Friday, March 24, 2006

The Darbyshires - a note of regret

I read the recent stream of vitriol from Leah Darbyshire with some regret, as I never really got to know her when Robin worked for Southwark (not that I had much opportunity to talk to Robin either).

And so, what do I think? My first impression on meeting the two of them was, I admit, to ask the question, "porn star or rock star?". Neither of them fit the image of "Liberal Democrat activist", although I'm not sure how that is a bad thing. The blog could, from the perspective of an outsider, have read as a spoof and Leah's literary style does tend to encourage satirism (sorry, Leah, but it does, honest...). I don't think that many are comfortable with the sort of "we're so much in love" stuff - it tends to go against the grain of slightly repressed Englishmen/women in any event.

Having said that, had she carried on like that, the whole affair might have faded away. The problem was Leah's tendancy to verbally assault people who, she assumed (sometimes incorrectly), were attacking her. It rather gave the impression of paranoia but did indeed attract an audience (admittedly including a number of people who enjoy the sight of a metaphorical car crash). Once again, I apologise if this sounds harsh, but some of the attacks come across as rather small-minded, vicious and ill-directed.

Perhaps, in a few years time, Leah might look back at some of these entries, and a glimmer of self-doubt rear its head. In the meantime, I'll stand on the foreshore, wishing the good ship Darbyshires a safe voyage...


Jeremy Sanders said...

Hi Mark

I must admit I've only recently come across "Darbyshire" blog. I wondered if you knew them, coming from around that area.

I agree "regret" is probably the best word to use. I don't like people to be attacked unfairly (and there certainly was an element of that), but the whole thing came across as terribly A) self righteous and B) self important, and sometimes just completely losing touch with reality. Do they not realise that "spoof" does not mean the same thing as "libellous attack, every word of which is meant to be true"? Equally, what exactly is their problem with the (rather polite, and even quite positive)article about them in New Statesman? Apparantly this includes such dreadful libels as "We are not ‘newlyweds’. We have been married over a year (15 months)", and "My husband is 26 not 27".

On the other hand, they seem quite happy to come out with comments about Lib Dem members such as "The men are overwhelmingly pervy when they aren't gay (actually even some of the gay ones are pervy come to think of it....)", and "the women (not all but certainly most) wouldn't know a bikini wax, deodorant or a nasal hair clipper if it hit them in the face (it's gross, trust me!) which is probably because I hear most of them are gay too." Anywhere else I'd have assumed that bizarre rant was meant to be a joke!

Sorry, they can't have it both ways.

Andy said...

> Sorry, they can't have it both ways.

The already made it pretty clear that wasn't what they were into when the posted about Simon Hughes...

The Good Ship Darbyshire is, I fear, holed below the waterline. And not before time.

Jo said...

Unfortunately Leah failed to get her facts straight from the start and launched a totally unprovoked and vicious attack on an innocent party who was unconnected with the comments on their blog or the spoof blog.

Protesting how lovely and nice she is doesn't wash when you read the vitriol she comes out with.

She is clearly deeply unhappy with herself and her life.

Anonymous said...

Can someone who actually know them (Mark?) just ask them please to stop? This really is doing no-one any good.