hot water, and on the day of the meeting I had a lot of work to do and didn’t have the chance to borrow someone else’ bathroom or to change into smarter clothes beforehand.
In emails they accuse me of being mentally ill, of being an irresponsible parent, of being homosexual, of being a pervert and a lot more. They use unpublishable language to describe me. So what I ask myself but I tell you, it is disturbing. They post false, appalling reviews of my pub on public review sites, saying it is rat infested, filthy that the food is disgusting, that I employ foreigners at below the minimum wage and the toilets are ‘swimming in urine’ and so on and on. They say similar things about Steve Corbett and Karl Harrison – with loads of sexual innuendo and personal insults thrown in. We are the only Fair Pint people who post frequently so it is understandable that we are the ones who get targeted. But WHY? What is the point of all these lies, false accusations, innuendo and basic abuse?’
I, like many other publicans, have had a scandalously hard time at the hands of pubcos. That’s why I and the Fair Pint founders got together in the first place. We realised we were not alone. We decided to do something about it. For the individuals who set up Fair Pint the Campaign from day one has all been about trying to make lasting positive change happen in the industry that is our love and supposedly our livelihood. Not one of us has received a penny in expense claims or a ‘free lunch’ anywhere down the line. Every journey to a meeting, bus, train fare or car parking charge or occasional overnight stay has been paid for out of our own pockets or we have hitched a lift or grabbed a sofa in someone else’s place. We have all put our own time, experience and hard money into the Campaign and not taken anything out except satisfaction with the progress that has been made. Any donations that come into the Campaign from supporters have been used on simple admin - as someone suggested below. This is not cyber space we’re dealing with, it’s the REAL world, and it costs.

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