Much shenanigans after my recent post about Boris taking the bend out but keeping the bus.  In it I linked to an online, publicly readable, Google searchable site called The Bus Forum.  Naively, since this is publicly readable, I assumed that the people contributing to it might be aware of this and the usual online etiquette that this permits you to link-if-you-attribute, but apparently not – the reaction has been a bit, well, negative:

That takes the biscuit … using this site for political purposes really pisses me off … may have to think about what I post in future … do we know who this ‘Tom’ is? Is he a member of this group … random ****** of the general public. Either way I think it is totally out of order!!!

I would imagine the site is run by Ken cronies (although you never have guessed it from the racist tones of the article)

Imagine if you were of German decent, living in London, reading that article – how would you feel?

I too can’t believe that he directly quoted this forum and linked it to his blog. I’m actually upset by it too. I hope someone finally manages to find this guy and punches him in the face……well, maybe not, just set him back on the right tracks

I think he should be put into the stocks and have all German people throw rotten tomatoes at him

that person is obviously a f888in waste of space

Well, I’ve been around on the net for a good few years and been called names by everyone from mouthbreathing BNP fans on current affairs forums to rabid neocons at Blairwatch to Andrew Gilligan at the Standard, but as far as I’m aware this is the first time someone’s openly contemplated a rearrangement of my face.  I am heartened to read their forum behaviour policy though:

Please think about what you post, you are advised not to post anything that would be incriminating to yourself or your colleagues. Others may mis-interpret what you posted.

or possibly this bit would be relevant:

5. No racism, sexism or upsetting other members, we are a peaceful community, please keep it that way.

So the mods will obviously try and cool things down, won’t they?  Unfortunately, the chap inciting the forum to offer me a knuckle sandwich is ‘john’, who’s one of the three administrators.  Nice.  His profile says he’s all of 22 and from Romford, but sadly his robust up-and-at-’em style doesn’t extend to providing an email address where I could offer some tips on acceptable online behaviour, or even just on chilling out and cooling down a bit.  It’s only a discussion about bus services, not Israel/Palestine.

Having actually applied for forum membership under the name ‘tom’ some months ago but not yet received admin approval (hell, it’s their forum, their rules), I can’t actually defend myself in person, but since we’ve been mentioned on the forum (positively and negatively) several times in recent months it would be a courtesy either to offer me the right of reply or to come over here and join in the debate in the comments.  You know, all civilised like, without the prospect of faces being smashed in or rotten fruit thrown.

This bit did have me tickled, though:

This guy is a complete moron. A total middle aged racist in my eyes.

For your information, ‘john’:

  • Is 35 middle aged these days?
  • I’m half Irish
  • I’m also quarter German (my late grandmother, who was German Jewish, came to the UK in 1938 to get away from the Nazis)
  • I grew up in a part German speaking family – my grandad worked at Bletchley Park during the war, using his German skills; my mother, sister and aunt all have degrees in German and my dad speaks it pretty well too.
  • I regularly visited Germany as a child
  • I spent a summer working in a restaurant in Germany when I was 18
  • I have a degree in engineering with German including a year at a German university.  Not sure whether that makes me a moron, or not.
  • I speak German fairly fluently, enough to get through a copy of Eisenbahn Kurier from time to time
  • As I wrote in the original piece, ‘there’s nothing wrong with buying German buses’.  The point of the piece was to highlight the absurdity of Boris replacing bendy buses with non bendy buses of the same design when the spin on the policy in the campaign was that he was going to bring back the glory of good old British design and sweep these unwanted socialistic foreign menaces off the streets and back to their Scandinavian airports.  The irony is that there was always a nasty xenophobic streak to the Bendy Jihad, along with the anti-disabled stuff, which has echoes in the way that London under Boris is turning in on itself instead of staking its place in the world as leading 21st century international city, which is what I, as a Londoner, want.

Still, in john’s eyes I’m a total middle aged racist and moron.  Should’ve gone to Specsavers, I reckon.

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25 Responses to When Bus Enthusiasts Attack

  1. AdamB says:

    Punching you in the face seems a bit strong. Maybe they could lightly pummel you with their bus timetables instead.

  2. Helen says:

    Yeah, how could you, linking to publically-available information, you fool!

  3. I’ve never seen anyone get a more wrong end of any stick than they seem to have got about you, this site, and indeed the entire concept of the internet. Bizarre.

  4. Tom says:

    To be fair, it’s not all of them and there’s a good range of opinion on the site (which is why it’s been part of my reading for months), but I think the fact that one of the admins is leading the whole thing is shocking – there’s a good deal ‘me too’ in it.

    It’s not like they don’t regularly link to TfL, londonbusroutes and a myriad other internet sources, either, including, well, Boriswatch. Most odd. Being a ‘member of the public’ appears to be tantamount to a crime, too.

  5. Helen says:

    Bloody Hairies.

  6. Mark Lee says:

    My goodness. Just spent a little while reading through that thread there…

    How can people have completely failed to miss the point of the article? I’m not one for protectionist economic policies (vive l’Union Européenne), but I was pretty sure the whole point of your article was not “German buses = bad” but “Boris has set the expectation that he is supporting local and domestic businesses with his bus plans, and he’s not”

    I’m really trying to understand their negative reaction – is it because they either support the job creation of ditching the bendies (which is fair enough viewpoint, really, though personally I don’t think the cost is justifiable), or are excited at new and different buses on our roads? As people with more knowledge of the bus industry than most, I would have thought that they would be supportive of efforts to keep what are highly suitable and efficient vehicles on our roads.

    Could I also suggest a **newsflash** to the members of the forum – public transport is regularly cited as one of the most important concerns of Londoners, so of course it’s a political issue.

  7. Tom says:

    I think that’s the key thing – buses are political in London anyway, because lots of people depend on them and lots of public money goes on them. They’re especially political as a result of Boris becoming Mayor with policies based solely around bus design.

    Given that, it’s rather natural that a London political blog with any pretensions to accuracy might well point people in the direction of genuine experts in the field who make their opinions publicly accessible. They ought to be flattered.

    There aren’t *that* many true Bendy Jihadists on there, to be fair, but the ones that are are as blinkered and rude as usual.

  8. John says:

    I thought it only right for me to respond to the above article.

    Yes, i am 22 and from Romford. The place isn’t something i’m particularly proud of (it’s not the best), but the age is not an indication as to who i am.

    However, there are a number of points that i wish to raise.

    Firstly, the comments you’ve quoted were made by 3 seperate members, of which one was indeed me. That in itself has put a very bad light on a) the furm itself and b) made me to look like the one who has made all those comments. Of course, they do look rather violent and abusive, however i can state that my own comments about the “punching in the face” were indeed meant as a joke, hence the additional “or put him back on the right tracks”

    Secondly, there were a number of facts included in your previous article that you “quoted” from the forum that were wrong. The main one was where you stated that the 38 would not be gaining an increase in frequency. The PVR is increasing from 47 to 72, which will increase the frequency from every 4 minutes to around every 2 minutes, which is a huge increase when you look at the capacity of the double deck vehicles being ordered. For those who don’t know, PVR stands for Peak Vehicle Requirement, which means this is the most the route will need to be operated by. Also, Boris’ TfL haven’t published the price of the contract for the 38 on their own website, which would seem to suggest that maybe they’re ashamed of the cost or are just behind in uploading them.

    Thirdly and finally, your membership is in hand to be sorted by the Head Administrator of the forum. Once this is approved, you’ll be able to join in the debates that occur on the boards. In addition, my email is visible to all members, but i have included it on here for your own need

    Thank You

    John
    Forum Admin

  9. DLA180 says:

    Tom … if you come across as a racist bigot to me in your articles … what do you expect? (not just this the Bengali one as well). The fact that you have been defended by you co-contributors to the site means …. boriswatch.co.uk would appear to be a conspiracy for a fascist run web site? Shame on you Helen and Mr Stop Boris! Prove me I am wrong by retracting your support! Re-read his posts from an impartial point of view .. are they helping your cause?

    Having said that I agree scrapping the Bendi bus is a complete waste of money …. but you need to get better qualified contributors to this site if it is to be taken seriously.

    Mark, with a title “Boris’s New Buses : British Jobs For German Workers?” – does that not appear xenophobic to you?

    Most of the initial responses on the forum were because Ted’s initial article contained references that were factually wrong! Why was he need to mention or separate the location of body builders needed in your article …. the fact the some of the chassis are produced in Surrey was totally over looked – but conveniently not mentioned in Ton’s article!

    If this web site expects to be taken seriously from a political perspective, then I hope my post has caused far more damage than some ill-conceived post by a contributor!

  10. Mathew says:

    This is better than Eastenders

  11. Hamish says:

    ““Boris’s New Buses : British Jobs For German Workers?” – does that not appear xenophobic to you?”

    No, not if you had been reading the previous posts and were aware of the debate surrounding the issue. Boris Johnson has been marketing the ‘return’ of the Routemaster from a nationalist point of view, to point out the buses will be built in Germany is merely mocking the tint of nationalism that surrounds the whole RM debate. It is not remotely racist.

  12. DLA180 says:

    Hamish,

    But the withdrawal of the Bendi Buses and the “Borismaster” are 2 unconnected bus events. If the Borismster ever sees the light of day (which I have my doubts) it is a good bet it will be British built.

    The linking of these 2 events is a mistake made by many, including it would seem contributors and responders to boriswatch.co.uk. You if keep posting articles or comments with glaring false assumptions like this it will only harm whatever reputation this site may or may not have.

    Hamish, good to see another of the followers in denial over such a blatant headline.

    Additionally the Red Arrow routes these ‘German buses’ are for, could not use Borismaster unless it is to also be made available in single deck form – which again makes the article seem all the more laughable.

  13. D-Notice says:

    DLA180

    If you’d read Tom’s previous posts, you’d be know that he’s fully aware of which routes can and can’t be used by double-decker buses.

  14. DLA180 says:

    D-Notice – thank you, if he knew all the facts as you have stated, your post would appear to confirm xenophobia!

    I have only read the articles in question, and from what I have gleaned so far … other articles written by Tom are not something I wish to or care to spend much of my very much valuable time reading!

  15. prj45 says:

    DLA180 : “The linking of these 2 events [debendification/new Routemaster] is a mistake made by many, including it would seem contributors and responders to boriswatch.co.uk”

    I don’t think you could be more wrong about that.

    Many sites such as this have been pointing out for a long time that the two events are NOT linked, despite Boris, his campaign, and his supporting media outlets letting people believe they are.

  16. D-Notice says:

    DLA180

    So in other words you’re going to cherry-pick things which support your pre-determined conclusion.

  17. DLA180 says:

    prj45 – Many thanks for acknowledging the fact … but this seems not to be the case in Toms articles … he quite clearly mentions in his articles/comments both Bendi replacements and the Borismasters programmes as though they were one and the same.

    D-Notice – No I am not cherry picking … my attention was only drawn to this site a few days ago and only read the article my attention was drawn to, plus 1 or 2 others. Having seen the seemingly sheep following attitude of the readers of this site … I intend spending as little time as possible wasting further of my precious time researching historic articles here.

    So if he knew the single deckers could not be used on Red Arrow routes, why did write an article entitled “Boris’s New Buses : British Jobs For German Workers?”, and link it to a quote about the Borismaster?. To create inaccurate political hysteria maybe?

  18. DLA180 says:

    Incidentally I would like to know whether writing articles attacking bus enthusiasts lies within remit of a politicly based web-site that (presumably) wishes to be taken seriously. Who owns the site so I can enquire and possibly complain?
    Maybe they are just jealous because other than this thread, the number of comments suggests readership is way below that of the Bus Forum.
    It is also interesting to see that the contributors Tom, Helen (great comments!), and Mr Stop Boris were very vocal in their comments of support initially, but as seems to be common with most people involved in the political arena in any way, that as soon as awkward questions get asked they seemingly disappear and become very silent.

  19. prj45 says:

    DLA180: “prj45 – Many thanks for acknowledging the fact ”

    Ah right. This is not something I’ve “learned” from you for the first time you know.

    DLA180: “… but this seems not to be the case in Toms articles ”

    Again, for quite a long time now sites like this have been explicit that the two events are not linked despite it being in Boris’ best interests to ensure they are.

    Sadly not something really picked up on by the Livingstone campaign team, had it done so it could’ve embarrased Boris by making him demonstrater (or not) him the cost of phasing out bendies to be replaced with standard double and single decks as well as the cost of new “routemasters” with conductors; (and you say buses have nothing to do with politics?!).

  20. Mark Lee says:

    Reading through these comments, what frustrates me the most is that I think everyone is on the same side here. I think everyone on both this blog and the forum just want to see the best possible bus service for London.

    What I also think both groups of people can also agree on is that meddling with the bus services on the basis of a political agenda, which increases cost and does not improve passenger service, is not desirable. (Personally, I’m of the viewpoint that substituting high capacity vehicles which people can board and alight quickly with ones which people, uh, can’t, thus slowing service, is a poorer service, regardless of PVR).

    Anyone who has ever used the 521 will be well aware that it can’t be replaced with a double-decker vehicle. Similarly, anyone with half a brain would know that bendy routes being re-tendered in 2009 are not going to be operated by a new ‘routemaster-eqsue’ bus for which we haven’t even seen a prototype.

    But it hasn’t stopped areas of the popular press from constantly linking the removal of bendy buses with a nationalistic Routemaster. For example:

    “Boris: Scrap Bendy Bus and Bring Back Routemaster”
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23411747-details/Boris%3A+Scrap+bendy+bus+and+bring+back+Routemaster/article.do

    “Beginning of the End for Bendy Bus” – title of article about the Routemaster
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23605115-details/Beginning+of+the+end+for+bendy+bus/article.do

    “As the Mayor, Boris Johnson, prepares to unveil the results of the competition, it has emerged that TfL will order up to 800 of the open-platform new Routemasters, almost double the expected number. They will serve all central London’s busiest routes, not just bendy routes.”
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23577416-details/Routemaster+will+soon+be+back+on+our+streets/article.do

    Boris has largely given the impression that the new Routemaster, the new symbol of Britain, will be British-built.

    I have no issue with this, but similarly I would have no issue with the bus being built abroad. Personally, I would want any buses on our streets to be built at the best cost by the best firm, regardless of national background.

    The whole point of the original article (well, at least my interpretation of it) was to highlight the flaws between the stories pushed by the media (“Bendies will be replaced by Routemasters” and “Routemasters will be built in Britain”) with the reality which is that the new Routemaster isn’t built yet, if ever it does get built, it wouldn’t be able to serve on the 521 (no idea about the 507, never taken it), so instead it will have to be another vehicle, and, isn’t it awfully ironic that for all of Boris’s nationalistic BJ4BW (british jobs for british workers) posturing, he’s actually failing to deliver.

    Can we please all just kiss and make up?

  21. DLA180 says:

    prj45

    I was not in anyway trying to imply that this was the first time you knew these 2 initiatives were not connected … but the original article in question seems to very much to suggest they are. So if the site has been aware of it “for quite a long time now” a consistent approach would avoid any confusions/ misunderstanding on the part of the casual reader. I suppose like any politician, when it is to your advantage to want to make it appear as though events are linked you will, when it is not you will make sure it is emphasised they are completely separate.

    PS – I am not aware I have ever said “buses have nothing to do with politics” or any other form of transport for that matter of fact – could that be why we have a Department of Transport, Transport for London etc. … hhhmmm … I wonder! Now I have said “the Forum has nothing to do with politics”, and do not appreciate it being blatantly plagiarized by people/person trying to score a cheap political point … especially when the supporting text is far from 100% accurate.

  22. John says:

    DLA180, right again. It’s one of the points i made out in my own reply, in which Tom incorrectly quoted posts from the forum station they were my own, in which they weren’t. They were in fact the voices of at least 3 different people on that one thread.

    It is a basic and fundamental rule that we’re taught at University, which i’m sure Tom would’ve known seeing as he himself as a degree in Engineering!! You must reference your quotes CORRECTLY, which in this case he blatantly hasn’t! It’s something that we try and emphasise on our own forum, otherwise rumours can spread and cause problems. It’s as simple as that really.

    I’m also rather dissapointed that Tom himself hasn’t seen it fit to respond to any of our comments regarding the article itself, yet has managed to “promote” the sheep following herd that regularly visits this site and praises his articles.

  23. Mark Lee says:

    Tom – any chance you could publish my comment (#20)? It’s stuck in a moderation queue as it has URLs in it. (Have I ever said how annoying I find that?)

  24. Tom says:

    Sorry, Mark – approved now. As for the rest, I’ll get round to answering tonight, today’s been a Gilligan fest with added mounds of documentation to write for work, and I want to give this my full attention.

  25. DLA180 says:

    Mark Lee. Re post 20. A well thought out, and reasonably balanced reply, restores a little of my faith in humanity. Not saying I agree 100% with all the content though, but thank you.

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