MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Fri 14-Mar-14 17:21:26

Guest post from Louise Mensch: "Tony Benn represented something truly valuable in the world"

Tony Benn, a formidable force in left-wing politics for over half a century, has died aged 88. In this guest post Louise Mensch explains why, despite opposing his politics, she had an unwavering respect for the man she calls "a genuine servant of the people".

Do read the post, and share your thoughts on the thread.

Louise Mensch

Author, blogger and former MP

Posted on: Fri 14-Mar-14 17:21:26

(496 comments )

Lead photo

Tony Benn, who has died aged 88

I was so sad to hear - via Mumsnet in fact - of the death of Tony Benn, a man I never actually met. I did once tell his son Hillary, a Labour MP, how much I admired his father - but that was a close as I got.

Tony Benn represented something truly valuable in the world. He acted on what he believed. For his love of socialism, he was prepared to walk away from a peerage, and even from the nobility of his family name. No longer Viscount Stansgate, he wouldn't even allow people to call him Anthony Wedgewood-Benn - he was to be "Tony Benn". And so he remained, until he died.

There was that rumpled, brilliant look about the man that is so endearing to our clever, messy nation. Like JRR Tolkien, whom he resembled, he loved to smoke a pipe; a particularly English vice. He drank tea, and was well-read. He seems never to have regretted walking away from "my Lord" and the bowing and scraping of the era.

He had convictions; he lived those convictions. He was true to himself, bright, and kind. He was raised by a feminist mother, and it showed, in the best possible way.


Benn also possessed, as well as conviction, a great generosity of spirit. His respect and affection for Margaret Thatcher showed him to be a man who understood that political opposition does not have to, and should not, equal enmity (more Labour MPs wrote me kind notes after I resigned my seat than Conservative ones, by the way). Benn said of Thatcher "she was a signpost, not a weathervane". That was why he respected her; and it is why I respected him.

He had convictions; he lived those convictions. He was true to himself, bright, and kind. He was raised by a feminist mother, and it showed, in the best possible way. Labourlist drew my attention to his generous piece on Thatcher which told this story:

"I remember her at the funeral of MP Eric Heffer. I was asked to make a speech and as I was waiting, there was someone behind me coughing. It was Mrs Thatcher, and at the end I thanked her for coming and she burst into tears. She had come out of respect for someone whose opinions she disagreed with."

I believe that there are a great many MPs and commentators who did not share any of Benn's beliefs, but who realise today that in him, we have lost a national treasure; a genuine servant of the people, who did not need to be a nobleman, to be a noble man. May many of us involved in politics on all sides learn from his lessons of authenticity, humility, generosity, and kindness.

By Louise Mensch

Twitter: @LouiseMensch

HanSolo Fri 14-Mar-14 18:15:12

What a shame. I opened this expecting to see you use the word 'integrity', but you haven't.

I wonder why that could be?

LCHammer Fri 14-Mar-14 18:16:18

Louise Mensch doing a guest post on Tony Benn. The nerve.

StickyProblem Fri 14-Mar-14 19:01:34

I am sick to death of Tony Benn's name being taken in vain to spout shite.
I woke up this morning to the news that he'd died and Tony Blair had said he was "entertaining". Fuck you Blair. And go away please Louise Mensch. Drank tea did he? Who would have thought it. Going to google him now and see if anyone actually managed a decent obituary. RIP Tony.

Greenrememberedhills Fri 14-Mar-14 19:01:38

What WERE MNHQ thinking.

Idotry Fri 14-Mar-14 19:16:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ttosca Fri 14-Mar-14 19:22:22

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

hellsbells76 Fri 14-Mar-14 19:32:11

Christ.

MNHQ you should be ashamed

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Mar-14 20:20:18

Hello all

To explain our thinking - there aren't many political figures with the kind of cross-party respect which Tony Benn earned during the course of his long parliamentary career. We thought that, since obits from one's own party can tend toward hagiography, it would be interesting to hear from someone from the 'other side', so to speak - particularly since Louise Mensch is both a former MP and a MN blogger. But if you'd like to hear from someone else as well, let us know on the thread and we'll try to make it happen.

A quick reminder here about our talk guidelines.

claig Fri 14-Mar-14 20:20:35

Why have the positive posts been deleted?

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Mar-14 20:28:30

claig

Why have the positive posts been deleted?

Hi claig,

Both of the removed posts contained personal attacks so we have removed them, robust comments are fine but it would be good to keep it civil.

Mintyy Fri 14-Mar-14 20:31:31

Oh dear sigh.

Guest post? not really sure what that is.

Louise Mensch? utterly confused as to why we get to hear her opinion on the mighty Tony Benn, let alone any other.

Isn't her blog about clothes or style or something?

Why are we being presented with random stuff from LM in this way?

Piscivorus Fri 14-Mar-14 20:37:16

How sad that Tony Benn has gone and this thread is focussing on who wrote the obituary. Admittedly the obituary here is crap and does not do justice to a giant of British politics but let's not let the general shitness overshadow him.

He was a strong man with the courage of his convictions, we are all poorer for his passing

Badvoc Fri 14-Mar-14 20:38:58

Oh Ffs.
She met his son once and was pleased that he liked thatcher?
Well, that's a really good reason to let her on mn and spout drivel isn't it?
RIP Tony.
A man of true integrity.
(Look it up, Louise)

DrankSangriaInThePark Fri 14-Mar-14 20:48:15

Can't we just have the thread by MNers as testimony to him?

Love the fact she only realised he was dead when HQ rang her to rush-write her piece.....

Could we not have had Russell Brand? Can't stand the man, but his piece on Thatcher was a bit bloody good actually.

TippiShagpile Fri 14-Mar-14 20:56:03

But Louise Mensch was an MP for 5 minutes.

And she didn't realise Tony Benn had died until YOU TOLD HER.

This is too depressing. It's like comparing night with day.

Did she approach you by any chance?

claig Fri 14-Mar-14 20:56:10

I think we should be fair to MN on this. They have picked a former Tory MP to show how much Tony Benn was respected across the political divide. Louise has said that "Tony Benn represented something truly valuable in the world". There are probably many Tories that she would not say that about.

Badvoc Fri 14-Mar-14 20:57:33

Perhaps they should have asked someone like heseltine or tebbit then claig?

Idotry Fri 14-Mar-14 20:58:39

Since the death of Bob Crow and now Tony Benn I feel we've had nothing but 'the other sides opinion' in the media and now mumsnet - how about hearing from people who had the same agenda for a change.

HanSolo Fri 14-Mar-14 20:58:48

Could anyone tell me why TB sent Hilary to independent schools? Just seems odd in modern times for a labour politician, though obviously he was from a pretty privileged background himself.

claig Fri 14-Mar-14 20:59:38

But they are not bloggers and probably don't post on forums etc

teaandthorazine Fri 14-Mar-14 20:59:46

Honestly, MNHQ? What planet are you lot living on atm?

Why on earth would you imagine any of us would be interested in knowing what Louise bloody Mensch thinks of Tony Benn?

Quite apart from anything else, it's a shit piece of writing. Reads as if it was cobbled together in the back of a taxi. It's barely even about him.

Badvoc Fri 14-Mar-14 21:03:44

It's what she thought about him tea!
Which is obv very important.
<facepalm>
Claig...that's exactly why they should have been asked. Because they aren't "professional" bloggers!

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Mar-14 21:06:15

Hello DrankSangriaInThePark and TippiShagpile: to clarify, it was we who approached Louise, who's five hours behind us in New York. She'd already heard the sad news though - possibly (we can't speak for her, obviously) via the MN thread in our Discussions of the Day.

Badvoc Fri 14-Mar-14 21:07:56

Why?
Just...why?
Of all the people......

Custardo Fri 14-Mar-14 21:08:47

louise supports some vile politics, the guest blog is awful, and i feel she is superficially dabbling.

TippiShagpile Fri 14-Mar-14 21:13:06

Ah, ok. You were looking for Rentagob.

Such a shame when there are so many knowledgeable people who could have given a genuinely insightful opinion.

Badvoc Fri 14-Mar-14 21:14:25

Ffs, it'll be Katie Hopkins next!

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Mar-14 21:16:37

Hey Tippi and all - sorry you feel we've got it wrong. Please do tell us whom you'd like to hear from; we can't promise anything, obviously, but we can ask.

Good lord. Sorry, I can't be arsed to read much more than the first two responses, which sum it up perfectly.

How disrespectful.

Badvoc Fri 14-Mar-14 21:21:01

How about a current politician, maybe even someone who was in cabinet with him?
Someone who actually bloody knew him would be a start!

Badvoc Fri 14-Mar-14 21:22:04

I agree LRD.
Hugely disrespectful.
Not really sure what going on at MNHQ ATM.
sad

OddFodd Fri 14-Mar-14 21:22:27

Idiotic and embarrassing.

teaandthorazine Fri 14-Mar-14 21:22:38

SarahMumsnet - call me an old fart but I remember when it was enough for Mumsnetters to give their opinions on an event, without the need for professional attention seekers bloggers at all...

I

Idotry Fri 14-Mar-14 21:25:21

I think I'd rather hear an opinion by a member of Towie.

thinking101 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:25:51

Oh dear...

RIP Tony Benn

KoalaFace Fri 14-Mar-14 21:27:04

I agree Russell Brand's piece about Thatcher was a good read and I'd enjoy reading his thoughts on Tony Benn. I know he's not the most popular of people though.

I heard Nigel Farrage talking about Bob Crow on Radio 2 the other day. At least he had something relevant to say about him (other than "he drank tea". As fascinating as that is, obviously). I don't think anyone takes offense at someone of opposing political views writing about Benn, but a more relevant and interesting piece would show more respect I think.

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Mar-14 21:37:09

Hey, teaandthorazine - we've had the thread on Tony Benn's death in discussions of the day since first thing this morning, and of course that's where the main discussion around his life and legacy is happening. The hope with guest posts is simply to add something to the mix, and by and large we think folks have welcomed them; this week Nick Clegg came on to talk about the Children and Families Act, and a trustee from National Numeracy wrote about how we can help our kids to get on better with maths. Again, if you feel we've got it wrong this time, do let us know whom you'd like to read - we'll do our best.

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Mar-14 21:38:55

KoalaFace, thanks for the suggestions - we'll certainly ask.

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Mar-14 21:41:29

and DrankSangriaInThePark - just spotted you said the same upthread smile

Hawkshaw Fri 14-Mar-14 21:44:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Fri 14-Mar-14 21:53:37

I can't quite believe you've got it so wrong. Was there really no-one else you could have approached - someone who knew him personally, or at least someone who had something sensible to say? "He drank tea and was well read." You could probably say that about every single Mumsnetter.

I tell you what - I've never met The Queen, but I did have a bit of a chat with her son once - when she pops off, would you like me to write a little "think piece" on her?

DearPrudence Fri 14-Mar-14 22:02:52

Got it wrong is an understatement.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Fri 14-Mar-14 22:12:26

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Louise Mensch doesn't have the political weight for this sort of situation.

Tony Benn was a colossus. If you want to know what he was like then read his diaries and his other books. Listen to him in his own words. The opinions of Mensch et al are the definition of triviality.

Oh and Louise - I take serious offence at 'He was raised by a feminist mother, and it showed, in the best possible way' - seriously what do you mean by that and is there anyway in which it is not a) deeply patronising and b) lazily offensive.

GobbySadcase Fri 14-Mar-14 22:17:49

I can't think of a more inappropriate person to comment on a man with as much integrity as Tony Benn.

This is horrendous.

Mintyy Fri 14-Mar-14 22:20:16

I would far sooner read a guest post about Tony Benn from his cleaner, or his neighbour, or his oldest friend (with their unique and personal insight). But, hey, I guess they are not interested in getting themselves out there in the blogosphere.

Viviennemary Fri 14-Mar-14 22:21:08

Why on earth does anyone care what Louise Mensch thinks. Sorry. But really!!

Hawkshaw Fri 14-Mar-14 22:23:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ChaChaDigregorio Fri 14-Mar-14 22:25:58

Wikipedia are onto their lawyers for plagiarism.

I'd have expected better from all parties involved to be quite honest.

tribpot Fri 14-Mar-14 22:32:48

The tributes to Benn (including this one) have focused on the fact that he was a man of enormous principle, and referred to the fact that his passionate, articulate, life-long adherence to his beliefs are not the norm among today's politicians. (Which is quite true). So why, even out of today's plastic, media-driven political minnows, would you pick Louise Mensch for this task? If you needed a media-friendly politico-mum (although god knows why you would), why not Sarah Brown?

This smacks of a desire for page hits above content - exactly the kind of superficial bollocks that Tony Benn was not about.

WaxyDaisy Fri 14-Mar-14 22:37:02

Why the heck would you seek an obituary from someone who didn't know him? There are plenty of well respected politicians of different parties who did know him who you could have approached.

This is just embarrassing.

tribpot Fri 14-Mar-14 22:37:20

Why not, for example, this lovely tribute by someone who, y'know, knew him.

teaandthorazine Fri 14-Mar-14 22:38:37

I've never suggested this about any thread, but I actually think MN would be better off pulling this. It's pathetic, trite and embarrassing.

Theincidental Fri 14-Mar-14 22:41:48

How crass. What an insult.

If you wanted with gravitas to honour one of the most important political figures of our lifetime, why ask such a lightweight careerist as mensch. She epitomises everything Benn railed against.

I couldn't be more disappointed.

Thanks for posting that, trib, it was good to read.

RIP.

Can I share a story about him I read today? It made me smile, anyway. Apparently he was at a student event, speaking, and misheard a question asking about the future of the NHS. He was too nice (and, dare I suggest, broad-minded) to see anything odd in students asking his opinion on 'the future of gay sex,' so spent a good few minutes trying politely to string together an answer to what he believed he'd been asked. I loved that.

Maybe we could share the good things, would that be daft? Because otherwise this thread leaves such a bad taste in my mouth.

Hawkshaw Fri 14-Mar-14 22:49:13

LRD, that made me smile. Thanks.

Sarah Brown would have been good. Cherie Blair too - I seem to remember from the diaries that she was very warm to him when Caroline died. I would be interested to read Yvette Cooper's assessment of him too. Margaret Beckett as well - and she has been widely quoted with an interesting, honest and fair assessment of a man she actually, you know, KNEW.

The perfect person for a post eventually though would be Melissa Benn.

elkiedee Fri 14-Mar-14 23:08:35

WTF?

zoemaguire Fri 14-Mar-14 23:08:45

What vacuous nonsense. It dishonours his legacy. He wasn't a cuddly tea-drinking teddy bear, he put forward a seriously threatening alternative to the status quo. This kind of patronising crap seeks to sanitise and disarm that legacy, and I'm dismayed at mumsnet thinking this was even remotely appropriate. No, scratch that, I'm revolted.

Well said, zoe.

zoemaguire Fri 14-Mar-14 23:14:18

And seriously, she never even met him, not once! Fine, get a Tory to write an obit, if you must (though why?!), but find one who has some political and intellectual weight, and who actually knew the man. This is just a joke.

CrotchMaven Fri 14-Mar-14 23:16:09

Heh, heh. Mnhq's nonsense politics laid bare again. Northlondonitis pervades.

You have to stand for something, sometime, you know? Work it out, people. Even if you want to be neutral, at least give a voice who have something to say.

Blondieminx Fri 14-Mar-14 23:16:27

Just wanted to add my voice to those querying why on earth Ms Mensch has been given this blogspot?! It's just beyond cringey sad

Shirley Williams or Theresa May would have been better choices (experienced politicians who have served in the commons with TB).

Please don't have Mensch back again. I don't think she ever brings anything fresh to the discussion although she does seem to be good at getting people's backs up...

CrotchMaven Fri 14-Mar-14 23:24:09

You know the campaigning you laud through your PR? If you invested half of the social or political capital Benn invested, you wouldn't come close.

To have Mensch commentating is lightweight and puts you in the ridiculous category. Could you not get someone who had met him, even if they weren't a woman?

usualsuspectnobollocks Fri 14-Mar-14 23:52:45

Is this MN, now?

What a bloody farce.

PansBigChainring Sat 15-Mar-14 02:02:48

It was really poor judgement from MNHQ (what were you thinking?), but hopefully TB's death will still warrant another blog/offering from someone who knew him some time soon.

Piscivorus Sat 15-Mar-14 02:06:42

Agree with Sarah Brown or Cherie Blair. Poor man deserved better than this

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 15-Mar-14 06:45:05

The anecdotes on this, and other threads are lovely to read.

Re-reading the OP, I wonder how long it took to actually put together? Given that it was posted last night and the woman is in NY and all......Seriously, I write better than that. Most of us do.

If you were going for the non-hagiography approach, ask Ann Widdecomb. I disagree with every word that comes out of her mouth and find her politics and points of view on, well, everything really, utterly loathsome, but no-one can argue that she did not also belong to that sadly disappearing group of conviction (not careerist) politicians who stood by their principles to the end.

And I imagine she would provide a thoughtful, respectful, well-written and interesting piece.

(Not that I necessarily think we need one, mind, I think the lovely anecdotes coming from people should be passed onto the family. It is happening on my FB as well, my friend mentioned how she once bumped into Tony Benn and Bruce Kent together muttering darkly about something on a London railway station. What a pair! smile)

Badvoc Sat 15-Mar-14 07:13:06

Please, please tell me you didn't pay her for that drivel?
Ffs.
Agree with other posters, this thread should be pulled.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 15-Mar-14 07:19:43

Or left as an example of what not to do.

Trib- thanks for that link, lovely piece. I have shared on my FB. And appear to be weeping (again)

Badvoc Sat 15-Mar-14 07:21:26

Honestly mnhq, what's next?
Colleen Nolan discussing the pistrorius trial?
Am beyond pissed off with this.

RonaldMcDonald Sat 15-Mar-14 07:41:31

I love Mumsnet

This however, is very, very poorly thought through.

Please remove this utterly turgid tripe piece of nothing once and replace it with something worthy and fitting

I am hugely disappointed with Mumsnet over this lack of judgement

MaudeLynn Sat 15-Mar-14 07:48:26

Now come on everyone, be fair, MNHQ only got in touch with Mensch because Samantha Brick was too upset to comment.

Agree with everything said on this thread. How dare Mensch patronise Tony Benn by calling him a "national treasure".

MaudeLynn Sat 15-Mar-14 07:49:55

Now come on everyone, be fair, MNHQ only got in touch with Mensch because Samantha Brick was too upset to comment.

Agree with everything said on this thread. How dare Mensch patronise Tony Benn by calling him a "national treasure".

WandaDoff Sat 15-Mar-14 08:01:54

shock

TheLightPassenger Sat 15-Mar-14 08:12:10

This really wasn't well thought out, was it hmm.

RonaldMcDonald Sat 15-Mar-14 08:15:25

Was Katie Hopkins busy?

gertiegusset Sat 15-Mar-14 08:33:19

The crassest idea for a guest talk I can possibly think of.

gertiegusset Sat 15-Mar-14 08:38:01

I just read that MNHQ approached Louise Mensch, know your audience also springs to mind.
Of all the people you could have asked...

EauRouge Sat 15-Mar-14 08:40:12

FFS. Could you not have found a better blog post to share? I'm sure there are many bloggers that actually had something to say about Tony Benn. I wish I could un-read that piece of badly-written drivel.

BaileyWhite Sat 15-Mar-14 08:44:12

I'd rather read Metallica's opinion than LM's to be honest smile.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 15-Mar-14 08:44:38

Never has my old adage been more true....just because everyone can write, doesn't mean everyone should.

teaandthorazine Sat 15-Mar-14 08:56:02

Well, this certainly did 'add something to the mix' didn't it, HQ?

It's crystallised something that's been bugging me about MN for a while. I'm not very articulate and can't put my finger on it exactly (especially not at the time in the morning!) But what seems a growing tendency on MN to rely on sleb bloggers and rentagobs for comment on stuff that actually matters...I don't know, it's just depressing. I don't give a flying fuck what Mensch, Brick, Hopkins et al think about anything. (I'm not even sure I'm that interested in Clegg, tbh.)

This piece shows such an appalling lack of judgement and respect. It's made me seriously question what's going on at MN - why you would imagine in your wildest dreams this is appropriate. Shoddy, crappy, lightweight. I think I'm done with this place, finally.

BaileyWhite Sat 15-Mar-14 08:59:57

On a website where the most memorable moments are created from the comments of millions of anonymous women (and men) the parade of celeb o gobs rankles.

We don't need them. HQ clearly does. What to do?

gertiegusset Sat 15-Mar-14 09:01:02

It's not just you tea, MNHQ have lost their way.
The whole site has changed and not for the better.

gertiegusset Sat 15-Mar-14 09:04:18

It certainly looks like HQ were not big fans of Tony Benn doesn't it.
Or maybe Ms Mensch was the best they could manage.

This thread and the thinking behind it sums up where MNHQ are taking mumsnet these days.
Shameful and vacuuous and aimed at the lowest common denominator to get hits on the sight.
How could anyone think that woman was the worthiest to comment??
FFS

oh an excellent summary tea.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 15-Mar-14 09:13:47

You know what? I am willing to bet that no matter how busy they were, running the country and all, this man was so important, and so universally respected, that even David Cameron would have taken 5 minutes to Dictaphone a paragraph or two over. John Major?

I rarely read the guest posts/blogs because invariably they are a spur of the moment jumping on a news item bandwagon by someone thirsty for their 15 minutes.

There needed to be no "guest" talking about Tony Benn. The threads in Chat and AIBU were enough. Ordinary Mumsnetters, writing beautifully at times, about someone who mattered.

Please tell me the rent-a-gobs don't get paid?

So rent a gobs, penisbeaker and trolls here there and everywhere.
This place becomes less appealing by the day.

BIWI Sat 15-Mar-14 09:51:30

Another shock MNetter. And also pretty angry

You, Mumsnet, have been developing relationships with various current and senior politicians for years. Your 10th birthday party was attended by Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown gave a speech, followed by Sarah Brown.

But you ask Louise Mensch to comment? On a man with the status and intellect and integrity so well-displayed by Tony Benn?

You are seriously, seriously, seriously underestimating the people who belong to this community.

BIWI Sat 15-Mar-14 09:52:06

Apologies for the unnecessary hyphen.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 15-Mar-14 09:58:54

The Milibands IIRC bought Tony Benn's old house. Or lived next door. Ed did work experience with Tony Benn I think? If you didn't want a current politician why not David?

So many people who would just do it better.

sloth357 Sat 15-Mar-14 10:43:41

Get a grip, folks. You seem to be upset with the shallowness of Louise's post. On the basis of this thread - Mrs Pot, may I introduce you to Mrs Kettle...

BIWI Sat 15-Mar-14 10:45:44

Why do you think this thread is shallow?

usualsuspectnobollocks Sat 15-Mar-14 11:15:51

Is that you, Louise?

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sat 15-Mar-14 11:23:10

Oh I'm all for a shallow and trite post. But this blog "he liked tea and was a national treasure" was not the place for it.

As BIWI said, they could have got anyone of stature to do it, not some little ex Tory fluffball who had never met the man.

glastocat Sat 15-Mar-14 11:29:55

Fuck me. Could you have got anyone less suitable than bloody Louise Mensch! Talk about polar opposites, not just politically but in honesty, integrity, honesty, charm, I could go on.

BIWI Sat 15-Mar-14 11:30:27

And you have posted the link on your FB page.

<baffled>

Do you actually ever bother to read what your own community thinks about things?

Mintyy Sat 15-Mar-14 11:34:13

blush blush blush

BaileyWhite Sat 15-Mar-14 11:34:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

sinvega Sat 15-Mar-14 11:34:45

I only really know Mumsnet from the occasional comment/forum thread a friend on here links to. I've registered after reading this just to say that seeing you all reject this crass and inadequate "tribute" from someone who has no place to comment on the great Tony Benn's death has warmed my heart. Without making it a hate campaign you've made it clear that it's unwelcome, not by hounding Mensch but by loving and respecting Benn.

While it sounds like there are some concerns with the official Mumsnet leadership, you people are the real Mumsnet to us outsiders. And you're bloody great.

I wish I had a Tony Benn anecdote. All I know is that just hearing him speak on tv impressed me greatly, not only because of his politics but because just about everything he ever said or did showed that he was that rarest of things, a genuinely good person. We've lost a great politician, but the real loss is that sincerity, love and kindness for everyone. The world needs more like him, whatever work they choose to do.

Viviennemary Sat 15-Mar-14 11:35:03

Maybe it would be better that this thread is deleted and if it's not too late approach somebody else to write a piece. Because I simply can't see the point of this.

BaileyWhite Sat 15-Mar-14 11:36:39

He comforted me after my Grandfather died when i met him at a meeting and confided in him- he understood loss of course.

BIWI Sat 15-Mar-14 11:39:34

I heard him described as a 'maverick' today. And that made me really sad. A man who stuck to his principles and was clear about his values and what he felt was important should not be described as such.

GobbySadcase Sat 15-Mar-14 11:46:33

Why do you think they care about 'the community' BIWI?

It's all about hits and advertising revenue nowadays.

Tweasels Sat 15-Mar-14 12:01:04

There's tons of this bullshit around. Everyone seems to be trying to reinvent Tony Benn as some kind of "cheeky chappy national treasure" rather than the hugely influential political leader that he was.

He drinks tea?? FFS.

Justine herself has got more political sway than Louise fucking Mensch. If you were struggling to get an influential female voice on the matter you should have just asked her.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 15-Mar-14 12:21:14

Hello again

Thanks for the suggestions of others you'd like to hear from - we'll send a few emails now and with luck one of them will be able to help out. Apols again for missing the mark this time.

Biwi as far as I know, this thread was posted on Facebook before there were many comments - we definitely wouldn't have done so once it became clear that there were strong feelings on this. We also posted this thread on FB yesterday morning when the sad news first came through.

MNHQ did you really think this was a good idea?
Really????

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 15-Mar-14 12:51:29

It all just seems so cynical on your part HQ, and it's happening all the time.

Something newsworthy happens, and despite the fact that an eloquent (or otherwise sometimes) thread gets started by Mumsnetters, within the hour there is some garbled, badly written "guest" bigging themselves up expressing their (generally irrelevant, and almost always unwanted) opinion on the matter.

What is actually wrong with just letting Mners make the threads?

I don't think this one should be deleted though. That lets you off the hook far too easily.

A real cynic might think that asking a not-exactly-popular amongst the MN general public to comment might generate a bunfight, and, maybe a journo getting hold of it.....and then lots of lovely penis-beaker traffic......but I'm not that cynical just yet.......

YoniMatopoeia Sat 15-Mar-14 12:52:51

Oh dear. This isn't good is it?

gertiegusset Sat 15-Mar-14 12:57:58

There has been barely one supportive post Kate, not even when the thread started, why don't you take it down?
Aren't you embarrassed?

BIWI Sat 15-Mar-14 13:08:35

You could, perhaps, delete the FB post? Along with the tweet that also links to this thread?

Mintyy Sat 15-Mar-14 13:24:16

I don't think this thread should be deleted. There are some good points made on here from Mumsnetters about what they want from this site.

gertiegusset Sat 15-Mar-14 13:25:50

Sorry, I did mean the FB post, not this thread.

teaandthorazine Sat 15-Mar-14 13:46:15

Apols?

Fuck me, HQ. You really couldn't give a monkey's what we think, could you?

MaudeLynn Sat 15-Mar-14 13:53:12

but why did you think any Mnetters would appreciate a blog post from Mensch about anything?

Why?

Mycatistoosexy Sat 15-Mar-14 13:53:47

What an insult.

A poorly written piece which is mostly about Margaret Thatcher! This is the late Tony Benn. Have more respect.

You should be more than just apologetic MN.

Badvoc Sat 15-Mar-14 13:56:51

Just take it down Ffs!

Mycatistoosexy Sat 15-Mar-14 14:05:16

I agree. This should be removed

How about taking down Mensch and leaving our posts?

Please take it down.

Don't get anyone else to do the piece instead, they'll just be offended that they were your 2nd choice after LM.

BIWI Sat 15-Mar-14 14:15:08

Thank God for small mercies though - it could have been Nadine Dorries ...

gertiegusset Sat 15-Mar-14 14:39:24

Good lord BIWI, enough already. shock

LauraBridges Sat 15-Mar-14 15:15:35

Nothing wrong with ND and a good post from Louise Mensch. There are some extremely left wing posters on mumsnet who seem to think there is something wrong with someone on the right writing about someone on the left. Far from it. If Benn could be generous to Lady Thatcher (something Mr Crow found hard) then Mensch can write about Benn.

BaileyWhite Sat 15-Mar-14 15:27:51

it may not be possible to take it down.

An Obit/Oped from a right winger is fine if it is well written because the HoC is full of strong cross bench friendships that largely go unknown and unremarked upon. However stating that you believe this is a 'good post' i.e quality writing shows poor judgement Laura of what quality journalism actually is.

It isn't good writing and that is what most of the people here are objecting to.

And they also object to a celeb-o-gob being deemed appropriate to comment on a topic that carries more weight than facelifts and being a modern day geisha to your husband.

Hawkshaw Sat 15-Mar-14 15:28:01

There is nothing wrong with someone from the right writing about someone who was left-wing (or vice versa) - far from it, it can be very interesting. However, there is something deeply wrong about someone with the intellectual depth of a marshmallow writing about someone who was so extremely principled, intelligent, thoughtful and well-read. It's like getting a Big Brother contestant who once expressed an interest in politics to write an obit for Margaret Thatcher, which I'm sure you'll agree would be a bit of an insult to the memory of a world-famous and highly respected politician.

GobbySadcase Sat 15-Mar-14 15:32:00

Laura not so. I'm sure Anne Widdecombe would have written far better.

LauraBridges Sat 15-Mar-14 15:33:24

I liked it. What is wrong with it? It is only a blog post. None of us expect much of women who marry much older men and give up their names and careers for them but it was no worse than others I have read on here.

It will be a good day when the leader of the transport union is female and Benn and Crow or their equivalents are female but as long as the Mensches of this world cop out of their roles in power we will never reach that position.

PansBigChainring Sat 15-Mar-14 15:36:04

Will LM be actually reading this? Might she post to explain herself?

Capitola Sat 15-Mar-14 15:41:48

What was the thinking behind this? A more vacuous, pointless blog would be hard to find.

BaileyWhite Sat 15-Mar-14 15:46:56

Well I cannot totally disagree with your last comment Laura to be fair. Whilst the choice to be at home with very small children must be respected and protected, Mensch let down a lot of people with her brief dalliance with politics and has been desperately seeking alternative forms of professional validation without the grinding hard work ever since.

Enjoying something and saying it is 'good' though are not one and the same though. People enjoy a line of Coke but is it good? No.

HanSolo Sat 15-Mar-14 15:55:09

I do think Rowan could have done an excellent obit.

PansBigChainring Sat 15-Mar-14 15:57:21

Or Justine, maybe in conjunction with a journalist she may know.

BaileyWhite Sat 15-Mar-14 15:59:32

Why not an actual political journalist? You know, those people who have made it their life's work? Or a friend of his?

Mintyy Sat 15-Mar-14 16:14:29

"There are some extremely left wing posters on mumsnet who seem to think there is something wrong with someone on the right writing about someone on the left."

This comment totally misses the point of this thread. Completely and utterly.

tribpot Sat 15-Mar-14 16:26:52

I agree - I would have had no problem with a serious Tory politician (such as Widdecombe) writing about Tony Benn. There was also nothing wrong with Mensch's piece in itself - I thought it was sincere and respectful. The fault here is MN's, for selecting someone of insufficient stature or relevance. I hope they can rectify this to give Benn the coverage he deserves on the site.

Hawkshaw Sat 15-Mar-14 16:36:41

I'd really like to read Anne Widdecombe's take on him. I'm sure it would be very interesting.

teaandthorazine Sat 15-Mar-14 16:38:46

There are some extremely left wing posters on mumsnet who seem to think there is something wrong with someone on the right writing about someone on the left.

Well, there may well be, Laura, but none of them have posted on this thread, have they?

The issue with this thread is not that Mensch is a Tory, but that MNHQ seems to believe that she is the most appropriate person they can think of to address their community on the death of Tony Benn.

An MP for approx 7 minutes, who never met the man, didn't even know he had died, and whose previous journalistic credentials include writing chicklit novels and a beauty column for a newspaper.

But MN thinks that's all we can handle, so that's what we get.

Lets break it down shall we?

Paragraph 1

'I was so sad to hear - via Mumsnet in fact - of the death of Tony Benn, a man I never actually met. I did once tell his son Hillary, a Labour MP, how much I admired his father - but that was a close as I got.'

So this is Louise telling us she gets her news from a parenting forum and is writing about somebody she 'never actually met'. Ok - so that established this as cutting edge comment doesn't it hmm

Paragraph 2

'Tony Benn represented something truly valuable in the world. He acted on what he believed. For his love of socialism, he was prepared to walk away from a peerage, and even from the nobility of his family name. No longer Viscount Stansgate, he wouldn't even allow people to call him Anthony Wedgewood-Benn - he was to be "Tony Benn". And so he remained, until he died.'

No problem with the first two sentences. I think Louise will find it was his love of democracy that caused him to fight incredibly hard to surrender his title. You can argue he could have represented socialist issues in the House of Lords, like other Labour peers. Benn wanted to be the people's elected representative and serve at the highest level with an electoral mandate. The nobility of the family name bit is bollocks. The Benns aren't the Churchills or the Howards. It's a perfectly good family name. It's not a name which has been prominent over centuries.

Paragraph 3

'There was that rumpled, brilliant look about the man that is so endearing to our clever, messy nation. Like JRR Tolkien, whom he resembled, he loved to smoke a pipe; a particularly English vice. He drank tea, and was well-read. He seems never to have regretted walking away from "my Lord" and the bowing and scraping of the era.'

This is just fluffy nonsense. So TB drank tea and smoked a pipe did he? Wow, Louise, blow our socks off with that revelation why don't you? Never regretted walking away from the title? He FOUGHT incredibly hard to renounce. Of course he didn't regret it.

Paragraph 4

'Benn also possessed, as well as conviction, a great generosity of spirit. His respect and affection for Margaret Thatcher showed him to be a man who understood that political opposition does not have to, and should not, equal enmity (more Labour MPs wrote me kind notes after I resigned my seat than Conservative ones, by the way). Benn said of Thatcher "she was a signpost, not a weathervane". That was why he respected her; and it is why I respected him.'

Indeed political enmity may not be personal, that's quite right though hardly a shattering revelation. What is personal though is an obituary - which is what Louise is supposed to be writing. Personal to the person who has died. Buggered if I know then why Louise's experience of kind notes gets in here. Was one from TB? Nope don't think so. Louise it's not all about you.

Paragraph 5 and 6

'He had convictions; he lived those convictions. He was true to himself, bright, and kind. He was raised by a feminist mother, and it showed, in the best possible way. Labourlist drew my attention to his generous piece on Thatcher which told this story:

"I remember her at the funeral of MP Eric Heffer. I was asked to make a speech and as I was waiting, there was someone behind me coughing. It was Mrs Thatcher, and at the end I thanked her for coming and she burst into tears. She had come out of respect for someone whose opinions she disagreed with." '

Ok it's not about MT either. That's a story about her not TB. The snide little comment about his mother and TB as a feminist I have already commented on. What's the worst way of a feminist upbringing showing Louise? Do share? Both Margaret Benn and Caroline Benn showed how family life and professional and public fulfilment may be combined. Do their ghosts make Louise uneasy?

Paragraph 7

'I believe that there are a great many MPs and commentators who did not share any of Benn's beliefs, but who realise today that in him, we have lost a national treasure; a genuine servant of the people, who did not need to be a nobleman, to be a noble man. May many of us involved in politics on all sides learn from his lessons of authenticity, humility, generosity, and kindness.” '

Ok so it's only the MPs and commentators who realise this is it? What a dim comment. TB's death is a national moment and the nation at large should be reflecting (and is) on who he was and what he meant. Louise certainly could do with learning humility though I agree. The nobleman play on words is a Daily Mail trick. That's what the right wing have done throughout TB's career - sought to undermine his message by implying he's a toff in disguise. They do the same with Miliband and every Labour politician unless they were born and bred a miner in which case they hint at communism. Why do you think we hear so much about Ed Balls piano playing and indeed Tony Blair's penchant for Tuscany.

Lazy writing with a rightwing agenda from somebody who never met him and has no point in common with him is no way to eulogise a great man.

Badvoc Sat 15-Mar-14 16:56:47

Absolutely northern!
I cannot fathom what MNHQ were thinking, despite their comments.

BIWI Sat 15-Mar-14 17:19:51

Great post, Northern.

Laura - you are being, I believe, deliberately obtuse in your post.

YoniMatopoeia Sat 15-Mar-14 17:28:52

Northern- brilliant post

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sat 15-Mar-14 17:28:57

Spot on, Northern.

GobbySadcase Sat 15-Mar-14 18:32:56

Oh ok Laura Louise what a fabbo blog post.
* insert eye roll smiley which sadly don't exist here *

zoemaguire Sat 15-Mar-14 19:18:21

just to lower the tone - I'd always thought hmm was rolling its eyes, no?

It's 'sceptical' hmm

grin

Possibly best translated as WTF. May or may not involve eye rolling.

GobbySadcase Sat 15-Mar-14 20:21:40

Yeah and the app mixes up that one and the sad face at the most inappropriate times...

DavidHarewoodsFloozy Sat 15-Mar-14 20:45:00

A link was also posted on twitter, and at the very same time LM was trolling Ian Katz over the appointment of Wheldon as Newsnight economic editor.
The women is a fucking Holy menace. Not very bright, despite an Oxbridge educ.
Her twitter feed is a hoot, ie"When I think of Muslims in the UK I think of (names various prominent people) and Sunny Hundal.
Sunny tweets her back, Erm Louise I'm a Sikh.

She's ridiculous.

Shame on MNHQ.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 01:41:05

Hi. I did just read this, probably because I get a google alert on my name.

I post because this reaction, here, is interesting, not because I have to "explain myself." I'm proud of the eulogy and glad I was asked to do it.

Hard to know where to start but let's do it like this:

1. No, of course I wasn't paid. I doubt any blogger is.

2. The reason I learned of his death through Mumsnet, you utter muppets, is that I Iive in New York. I was asleep when his death was announced in the UK. I woke to an email from Kate telling me the bad news and asking me to blog.

3. I think she approached me because a month or so ago she had noticed my tweets in support and tribute when it was announced Benn was seriously ill in hospital. Although I can't speak for her, my guess is that respect from a political opponent seemed more telling than respect from an ally.

4. Kudos to her and to the site in general for resisting the ugly impulse shown in the comments here to turn the place into a left-wing-only haunt. It's a pity when any woman's network becomes that one dimensional. The idea that your politics renders you incapable of respecting an opponent is one Benn, in his life, utterly rejected. Nobody thought he "had a nerve" writing tributes to Thatcher when he fought manfully against everything she stood for. They thought it spoke well of him.

5. I am proud of the piece, which I think is (since we're debating it) a good bit of writing. While the Mumsnet BTLers don't like it and are rubbishing it, the reaction I had on Twitter to the piece was totally different, mostly from a Labour folks. I'm on holiday in Puerto Rico with the kids where the ice cream is great but the Internet is bad enough I can't get to a computer, or I would copy and paste. The reaction here does not reflect badly on me, or my intentions, or Mumsnet's; it reacts badly on (most of) you.

6. If I were teaching feminist studies I might print this little lot off as a lesson on how not to do it. Sexist trope after sexist trope has been flung at me here by other women who presumably call themselves feminists. "Vacuous"? Let's see; 3 grade A A levels, young poet of the year, simultaneously admitted to read History at Cambridge and English at Oxford, graduated 2:1 from the latter with a speciality in Anglo-Saxon and early mediaeval English; was secretary of the Union. Published my first book at 22 and sold two million of them. MP, mother of three, national newspaper columnist for nearly two years, still writing books, still working with Save the Children; I will pit my "vacuosity" against your life's achievements any day of the week and twice on Sundays, anonymous.

And then there's the lovely line about "acting as a geisha" to my husband because I sinfully took his name; like Mrs. Thatcher, or Mrs. Pankhurst for that matter. What, in preference to my father's? It's a choice; I don't judge others on how they make theirs, but that is the conservative and libertarian in me, rather than the censorious leftie in you, "geisha" girl. I can't check on this phone but she was likely anonymous too.

So then, on to the piece. Why ask somebody who opposed Benn's politics and never met him? Maybe because for a man to impact the world, he has to affect more than his immediate circle. What made this socialist beloved to an arch political foe? What does it say about Benn's character that he inspired this?

It says he was a damned sight better of a man than most of you are women. It says that he understood and valued fighting for belief, true belief, ideology, which is an ugly word in today's politics - "oh, he's so ideological". Benn was an absolute ideologue in way rarely seen today. I cannot and do not praise his politics; that would be gross hypocrisy. Even within the Labour movement, his politics were not embraced by the mainstream. As he said "capitalism has failed". I don't believe a word of that.

But I did respect and like Benn. He meant what he said and he did what he promised to do. He fought without rancour or hatred, which is at the heart of what I saw in the comments thread today. His last, lovely message for Channel Four, which I saw after writing my piece, said "I'm sorry if I've given any offence.". No; no, you have not. You were a credit not just to Labour but to politics and politicians in general. You preferred to stand firm rather than throw mud.

And why write that it showed he'd been raised by a feminist mother? I think his kindness to, and admiration for, Thatcher derives directly from that upbringing. He was the kind of strong, selfless well-mannered and kind son we all hope to raise. There was no misogyny in him; nor did he use politics as an excuse for it. The left-wing women on this thread have shown more misogyny here than Benn ever showed in his life.

There are rare occasions when I think to myself that politicians get a bad rap from the public, but this is one of them. Not about your reaction to me and a loving piece I wrote, which I find merely contemptible, but rather when I think how much better than you the Labour activists and MPs I know are. It's clear to me that you would all be horrified if you could see s

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 01:42:34

Whoops - well that's what you get trying to type extensively on a phone. "That you would all be horrified if you could see the strong, close friendships Labour and Tory MPs have in the c

grin Nice spoof, but she's annoying, not illiterate.

And I bet she knows about bloggers getting paid, too.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 01:50:59

Commons and even as activists. We eat and drink and socialize together. Go out together. Write each other letters of personal support. Mostly because anybody who's actually been in politics knows that what it really involves is working your hide off to try and make life better for other people, in one of the highest-stress careers there is. Benn's regard for Thatcher would only surprise a non-politician; they were cut from the same cloth.

He was a great man. A lovely, kind man, not a hypocrite, one willing to sacrifice immensely on the altar of ideology yet remember his humanity as he did so. I was thrilled to pay tribute to him, and your derogation I set aside based on the reaction the piece got on Twitter. And normally indeed I would let the "vacuous Tory geisha" woman-hating rubbish stand, but it's a warm evening here, and I thought it was probably worth calling you on your lazy sexism and general ill-nature; and reminding myself that Tony Benn was such a loss to us all, because he represented everything you are not.

I am really hoping this is a joke. But it's setting my teeth on edge even so, and to be fair to the woman, I've never read anything she's written and thought she honestly didn't have a decent education and basic command of English.

Even as a joke, don't you think it's a bit crap to call this 'woman hating'? confused

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 02:19:59

No. I think calling a woman a "geisha" because she chooses to live with her husband is misogyny; and I think calling somebody with a string of achievements to her name, academic and otherwise, "vacuous" is equally so.

I would love to hear the academic pedigree, and read the C.V., of the woman who called me vacuous; I have every confidence mine would stand up pretty well against hers.

Yes, but she might know how to use basic punctuation.

I agree completely that calling someone a 'geisha' for those reasons is misogynistic. However, you might consider that calling someone a 'geisha' for any reason other than they are, in fact, a member of said profession is rather dubious, mightn't you?

It is clear that people with qualifications can be vacuous. Many people have failed to get firsts at Oxbridge and develop chips on their shoulders - but the better type don't let it get to them, and they become more than the sum of what they did as teenagers/ young adults.

I'm still crossing my fingers this is parody, but parody is usually funny. confused

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 02:32:00

I was told a 2:1 indicated "becoming and manageable intelligence". Anyway, I was too busy hacking the union and going to gigs to study properly. I did fine. It was never my ambition to be a Fellow of All Souls

That sounds lovely.

But I think, if you read the thread, you will discover that the point people are making is that perhaps someone who was too busy with 'gigs' and becoming a Tory rent-a-gob was not the best choice as a serious eulogist for someone many people respected.

Mycatistoosexy Sun 16-Mar-14 06:39:37

Yes the consensus of the thread was that Louise Mensch was just a woefully inadequate choice.

If MN thought it would be a great angle (sigh) to get a Tory to write an obit for Tony Benn, there are plenty of better options than Louise Mensch.

Maybe try finding someone who actually met him? Not someone who would cobble together a few anecdotes about Thatcher surrounded by fluff.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 07:38:03

Well said, Louise.

I was going to post that this thread should have been deleted by MN because it was not fair to Louise. But I thought that Louise would probably want to reply to it. MN asked Louise to write and she did and it was respectful and sincere.

Many of the replies have not been respectful. Words such as "shoddy", "crappy", "lightweight" and many others.

If the same tribute had been written by a former Labour MP, I doubt they would have elicited the same response.

I think it is a reflection of the usual political argy-bargy and leftwing anti-Tory sentiment, and that is all fine on most threads. But I think it is misplaced on a thread where someone has been asked to write about the death of a great political figure who was part of public life and a household name in this country for decades. When it comes to honouring a great political figure, petty political squabbles and sentiments should be put aside.

Louise's tribute was sincere, heartfelt and respectful. It was a shame that the response in many posts was not.

LauraBridges Sun 16-Mar-14 08:18:28

I also said nothing wrong with the original piece. The left always think they have the moral high ground and usually they don't.

I stand by my sad observation though that far too many women put their man before their careers and that that is morally wrong and damaging to women as a whole. Why isn't Mr Mensch in London doing the school run and cleaning the house whilst Mrs M is in Parliament? That's the LM betrayal which many of us on right and left seek to ensure is not repeated. Why is it always the women who cede to the men?

TheLightPassenger Sun 16-Mar-14 08:20:19

Am genuinely curious - how do you manage to "simultaneously admitted to read History at Cambridge and English at Oxford"? I didn't know it was possible to apply to both in the same year.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 08:21:50

'how do you manage to "simultaneously admitted to read History at Cambridge and English at Oxford"?'

Haven't you heard of multi-tasking?

LauraBridges Sun 16-Mar-14 08:37:00

It is never wise to make these things personal. I have certainly had my fair share of mumsnet detractors. Talk just about the issues and rise above the personal criticism (but not of course my very important questions).

You can't at the moment apply to Oxford and Cambridge. In fact it's a very interesting current issue, more interesting than either Benn or Mensch. The OFT are investigating. Is it anti competitive to have that restriction which does not apply to other universities? I think it can be justified as in the interests of the entrance system and candidates but let us see what the OFT says...pause to check... the latest 14 March:- www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2014/14-14#.UyViN4XRNRs is here. It looks like they are still looking into it and passing it on as an active matter to the new CMA.

TheLightPassenger Sun 16-Mar-14 08:42:51

Not quite sure if you are being serious with that comment Claig hmm It's not a case of multi-tasking Claig, it's a case of limitations in the university admissions system, as LauraBridges has pointed out.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 08:59:09

'It is never wise to make these things personal.'

Exactly, and that is why this thread is so disappointing.

LauraBridges never gets personal in her replies. She always deals in ideas. And that was what Tony Benn did too. He dealt with political ideas and that is the way in which he opposed other ideologues such as Thatcher. He challenged her ideas and did not make it personal.

But not all politicians are like that and not all people are like that. We know about the Labour MPs and candidates who have made jokes about the Brighton bombing where Thatcher was nearly killed. We know about people like George Galloway and what they said about Thatcher's death and funeral. Even Bob Crow, whom I actually liked a lot, could not rise above the personal where Thatcher was concerned.

And that is why Tony Benn was different.

Louise is right to talk about an ill-will and lack of generosity of spirit of some posters.

I disagree with Louise's view that it is a good thing that politicians from different parties should

"We eat and drink and socialize together. Go out together. Write each other letters of personal support."

I don't want them to socialize. I want them to fight each other based on ideas. I don't want them to be friendly, I want them to be beastly. And it is because I want them to be able to criticise each other vehemently when they get things wrong and not let their friendships and socializing prevent them from doing so. I want the luvvies in quangos and the Baronesses and the Lords and the high and mighty to be called out for what they have done when ordinary people's homes are flooded because these people did not dredge rivers. I want politicians to be like Bob Crow in fighting for the rights of ordinary people, but unlike Bob Crow it does not have to get personal. Like Tony benn, it should be based on ideas and actions, not on personal issues.

The shame of this thread is that it has shown up an ill-feeling and personal hostility to Louise. It has also shown the cowardice of MNHQ who actually asked Louise to write a tribute and then said that they had called it wrong and would try and get it right. They didn't call it wrong, some posters called it wrong. And to even consider Russell Brand instead of Louise Mensch is an insult to everybody's intelligence. Russell Brand is a clown whose knowledge of politics is limited. He even advocates that people should not bother voting. Unlike him, Louise Mensch has actually been an MP and knows something about politics.

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 08:59:42

Yes, shut up Beer, you utter muppet.

RonaldMcDonald Sun 16-Mar-14 09:12:54

Again, wasn't Katie Hopkins free?

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 09:12:57

Hmm. And I wonder why you were Googling your name? Did you think you were going to come here and find us all cooing about your words?

I don't doubt you have good qualifications - but you have no clue about the posters here and their own backgrounds, and I suspect many of them can easily match if not exceed yours.

But that's irrelevant.

The point that we are making here is not, actually, about you, Louise - it's the choice of you as someone to write this piece. Because you are a political lightweight by comparison with Tony Benn, and there are far better qualified, current politicians who could have been asked to do this.

You can't apply (and therefore receive an offer from) both Cambridge and Oxford. It's never been possible.

RonaldMcDonald Sun 16-Mar-14 09:31:55

Thatcher, Pankhurst, Mensch

lols

Goody, Hopkins, Mensch

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 09:35:03

Oh do calm down dear. grin

I think you will find that the majority of posters thought that the blog would have been better written by someone who actually knew the man - Ann Widdecombe was mentioned; she's hardly a frothing leftie, is she?

And this goes back to what BIWI says - it's the choice of you to write the piece.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 09:36:27

it's the choice of you as someone to write this piece. Because you are a political lightweight by comparison with Tony Benn

But this is not the only possible piece and MNHQ asked Louise to do it and she did not refuse to do it. She was glad to do it because she respected Tony Benn and wanted to express that "Tony Benn represented something truly valuable in the world".

MNHQ can ask other people too. If you want to hear what Russell Brand has to say, they can ask him too. But that is no reason to call what Louise had to say "shoddy" or "lightweight". Many MNers have paid their respects to Tony Benn and not one of them was "shoddy" and nor are Louise's words.

Because you are a political lightweight by comparison with Tony Benn

Even Ed Miliband, and certainly David Miliband, are "political lightweights" compared to Tony Benn. This is not a contest about who measures up to Tony Benn, it is about paying respect to a great political figure.

there are far better qualified, current politicians who could have been asked to do this

No one has to be "qualified" to pay respect. Louise was asked to do so and she wrote a tribute to Tony Benn. If MNHQ want to ask other politicians to do so, then they can do that too.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 09:40:14

Claig - I think a lot of people were objecting because she didn't actually know TB - a blog would have been better written by someone who did.

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 09:40:15

But claig, the fact remains that Ms Mensch was the first 'go to' politician by MNHQ. And that's the issue. Of all the politicians that MN have interacted with/worked with/spoken with over the years, why this one?

It IS a shoddy piece of writing. It has about three genuine sentences praising Benn. The rest is either all about Louise, all about Thatcher, plain embarrassing or fluff.

It's a bad piece of writing from somebody who has a right wing agenda and therefore has an interest in diminishing Tony Benn. It is possible to write an honest eulogy for someone you profoundly disagree with but it's not easy to make it about them and not you. Louise doesn't have the skills.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 09:47:05

But claig, the fact remains that Ms Mensch was the first 'go to' politician by MNHQ. And that's the issue. Of all the politicians that MN have interacted with/worked with/spoken with over the years, why this one?

This, this, this and this. It is MN that most of the posters on this thread have the real beef with, not Mensch herself. She is an irrelevance to most of us, that's the whole bloody point.

Although, the fact that her response to our criticisms of her as a lightweight has been to come on here and start yelling about her A Levels has brought a whole new dimension of surrealism to the thread so, thanks for that Louise grin

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 09:50:07

'Of all the politicians that MN have interacted with/worked with/spoken with over the years, why this one?'

Why not?

Everyone knows that MN is left wing, so to show that Tony Benn was respected across all parties, they asked a famous ex-Tory MP, who blogs and who is known by everyone. How many other women Tory MPs can the same be said of?

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 09:55:34

'It's a bad piece of writing from somebody who has a right wing agenda and therefore has an interest in diminishing Tony Benn.'

No, this is uncharitable. It is not a bad piece of writing because it comes from the heart and it is real. Louise was on the progressive side of Tory politics, as far as I could make out. She is not trying to diminish Tony Benn. She has not said a bad word about him. If you want to hear people who do diminish Tony Benn, then listen to the interviews of some of his ex-Labour colleagues during the late seventies.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 09:58:39

Oh come on, she's hardly a "famous ex-Tory MP". She's famous for being in Parliament for such a short space of time, being a good looking (albeit cosmetically enhanced) Tory Babe, and for writing Chick Lit. She's hardly Shirley Williams turned Doris Lessing, is she?

You can diminish somebody without saying 'a bad word'. Calling them a National Treasure for a start. National Treasures aren't radical are they? National Treasures aren't dangerous. National Treasures are harmless old folk. Benn repeatedly asserts in his diaries that he was worried he would be seen as a lovely old man. He was right of course.
Politicians have two lives - their personal life and how they are and their political life and the legacy from that. Louise should bloody well know that. In eulogy the two usually get combined with results which inevitably diminish the latter.

Shirley Williams would have been another good choice and one certainly not from Benn's political viewpoint. But I guess HQ don't have her e-mail address.

LCHammer Sun 16-Mar-14 10:02:10

If that's good writing your standards are pretty low.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 10:03:34

Louise is young, Shirley is old. Louise is on twitter, she makes the papers, whereas Shirley rarely does.

If you listen to Shirley's views about Tony Benn, you will see that they are less positive than Louise's. I think that left wing MN wanted a positive view of Tony Benn from a right wing former MP, not a negative view from a former left wing MP.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 10:07:21

Why go for former MP? Why not ask Teresa May? Or if you wanted a former MP, Ann Widdecombe?

LCHammer Sun 16-Mar-14 10:07:25

Claig - so you admire LauraBridges for engaging with ideas, do you? So you haven't read her disgusting attacks about Bob Crow and his being fat. Check it out.

RonaldMcDonald Sun 16-Mar-14 10:07:30

It is a nonsense to say that Louise Mensch is known by everyone.

It is to my great shame that I am more aware of her than of many other dedicated, hard-working MP's who were actually fairly chosen <not from a showpony parade> and elected and who then committed their lives to politics.

AFAIK <and as I have said, to my shame, I know too much> she was an MP for about 2 yrs and a minor sleb.

Most of my peers are, at best, only very dimly aware of her.

How she was selected to asked comment is to Mumsnet's great discredit. I feel sure it was to drive traffic to the site and that is why I question if Katie Hopkins was too busy.

Mensch is at least always good value...the A-level stuff was gold...Mumsnet deserve a star for that

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 10:10:19

Or if you wanted another Tory female self publicist, how about Nadine Dorries?

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 10:11:38

Ronald - yes, all the "I am so extremely considerably clever than yowwww!"

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 10:15:14

"Calling them a National Treasure for a start. National Treasures aren't radical are they? National Treasures aren't dangerous. National Treasures are harmless old folk"

But Tony Benn, himself, said the same.

'I’m a national treasure now I’m harmless'

www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/5509231/Trevor-Kavanagh-looks-at-career-of-Tony-Benn.html

I am right wing, Louise is right wing (but much more progressive than me).

The reason that I like Benn and I like Crow and I don't like David Miliband, is because Benn and Crow were authentic. They were real, they meant what they said, they had beliefs and they defended them. They had principles. I didn't agree with many of their ideas, but I would defend to the death their right to hold them, because I want opposition, any opposition, real opposition. I want them to be beastly to the Tories over ideas, not personally.

I think that is also why Louise admired Benn, because of his authenticity and his attachment to ideas, ideals and principles, above petty personal confrontation.

We want ideas, opinions and beliefs, not ill-will and lack of generosity of spirit. That is what made Benn special, that is what Louise and the public admires and that is what has been lacking from this thread.

RonaldMcDonald Sun 16-Mar-14 10:15:28

Nadine Dorries said this

Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries, said: “Only a few months ago, Tony and I spoke to two thousand sixth formers at a conference in London.
“Tony was the last speaker of the day and came on after me. He was doddery, and my researcher had to help him to reach the stage wings as he waited for me to finish and his turn to speak.
“The conference organisers told me the conference had run for many years and Tony had never missed it, not once.”
She continued: “We had chatted in the green room and, as always, his mind was razor sharp. He was a gentleman who not only respected but enjoyed an alternative point of view.
“As he walked into the stage the auditorium erupted. Tony was a legend. Facing an audience of young people with differing political views they knew he was special and they loved him.”

PansBigChainring Sun 16-Mar-14 10:19:11

Louise - it is a crappy blog, and has been neatly analysed as to why much further up. It was probably crappy because 1. you just aren't very good and 2. you know little about your subject other than the platitudinous and already-acknowledged particulars about TB which were nothing to do with his politics. (tea, politeness etc).

This may be now 'after the mayor's show, but the error lay with HQ for even asking you to do this, something which numerous others would have been better placed to do. Naturally as a media/politico type you must have thought you were onto an easy winner. But you weren't.

One big lesson for you - MN regulars have much higher bar than your tweeting buddies have.

(and well done to LRD for being lucid at 2am)

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 10:20:47

*"Calling them a National Treasure for a start. National Treasures aren't radical are they? National Treasures aren't dangerous. National Treasures are harmless old folk"

But Tony Benn, himself, said the same.

'I’m a national treasure now I’m harmless'*

Oh god, claig <headdesk>

Benn didn't think that was a good thing!

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 10:28:15

'Benn didn't think that was a good thing!'

But it was what happened. Benn didn't think that Thatcher was a good thing, but it was what happened, she became the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th Century.

What Benn thought and what happened were often opposed. He got lots of things wrong. But we still respect him because he was authentic, he was consistent, he didn't let the fact that he was wrong put him off. He kept on banging on, and that is why we love him and say that he was a national treasure. We don't care if someone is right or wrong as long as they are real and live from the heart. It doesn't matter if they disagree with us, we still admire and respect them.

And Louise's tribute was also from the heart and that is why I respect it.

Mintyy Sun 16-Mar-14 10:33:01

My word, with all the Oxbridge degrees being bandied about on here, I feel barely qualified to contribute hmm.

Just in case it needs saying again (because it doesn't seem to be going in) the objections to this whole sorry episode are 1. why is LM the go-to ex politican of choice on Mumsnet? She is a guest blogger and we often get little puffs of style and beauty stuff from her. Is it because she is young and attractive and fond of Twitter? well, that's all a bit fluffy isn't it? Is it because we are wimmin and are therefore expected to like that kind of stuff?

2. the talk threads started on TB by Mumsnetters themselves are more interesting and informative than anything an individual politician could contribute - so why do we need a guest post at all? We can read countless obituaries and other material about Tony Benn online, or even in today's Sunday papers. We don't need a guest to come and opine about him ... this isn't a magazine or a newspaper.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 10:34:17

And the thing about "tea drinking" is noteworthy. It made him special, it made him eccentric, it made him human. We all remember it and all think about it, because it is a small human thing that seems to be about so little, but really says so much.

It is one of the first things we think about when we think about Tony Benn. It remains in our memories because it shows his passion, his humanity. We never forget how he told us in an interview how he drinks a mug of tea every hour throughout the whole day.

It makes him unique, eccentric and real. Little things count as well as lofty ideas and Tony Benn cared about them both.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 10:40:34

You're just being absolutely ridiculous now. I can assure you that a cup of tea is not the first thing I think of when I think of Tony Benn.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 10:43:44

It wasn't. I entered the Peterhouse college Cambridge historical essay prize (a national competition at the time), came third and was offered a place to study there. 5000 words on. "We shall not understand political history if we treat it as merely a branch of economic history." I was grateful but really wanted to try for Oxford. I liked it and English better

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 10:48:09

Well I do, I have never forgotten the pleasure that he showed when he said that he drinks a mug of tea every hour. It endeared him to me, because he loved his tea. It is about heart.

And I will never now forget what I have recently read about him. That he bought the park bench on which he proposed to his wife and put it in his garden.

These things are about passion and heart. Those are the things that the public admire. They make this giant with lofty ideals and principles as human as everyone of us. We identify with him and his autenticity and heart.

That is what made him special and different to many other politicians who will do and say anything for advancement.

He was real, he was one of us and that is why he is one of our national treasures - a treasure to the left and to the right. And that is why nobody should try and divide us and say that Louise has "a nerve" to express what she felt about him.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 10:49:46

I'm 43.

Just a slight pull back to the reality-based community, as bloggers over here love to have it.

I also suspect they wanted somebody engaged on social media. I have 80k + twitter followers, and that's more than most politicians. Blogging has a certain type of audience.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 10:55:15

I don't know if these replies are nesting under the posts they're answering because I only have my phone here, but, thank you Claig. I appreciate it. I agree with you about the tea observation which is why I included it, along with the pipe. For many not very political types, pipe and tea are endearing. I find it interesting - virtuous in an old fashioned sense - that too much tea and a very old-fashioned way to consume tobacco were his vices, rather than booze and "good lunches". It says a lot about him. Firstly that he remained a man in control. Secondly that he remained rooted in the class of his birth despite himself and that makes his renunciation of the title and double barreled name all the nobler. Thirdly, pipes are so English and s

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 10:57:48

God I hate this sensitive touch screen. Sorry. Pipes and tea both say "England" to me rather than Britain in general. And the combination of both along with great brains and massive mess (if you've seen pictures of his archives) offer a touch of the absent-minded professor who concentrates his brilliance on just one thing, there not being room for anything else.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 10:58:17

Exactly. Good point about the pipe. In fact, that is one of the first things we all think about when we think of Harold Wilson too. Little things are so important.

Mycatistoosexy Sun 16-Mar-14 11:02:43

Whilst I appreciate that you have 80k+ followers on Twitter, I still stand by my opinion that you were not the right choice for an obituary about Tony Benn.

You hadn't even met him.

I still cannot, despite your protestations, understand why you were the go-to person about Tony Benn.

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 11:04:29

Whilst these memories of him are endearing, it's actually rather insulting to bring these to the fore, rather than talk about his politics, his achievements and how he adhered to his principles and his values. There's a brilliant cartoon in today's Independent on Sunday that says far more about him.

here

Stop trivialising things by talking about tea and pipes ffs.

Mycatistoosexy Sun 16-Mar-14 11:04:51

Fwiw I don't understand Russell Brand writing about Margaret Thatcher either. Even though, I quite like him and I hated her.

RonaldMcDonald Sun 16-Mar-14 11:05:17

Louise I'm glad you are now aware of the use of your 'followers'

It is nice to see someone learn something

How did the victim of Ched Evan's feel when you alerted your followers to their name being posted on Twitter?
By alerting thousands of your 'followers' to someone else breaching this person's anonymity you therefore alerted thousands of your followers to the breach who might not otherwise have been aware.
Great.

Finally Joey Essex has 2.5 million followers, I wouldn't value his opinion any more than yours by dint of his number of followers.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 11:09:00

Laura,

Because he has much older children who cannot move to England, whereas my much younger children and former husband were all Americans from New York and could move.

Sometimes it comes down to children.

I did not want to resign my seat and looked extensively for ways to avoid it. There was no other option. I literally may not (and I don't mean will not) elaborate further.

For what it is worth, I do believe that having a column in the UK's best read paper for almost 18 months now has given me a decent level of domestic political reach.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 11:09:51

'Stop trivialising things by talking about tea and pipes ffs'

No, we admire everything about him, the whole picture, both the big and the small. It is part of what he was, and we admire the whole human being, the authenticity, the ideas and the way he lived and the things he enjoyed.

PansBigChainring Sun 16-Mar-14 11:15:06

I have 137 followers on twitter. Less is more.grin

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 11:22:05

I have 3. Not bad considering I've only ever tweeted 4 times, I reckon grin

(Of course, I didn't go to Oxford or Cambridge, which probably explains it.)

PansBigChainring Sun 16-Mar-14 11:23:25

your cat doesn't count tea.smile

Thanks Pans. I'm not sure I was lucid, more gobsmacked this was turning from an obituary to an opportunity for a 43 year old woman to boast about her A Level results.

Since the consensus seems to be this wasn't a spoof response, I'll leave it til HQ say whether it's real.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 11:24:43

Finally Joey Essex has 2.5 million followers, I wouldn't value his opinion any more than yours by dint of his number of followers.

Oh, that's a bit unfair, Ronald. His piece on the death of Mandela in the Huff Post was really moving...

RonaldMcDonald Sun 16-Mar-14 11:59:00

Dear God <insert higher power> this thread has now made me read lovely Louise's tweets regarding Bob Crow <endless silent scream>

Mumsnet Towers has done us a massive disservice by asking Mensch to give us her opinion.
Mensch tried her best in her little piece and we should be very, very grateful that someone as accomplished, steadfast and dedicated made time from her holiday to do so.

I will be asking Peterhouse why they offered a student a place to study at the University on the basis of coming third in an essay competition. Did they make the same offers to all those taking third place?? Questions, questions...

zoemaguire Sun 16-Mar-14 12:34:39

I used the word vacuous.

For what it's worth, I have (counts on fingers) 5 degrees from Oxbridge, and have taught in one of the two universities for many years, so if you want to have that little battle, I win. But why would you? A degree from Oxford is evidence of very little - I can assure you that I see students graduate every year who are both intellectually vacuous and rubbish writers to boot. In fact, I'm sure you and I could both name a few who have since become cabinet ministers. But beyond that - a fully-grown adult seeking to establish intellectual superiority by invoking their A-levels and Oxford degree? I'm with LRD, that's so astoundingly chippy and insecure that I have to wonder if the posts are a spoof.

In any case, it was the writing I called vacuous, not you. I didn't want a hagiography of the man - his legacy is hardly uncontroversial even on the Left; the Guardian obituary was a masterpiece of ambivalence! What I did want was an obituary by someone qualified to write it, either because they knew Benn well, or because they have a position in British politics and intellectual life that gives them special insight. You don't tick either box, and if you'd had an ounce of self-awareness, you'd have refused to write about a subject you know nothing about.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 12:43:06

'I can assure you that I see students graduate every year who are both intellectually vacuous and rubbish writers to boot'

I always did feel sorry for those who had to teach David Miliband and Edward Michael Balls.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 12:44:15

If you described those two as vacuous, then there'd be absolutely no disagreement!

zoemaguire Sun 16-Mar-14 12:44:41

You should hear what one old professor who taught Cameron had to say about him...

zoemaguire Sun 16-Mar-14 12:47:15

In any case, you're quite right claig that intellectual vacuity doesn't respect party boundaries.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 12:48:51

I'm not surprised.

Isn't the issue that, if you have to argue 'but I shouldn't come across as vacuous because I am quite well educated,' you've already lost the battle?

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 12:54:47

I think you'll agree that being intellectual is not as important as being principled, authentic and moral. They said on TV that Tony Benn was not a particulatly bright student at Westminster School.

They give Tory MP, David Willets, the nickname 'Two Brains', but he still comes out with rubbish about the 'intergenerational divide' and 'intergenerational injustice'.

What really counts is serving people and bettering people's lives and that is down to heart rather than mind.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:00:53

I think Louise was asked to write about Tony Benn and she wrote a sincere and heartfelt piece. She didn't do it for publicity. She doesn't need MN, they need her.

If I was her, I would have been shocked at how it was received by some posters and I would have been angered. The attacks on her were not fair and MNHQ should have stepped in and possibly pulled the thread. But Louise has nothing to be ashamed of and deleting the thread would have seemed as if she had.

I think she is right to point out that she has achieved more than most of her detractors have.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 13:10:50

MN needs Louise Mensch? Why, in heaven's name, why?

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:12:59

Because as many people have said, they want the publicity. They want to be relevant. They want big names to contribute so that they can claim that they are where it is at, that big names read MN and contribute and that MN is the forum where famous figures and not so famous all meet.

zoemaguire Sun 16-Mar-14 13:14:17

If someone asks me to write about something that I feel I don't know enough about, I refuse. If you have to begin an obituary by saying 'I never knew or even met the man, but I did once meet his son', that's your clue right there.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 13:14:38

Louise Mensch is not a big name, Claig. Sorry, and all that, but she isn't.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:15:42

They invite politicians on, they do surveys that help the politicians and the "charities" and that give input to the "think tanks" of the politicians. They want to be at the heart of the nation's discussions and at the service of the politicians and to do that they have to invite big names on so that we think that this is where it is at.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:17:54

'Louise Mensch is not a big name'

She is bigger than most of us.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 13:18:35

But Louise Mensch is not a politician any more! And as I said, not a big name.

PansBigChainring Sun 16-Mar-14 13:20:00

LM is not in any way a 'big name'- she bobbed up in my awareness and disappeared just as quickly, and didn't impress in that brief time (incl some awful performance on a Select Cmte - she just seems, in these circs., to have something of a shared space in the Venn Diagram of social media and profile with HQ and nothing else.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 13:22:15

But hardly a big political draw. a) She is no longer an MP b) She no longer lives in UK c) She writes fluffy chick lit (apparently Mr Mensch's ex wife was quite disturbed by one of the books, life echoing (chick) literature, as it were...). If they wanted a big political draw, how about Teresa May, Justine Greening, Esther McVey, Harriet Harman... oooh, I could go on.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:22:26

So much the better because it musn't become too obvious. Inviting labour luvvies on would not be subtle.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 13:24:43

Labour Luvvies - Justine Greening? Teresa May? confused

Are you Louise's sockie, Claig?

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:25:32

' If they wanted a big political draw, how about Teresa May, Justine Greening, Esther McVey, Harriet Harman... oooh, I could go on'

Because there would be MNers who would not like to have serving politicians getting free access to speak on this forum. They would start to wonder if they were being spun by luvvies.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:27:15

'Labour Luvvies - Justine Greening? Teresa May?'

MN is left wing. They won't promote Conservative politicians and if they do, they know exactly the response that these politicians will get. A similar response to what Louise got and she isn't even a current politician.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 13:31:21

I am not left wing. I think there would have been reasoned debate if they had got someone right wing, who was a fairly serious politician, and who had met and worked with TB to come on here. Louise got the response she did because of her trite and fluffy blog (Northernlurker and BIWI summed it up perfectly well; I'm not going to repeat what they said.) I've got a friend who's a Tory MP - fairly sure he would have been happy to do this.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:36:17

Did they ask any politicians to come on to speak about right wing Thatcher, who was a bigger national figure than Tony Benn?

If a Tory had come on, the abuse would have been unprintable and no Labour luvvie would have had a nice word to say about Thatcher.

I think they asked Louise to help their own image and because they knew that Louise was a decent person who would say nice things about left wing Tony Benn.

Mintyy Sun 16-Mar-14 13:36:33

I don't agree that Mumsnet needs Ms Mensch.

Mintyy Sun 16-Mar-14 13:38:34

Claig - how on earth can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you will insist on calling people labour luvvies repeatedly.

Anyway, this thread is not about party politics.

claig, that's a really sad post. The man has just died, for goodness' sake. It should not require a specially sourced 'decent person' to 'say nice things' - I would bloody hope most people could be required to show basic respect. And I don't believe she has.

Agree with mintyy, with bells on.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 13:44:57

Of course this thread is about politics. If Louise Mensch had been a LibDem poitician or heaven forbid, a Labour politician, she would not have had half of the attacks that she has had. There would have been no "shoddy", no "lightweight", nothing.

LRD, there are some people who would not say nice things about Tony Benn, but Louise is not one of them.

There were many people who said nasty things about Thatcher. Unfortunately, nasty people do exist.

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 13:46:01

What LRD and Mintyy have said.

DavidHarewoodsFloozy Sun 16-Mar-14 13:52:47

Blimey. A levels at dawn.grin.

Mintyy Sun 16-Mar-14 13:55:11

Claig - why can't you get it? The objection to LM is NOT to do with her being a Tory.

PansBigChainring Sun 16-Mar-14 13:59:14

<gazes protectively at my O Level Geography certificate. sniffs>

tribpot Sun 16-Mar-14 14:04:56

Impossible for us to prove that a Labour ex-politician similar to Mensch would not have been greeted with a similar level of concern. But Widdecombe's name has been mentioned a number of times as an example of someone who could have written with something closer to the gravitas that Benn deserves.

MN's explanation for their decision to ask Mensch to write a guest blog piece is weak and adds weight to the theory they did it to generate page hits from the controversy. I sincerely hope MN would not do something so calculating over the death of a great man. I think Mensch acted with the best of intentions in writing her piece and most of the concern displayed on this thread has been about MN, not Mensch. Mensch has put considerably more effort into defending herself than MN has, despite [apparently] being on hols.

All in all, very disappointing.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 14:05:04

Apart from LauraBridges, I don't think a single poster has had a good word to say about Louise's post.

"Tony Benn represented something truly valuable in the world. He acted on what he believed. For his love of socialism, he was prepared to walk away from a peerage, and even from the nobility of his family name."

"There was that rumpled, brilliant look about the man that is so endearing to our clever, messy nation."

‘He had convictions; he lived those convictions. He was true to himself, bright, and kind. He was raised by a feminist mother, and it showed, in the best possible way.’

Benn also possessed, as well as conviction, a great generosity of spirit.

I believe that there are a great many MPs and commentators who did not share any of Benn's beliefs, but who realise today that in him, we have lost a national treasure; a genuine servant of the people, who did not need to be a nobleman, to be a noble man. May many of us involved in politics on all sides learn from his lessons of authenticity, humility, generosity, and kindness."

Not a good word was said about any of it. Just attempting to say that it was all about Louise, or about Thatcher or about tea and that it was "shoddy" and "lightweight".

If any former Labour MP had written that, it would not have received the same nearly unanimous hostile response.

I think the fact that it recieved such a bitter reponse with accusations of "the nerve" of Louise is partly to do with the fact that she was a Tory and partly to do with envy.

Mintyy Sun 16-Mar-14 14:10:24

Oh cripes. Well, I'm off to put my very large black and brown guinea pig Peggy out in her run for the first time this year. I'll explain it all to her and I'm quite certain she'll be able to understand.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 14:10:34

Envy of what, exactly?

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Sun 16-Mar-14 14:11:40

Well it is lightweight! And it would have been much better if she had actually known him.

<bangs head>

No doubt you have many A levels and degrees too, Claig.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 14:11:53

'Envy of what, exactly?'

Her success. Which is why we have all the "lightweight", "geisha" etc etc

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 14:14:25

Er, no. I'm not envious of her success. Why would I be?

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 14:17:12

'No doubt you have many A levels and degrees too, Claig.'

I have got 3 A levels and 2 degrees, and I don't envy anyone. I admire people who stand up for what they believe, who are kind, generous of spirit and bear no ill-will. Even though, I didn't agre with Tony Benn on many things, I admire the fact that he did not abandon his principles for advancement. I admire honest, integrity and authenticity because they are values that are all too rare in public life. I also admire politeness and respect because they are becoming increasingly rare too in our coarsened society.

Her success? As an author of lightweight literature, an MP who let down her constituents and a prolific user of twitter. You've got us there Claig - we all burn for that sort of success.

hmm

It's not envy you're reading. It's contempt.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 14:20:39

'It's not envy you're reading. It's contempt.'

OK, I guess I was being too charitable with envy. You say it is contempt.

LauraBridges Sun 16-Mar-14 14:23:08

I hope she keeps off this thread, poor thing. It is never wise to get personal or respond. I have the biggest criticism of her which can hit where it hurts which is that of the big let down to the British public. I want us in 10 years to be talking about death of leading trade unionist Mrs Crow, Mrs Benn and Mr Mensch who left is seat in Parliament to follow his spouse across the globe and keep house. The reason we aren't talking about that is that those spouses follow dangerous gender stereotypes we need to stamp out.

But yes I thought her post was fine as a blog. If she wants to keep some income sources and the like it is worth staying in the public domain in the UK by writing about things. It was not a bad call.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 14:28:39

I think she is right to point out that she has achieved more than most of her detractors have.

Sorry, just catching up. claig, I understand you feel some need to defend Mensch, but could you at least acknowledge that you, and she, know sweet FA about the 'achievements' of any of the people posting on this thread.

Her achievements are (or should be) irrelevant.

That is what is most offensive.

This thread should be about Tony Benn. If she had a shred of integrity or any of the other qualities you identify, claig, she wouldn't be using it as a place to boast.

LauraBridges Sun 16-Mar-14 14:33:07

I deliberately haven't read what Mensch said in her defence as it is always a bit difficult when things have to descend to that.

If the aim was some publicity then that worked. For mumsnet you could even have a newspaper article - mumsnetters turn on Mensch so that could be good publicity for the site too. Win win all round really and a bit of fun for the rest of us. Did they get a left winger to write about Lady Thatcher (my heroine by the way) when she died?

I won't go into my own "achievements".

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 14:38:00

Oh my bloody fuck.

So, it's real? Up there? That woman coming and calling us muppets and not knowing how to insert commas into sentences is really her?

I've entered a parallel universe. It's a crack in time. It's a timey wimey distortion of reality surely?

Please God, let HIGNFY be on air (I'm not in the UK either) because this would have Hislop pissing his prissy little pants.

No-one, I think, (<<<<see there Louise, that's how commas fit in the middle of sentences- Salford University, 1984-88 2:2 degree only, but my can that Sangria wield a comma) would take issue with the fact that Mrs Mensch was nice about Tony Benn. Only someone so insecure about their own political position would not be. Even those lowly mortals amongst us who have never walked the halls of Westminster have heard the fabled tales of late night whiskies shared by Wilson and Heath, Maggie and Ian, Tony, and erm, Gordon....wink

The point is, in thesame way that a piece about Margaret Thatcher done by Neil Kinnock, or Peter Tatchell, would have been brilliant- simply by virtue of it being a) written by somebody who knew her b) written by somebody who might dispute every word she ever uttered, and every belief she ever held but still be honest enough and respectful enough to acknowledge her greatness (and I count myself in that group of people, and she was great) Mumsnetters expected someone a little more important in the scheme of things to comment on Tony Benn.

HQ clearly felt someone "political" was needed. (though many of us have disputed that too, as some of the common or garden MNers' words on TB have been equally as bloody brilliant as any great orator-of-our-time could have produced....) Their call. Fine. Their site. Their rules.

But, you know,I reckon even our own Claig (probably humphing a bit and ever so slightly begrudgingly) could write a eulogy on TB that were more relevant. She's not a leftie, and she knows a fair bit about politics. If you can't get Ann Widdecombe (I am ever so slightly chuffed that I was the first to suggest her, so God help me if she agrees and does a hatchet job) then I vote Claigy to do it.

Piscivorus Sun 16-Mar-14 14:39:51

Claig, I think your constantly trying to turn this into a party political argument is diminishing it; this is not about political beliefs, it is about wanting an obituary to a remarkable human being to be written from personal experience and not from what can be gleaned from Wikipedia. I am not left wing either but I can see the negatives in asking Louise to do this. I would say I was surprised that she didn't recognise the inappropriateness and decline but any publicity is good publicity eh? It's all grist to the mill nowadays.

I barely know who Louise is, my awareness is limited to a few tv appearances, but that would not worry me if she had known TB personally. What does concern me is that MN seem to have approached this almost as a marketing exercise (although I can say I'd have been more appalled if we had got the truly vacuous Russell Brand in an effort to attract more hits!)

There is real irony in the fact that the overwhelming criticism of modern politicians, that they have no convictions but attempt to mould themselves and their beliefs to what the polls tell them the public want is posted on a site now producing a piece of fluff instead of the expected well thought tribute in an effort to produce what they think the "wider" public might want.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 14:41:30

I think you should read what she said in her defence Laura.

The scales might fall from your eyes a bit.

And don't worry, I'm sure your own achievements could blow the socks off Mrs Mensch's.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 14:41:49

'I understand you feel some need to defend Mensch'

I defend anybody who writes a tribute to a dead person and is in my opinion unfairly attacked for it. Those are just my values, and I think they would probably have been Tony Benn's values too. I think MNHQ should do the same.

'could you at least acknowledge that you, and she, know sweet FA about the 'achievements' of any of the people posting on this thread'

I don't care about people's achievements. I don't care if someone is like Tony Blair, ex-leader of the Labour Party, or like David Miliband, in charge of a charity. That is not what I admire. I admire honesty, integrity, authenticity and generosity of spirit - all things which Tony Benn had in spades. I am not denying that there are high achievers on this thread, but I value other qualities more highly.

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 14:44:09

LRD, she is not boasting. I think she is angry that people have slagged her off as some sort of "lightweight" who has got "a nerve" to have an opinion about Tony Benn and express it when she was invited to by MNHQ.

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 14:45:33

I am left wing. However, I don't have an issue at all with a right wing politician coming onto MN and writing an obituary of Tony Benn (as long as it was accurate and respectful, of course.)

But I do object to someone like Ms Mensch being asked to do it. She didn't even know the man and she isn't a current politician. She's just a Twitter user with access to the media.

Mycatistoosexy Sun 16-Mar-14 14:48:21

BIWI that point has been sorely missed by quite a few I'm afraid in favour of bun throwing and attention seeking.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 14:50:27

claig, can I ask - if you had been asked to write a tribute to someone you had never actually known, never had any dealings with beyond the fact that you both worked, at one point in your lives, in the same profession, would you have done it?

Or would you have said, thanks for the offer, but I think there's probably someone out there better suited to the job than me?

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 14:53:47

She is not only boasting. She is attacking and name calling.

Whilst her "achievements" in politics (were there any of note) were fleeting and forgettable, and her airport novel stuff is unlikely to ever hit the Booker list, she will at least have one unique accolade to tweet about....I don't think we've ever actually had a "sleb" or "guest writer" be openly obnoxious to MNers before have we?

I mean, Nick Clegg (and others too many to mention) have been given incredibly short shrift on here, and been subjected to far more critical opinions than she has, but I don't recall any of them resorting to basically shrieking "but don't you know who I am? I've got an -ology! I won a prize!" and then descending into a bit of a humiliating name-calling session....

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 14:55:40

'if you had been asked to write a tribute to someone you had never actually known, never had any dealings with beyond the fact that you both worked, at one point in your lives, in the same profession, would you have done it?'

Yes. just as I wrote about Bob Crow and Tony Benn on threads on here. I didn't know them, but I still have an opinion on them.

In a sense, the whole country knew Tony Benn because he was a national figure who spanned decades in public life. He became a 'national treasure'. So everybody has an opinion about him.

MNHQ emailed Louise in New York and invited her to write something. She was glad to do so because she respected and admired him greatly. She didn't hide the fact that she didn't know him personally, she mentioned that in her first line. Her opinion is as valid as anyone else's and since MNHQ emailed her to ask her to contribute, how and why should she decline?

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 14:57:29

Oh, and she's tweeting about giving us 'both barrels' ... hmm

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 14:58:24

Clegg expects to get short shrift. He is a politician looking for votes.

Louise is not a politician, she is a private individual. She doesn't deserve to be called names when writing a tribute to someone after having been invited to by MNHQ.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 14:59:09

Shame she was looking down the wrong end.

Please somebody who does this tweeting thing, tell the twitterati what an arse she's made of herself. Or I might have to join and I don't do technology.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 15:04:40

claig, you are being deliberately obtuse. You know full well that your anonymous forum posts about Bob Crow are not comparable to Mensch putting her name and face to a 'tribute' piece that is then linked to on Facebook,Twitter etc etc.

Of course she is entitled to her 'opinion'. That's what Twitter is for, after all. I am asking simply whether you genuinely feel it shows 'integrity' on Mensch's part to have taken this commission from MN, to be their 'official' commentator on the the death of Tony Benn, given that her only connection to him is that she also once had the letters MP after her name?

claig Sun 16-Mar-14 15:08:41

Yes. She was asked to do so. If the New Statesman asked her to do so, I think she would do it too. It is not a 'commission' in the sense that she was not paid. The people who benefitted from it were in fact Mumsnet. All she has got from it is a volley of abuse.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 15:16:25

She was asked, and accepted though, on the basis of her being a former politician.

Come on Claigy, I know you of old, you don't believe any more than I do that this was a good idea. Or a good piece of writing.

One of the top 5 writers/orators in the world of the last 100 years gets a chick lit twitterati beauty blogger doing the eulogy.

It is like asking Joey Essex to write a piece on Mandela.

And of course whoever asked her to do it, she'd say yes. Those 15 minutes have got to be topped up, haven't they?

Christine Hamilton! She'd be good as well. She's barking, and obnoxious, and would go to the opening of an envelope if it got her into the tabs, sure, but hey, that's what this is all about no?

I rather suspect CH would also have produced something a leedle bit better though.

zoemaguire Sun 16-Mar-14 15:19:46

claig that's different. Mensch was given a prominent public platform to comment. What mn thought they were doing asking her, when she'd never even met the man and is not a noteworthy politician or intellectual, is beyond me. She should have refused the gig on the grounds of not knowing him and not having nothing important to say about him.

To be honest I think she's dug her hole much deeper in her attempts at defending herself on here - 'I have 3 a-levels and a degree from oxford and you lot are losers!' And not to mention the essay prize won 25 years ago hmm. I started out not by having particular feelings about the woman, other than thinking she was a deeply inappropriate person for mn to be asking. She's now opened my eyes as to what kind of character agrees to this sort of request!

But claig, if she were genuinely not a lightweight, she wouldn't need to tell us she has this or that qualification, would she?

It'd be obvious from her words.

Therefore, she is boasting here. Inappropriately.

zoemaguire Sun 16-Mar-14 15:25:21

Top 5 world writers/orators of the past 100 years - I reckon that is pushing it drank, and I was a big fan!

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 15:30:59

grin

No, I seriously would put him up there.

or did you think I meant Louise

PeggyTheGuineaPig Sun 16-Mar-14 15:31:10

Hi everyone, my first post here, just to say that my owner Mintyy has shown me this thread ... and it is OBVIOUSLY not to do with party politics. I reckon I could write a passable guest post on Tony Benn ... my spelling and grammar are not bad for a rodent, don't you think?

<munches dandelions>

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 15:36:25

Hello Peggy, welcome to MN.

Can we book you for an in-depth analysis of the upcoming Budget? Are you free to cobble together, let's say 350 words on the current financial and economic climate for Britons? Maybe a paragraph on how the proposed stuff( <<<vagueness is fine here on MN) will affect the ordinary guinea pig in the cage? That sort of thing? Obviously, no prior knowledge whatsoever of the subject is necessary, but if you have any -ologies, or have ever won a competition on the back of a box of dandelion munchies, feel free to make reference!

All the best, HQ.

Viviennemary Sun 16-Mar-14 15:42:54

I hope you're not a lightweight or vacuous Peggy. grin

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 15:48:28

She won't be, she's a guinea pig. Now gerbils on the other hand. Dreadfully airy fairy are gerbils. But with guinea pigs, you get substance.

tribpot Sun 16-Mar-14 15:51:33

Pretty sure Peggy will be aware that cyber-security is a major priority for the government, and may wish to comment on this story in today's Indie. References to the Da Vinci Code will be acceptable, although obviously Dan Brown has other books which are more pertinent to modern cryptography.

RonaldMcDonald Sun 16-Mar-14 16:04:26

I am unsure that an accomplished scribe such as Louise Mensch would want to share a thread with a mere guinea pig and some assorted muppets

She'd be very sniffy

Sniffy? Is she allergic to guinea pigs?

grin

What's she saying on Twitter?

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 16:26:17

What she should be saying on Twitter is "please don't let me ever make such an eejit of meself again on t'interweb".

I hope all the people she's telling that she gave it to us good and proper are coming to read <waves> and see that, erm, actually, she didn't.

PeggyTheGuineaPig Sun 16-Mar-14 16:28:47

Am tempted to sign up to Twitter just for a look-see. Reckon in a few days I could acquire 80,000 followers, easy.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 16:31:15

I've just been and had a look. She is retweeting people who have said she wrote a moving piece.

PeggyTheGuineaPig Sun 16-Mar-14 16:35:39

Figures.

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 16:54:13

I'd follow you, Peggy.

That's when I remember to actually look at my twitter account.

tribpot Sun 16-Mar-14 17:07:23

She retweeted a couple of remarks yesterday, that's all. Kate Silverton, for example, is much worse for retweeting complimentary remarks she gets on Twitter smile I have only had one, but it was from a leading knitwear designer (also called Kate) calling me a genius. Mind you, I didn't retweet it but I told EVERYONE I know, which is basically the same thing.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 17:18:35

I joined twitter for half an hour, ages ago, and "followed" some people, like I'd been told to, then one of them messaged me and said "why are you following me" so I ran away and de-registered.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 17:32:40

I find twitter baffling, I have to be honest blush. I like the idea of it but the reality is a bit overwhelming. I am an old fart, though.

I think fair play to LM if she only wants to re-tweet the good stuff - we're probably all guilty of that. Not sure I'd be sat googling my own name if I was on holiday in Puerto Rico (getting lashed on rum cocktails and working on the tan, more likely) but hey ho; if this thread has taught me anything it's that I definitely don't understand the lifestyle/motivation of yer average twittersleb anyhow, so...

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 16-Mar-14 17:39:40

If you google me, you will discover I am a shoe designer.

Which obviously, I am not.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 17:44:59

I'm a politician, apparently grin

Don't think she is googling her own name tbf - she said she had Google Alerts set up which means Google will let her know when she gets mentioned. I'd guess that's pretty standard, I bet MN use it.

I liked Nadine Dorries' piece better (and I never thought I'd say that!)

tribpot Sun 16-Mar-14 18:28:25

Yes, I liked Nadine Dorries' piece as well. I rather liked The Daily Mash's take as well.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 19:09:40

MN asked me to write a tribute. That's it. You're not listening, which is your privilege, but I'm still going to correct you all the same. The question was "would you write a tribute to Tony Benn." The answer was "yes I'd love to." The question was not, funnily enough, "Hey Louise, do you consider yourself worthy of being the official tribute-writer to Tony Benn versus any major Labour MP or a close friend or relative of his."

At the risk of repetition, I think there is some value when a public figure dies in hearing how they inspired people they never met. In a way, that's one definition of public impact vs private impact. Every death saddens family hearts, friends' hearts. Not everybody reaches beyond that. Benn's good nature and integrity made him attractive and inspirational to strangers too.

As for boasting, I am walking the walk. I was accused by posters on this thread of being stupid. I am not. My academic record proves it. Of being a geisha. I am not. That's sexist. It shames the speaker, not the target. Of having achieved nothing. Again, the anonymous poster here who is trying to belittle my career because I write popular and not literary fiction is barking up the wrong tree. I wrote what I enjoy reading, have sold millions of them and they're pretty good. As popular fiction. Which is what I am trying to write.

If you think you can do better, give it a go. Writing something that entertains readers is not as easy as you think.

Being in this thread is sort of active feminism for me. All too often women just shut up and sit back when called unwarranted names. It's fine to say you didn't enjoy the piece. But not fine to call an educated woman vacuous, a married woman a geisha, or say that a long-established and successful career is meaningless because you don't enjoy the kind of books I do.

Women need to push back occasionally, as well as lean in. I'm posting under my real name and am happy to stand on my record; you are posting anonymously and attacking another woman's career and academic achievements without being willing to put your own up for comparison, which is gutless of you, though not unexpected.
Speaking up now is part of that general push back by conservative women who are simply not willing to allow the left to try and claim feminism as their province. This thread has been a huge failure for them in that respect; although my tribute itself was well-received other than by (most of) the BTL commenters here.

And yes for whoever was speculating, I have a google alert on my name.

I'm utterly disinterested in your qualifications in general.
I personally feel you were unqualified to write this piece.
Nothing to do with a levels and degrees.

louise, I like chicklit too. I promise, that's not the reason I found your obit crass and offensive.

And for the record, as far as I can see, the first person to use the word 'stupid' on this thread was you, wasn't it?

Education does not prevent some people from being vacuous, nor some pieces of their writing from being vacuous. It's understandable you might not like that characterisation, but surely, you are aware people are not forced at gunpoint to agree with you?

It's actually perfectly fine to suggest you find someone with a degree 'vacuous'. It's less fine to suggest any woman is a 'geisha' unless she's actually, y'know, a geisha. It is a sexist stereotype, as well as a dodgy bit of Orientalism. It wouldn't be ok if you weren't married either, as you should know - it being feminism 101.

Someone on this thread did put up her academic credentials. Someone else commented (rightly) that she felt intimidated by mention of credentials. Do you not see that it's inappropriate to turn this into a pissing contest, when you were supposed to be writing about someone who has just died?

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 19:19:08

I have an O level in English and maths.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 19:19:09

BIWI

But claig, the fact remains that Ms Mensch was the first 'go to' politician by MNHQ. And that's the issue. Of all the politicians that MN have interacted with/worked with/spoken with over the years, why this one?

This has been raised a few times and is worth addressing I think. The key point here is that Louise Mensch is part of our bloggers' network (Shirley Williams etc isn't). We're not a newspaper, we don't have notables and writers up our sleeve to pen things at the drop of the hat - we do tend to look to our own bloggers if there's a topic of interest with think might make a good guest post. Nor do we have that many politicians or ex-politicians in our network. Plus, we knew that Louise respected Tony Benn, as she'd tweeted several tributes when he was very ill.

As KateMumsnet said earlier, we hoped a tribute from the other side of the political divide would help to show what an unusual politician Tony Benn was - as many have written this weekend, perhaps one of the last of a dying breed.

For all those reasons I don't actually think it was such an odd a thought. (And I happen to know that the BBC Newsnight team clocked Louise's post and asked Ms Mensch onto their show that night to be part of the Tony Benn discussion/tribute - she turned them down as it happens and I think they had Tim Montgomerie instead).

So it was good of her, in my view to write a post so quickly and for no dosh, and it's a shame that she's drawn such personal flak that she felt compelled to defend herself, when really if you disagree with the choice of writer, you should most definitely be shouting at us, not Louise Mensch. (As, indeed, many of you are [wry smile]).

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:22:28

Ok.
Justine...you fucked up.
Take the thread down.
That clear enough?

I have reported this thread twice and have no response
((shrugs))

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:23:10

Usual...I have a BSc bronze swimming certificate

Do brownie badges count?

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:26:13

Ah. You see, I got slung out of brownies.
I don't seem to cope well in paramilitary organisations smile

PeggyTheGuineaPig Sun 16-Mar-14 19:26:21

People were shouting at you HQ. They wouldn't have been shouting at LM had she not come on being a bit funny about her qualifications.

Several people genuinely thought she was trolling because it all seemed so very strange at that point.

justine, I can understand you got someone known to you, rather than looking further afield. And even though I do think it was a big mistake, it's your site and it's not hard to see why it happened.

I don't think anyone is holding you responsible for what Ms Mensch said subsequently. It wouldn't be fair to expect you to take the flak for that.

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 19:27:21

I have a level 2 basic health and hygiene certificate.

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 19:28:24

See I'm not gutless. I might be a muppet though.

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:28:50

All the bragging...it's just all rather vulgar

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:29:58

I love the muppets.
I see no problem with being compared to one.
(My first crush was animal the drummer from the muppets band. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions wrt my taste in men/puppets)

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 19:30:24

Badvoc

Ok.
Justine...you fucked up.
Take the thread down.
That clear enough?

Very clear, Badvoc! And believe me, I'd love to just hit the big red delete button, but am always a bit squeamish of deleting folks' words when they've gone to the trouble of writing them. And especially squeamish of deleting criticism of MNHQ.

oy hands off animal he's mine all mine

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 19:31:32

PeggyTheGuineaPig

People were shouting at you HQ. They wouldn't have been shouting at LM had she not come on being a bit funny about her qualifications.

Several people genuinely thought she was trolling because it all seemed so very strange at that point.

Yep some people were, as I said at the end of my post. Some people were also being pretty rude to LM.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 19:33:37

Badvoc

I love the muppets.
I see no problem with being compared to one.
(My first crush was animal the drummer from the muppets band. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions wrt my taste in men/puppets)

Well, excitingly, we may have well be having a MN videochat with the Muppets coming soon... More to follow on that, I hope.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 19:35:22

It's not obituary. It's a tribute. I wouldn't have written an obituary, which would have had to cover the failure of his politics.

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 19:38:04

Mahna Mahna
Do doo be-do-do
Mahna Mahna
Do do-do do

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:38:39

Justine...
Not as squeamish as those of us reading that post felt, I assure you!
Is this thread really what MNHQ want people to read when discussing the late Tony Benn?
That saddens me.
(And you won't get round me by promising a chat with animal --or gonzo- either!)

I don't think it's a tribute either, I'm afraid.

It seems rather spiteful to slip in 'the failure of his politics' at this point, surely?

gertiegusset Sun 16-Mar-14 19:39:38

Nice post Louise.
You certainly know how to win people over. hmm

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:39:49

"The failure of his politics"
Niicceeee......
shock

Tweasels Sun 16-Mar-14 19:41:17

Oh dear Louise. I was nearly ready to defend you until that last comment.

ThePowerOfNo Sun 16-Mar-14 19:41:28

You've had Caroline Lucas on here at least twice for webchats. She's just about the most well respected politician in the house of commons at present, & she's not Labour - you could have asked her to write something!

tribpot Sun 16-Mar-14 19:42:51

I think it's worth noting as well that LM might not have felt compelled to come on and defend herself if there had been any evidence that MNHQ was listening after Kate posted yesterday lunchtime. Any luck finding someone else to post, btw? Were the links from Twitter and FB removed?

Given you asked LM to post, Justine, it might have been courteous to have defended her here rather than leave her to do it from the beach in Puerto Rico on her phone. Early in the thread, we repeatedly made the point that our concern was about MN's choice of writer, not LM's writing in particular. Others did not enjoy the piece but that was incidental really.

LM was your guest poster, as you have made clear. I don't think you have looked after your guest particularly well. And your choice of guest does not reflect well on your attitude towards your audience.

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 19:43:09

yes that was rather spiteful.

Proves the point you weren't really the most suitable person to write a tribute.

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:43:13

It's not a tribute. It a succession of vacuous comments made by someone who didn't even know him.
He drank tea!? No way!
He smoked a pipe!? Fuck, really!?
You once spoke to his son about him!? Wow!
Your most recent posts show your utter contempt for anyone with a smidgen of integrity.

See this is the problem with the rent a gob culture we live in now. Anybody who can string a few words together gets asked 'to pay tribute to <<insert deceased>>' without anybody pausing to wonder will they say anything worth hearing and are they able to sufficiently pack their personal baggage away to do so. The reported remarks Boris Johnson made about Bob Crow show that he could do that. The piece below shows that Louise can't. Please Justine - don't ask her 'to pay tribute to' anybody else.

Piscivorus Sun 16-Mar-14 19:45:21

I think the point has been made several times that any of us, as "ordinary" Mumsnetters could have written the type of obituary Louise did so, Justine, you are right the flak should be aimed at Mumsnet. My opinion is that an obituary that is featured in this way should be something out of the ordinary.

I can see Louise's point that it might not be her place to think if somebody else could do it better but it is a rather sad indictment of our celebrity culture that either MN or Louise would think her well qualified to do so merely because she has a name some may recognise.

With respect to the ensuing arguments I would suggest that we are all so different and so diverse that comparing qualifications is totally meaningless; how do you weigh up the value of an Oxbridge degree against caring for a relative with cancer or a disability or compare the value of writing a book against doing charity work? The answer is that you can't other than in monetary terms so it's a pointless argument.

My first post, way up at the start of this thread, was to say what a shame if this obituary, which told us so little about Tony Benn, was to take the focus away from the man and his death and I stand by that.

Do you have point score pathetically at all times Louise? That last comment sums up perfectly how badly you have misjudged this whole thing.
IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!!!

WaxyDaisy Sun 16-Mar-14 19:48:00

What is BTL please?

I would just like to point out that, as others have indicated, political weight has fuck all to do with qualifications. I think the comments from the author on this thread have aptly demonstrated the way in which MN made a mistake in their selection of blogger.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 19:50:40

For what it is worth, I would be completely offended if this thread were deleted. I also think it would be morally wrong. I was asked to write this blog. I wrote it. It was a good piece of writing well-received outside of the BTL commenters here. Yes NN asked me on afterwards and I couldn't go because I was picking my son up from school. I was thanked for writing a great piece by someone at MN.

To delete a good tribute to Tony Benn (or indeed to anybody at all) because some commenters object to the author would be dreadful. It would validate what the BTLers said (that I was vacuous etc). It would show the site able to be bullied, which is not, I hope, what Mumsnet is about. I wrote the piece by invitation and was thanked for writing a good piece. And if that isn't the end of it, something's very wrong.

Freedom of speech is Sangria's ability to call me vacuous, but to delete a good piece because commenters didn't like it would just be censorship. There is nothing controversial in what I wrote, and again, it's been well-received elsewhere. If you hated the blog, might have been better off adding your own eulogy to add in, rather than spending your time attacking the author.

ThePowerOfNo Sun 16-Mar-14 19:50:43

I love the way that Tories don't consider making 350,000 British people dependent on Foodbanks to be a 'failure of their politics'

ha fucking ha. '3 day week/gravediggers on strike etc etc'

You really don't get it do you?
And clearly I am pigshit ignorant by your standards but what is BTL?

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:54:46

Sigh......

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 19:55:11

I don't know what a BTL is.

Is it twitter speak?

MNHQ have occasionally taken down threads (and, IIRC, once a blog) because they were crass and offensive.

I think it's probably right this stay, because in those cases, the OPs wanted the thread down too, because they felt ashamed or upset.

But louise, 'good' is subjective. People are entitled to disagree. I'm afraid people are also entitled to think it's not the most intelligent bit of writing. Someone who was sincere would understand that, and they'd think 'oh, that's a bit crap ... but I'm busy being sad because someone I genuinely thought was great has died'.

Do you really not see that you come across as if you only care about proving you have better qualifications than some of the rest of us, and that this isn't how most people respond if they're genuinely being sad about someone's death? confused

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:59:11

This is just getting embarrassing now...

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 19:59:37

Buy to let???

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:01:55

Oh, bollocks. You, or someone like you, called me vacuous. That deserved a quantified response, because it's untrue. As did the rest of the several pages of sexist and false personal attacks.

Next, you attack me for responding. It won't wash.

Below the line?

OddFodd Sun 16-Mar-14 20:02:44

It's a two stage process of wrongness:

Firstly, MN should not have asked Louise Mensch because there was no basis for asking her other than that she's a 'name', she's a blogger and is not politically aligned. As she herself has said, her qualifications to write about him are no better than mine are and arguably no one is really interested in my opinions.

Secondly, if Ms Mensch had any integrity or real professionalism, she should have turned the gig down.

I run my own business. Sometimes I get asked to do stuff outwith my knowledge and skills base. I wouldn't dream of trying to fudge the issue because we all know that doing that is professionally really damaging. What I would try and do is find someone else for the prospective client who is more qualified to provide whatever it is they're looking for. In my experience, that makes them much more likely to contact me again in the future.

Both parties here have damaged their credibility by demonstrating a woeful lack of judgement.

WaxyDaisy Sun 16-Mar-14 20:04:00

Really? Below the line?

I'm amazed if everyone on this thread who did not like the piece has had their comments dismissed as 'below the line'. The arrogance!

Not sure whom you're addressing, louise?

Re vacuous - you think you are demonstrating outstanding intellectual prowess on this thread? It might have helped your case if you did more that two minutes research for your eulogy. Out of interest - have you read any of Benn's diaries or speeches? Ever saw him address a meeting? I am hoping you have. Surely nobody would agree to write a 'tribute' about a major figure they were in ignorance of.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:05:37

Badvoc

Justine...
Not as squeamish as those of us reading that post felt, I assure you!
Is this thread really what MNHQ want people to read when discussing the late Tony Benn?
That saddens me.
(And you won't get round me by promising a chat with animal --or gonzo- either!)

We're not so ridiculous as to think folks will only read about Tony Benn on Mumsnet - of course it was just part of the mix. We marked the occasion with a piece from a writer in our bloggers' network who happened to respect and admire a man from across the political divide - it wasn't meant to be the final word.

I think I referred to the article as vacuous (can't remember as I am very stupid and have never been to a RG uni.)
I commented on the piece not the writer.
Hate the sin and not the sinner and all that but your recent postings really aren't helping your cause.

The occasion was already being marked by genuine, informed and heartfelt postings from mumsnetters Justine. As you all at HQ knew because it was immediately one of the topics of the day.

I'm just staggered really by the thought processes here. Honestly did you think this would end well? hmm

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:08:16

ThePowerOfNo

You've had Caroline Lucas on here at least twice for webchats. She's just about the most well respected politician in the house of commons at present, & she's not Labour - you could have asked her to write something!

She's not in our bloggers' network, so I doubt she would have said yes, but she might, I suppose. It wouldn't have had the political adversary angle. I think it would on balance have been a less interesting choice, but obviously it's all about opinions...

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:09:33

Northernlurker

The occasion was already being marked by genuine, informed and heartfelt postings from mumsnetters Justine. As you all at HQ knew because it was immediately one of the topics of the day.

I'm just staggered really by the thought processes here. Honestly did you think this would end well? hmm

Why not have more perspectives, though? We have a bloggers' network - they wanted to add their slant. It's not either, or.

Re-reading the thread - and obviously, I can't see the deleted posts, but I do think those were zapped pretty quickly, which is right - no-one called Ms Mensch 'vacuous' until she claimed she'd been called it. A couple of people referred to the blog in that way, but she was actually the first to pretend she'd been personally attacked. Which is rather poor.

Tony Benn was a retired career politician, still active in campaigning and speaking to large audiences until very recently. Louise Mensch was briefly an MP, lives in New York and is active on Twitter. As political adversaries go we're not really in a Borg/McEnroe situation are we?

WaxyDaisy Sun 16-Mar-14 20:11:37

Justine, are you actually suggesting that this was an 'interesting choice' because of the thread it has generated? Am I too cynical to wonder if HQ guessed this might happen, and thought 'ah well, if it does, at least it'll generate some more publicity for our site'...?

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 20:12:04

Well, this thread makes MNHQ look ridiculous IMO. You know when the DM et al mock MN? Stuff like this is all the fodder they need!
Louise...it was me that called you vacuous.
And after reading many of the tributes and obits for Tony Benn in the press and online forums over the last few days I stand by that comment.
Obviously, I realise you will disagree!

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 20:12:58

Waxy...now there's a thought!

'We have a bloggers' network - they wanted to add their slant'

I thought you approached her?

Cynical waxy but probably not a million miles off the mark...

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 20:16:29

..that's what I thought northern...hmm

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:16:46

Badvoc

Well, this thread makes MNHQ look ridiculous IMO. You know when the DM et al mock MN? Stuff like this is all the fodder they need!
Louise...it was me that called you vacuous.
And after reading many of the tributes and obits for Tony Benn in the press and online forums over the last few days I stand by that comment.
Obviously, I realise you will disagree!

I do disagree actually. I understand where folks are coming from but I think there were good reasons to ask Louise, as noted already.

And I'm not aware of the DM "mocking" MN - they quote MN, albeit often very selectively, all the time. But if the DM were to mock MN, on balance, I think it would probably indicate that we were doing things along the right lines, rather than the reverse.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:17:31

Northernlurker

'We have a bloggers' network - they wanted to add their slant'

I thought you approached her?

We did - I mean the Bloggers Network team at MNHQ (o/w there are 3 people)

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 20:17:33

Do we know what a BLTer is yet?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:19:36

WaxyDaisy

Justine, are you actually suggesting that this was an 'interesting choice' because of the thread it has generated? Am I too cynical to wonder if HQ guessed this might happen, and thought 'ah well, if it does, at least it'll generate some more publicity for our site'...?

No I'm not, I'm suggesting it was an interesting choice because Louise Mensch is a Tory. (And yes you are being way too cynical - this is the last think we want to happen, it's all really rather sad and in no way fitting of the political legacy of by Tony Benn)

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 20:19:43

Point taken wrt the DM! but....either you want MN to be taken seriously or you don't.
And this ^ is just not going to do it.

LauraBridges Sun 16-Mar-14 20:19:48

I don't agree with most of this. LM wrote a piece. It was a good piece and why not? By the way she was not "rent a gob". She wasn't paid. I'm a lawyer. I also wrote 30 books. I only write (except on here) when I'm paid. It was good of LM to write it and it was a good piece. I have certain issues with LM because I believe women do better leaning in, not taking a choice of following their men etc etc but that's not a criticism of her post on Benn.

Also MN would not want to pay a large fee or any fee to someone to write about Benn. So why not have LM write about him? I was criticised on another thread because I am a Thatcher supporter and free market libertarian feminist because I wrote quite politely on other threads about Benn and Crow despite saying I was sorry they were both dead. The left seem to want a monopoly over writing about their heroes whilst being more than happy to criticise the late Lady Thatcher at every turn.

It often comes down to money. Most women don't earn much as they don't lean in so they therefore always take the leftist point of view. Until instead they make wiser choices and become cabinet members, leaders and own companies rather than following their men across continents and the like or at lower income levels staying home whilst their man earns the big bucks women will remain left wing. If someone else is earning the money and paying the taxes you tend to be more than happy for those taxes to be high.

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 20:20:13

Bacon, lettuce and tomato?
No idea....

Boring loudmouth twat?

I always thought it was Buy To Let.

WaxyDaisy Sun 16-Mar-14 20:22:13

Ok, I agree with your last point in response to me Justine. The situation has not been aided by the author's responses.

I also agree a Tory viewpoint might have been interesting, and many suitable names have been suggested.

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 20:22:58

Justine...so you think that the above tribute was "fitting of the political legacy of Tony Benn"!!??...
shock

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:24:21

Peggy said:

"People were shouting at you HQ. They wouldn't have been shouting at LM had she not come on being a bit funny about her qualifications."

See, this sums up the rubbish of it all. They were indeed shouting abuse about me (false abuse) for pages and pages until I came on to comment. And set the record straight enough. I hate the piece fine; she's vacuous and a geisha not fine. Don't know why you have to be so disingenuous when anybody can click back and see however many pages already there before I replied. I wouldn't want my daughter to sit back and let others call her stupid when she isn't, and I don't intend to sit back myself.
And yes BTL = below the line. Often not representative of vast majority of readers, cf, ConHome. Hoping majority readers are other than the non-feminism I've seen the last couple of days.

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 20:25:31

I don't think I have been especially rude to you, Louise. I have been very clear that my dissatisfaction lies with Mumsnet for inviting you to comment.

And I'm happy to state that I, Alison Starr, stand by everything that I have said here - in my Mumsnet name and now, revealing my own name.

Justine - this has been awful.

usualsuspectt Sun 16-Mar-14 20:26:40

I don't see many ABL posters rushing on to say how much they loved your piece.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:28:41

Badvoc

Point taken wrt the DM! but....either you want MN to be taken seriously or you don't.
And this ^ is just not going to do it.

Yes I do want MN to be taken seriously and I think by and large it is. I don't think asking Louise Mensch to write a guest post about what Tony Benn meant to her undermines that in the least - as said, BBC newsnight - not newcomers to all this stuff - copied our take.

I do think everyone has the right to their opinion about the whether it was the post they wanted to read to mark TB's death and completely respect that it didn't work for everyone, for which we apologise.

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 20:29:03

Biwi... Yes. Awful sad

Oh, come on.

This is absolutely absurd.

I can see that this thread was upsetting to the OP as it was upsetting to people who clicked expecting a tribute and found her piece.

But louise, you've twisted what people said, pretending there were personal attacks where there weren't. You may be doing this because you're upset, which is understandable, but it is counter-productive.

You cannot possible know people are 'shouting'. In the same way, you should not pretend people called you 'vacuous' or 'stupid' when it seems they did not (and I exclude deleted posts here, because HQ removed them promptly for your benefit).

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:30:26

BIWI

I don't think I have been especially rude to you, Louise. I have been very clear that my dissatisfaction lies with Mumsnet for inviting you to comment.

And I'm happy to state that I, Alison Starr, stand by everything that I have said here - in my Mumsnet name and now, revealing my own name.

Justine - this has been awful.

Yes, I agree the aftermath really has, BIWI

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:36:11

LRDtheFeministDragon

Oh, come on.

This is absolutely absurd.

I can see that this thread was upsetting to the OP as it was upsetting to people who clicked expecting a tribute and found her piece.

But louise, you've twisted what people said, pretending there were personal attacks where there weren't. You may be doing this because you're upset, which is understandable, but it is counter-productive.

You cannot possible know people are 'shouting'. In the same way, you should not pretend people called you 'vacuous' or 'stupid' when it seems they did not (and I exclude deleted posts here, because HQ removed them promptly for your benefit).

Yes there were personal attacks imo - we deleted some really blatant ones - and it depends on your definition of course but a lot of the earlier posts in this thread are thinly veiled personal attacks suggesting LM lacks integrity or is lightweight because she has a beauty blog etc. That's the way I read it anyway.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:36:30

Feminist Dragon (misnomer)

Go back and reread pages 1 through 7, when I responded (upon being asked if I was reading the thread and "would she come on and explain herself [sic]"). And then come back and say again there were not personal attacks. I hope I won't have to copy paste them, it's tough to do on the phone.

If MN wanted to lock this woefully unedifying thread, I wouldn't mind at all, but I would mind, immensely, if they deleted it. It was a good piece I was glad to write.

Mycatistoosexy Sun 16-Mar-14 20:37:24

Well at least Mumsnet have a good idea about their choice of bloggers for their target audience.

(Hint: think of that episode of Changing Rooms with Llewelyn Bowen)

So, you know, silver linings.

LouiseMensch1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:37:43

Thank you Justine. I know I ought not to be upset, but I am. We're all human.

I appreciate you stepping in and saying that. Bowing out of the thread on that note.

justine - fair point, I think suggesting anyone is lightweight for having a beauty blog is out of line. And I commented myself that the 'geisha' remark was out of line and misogynistic. But there is a lot more to it than that, surely?

louise - re-read my post, please. I said that you pretended people had made personal attacks using the words 'vacuous' and 'stupid'. I explained that, before you, and excluding the deleted posts, no-one had actually made personal attacks using those words.

JanineStHubbins Sun 16-Mar-14 20:40:03

You think it's a good piece, Louise. That's not a statement of fact. Others thought it was vacuous (your piece, not you, as LRD pointed out).

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 20:43:29

It's not just the aftermath that's been awful.

Mycatistoosexy Sun 16-Mar-14 20:43:51

Justine - a whole worse gets said in many a thread every day on Mumsnet to other ordinary posters.

Being called a lightweight is not really all that bad. Christ, I've had said worse to me at work from the public!

This is true, BIWI.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:50:20

Mycatistoosexy

Justine - a whole worse gets said in many a thread every day on Mumsnet to other ordinary posters.

Being called a lightweight is not really all that bad. Christ, I've had said worse to me at work from the public!

Well we'd delete it, were it reported Mycat. I've actually just read through the thread again and I'm surprised we didn't delete more of the personal comments tbh. It's one thing having a spat with someone face-to-face (as it were) but I'd personally be quite upset if lots of people suggested I was an intellectual lightweight (though I undoubtedly am grin).

PeggyTheGuineaPig Sun 16-Mar-14 20:51:39

Louise, I honestly disagree. I think people were mainly objecting to Mumsnet's choice, rather than lining up to be unkind about you personally. Of course there may have been one or two scathing comments (to be expected on an open forum??) but the vast majority of the thread was not concerned with you. But that seems to have changed now.

Mycatistoosexy Sun 16-Mar-14 20:55:28

Well going down the line of this is just an awful attack on Louise is a bit OTT sorry.

She has given as good as she received. If you feel like she has been personally attacked to that level then perhaps delete the thread.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 20:56:18

BIWI

It's not just the aftermath that's been awful.

Yes, I understand that lots thought we made the wrong choice for a guest post on TB's death BIWI and, as you know, we are always very happy to take criticism and learn from it and don't for a moment think we get it right all the time. But I think the reaction to LM on this thread (prior to her coming on) has been aggressive and unkind and not in the spirit of life we're actually celebrating here... suspect he might have voiced any objection more civilly.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Mar-14 21:00:00

Signing off for a bit now to deal with a few bedtime issues. Will be back later.

zoemaguire Sun 16-Mar-14 21:00:16

To confirm for the third time - I used the word vacuous in relation to the writing, not the person. If you

And the reason I am staying anonymous is because I don't want to identify myself in the many posts I have made on here about my children, my health and my reproductive history. If it was just down to this thread, I'd stick my name on my posts in an instant.

Gosh, just read this thread. I can't believe the twisting of words. In my opinion Tis Louise and Mumsnet who look ridiculous. It's a shame that they are trying to turn it round on Mnetters.

Rip Tony Benn. So much more than a tea drinking pipe smoker.

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 21:03:59

Yes. But somehow this thread has become all about Ms Mensch, hasn't it?

Tony Benn was a fantastic human being, and an amazing politician. And here we are, wrangling about someone who is only 'big' on Twitter.

It makes me sad.

Couldn't have said it better, BIWI.

teaandthorazine Sun 16-Mar-14 21:07:36

Justine, everyone (bar two posters) thought you made the wrong decision. And there were requests for the thread to be deleted on Friday night, 48 hours ago, because it was pretty obvious it was all going to end in tears.

I think it's very, very clear where MNHQ's loyalties lie these days.

PeggyTheGuineaPig Sun 16-Mar-14 21:07:55

I don't think there's anything to add Justine.

Mumsnetters were vocal about choice of guest poster on death of TB.

Guest came on to defend self.

There has been a bit of argy bargy.

You have apologised for making wrong choice.

Guest poster no doubt feels a bit sore but if users of the site feel the choice of guest was wrong then it is unforunately going to come across a bit personal-like.

(Also, guest poster did some very funny stuff about her qualifications which you can't expect everyone to just politely ignore).

But I would have thought you're ok to leave the thread and get on with your evening brew.

crochetcircle Sun 16-Mar-14 21:08:01

Well I'm not sure I can put my thoughts into words but I will try.

FGS Mumsnet - get over yourselves and did you mean to be so rude?!

I mean it's fine to say to "Mumsnet we think you asked the wrong person to write because we loved Tony Benn", but IMO it's not fine to criticise someone who wrote from the heart about a man they respected who had died, or critique their writing, or bring up their life choices. Doesn't matter what you think of them personally - show some respect.

Personally I have a lot of respect for LM, alongside my respect for all women who make it on the male dominated UK politics scene. Thank you Louise.

hmm

Oh, I see, crochet, you believe it's fine to refer to Tony Benn's 'failure' on a thread claiming to pay tribute to his memory, but not fine to critique that?

Yes, makes total sense, that does.

Badvoc Sun 16-Mar-14 21:12:34

Tea...yep sad

RonaldMcDonald Sun 16-Mar-14 21:15:52

This still going on?

I'll admit I have always found Mensch unbearable in every sense since the terrible Ched Evans gaff.
That was unforgivable, for me. I cannot imagine how the poor woman felt.

Sometimes one has to step outside a situation to see how ridiculously poorly you are coming across. Pushing back can sometimes actually seem a bit like looking an utter skinless idiot

zoemaguire Sun 16-Mar-14 21:17:28

If you put a piece of writing on a public discussion board, then you have to accept that it will be criticised, possibly in robust terms.

MsMischief Sun 16-Mar-14 21:21:16

Why not have more perspectives, though?

I can think of dozens of reasons....

I really liked Tony Benn, I'm actually pretty devastated that he has died and I think modern politics no longer has no time for people like him. I think we've lost him when we need him most, with the villainisation of the feckless poor, the dismantling of the welfare state, the stealth privatisation of the NHS and the weird schools land-grab. We are living through a real political turning point and that makes his death more than a mere personal tragedy. I don't know much about Louise Mensch (apart from her string of achievements and academic pedigree) but I think it's fair to say that not even her best friends could say that her 'tribute' wasn't erring towards the trite (bowing and scraping, the tea, the pipe, national treasure).It's not a tribute, it's journalism, and it's not appropriate. He was a political giant, not some cute, tea drinking, national treasure. He's barely cold, so until the passing of time has altered our perspective on Tony Benn's death and his political and social legacy, MNHQ should have thought about in what way this was sensible rather than;
'Who can we get to write a bit on this Benn chap'
'Well Louise Mensch used to be a politician and she's in our bloggers network, she'll do.'

Did you even read it through before you posted it?

MNHQ, You are not NN, you do not have dead air to fill, you do not have to provide people for debate and discussion and you do not need to 'mark the occasion' with blogs. This whole exercise is just so unnecessary and as a Benn fan, it was actually a bit upsetting to click on a thread that I thought was going to be....something, and see him so belittled by, what is to my mind, thoughtless, hackneyed, lazy, crass, self-serving journalism.

Mycatistoosexy Sun 16-Mar-14 21:31:40

Well said MsMischief.

I'm sorry LM hasn't enjoyed the backlash.

Next time, everyone can make better, informed, thoughtful decisions.

BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 21:36:19

Really good post, MsMischief

I'm angry about this. Tony Benn was a great man, and <struggles to be polite> he deserves better.

I try very hard on Mumsnet, no matter what thread I'm posting on, to abide by the talk guidelines, and to afford other posters respect. But this thread is sorely trying.

Bananagio Sun 16-Mar-14 21:37:27

I am personally gutted that LM has not repeated her "pygmies of the left" comment she made on twitter following Thatchers death. I snorted tea through my nose when I read that.
Tony Benn you were an inspiring, dangerous and challenging true socialist to the end. An absolute inspiration to this Pygmy of the Left. (2:2 in law from Wolves Poly, should have been 2:1 but watched too much This Morning and drank too many bottles of K cider).

TeacakeEater Sun 16-Mar-14 22:17:42

Has anyone mentioned a storm in a tea mug yet?

MsMischief Sun 16-Mar-14 22:24:21

MN blog network tweeted this thread 2 hours ago. 'Catch up on Louise Mensch's moving tribute '.
I don't know what to say about that.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

MsMischief Sun 16-Mar-14 22:26:20

Sorry. That was rather redundant. I was just having a 'What the fuck' moment.

Piscivorus Sun 16-Mar-14 22:30:45

Laura You have a very short memory I wrote quite politely on other threads about Benn and Crow despite saying I was sorry they were both dead Would that include the thread where you were deleted for an abusive post referring to Bob Crow being fat? If that was polite I'd hate to see you being rude!

I am very sad that this now seems to be more about Mumsnet and Louise Mensch than remembering a true political giant. Tony Benn was renowned for his integrity, it is a shame the same principles have not been shown by others even when, apparently, paying tribute to him.

PansBigChainring Sun 16-Mar-14 22:36:44

To help draw something else useful out of this (and this issue has already been raised), it would be a jolly good idea to follow @NHAparty on twitter for up-to-date info on the Tories progress at privatising the NHS which is leaving mahooosive contracts in the pockets of financial backers of the Tory party (you know, the one that LM is a member of?).

Tone would undoubtedly agree that being informed, and taking action, to defend this blatant sell-off of a national resource is a Good Thing and would represent something of his legacy. NHAparty will be standing in constituencies where Cabinet members are, and/or where hospital and NHS services being sold off to Tories and their chums will have the biggest local community impact.

LCHammer Sun 16-Mar-14 22:37:46

The piece is lightweight. For all the reasons stated above. If that disturbs LM, she should up her game. Did nonobe really tell her before her writing's not all that?!

PansBigChainring Sun 16-Mar-14 22:41:06
BIWI Sun 16-Mar-14 23:02:39

Great post, Piscivorus

Ecclefechan Mon 17-Mar-14 03:41:25

I fear that MNHQ has become a bit star struck. Their ethos was to make life easier for parents. Now, something of significance happens, and their reaction is "We must get a name to comment. Let's contact Louise Mensch in <gasp with excitement> New York city ..."

Then when their members object, Justine tries to validate the decision by saying that LM was invited on to the telly to discuss the matter even though we all know that Newsnight invite all kinds of muppets to fill air time.

DrankSangriaInThePark Mon 17-Mar-14 07:07:18

I didn't call the guest writer vacuous.

But as an ex-politician I don't suppose she would let facts get in the way.

Justine- I am astonished that you think someone who calls a writer a "lightweight" to have made a personal attack. Although as you continue to defend your guest, I suppose I shouldn't be. Perhaps I should go and report all the bad things I said about Helen Fielding when the latest BJ came out? I said far worse than lightweight. I've been known to critique JK Rowling too, shall I go back and report myself for that? (both women I admire greatly however, and both of whom I consider to be brimful of integrity)

To excuse and defend this appalling misjudgement by saying you always go to your bloggers' network is nonplussing in the extreme. It's a bit closed-shop, that kind of attitude, no? Why do you go to your bloggers' network?

You can shout at us all you like, delete the thread if you want (and I expect there will be the clichéd bunfight/no longer about the original OP/not making parents' lives easier platitudes....) but I still reckon that not you, or any writer you might know personally wink really think that MN's choice of writer was a good idea, or that the piece that was produced was adequate. I know you don't. I wonder (but am not asking for an answer because that would, actually, be unfair of me, and I am meticulously fair) whose idea it really was. Whose finger was on that send button on Friday morning, and if the piece was edited/approved in any way at all, or just published on the back of "well, the guest writer is famous so it's bound to be all right".

When, in the words of Thelma (or was it Louise) it wasn't all right at all.

BIWI Mon 17-Mar-14 07:23:03

It's interesting to see that the posts on Twitter and Facebook are entirely in accord with this thread.

Badvoc Mon 17-Mar-14 07:36:04

Once again...it was me who called her vacuous.
And I stand by that comment.
That "tribute" is the very definition of vacuous.
I would encourage anyone who wants to read a relevant, funny and well written tribute to the late Tony Benn to check out the quality press and leave this sad little corner of the Internet well alone.
Sadly I agree with eccle...MN seems to have become rather star struck (although calling LM a star is a bit of a stretch)

zoemaguire Mon 17-Mar-14 07:49:02

On a similar note, mark steel's independent column is funny and touching on both tb and bob crow, and in the context of this thread, extremely on the mark about right-wing responses to both deaths.

Entirely unrelatedly, though, and regardless of my feelings about her piece, if you really didn't pay Louise, actually you should have. Freelance writers can't live off thin air! If you are a commercial site soliciting content, have the decency to pay people for it.

tribpot Mon 17-Mar-14 08:06:18

Mark Steel - thanks for the pointer, zoemaguire, this was a great read.

DrankSangriaInThePark Mon 17-Mar-14 08:16:43

That was a breath of fresh air, thanks Zoe.

I hope the guest writer reads it and learns. Reads it and weeps.

That's a brilliant piece.

TeacakeEater Mon 17-Mar-14 09:10:41

An interesting piece. Thank you zoe and trib.

Louise, forgive me if I list my own qualifications and then explain why neither you, not I for that matter, are fit to be included in the same sentence as TB.

I have a first class history degree from a RG university, a masters, a phD and two teaching degrees. I also (since last week) have a medical degree. Yet sometimes (most of the time) I can be lightweight, superficial and even a bit vacuous (I have a strange penchant for BINTM)

I can understand MN's desire to get a Tory view of one of the greatest politicians this country has ever seen but he deserved a decent, intellectual and comprehensive piece and yours, sadly, is none of those.

Whether you like it or not, when people think of you they think of gossip columns, celebrity opportunism and fluff. When we remember Tony Benn we remember integrity, idealism and personal sacrifice (is there any need to juxtapose what he gave up for public duty with your own attitude to public duty?)

People are angry with MN for a crass choice and irritated by your defence of yourself. Yes I would defend myself if someone called me stupid but I don't think I would do it by calling a group of often well-educated women "muppets." Perhaps you are sometimes your own worst enemy.

YoniMatopoeia Mon 17-Mar-14 10:51:04

T

YoniMatopoeia Mon 17-Mar-14 10:51:56

That Mark Steel piece is fab

Badvoc Mon 17-Mar-14 10:52:05

Thanks for the link to the mark steel piece tribpot.
See MNHQ?
thats how it's done.

zoemaguire Mon 17-Mar-14 11:23:31

I reckon the Indie paid him thoughsmile That is also how it's done! <rides off on separate high horse>

LauraBridges Mon 17-Mar-14 12:56:47

(I have been slightly misquoted above. I said if Crow had kept his weight to Benn levels he would have had 30 more years of helping his union members. Obesity is one of the biggest issues we face. I don't think it was wrong or rude to suggest one lesson learnt is if you get very fat you might well die at 52. Sadly it is also a class issue in the UK - Benn lived long and Crow didn't. It can also be an issue with some couples - slim younger wife (LM even) and fatter older man with women living off male earnings - socialism and feminism still have a very long way to go).

vindscreenviper Mon 17-Mar-14 18:10:10

It can also be an issue with some couples - slim younger wife (LM even) and fatter older man with women living off male earnings - socialism and feminism still have a very long way to go).

Flipping heck, did you mean to be so rude Laura?

LouiseMensch1 Tue 18-Mar-14 10:55:00

Laura,

Bang on about obesity. But I really must correct you. Peter's not fat and I was a breadwinner when I married him. Although there's no doubt he's leagues more successful than me, I had done pretty well for myself and I continue to work and earn at a high level. So "younger woman living off a fat older man" isn't very fair ::bristles at insult to husband::

I do agree that obesity and class are still sadly linked as a problem and its something we need to tackle in society. Exercise (aerobic) is absolutely key. 52 is horribly young to die. There is a lot of denial about obesity. Perhaps another thread.

TeacakeEater Tue 18-Mar-14 11:02:39

Laura does bang on about obesity, but it's a bit rude to point it out.

LauraBridges Tue 18-Mar-14 11:30:28

Yes, but it's the only issue which matters on the thread. Where LM is allowed to write about a politician on the left (of course she is and I liked the piece) but the only issue about LM that matters to many women is as long as women marry men who earn more and give up their careers for their husbands in 20 years'; time it will still be a Mr Benn and Mr Crow we write about rather than Mrs Mensch Tory party leader. That is the sad thing when women's supposedly free choices are so very often the choice which ensures they and other women ultimately are damaged and women never advance.

As for weight I've only seen pictures of Mr M. I thought his BMI looked higher than that of LM but I may be wrong. You got a lot of bigger richer men with blond women 20 years younger than them who are of course slim as that's the dynamic - man pays and woman pleases. That is the betrayal which has hurts so many women in the about the LM situation. it is my general point to all women that the personal is political and every one even those on £15k a year who give up the chance to earn more as their husband is on £30k and stay home to mind children are damaging other women.

Ecclefechan Tue 18-Mar-14 11:40:48

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Ecclefechan Tue 18-Mar-14 11:41:37

^obviously meant Laura and Louise ...

LauraBridges Tue 18-Mar-14 11:47:31

Now now, it's a huge issue in every sense. One of the biggest killers. That programme last week about people in supposed food poverty and some of the people were absolutely massive. I don't know how anyone kept a straight face.

Ecclefechan Tue 18-Mar-14 11:56:29

Then get yourselves over to the thread about Clarissa Dickson Wright and lay into her for being overweight and erm dead hmm

Wonders who MNHQ will ask to blog about her. Kate Moss?

Kudzugirl Tue 18-Mar-14 11:56:50

'Just because you can doesn't mean you should' MrsMench something a psychiatrist colleague once said to his gaggle of juniors.

From my perspective one thing I have learned as a professionally registered person is to have an honest dialogue with myself regarding what I am best qualified to do. Did you not at any point stop to consider whether you were the best possible choice to write a piece such as this? People with integrity ask this of themselves frequently.

People are taking umbrage not with your political persuasion and the appropriateness of your being asked as a rightwinger to commentate upon your polar opposite - indeed one poster has already pointed out that cross party friendships are perfectly normal and not surprising at all. They are saying that they all thought it was shoddily written, lightweight in tone, poorly researched and with the most tenuous of connections to its subject. If being in parliament is what it takes to write a 'tribute' then I would rather read one from the person who cleaned Tony Benns HoC office, whoever he or she may be. They likely knew him better than you.

We don't need our own heartfelt and sincere tributes validated by some celeb o gob as mentioned earlier. It is irrelevent whether you are paid or not in actual cash because the pay off from all this will be further click bait from Mensch and her ilk.

Kudzugirl Tue 18-Mar-14 12:01:37

Oh and just found this - ""men have been the primary breadwinners in all cultures at all times in history" Lousie Mensch.

You should have studied Anthropology and maybe then you'd not be so ignorant of anything outside of your own ethnocentricity.

Some feminist you are.

Mycatistoosexy Tue 18-Mar-14 12:05:32

I find it a bit ridiculous that Tweedledee and Tweedledum up thread there take such personal umbrage to comments about themselves (Vacuous? Me? Sob sob) yet feel perfectly content to make unnecessary and rude assumptions about a man that they have never met nor knew anything of his exercise or diet.

DrankSangriaInThePark Tue 18-Mar-14 13:09:10

Laura, you are being disingenuous again, and you know you are. You know exactly what food poverty is, and it isn't a lack of food that is going to have Michael Buerk going starry eyed and Bob Geldof and Midge Ure running to write a sad little song. It's eating crap because crap is cheap, and crap is fattening.

And we write about Tony Benn and Bob Crowe not because they were men. But because they were a bit important and relevant. Like we wrote about Mrs Thatcher. Like we will one day write about Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel. We won't write about LM, no, you're quite right. But that will have nothing to do with the fact that she's a woman.

LauraBridges Tue 18-Mar-14 14:06:47

There are few women in power because they take the decisions LM took (and many mumsnetters take) and it's a great shame. The personal is political and we are all examples to others in all kinds of ways.

As for Clarrisa DW that is very sad too. I just read the Times obituary. She qualified as a barrister very young but then inherited £2.5m when her mother died which was a huge sum in 1971 so gave up work and did parties etc and I don't thin it made her happy . So the lessons there are tie up any money children might get into trusts until they are at least 30 and sensible and secondly the obvious - the fat die young so we all need to watch our weight and take today's advice from the papers - eat how many always ate and you're fine. Cut out the sugar and junk and alcohol and make with high good fats, medium protein and lots of veg. There endeth my lesson but I now need to go to work to fund all the benefits claimants who rely upon me for their daily carbs.

Kudzugirl Tue 18-Mar-14 14:18:04

Not quite sure how the fat die young works out in its reversal re people like Linda McCartney who lived a fantastically healthy life and died young.

Don't recall Robin Cook being overweight either and he died young.

Thinness is no gauge of health. Have you ever attended a post mortem Laura? Well I have- plenty of them and fat around the internal organs can be seen in people who are thin to the point of being clinically underweight. It is hidden fat. Cholesterol levels can be stratospheric in people who appear fit and healthy. This can be familial or not familial.

People who possess the crudest of knowledge about physiology will come out with these nonsensical blanket statements. I am aware that I am offering only a few examples- I could offer you thousands- but instead request you actually point that intelligence of yours towards a class in basic Health Promotion with some Anat/Phys on the side.

AnyFucker Tue 18-Mar-14 14:55:57

So, the lesson to be learned from this thread (on several levels) is stick to what you know

I'll go along with that. It's an honest way to live your life, and serves to prevent you looking like a pillock on social networking sites (despite how much more money and brainsyou have than all the little people).

Kudzugirl Tue 18-Mar-14 16:35:04

Amen Anyfucker

Badvoc Tue 18-Mar-14 17:35:47

Amen again!

LouiseMensch1 Wed 19-Mar-14 18:07:03

Kudzgirl,

That wasn't the question asked. Do I think I was well qualified to write a tribute? Yes, very, because as various mods have pointed out, I am an opponent of Benn's politics and it did not stop my admiration for the man. It's less interesting to me to read another Tory on Thatcher than Labour folk who admired her.

As to what I've learned, it is; always accept an invitation to pay tribute to a person you admire; do not sit in silence when falsely attacked; be confident in the quality of your own work; and it's been a tremendously enjoyable experience. I felt upset at one point but after watching Sangria twist on the personal attacks stuff I cheered up immensely.

I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm glad the piece had the impact it did. I'm proud of it and its reception, because the majority of posters here are so sharply contrasted by other bigger sources.

Laura - but I haven't given up my career. I am a novelist and a columnist for the biggest paper in the UK. I have a third job I can't yet discuss. That's three jobs. As to the resignation of my seat, it was forced. I wish I could go further but I cannot. I am still a Conservative party member and activist. As a journalist, I'm a political commentator for a paper with a very wide reach.

Although I do not condemn any woman's life choices I am the type of person who needs to work. I have worked since I graduated (before that too) and I will work til I retire. Although my husband is very successful, I have never seen that as a reason to down tools myself. It's not in me.

Kudzugirl Wed 19-Mar-14 18:28:22

The Telegraph didn't think so highly of it Louise. It wasn't quite the blanket cheerleading you affirm it as. And secondly this forum is called Mumsnet. It has quite a few members. As a blogger on here, agreeing to an ill judged request for your opinion, your primary objective is to provide content we value. Not like- value. The two need not concur. Saying you value the opinion of a few media outlets outside of MN is like courting approval of your right wing policies from the Communist Party. You have desperately sought approval from the wrong people in this case.

And as for those 'bigger' sources- print media is dying a death. I do believe that this little 'ole website has a reach and readership that other 'bigger' outlets can only dream about. That is why we are attacked so vociferously by newspapers such as The Daily Fail and why people like you leap at the chance to write on here because it has a very powerful reach. If these bigger outlets are so wonderful and aspirational, why didn't you write this for them - or weren't they interested in hearing from you? Much easier to mine a free site such as this for lazy second hand content.

PS I wouldn't brag about The Sun. I'd be desperately ashamed about that. Really. And don't make the lazy assumption that such comments like this are borne of envy or jealousy. Many of us (including myself) have great careers, ones that help others and make real difference in this world and contribute to a sound internal locus of control.

If you have an issue with us being anonymous then take it up with the website facilitating this. What people in the public eye lose sight of is just how abnormal it is to lay all your private line out in the name of self promotion. Our anonymity is by far the more psychologically sound. Maybe not for the purpose of trolling or what you deem personal attacks but certainly there is nothing cowardly about anonymous contribution to a debate in general.

Kudzugirl Wed 19-Mar-14 18:31:30

And I notice too that you again miss the point. We are not objecting to a Tory point of view. What we are objecting to is a politically lightweight point of view by somebody who failed in politics. Somebody who used the most fatuous pop cultural references in her 'tribute'.

I (and many others who have told you repeatedly) would be happy to read a tribute by a senior Conservative (Or God forbid is there any such thing?) a senior LIb Dem. You do not meet that job description.

LCHammer Wed 19-Mar-14 18:44:07

Kudzugirl flowers

Lovecat Wed 19-Mar-14 19:18:32

So effectively you've learned nothing. Wow.

I wouldn't be too proud of writing for the paper that lied so viciously and repeatedly about Hillsborough either. The Scum doesn't have much of a reach in the North West.

tribpot Wed 19-Mar-14 19:20:31

I would settle for any kind of sense that MNHQ have learnt from this thread. I truly hope LM does not end up having to doggedly defend herself again when the real problem was not her.

Kudzugirl Wed 19-Mar-14 19:22:59

Rather unusual and egotistical misinterpretation of what Sangria was actually saying too.

Unless of course you were just trying to remember some Lou Reed lyrics, Louise.

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 19-Mar-14 19:24:31

"after watching Sangria twist on the personal attacks stuff I cheered up immensely"

Sangria is a middle aged woman with very little twist in her dearheart.

Are we missing an apostrophe there perchance?

Grammar is really not your thing, is it?

Nor have I been on TV any time recently, so you haven't "watched" me doing anything. (watch- transitive verb used with things that move)

Kudzugirl Wed 19-Mar-14 19:24:42

Goddam bloody internet- posted too soon.

I have little faith that MNHQ will 'learn' anything from this. This place is succumbing to click bait culture.

LouiseMensch1 Wed 19-Mar-14 21:58:11

Dear me, no, kudz, that wasn't in the slightest my mission. My mission was to write a good tribute to Tony Benn. And I succeeded in that. Your opinion of it is of no moment to me whatever.

gertiegusset Wed 19-Mar-14 22:05:59

You don't actually give one about what the readers of your article think do you Louise?
I doubt this will be the last word, you'll get that one in won't you.

LouiseMensch1 Wed 19-Mar-14 22:06:09

They were interested Kudz. I think you came in a bit late. Newsnight asked me on to pay tribute. And I wrote another tribute to Benn in my Sun column last week.

I can't write for any other papers as I have an exclusive content. But blogging is always free, as is tweeting. I think it's important to have a reach in new media as well as old. You're absolutely right that Mumsnet has a wide reach and once the piece was up it was heartening to see so many Labour folk I follow liked it. When a link from any site is shared, few people read the comments. In other words 'readership' is a much bigger number than 'registered readers who also comment'. This is a fact of Internet life for any blog or site of any kind, not just MN.

LouiseMensch1 Wed 19-Mar-14 22:08:01

I remember doing an anti-alcohol blog on Joyhacks.com on New Year's Day. It had about 30 comments if memory serves but 12,000 views. It's not always so lopsided but readership is inevitably multiples of comments.

So Twitter loves it and that makes it incisive political comment does it? hmm

It was a bad piece of writing from an author who should have known better but whose ego is writing cheques her talent can't cash.

<<Eighties movie night here>>

teaandthorazine Wed 19-Mar-14 23:10:04

Your arrogance is breathtaking.

You believe clicks matter more than comments. You don't care what those who read your 'tribute' think. You have learned absolutely nothing.

You honestly think that writing for The Sun makes you intellectually, morally and commercially superior yo the test of us.

You are digging your hole deeper each time you post. Thank fuck you gave up your political power.

teaandthorazine Wed 19-Mar-14 23:15:15

* to the rest of us

Apologies. That's what happens when you spend an evening in Westminster with actual MPs ;)

LouiseMensch1 Wed 19-Mar-14 23:45:25

No, I do care what they think. I don't care too much what the tiny fraction of those readers who are bitter enough to post hideous things about the author of a tribute to a very kind, ideological public servant underneath that tribute instead of concentrating on him.

Both numerically and in temperament you represent a tiny minority of readers.

MsMischief Thu 20-Mar-14 00:15:28

To be fair, it was ripped apart on twitter more than a wee bit and the telegraph called it 'perhaps the most ridiculous memorial'. I think claiming it was well received outside of MN is a bit of a stretch. I'm happy to be corrected though, if anyone can tell me who the deliciously vague 'bigger sources' are.

HRHLadyFarquhar Thu 20-Mar-14 00:38:04

Both numerically and in temperament you represent a tiny minority of readers

Madam, please do not presume that silence equates to personal support. I have not commented on this thread before, because I felt uncomfortable with the idea, although I have certainly been reading it since last Friday. But I am not prepared to have my clicks misconstrued as tacit approval or appreciation of your posts.

Badvoc Thu 20-Mar-14 06:28:05

This is actually rather entertaining now....
HRH..I doff my (metaphorical) cap to you smile

Badvoc Thu 20-Mar-14 06:32:19

Is having a column is The Sun newspaper something one brags about nowadays?
Golly!
How time have changed.
Back in my day anyone who wrote for that excuse for a newspaper was automatically assumed to be c list cleb fodder at best...

Ecclefechan Thu 20-Mar-14 06:54:30

Maybe Louise aspires to being a Page Three girl - nothing would surprise me. How anyone can claim to be a feminist and write for The Sun is beyond me but I am a simple soul.

DrankSangriaInThePark Thu 20-Mar-14 07:06:55

" I don't care too much what the tiny fraction of those readers who are bitter enough to post hideous things about the author of a tribute to a very kind, ideological public servant underneath that tribute instead of concentrating on him."

Proofread, Louise, proofread.

Anyway.

We get that you don't care. We get that you are only interested in the clicks, and how many people read you. As you have confirmed.

I wonder if the people who take the time to write you nice things, for there must be some, know that you don't give a flying fuck as long as they have coughed up the £££s for the book?

Because if comments don't matter, that goes for all comments, no?

That you are now lamenting that we are somehow debasing TB's "tribute" by making it about you shows how far into the last chance saloon you have ventured with your "both barrels". (Have you read it, btw, Last Chance Saloon- superior chick lit, you might like it?)

This thread is about you. It was always going to be about you, from the minute HQ approached you.

But that's the way you like it, isn't it?

And fear not, the tiny minority of MNers who want to remember TB are still doing so. Just not on a thread about LM.

Is saying this 'tribute' a bad piece of writing a 'hideous' thing now? Crikey. The ego of the writer is a delicate flower indeed isn't it?

barleywood Thu 20-Mar-14 08:17:04

HRH....spot on. Long term lurker here. I have written and deleted many posts on this thread.

Silence should not be taken as approval, more like a reluctance to fan the flames.

Dreadful decision by MN in response to the death of a huge political figure. The fact that this thread is still going strong shows that it is less about TB than it should have been.

Kudzugirl Thu 20-Mar-14 08:35:18

Mumsnet talk threads soon separate the wheat from the chaff- those who cannot construct a sentence without a sub holding their hand grin.

And again, you seem completely unable to understand that we do not object to a Right Winger Op-ED. it is the fact that Mumsnet chose such a political lightweight mistakenly assuming we cared about your opinion. As said upthread, a tribute from one of the HoC cleaners would have carried more weight. At least they would have met the man.

And a stablemate of Katie Hopkins (Thrush). You must be so proud.

teaandthorazine Thu 20-Mar-14 10:54:39

Well, maybe we misjudged LM after all.

It takes a true political brain to spin hundreds of negative comments into proof that the piece has been well-received by the (strangely silent) majority.

Bravo, Louise.

Viviennemary Thu 20-Mar-14 12:19:06

I'd hard call somebody who was an MP for barely two years a real politician.

Viviennemary Thu 20-Mar-14 12:20:05

'hardly' I wish they'd delete this thread!

gertiegusset Thu 20-Mar-14 12:42:19

Where do you get the two years from Viv?

In 2001, after 51 years as a Labour MP, Benn retired from the Commons “to spend more time on politics”.

Ecclefechan Thu 20-Mar-14 13:19:38

gertie - I think Viv is talking about Louise, not Tony.

TeacakeEater Thu 20-Mar-14 13:37:38

Yes, the spotlight was shifted a while back.

gertiegusset Thu 20-Mar-14 16:12:36

My mistake, apologies.

Ecclefechan Thu 20-Mar-14 20:53:28

Louise, dear, here are some examples of how to pay tribute properly.

TeacakeEater Thu 20-Mar-14 21:06:38

Dare to be a Daniel indeed.

Tony Benn RIP.

Kudzugirl Thu 20-Mar-14 21:11:18

<sob> and unlike you Louise, I have met him.

Ecclefechan Thu 20-Mar-14 21:49:05

"He was barred from entry to the chamber on the instructions of the Speaker because, it was alleged, his blood was blue," said his son.

"His blood was never blue; it was the deepest red throughout his life."

Hilary Benn

It was a fantastic session in the House today. Full of affection and respect and absolutely 100% about Tony Benn from people who knew him and benefited from his kindness and his legacy.

tribpot Thu 20-Mar-14 22:35:24

Some fantastic speeches today. Hilary Benn was of course particularly moving, and seemed only just to be able to hold it together as he finished his speech.

I am very pleased he will spend the night before the funeral in Parliament's chapel. No-one deserves that honour more.

LouiseMensch1 Fri 21-Mar-14 18:12:16

Hillary Benn is a wonderful MP and person. What a touching thing to say. It's an interesting dynamic because Benn the younger took a different path than his father and is one of the most moderate Blairites. This difference of political opinion never ripped their family apart the way it did the Milibands, to their mutual credit.

tribpot Fri 21-Mar-14 18:31:23

I loved the tribute - was Diane Abbott? - who quoted the older Benn as stating "Benns move to the left as they get older" smile Wishful thinking perhaps but touching nonetheless.

Ecclefechan Sat 22-Mar-14 06:33:26

Hilary is only 60, tribpot, he has time to become a less "moderate Blairite" as he ages wink

angeltulips Sat 29-Mar-14 07:01:28

Wow. Just saw this. A 43 year old woman resorting to rolling out her A-levels to rebut an allegation that wasn't actually made by a woman she allegedly doesn't care about? I'm embarrassed for you, Louise <titters>

And, whilst you might not like it, you must understand that many people - of which I am one of them - find anything you have to say on the topic of public service irredeemably tainted by the fact you couldn't be bothered serving just the one term you were elected by your constituents to serve. Bleating on about how you "didn't have a choice" and you "can't say more" doesn't alter the fact that you DID have a choice, you just chose to bin your duty in favour of getting married. Not cool.

Love from a Tory-voting feminist with an Oxbridge first (yes! A first! And I had time to go to gigs too!!) and a healthy appreciation of chick lit.

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