They say self-praise is no recommendation, but I would like to say I come from a family of politically active people who are not afraid of having our beliefs challenged. My father’s mother held strong political beliefs, and faced abuse on the doorsteps of Rhondda for expressing them. Another ancestor on my mother’s side – Ivor Jacob – became chairman of Llantrisant Town Council, which only recently I stood for as a Pluralist Party candidate, standing on my beliefs that elected bodies should represent the views of all and not just some.
Being a journalist and information provider in general I have had my fair share of defamation claims – in my view for things that weren’t defamation. I have a number of gagging orders to my name, including from politicians who didn’t like the news and other coverage they got from me.
So I’d like to think that such politicians weren’t made the way my grandmother and I were made. Take a look at some of these less than favourable news articles about me:
- Pontypridd & Llantrisant Observer: Court hearing to ban this picture.
- Daily Express: Troll taunted me over my dead son… and I’m accused of malice.
- Liverpool Echo: Georgia Varley-inspired trolling law is waste of time says internet campaigner.
- Burton Mail: Expert’s defence of ‘troll’ sparks more family fury.
- Burton Mail: Web expert in U-turn as he supports naming of ‘troll’.
Here are some more favourable articles written about me in Media Wales publications:
- Kids, pick up your paintbrushes! Petition bid to brighten up underpass with mural made by youngsters.
- Treforest councillor Jonathan Bishop calls for Land Army to be recognised on Ynysangharad Park war memorial.
- Town councillor’s IT work goes on the academic shelf.
- Councillor’s website now available by mobile.
- Councillor’s website means politics is just a click away.
When you are in politics, you have to take the rough with the smooth – if you can’t then instead of suing people, as I foolishly did aged 26, you have to become a political animal who can take it all, or get out of politics. There is no point people suing me as a journalist, or indeed a politician, for saying things they don’t want to hear. You have to be able to accept that with the favourable news comes unfavourable news.
The article in the Daily Express demonised me for saying that the cautioning of a troll was enough because it affected his career chances is the norm one should expect. The same goes for the articles in the Burton Mail. They presented me as doing a ‘U-Turn’ because I supported the naming of a troll, even though I still believed his cautioning was at the time too severe. Now the Con Dem Government has made it so cautions are spent offences as soon as they are served.
So being in the public eye is a double edged sword – one you live by and one you die by. If you cannot accept criticisms or people writing about you online without your consent, then public life is not for you – leave it to people like my grandmother and myself who are build to take in all and maintain the courage of our convictions.