Today’s first letter is a reply on Stout Yeoman’s article on the Patrons Club by our correspondent Patrick Dearsley:

Sir,

I write in response to Stout Yeoman’s recent piece on the Patrons Club (see here). I am a patron myself, and was a member of the Special Projects Group.

I find it strange that–even allowing for his obvious frustration–he sounds off so aggressively and leaps to the blackest of conclusions on every count. We should all remember that our party(I assume he is a member?) had a near-death experience in February-March, and I imagine that many plates were being spun simultaneously to keep the show on the road. Sebastian Fairweather, Gerard Batten and Tony McIntyre had, as I understand it, virtually no help in cleaning out the mess in the first weeks. I would imagine the exact structure of the Patrons’ Club was among the least of their immediate concerns.

Stephen Lee has made many good points, and he should be listened to, as he did excellent and selfless work in the SPG on the projects we supported,including putting in substantial sums. Patrons Newco is not, as SY seems to be suggesting, some dark Jesuitical cabal dedicated to grabbing money and taking over the party. It is a group of people, not necessarily all party members, who want to direct money at projects which the party itself cannot finance.

I suggest we should all remember the following:

  • the repair of this party cannot be done overnight
  • the new Club is a work in progress
  • under GB the attention to structure and detail are in a different  class from previous leaders
  • the club in the past was often treated as a spare kitty for some people in the party, and therefore inadvertently contributed to the financial mess
  • the whole point of it is to make it as transparent as possible, and to provide finance at short notice for unexpected/worthy causes such as by-elections, assembly elections, research projects etc.

It is a shame that some commenters seem persuaded that SY has uncovered a devilish plot. If they really believe that, then it is clear that Stephen Lee is right in saying that the Club is not for everyone; in which case, fine, donate the money direct to the party. You will find that many Patrons do just that, as well as their PC £1000.

All that SY is doing at the moment is dividing us unnecessarily, and one has to ask why? He is providing succour to our many enemies in the other parties and the media–and there are plenty of them queueing up now they realise that we aren’t actually dead and buried in the way they’d hoped.

It would be very helpful if we could put the “herding cats” image of the party behind us, and get on with providing effective opposition to the three zombie parties.

Respectfully, Patrick Dearsley

In the second letter Rob Mcwhirter looks at the ‘Copyright Directive’ which the EU Parliament in its wisdom saw fit to pass:

Sir,

This week marked a highly significant event (no, not that trial) – the passing of Article 13 of the EU’s Copyright Directive (down with memes), and Article 11 (the link-tax – albeit watered down) by the European Parliament.

This is, at heart, about the right to produce memes, mash-ups etc., and quote newspaper articles – much as Debbie does, daily.

What is a meme? Very simply, it’s a screenshot or picture, like Willy Wonka and Herman van Rompuy:

 

or Dr. Evil:

 

where people add witty text captions and share online. Private-eye covers are examples of memes, although they pay for the image use. The Internet is full of memes – and meme generators – where you supply an image, and text, then supply or share the results of your handiwork. Often the image is pre-loaded: I had to do no image searching in order to produce the examples here – just think of some hopefully witty wordage, adjust formatting, and then click “generate” once happy. Even the links for posting to social media or webpages are automatically calculated and displayed for copy/paste – it’s really easy, and can be super-effective, especially if lots of people share “going viral” in the jargon.

Mash-ups are where two or more songs and/or videos are spliced together – often with humours intent. Here’s a great example celebrating Donald and Nigel’s bromance.

The EU, in its finest “nanny knows best” mode, intends that online content providers, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, should detect any material that breaches copyright and delete it. Obviously, the big players will have the resources to comply, but everyone else? Nah. And that’s before we even get started on the freedom-of-speech angle.

Article 11 on the other hand, is about quoting from online material. I gather there’s been a concession such that mere hyperlinking won’t be in scope – whoever thought that that was a flyer? – But even so, content aggregators such as Google News will now have to pay for the material they use. What counts as content aggregation? Whatis.com defines it as follows: “A content aggregator is an individual or organization that gathers Web content (and/or sometimes applications) from different online sources for reuse or resale.“ So where would that leave Debbie’s excellent daily news digests? Up the Swannee, probably…

Gerard has made it very clear that UKIP is opposed – see here – and no less a person than Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the Internet, has said it would “turn the Internet into a tool for automated surveillance and control”.

So get protesting, and make your POV known!

I’ll finish with how Orwell might have seen matters: “Loving Big Brother: doubleplusgood; memeing Big Brother: doubleplusUNgood!”

Respectfully, Rob Mcwhirter

 

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