Chris Wills, a Labour Councillor in Manchester Withington, has launched a scathing Facebook smear attack on this newspaper and Ken Livingstone’s right to freedom of speech.
It seems the main focus of Mr Wills is that I post accurate information that he doesn’t want me to publish, particularly about Manchester Gorton, and follows this newspaper’s entire raison d’etre of being a non partisan social comment platform publishing articles from our contributors.
To provide a bit of context for those who don’t know much about me or about WriteYou, I have a long history in the Labour Party. I was Chair of Manchester Labour Students, North West Young Labour, Manchester Withington Constituency Secretary, Manchester Agent for the 2009 European Elections and organiser in Lancashire, Manchester Withington Campaign Organiser in 2010, worked for Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign and then as Campaigns Officer in his private office, was Head of Digital for the 2012 London Mayoral Election and then set up the UKs biggest left wing political consultancy that worked with over 20 unions and 200 elected representatives globally including Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. I have deep links to all different parts of the Labour movement.
I then decided last year to launch WriteYou, an idea I’ve had for many years. I’m passionate about Internet media and knowledge and opinion. There’s nowhere on the Internet that provides a place for discussion formed by people who are experts in their fields to write what they like. So I created it.
The concept of WriteYou is as a non-partisan social comment site. Our newspaper is formed of articles by our approved contributors and users. As we get more investment we plan to add more features such as a daily app newspaper. Our contributors include Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson, Alex Salmond, Tim Farron, Caroline Lucas, Andrea Leadsom, Neil Kinnock and over 500 others including business leaders, restaurant owners, brewers and many more.
This is what makes the attacks of Mr Wills so absurd and why I feel it necessary to call it out.
1. What I write in my own posts isn’t gossip. To say otherwise is a targeted smear aimed at discrediting our content. It’s well sourced information that I have triple checked to meet a high threshold before publishing from very high level sources that often include members of the Shadow Cabinet. For example most of what I wrote about Gorton and Manchester has proven to be correct. Examples here and here. The Manchester Evening News, Huffington Post and other outlets have referenced my work.
Mr Wills might not like what I write but it doesn’t make it gossip. I have much deeper relationships than many journalists for this reason. I also have strong connections in Manchester. This means I can write very detailed articles.
2. He attacks me for publishing articles from Ken Livingstone saying that I shouldn’t do this. This fundamentally is against the entire reason I set up the site. It’s worth pointing out to Mr Wills that I ran articles by Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson that attacked Ken. If Mr Wills doesn’t agree with Ken he’s welcome to write an article for the site or comment saying so. The moment I reject someone from the site for any reason other than our stated policy available on our site, it then affects our credibility.
The ward Mr Wills represents, Withington Ward, is extremely socially liberal. Many of his constituents certainly wouldn't agree with his position on no platforming Ken Livingstone.
3. He calls for people not to share my articles but I don’t see him doing this to the Manchester Evening News and Huffington Post that ran exactly the same information as me.
Anyone is welcome to discuss their concerns with me about my writing and the website. I welcome it. My contact information is publicly available. Lobbing smears at me without talking to me first though isn’t on and I will use this website to call out attacks I feel are unfair.
In this spirit, as with all my articles, I have contacted Mr Wills for a comment. He didn’t reply.