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February 14, 2011


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John Kirriemuir

It is a bizarre website, partially because it isn't funny, and partially because of its obsessiveness. Gives me a bit of the creeps actually; if Mr Coates was female, then this would clearly be stalker-ish behavior of the actionable kind.

The most annoying thing is that it draws more attention to a battle that is not the real battle. Time is a limited, human resource in this war, and the real battles are being fought elsewhere.


Did I read somewhere that Coates has implied you and the writer of that site are the same person? Perhaps I've read too much of your actual stuff, but I can tell at 50 paces that you are not the author of that drivel (even if I didn't know you well enough to know you wouldn't be anyway, if you know what I mean...).

I agree with John. Anything - ANYTHING - that gives Coates something to focus on other than the debate in hand is a bad thing, even more so if it is a stick with which Coates can (quite legitimately) beat the library community with.


Believe it or not, we understand your concerns, especially as a commenter on our site did suggest that you were us. Happy to tell the world you aren't.
We believe we operate in a long and honourable tradition of lampooning the pompous. We do this because we believe that Tim's attacks on librarians, wittingly or not, are part of the attack on the public library service. We maintain anonymity because he has a reputation, deserved or not, for making legal threats against people who express even the mildest disagreement with him, and because, as I hope your organisation is aware, local government staff who speak out against cuts are gagged and threatened with the sack.
We said to you that we will stop when he stops. If you can extract from him a binding commitment to fight for librarians and libraries, rather than attack them, we will gladly remove the whole blog.

Gareth Osler

I always for some odd reason assumed it was probably one of the librarians Coates had plucked out of his backoffice job and put back on the front line.

Coates is a bully, but in this day and age there is I believe only one case in which society bullies back (and coateswatch may yet be on the receiving end of it - recently a few items he has posted have proved untrue). coateswatch should not have bullied back. As a matter of fact he could probably have done Coates more harm by pointing out he was bullying than the BNP hate campaign tactics he seems to have adopted (one thing the Police do pick up on very quickly nowadays is hate crime).

I'm not at this point sure what coateswatch' motives are - I note coateswatch who normally religiously reports every post of Coates missed the one that mentioned two solicitors who it transpires are actually doing pro bono work for library campaigners. I tried to draw coateswatch on some actual issues - but he came back to me and said it would be beyond his "terms of reference" to enter into discussion, which is a bit unnerving - has someone put a 'BNP' like contract out on Coates.

If coateswatch and Coates walked into my library coateswatch would be given a lecture on the library serving the whole community and as such he was causing operational difficulties (probably causing some discomfort for parents with young children as well etc.). Coates needs countering with rhetoric, he will take note of that, in his position he can't afford to have even a satisfactory argument that reveals he has not acted in accordance with the responsibility he has had in the past and currently has. Argument is what is needed, this would quite simply state to people clearly and concisely why they should not support his policies - but it is hard enough to think clearly in the stressful days we live in to do the necessary thinking - and coateswatch is dragging us backwards in this respect even more, making it even more difficult to do the thinking that needs to be done.

If you take a football stadium full of people, every single one of those people will have different values. We sort out our differences without resorting to 'BNP' tactics (together we prosper), and librarians, being professionals, have a responsibility to individuals and to their values and to the society we live in.

Phil Bradley

Thewikiman - the problem here of course is that it's impossible to prove a negative. If I said that I wasn't behind the account that clearly opens me to the charge of 'well, he would say that wouldn't he' and if I don't say anything, that also opens me to criticism.

Having considered the matter, I certainly don't wish anyone to think that I'm behind the account, and the best way that I can think to demonstrate that is to suggest that people simply do not follow the Twitter account, read the tweets or the blog. As well, of course, of saying how much I deplore the tactics used. Not sure that there's much else that I can do.

Gareth Osler

One additional commnent - coateswatch could be political - he tweeted that he was doing it because Coates had sided with the Lib/Cons - maybe coateswatch is not a librarian. I was at a presentation given by Coates a number of years ago when he first started to make himself known outside of his own library authority - and there was a heckler in the audience who was not a librarian but seemed political also. Either way coateswatch will be associated with Coates' adversaries - librarians.

And at which that point I've had enough of coateswatch and do not propose to follow his goings on any further!

John Kirriemuir

Bored. Going to look at VftL which has useful content on it instead:


Tim Coates

What a bunch of bananas you all are. John Kirriemuir, I don't deserve your acid- I have been nothing but honest and straightforward when we worked together. Gareth- you have a nerve to ask for figures on my blog in one breath and then to come on here and call me a 'bully', and as for Colonel Sibthorp... well what can one say. You are just all very sad, when we are losing libraries, because of the rank failure of senior experienced managers, that you guys ought to be. Whingers,all.

Gareth Osler

OK, an apology due to Tim Coates - as I've explained to Perkins in a backchannel I'm a fully paid up member of the anti-bullying lobby (since the early 90s) - it's an issue I'm likely to blurt out on without thinking, and in this case I think it is fair to say my professional etiquette suffered.

John Kirriemuir

Tim - you're attacking me because I'm attacking coateswatch?! Okay. Whatever.

Avoiding this ultimately pointless descent into madness and back to doing something useful.

Gareth Osler

Would anybody like a (fairtrade, organic) banana? ;)

Coates Watch

We've commented at greater length here: http://coateswatch.blogspot.com/2011/02/i-am-not-spartacus.html

Brad Fallon

That would be an interesting thing to do Phil, someone should do something about these unknown followers.

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