Pinochet – a lightweight democrat…

Paraphrasing the oft’ trotted out phrase of `red under the bed’ used in the vile McCarthy communist witch-trials in 1950’s America, what I’m driving at here is whether we’re being watched?

Now that’s of course what newspapers, websites, documentaries and so forth are there for. If anyone on this site thinks they’re engaged in a private chat – think again. You’re in the public domain. When you place your name against a written opinion you’re almost fully exposed to claims of libel, damages and so on and so on.

In short you’re in Ken’s end of the pool (in terms of litigiousness).

Ken though doesn’t like to do his business in the public eye, well apart from monstrous corporate boxes anyway. Transfer fees are `undisclosed’, speculative targets are rarely discussed. Until they reject us that is, at which point he’s the most outspoken of all with a “we didn’t want him anyway” / “we’re taking our ball home then” type response.

Leeds United’s players are back on twitter – so help us god – and while it provides respite for most insomniacs “Lonners has just walked in wearing orange tracksuit – lol” – ad nauseam… You’d have to admit that communications around the team seem very closely monitored.

So back to the original question, does Ken Bates read The Scratching Shed? Clarkeonenil? The Beaten Generation or The Square Ball?

Well he certainly keeps an eye on all that the Leeds United Supporters Trust does. Observers in the march, a freeze on ticket accounts of the board members. It seems that that other lovable oldie (now sadly departed) General Pinochet has nothing on our Ken in the `information management stakes’

So if he’s prepared to go that far for LUST, to rigorously control Twitter and social media of those in the club, surely he’s not above monitoring what’s on the internet about Leeds United, or indeed himself. So my theory goes – yes – he is reading, and maybe personally – Hi Ken!

In the spirit of this article, no names, no pack drills, but I can think of at least one `contributor’ whose posting content made the sycophantic Peter Lorimer look like some kind of radical anti-Bates-ist. Let’s call them Rigsy shall we? Criticism of Chairman Ken was ridiculous, un-commercial, and worst of all tantamount to not supporting the team. Any posting of any nature got pulled to pieces within minutes.

And that poster was not alone; did Gary Cooper really add a post that his campaign was nonsense?

It seems that someone somewhere is having a cyber-dig at the opponents of the current regime. On a number of other sites posts almost verbatim citing our chairman’s fantastic grasp of numbers are quoted. And perhaps yes some people really do believe that – and good luck to them, we live in a democracy.

Influencing opinion through the media is nothing new, as I’ve said, its largely what the media is about. We’ve all heard about the millions of well-informed Brits who wait for the front page of the Sun on election day to find out who they’re going to vote for – thank you Rupert Murdoch for the Con-Dems.

But one cannot escape its sinister nature. You’d have to say that this website for example is borne out of a general love and respect for Leeds United, a desire for the team to do well, and be a place for open discussion? Right? But if the current ownership at Leeds United decided they didn’t like people having a different opinion to them and started trying to pollute that debate – then you’d have to admit something was then very wrong, both with their motives and with the whole relationship between the club and its fans.

Are we expected to turn up – hand over our money (a lot of money) and shout on our team, but have absolutely no say in who manages the team, who plays for the team, how they play, or how much money that we invest gets spent?

Are those having opinions worthy of such prejudicial action as being forbidden from attending games? Can we then not even post an opinion on a website, without having enormous repercussions, no matter how innocuous that may be?

It smacks of paranoia, insecurity and a hunger to wholly control. In short a manic desire to blot out the opposition. For some, notoriety in the press is a good thing, full stop. But it would seem that’s not enough for our cuddly chairman, being notorious and a figure of debate and fun is not enough, he wants to be feared too.

Note to Ken – You’re running a second division football team, not a South East Asian former colony on the verge of civil war. People tend to have opinions here in most western democracies, you might just want to get on with your job, and let us get on with ours, supporting the team, even in the face of unreasonable provocation – MOT.