Serious Concerns About Bramcote Today

Matt Goold writes:

Dear Bramcote Today

As you may be aware, my name is Matt Goold, a local freelance journalist, publisher, communications officer and community activist. During the election, I have been working in my freelance capacity to string articles to national media agencies and outlets.

A story I am presently working on involves yourselves; and despite trying to communicate on a less formal manner I have yet to receive a response.

My investigation has concerned the increasingly politicised editorial stance of your site: while I appreciate you repost articles / newsletters from all parties, these are clearly indicated as such. Editorialising is at odds with your stated intention to be a neutral community utility.

I have included examples of this http://bramcotetoday.org.uk/2015/04/22/alex-salmond-i-am-writing-the-labour-party-budget/

http://bramcotetoday.org.uk/2015/04/20/snp-manifesto-2015-published/

I have compiled a dossier of similar with screenshots and date stamps.

Especially worrying is the funding structure of your website. Analysis of grants made through the County Councillor’s Divisional Fund shows that funding towards your site has come from Liberal Democrat councillors. This money should only be given to de facto community resources, projects or initiatives that are in no way politically motivated. This is to prevent one party siphoning taxpayers money into politicised propaganda / campaign funds. Failure to adhere to these rules is a severe breach of Council rules.

Details on allocation of funds is available in both PDF and Excel files publicly available on Nottinghamshire County Council’s website.

I have received, from other sources, examples where commentators on your site have been told that comments they have attempted to upload have been spiked in Moderation as they might cause distress to Liberal Democrat politicians, who then in turn take legal action. This is a strange logic: the commentator would bear the responsibility for their comments, and as such, the legal actions. As long as the comment does not evoke racist / offensive language; is on-topic; and does not make threatening remarks; then a Moderator should not use their position as a gate-keeper to decide what could end up as a civic case.

This reinforces my research that shows Bramcote Today to be misleading the public, misappropriating public funds and acting in ways which could be seen as seriously breaching electoral rules.

I note this evening a new policy has been enforced that requires all commentators to prove their identity by sending over photographic and address-related means of identification. An e-security expert I consulted on hearing my news was shocked that you would ask people to give up sensitive data, data which could be easily used in identity fraud, without a full stated policy on usage, storage and retention, other than ‘this data will not be published’. I urge you to immediately take this down for the e-security of commentators, and would advise you to check European data-protection laws for contravention.

I plan to publish my findings later this evening (26/4/2015); and then forward my findings on to the appropriate monitoring and standards authority, as well as national publications for consideration. I would thus appreciate any right of reply, or explanation to the concerns outlined above, which I will in the interests of fair comment print in full.

Please understand this is not intended as malicious: I sincerely think Bramcote Today is a fine resource for local news and information. However, I am most concerned that it isn’t acting this way right now, and if left unchecked will become something nobody is happy with.

I appreciate your swift response.

Regards

Matthew Goold

Matt Goold is Editor of Beestonia 

Here is our reply:

Dear Matt

Thank you for your email. Contact with Bramcote Today should be via the Bramcotetoday@hotmail.com email address.

As you should be aware, Bramcote Today was set up according to the brief as an electronic version of a Community Action Team Meeting. These meetings are a two way information process for Broxtowe Borough Councillors but are political by their very nature. Bramcote Today will therefore carry political content. You could argue, as the Councillors in Bramcote are all Liberal Democrats, that Community Action Team meetings are very biased. That is most definitely not the case with Bramcote Today.

The Editors of Bramcote Today make every effort to be as even handed as possible with the political material we publish to inform Bramcote residents. We do include all the newsletters from all local politicians and we don’t edit the content. We may include other material but this will be where we believe the content is important for our readers to consider. As you well know, any reader may comment on our posts subject to reasonable moderation rules so the balance is maintained.

We do publish the vast majority of the comments we receive and I did recently outline the criteria in a recent comment myself (Click on http://bramcotetoday.org.uk/2015/04/02/bardills-island/#comments  to take you to the post that contains the comment). We do stick to these and it is nonsense to suggest that we favour the Liberal Democrats in any way. The comment to which you refer was potentially libellous and the writer was asked to amend it. The required change was simple to make and would not have detracted from the message. The writer did not do this and so the comment was, as you would expect, not published. If you have any other example, let us know.

We therefore reject your charge that we are misleading the public in anyway and offering any kind of biased view. You may be uncomfortable with posts and comments that don’t meet your political views but you have to accept these will be published so the political spectrum is fairly represented.

In terms of funding Bramcote Today website has not received any public funding since July 2012. Our accounts are as follows:

DATE CHQ ITEM CR DR BAL
16.02.11 Opening Q from NCC 100.00 100
04.03.11 100001 SA 6.94 + 7.82 domain costs 14.76 85.24
13.04.11 100002 MJ – promotional materials 14.99 70.25
17.02.12 100003 SA – domain mapping 7.86 62.39
28.07.12 Q from NCC 150.00 212.39
31.08.12 100004 MJ – printing costs 25.00 187.39
09.02.13 100005 SA – 29.99 + 8.53 domain/wordpress 38.52 148.87
100006 SA – to prevent adds on website 20.47 128.40
03.02.14 100008 SA – domain name 26.93 101.47
03.02.14 100007 MJ – printing History comp certs 2.50 98.97

 

The payment in 2014, while being paid into Bramcote Today’s bank account was for the NottsWatch representation at the 2014 Hemlock Happening. The balance after expenditure remains in Bramcote Today’s account ring fenced for NottsWatch.

Finally thank you for your comment regarding the data protection aspects of the information required to place a comment on the site. I have amended the post to give further detail. Regrettably we have had to ask for this information to ensure the website is not subject to any campaign orchestrated by any political party or its supporters during the rest of the election period.

Kind regards

Steve Austin

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10 Responses to Serious Concerns About Bramcote Today

  1. Barry Morrison says:

    I would’nt have even have shown him the courtesy of a reply

  2. Matthew Galtress says:

    I don’t think it should come as a surprise that funding has come from the divisional funds of Liberal Democrat councillors; the 2 councillors for Bramcote and Stapleford are both Liberal Democrats, so I don’t think any assertion can be credibly made on that basis.

  3. David Watts says:

    This is quite incredible. Labour Party activists have “compiled a dossier” about alleged bias on a community web site. It seems that the party that wanted to introduce ID cards and 90 day detention without trial is still the same deep down. Is it a coincidence that this attack has come straight after Bramcote Today said that they would require proof of ID before posting comments to prevent fake names being used. I wonder what Joan Wade and Carol/Carole Fenton think about it? Oh wait…..

    • Chris Chandler says:

      David. Matt Goold is not a Labour Party activist. Perhaps you would care to retract that claim from your post of provide some evidence of your claims. Matt has compiled this dossier, not the Labour Party.

      By the way, I have had a couple of posts to this site that wasn’t published and the moderators refused to allow me to re-write any offending sections or even give a reason for their decision. I do not believe that anything I wrote was in violation of their terms and conditions. It was critical of local Lib Dems though.

      • Jason Brown says:

        Matt Goold has regularly campaigned for the Labour Party, frequently being photographed with Labour Councillors, Parliamentary candidates and celebrities, and exclusively promotes them on his Twitter account, Facebook and blog. On the other hand he exclusively attacks and insults parties other than Labour on his Twitter account, Facebook and blog, as well as their supporters, along with refusing to ever cover any Labour wrongdoing such as the recent Aliasgate. He often denies people the right to reply to his insults and false accusations as he simply blocks them, whilst having the audacity to criticise others for supposedly preventing free speech.

        The definition of ‘activist’ is ‘an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, especially a political cause’ or a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change’.

        If you can’t see that Goold’s daily attacks on every party other than Labour and his constant promotion of them,completely fulfills that definition, then you are very blinkered.

      • Ian Blakeley says:

        A little like Howard Shakespeare and his comments in support of Anna Soubry wouldn’t you agree Jason?

      • Jason Brown says:

        Er, no, nothing like that at all.

        As far as I’m aware Mr Shakespeare doesn’t use Facebook, Twitter and a blog to repeatedly attack and abuse practically everyone apart from Labour and then denies those he attacks the right of reply by blocking them. I’m also quite certain that Mr Shakespeare has never called half of Beeston “vile scum” because of the way they vote.

        But I think you’ve perhaps misread the posts. Nobody is saying there’s a problem with being a Labour activist. I was one myself for many years until I couldn’t stand being around such a condescending bunch of spoilt middle class idiots (much like Goold in fact) any longer, The problem is when someone clearly IS a Labour activist but for some strange reason denies it and then starts attacking people over it in his usually manic bullying manner.

  4. paul nathanail says:

    As a candidate in the Broxtowe Borough Council elections, I would like to reassure Matt that I have no concerns about a LibDem (or any other) bias by Bramcote Today moderators.

    I was at the CAT meeting where the community web site was suggested. Bramcote has 3 councillors, and all 3 were LibDems at the last election. I appreciate their support of this forum.

    However I think there is a need for new perspectives to feed in the local decision making … else why would I be standing?

    So thanks to the. Moderators. Matt I hope you are reassured.

    Paul Nathanail
    Independent candidate, Bramcote ward.

  5. Jason Brown says:

    Goold has come out with some nonsense in his time, but this one takes the prize.Speaking as someone who has previously had comments turned down in their initial form by moderators, I can vouch for the utterly fair treatment Bramcote Today give out. And a cursory glance over many of the pages here would reveal dozens of comments from a certain Labour Councillor that Mr Goold is friendly with, so any accusation of bias is utterly preposterous.

  6. Barry Morrison says:

    He was continually having a go at Anna Soubry and her partner for so long enough so I suppose he had to turn his sights elsewhere though I don’t know why it should be Bramcote Today as I’ve always found it fair

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