Local Blogger Lisa Ansell Makes The Headlines
Local Todmorden blogger and Twitter user Lisa Ansell has made the headlines in an article by Spectator writer Toby Young. In his regular Status Anxiety column he writes;
I’ve finally arrived. No, I’m not talking about being in Who’s Who or going on Desert Island Discs. I’m talking about a stalker.
Okay, ‘stalker’ is a slight exaggeration. The woman Lisa Ansell in question hasn’t actually started going through my bins. She’s more of a cyber-stalker. For the past week or so, she’s sent me a message on Twitter roughly once an hour and, oh boy, are they abusive. I’m a ‘racist’, apparently, not to mention a ‘meeja tart’, a ‘half-rate novelist’ and ‘a joke’. And that’s just the stuff I can repeat in public. The extraordinary thing is, she writes for the Guardian and the New Statesman.
The whole saga started when the Evening Standard ran a story saying that the West London Free School had sent home an African-Caribbean boy because he turned up at school with an inappropriate haircut. He’d had a ‘number one’, which is explicitly forbidden by the school rules, just as it is in hundreds of schools up and down the country. No big deal. He was allowed back the following day and then we broke up for half term. But, somehow, the story ended up in the Standard and, inevitably, it was picked up by the Guardian where it was read by this left-wing loon.
She [Lisa Ansell] immediately fired off a message to me on Twitter: ‘Racist. Downright racist.’ I gently explained that it would have been racist to hold the boy in question to a lower standard because he’s black. As Katharine Birbalsingh pointed out at last year’s Tory party conference, it’s precisely because so many comprehensives don’t have the same expectations of African-Caribbean boys as they do of other children that they have a history of underachievement.
‘Completely and utterly racist,’ she replied. The only reason I could ‘pretend otherwise’ is because I was ‘blinded’ by my own ‘privilege’.
I pointed out that the parents of the boy in question had signed a Home-School Agreement when they accepted our offer in which they consented to obey all the rules, including our Uniform and Appearance Policy, a copy of which was included with the Home-School Agreement.
‘So you don’t want to take responsibility, so place it on parents?’ she replied. ‘Nice.’
At this point I should have stopped engaging. There was clearly no reasoning with her. But she [Lisa Ansell] kept needling me, sending tweet after tweet, accusing the school of insisting that all the pupils had to have ‘white boys’ hair’. In the end, I could contain myself no longer. We hadn’t banned ‘afro’ hair, I said. We weren’t insisting that the black boys straighten their hair or dye it blonde. If they wanted to keep their hair short they were perfectly entitled to have a ‘number two’. It was just ‘number ones’ that weren’t allowed — regardless of whether the boy in question was black or white.
‘I appreciate bluster with confidence convinces those interested in the media version of debate,’ she tweeted. ‘But this is more serious.’ She followed up with more tweets, each one more unpleasant than the last. ‘Go do a PGCE Toby. Learn the difference between being an educator and using taxpayers’ money to fund a vanity project.’ She ended with a flourish: ‘Now which part of academic excellence demands black boys have white boys’ hair?’
After this I decided to ‘block’ her. This is a simple device whereby you can get rid of a pest on Twitter by making it impossible for them to send you messages. Needless to say, it sent her round the bend. She bashed out a diatribe against me on her blog running to several thousand words. She even changed her Twitter biography in my honour. It now reads: ‘It’s not my fault your penis didn’t make you any smarter. Take your ego elsewhere.’
I was then made aware of another person — a vicar’s wife, no less — who’d had a similar experience at the hands of this woman. She’d had the temerity to express a pro-life point of view in an internet forum, whereupon this deranged harpie had embarked on a relentless campaign of cyber-bullying that lasted two-and-a-half years. ‘Does your employer know about your pro-life views?’ she asked in one particularly charming message. ‘If they are as impartial as you say then you are lying to them, and I will ring them up and tell them and if you aren’t I will expose them as employing a person like you.’
She’s still blogging and twittering away like a demon, calling me every name under the sun. I comfort myself that for every expletive she sends my way, that’s one less heading towards a vicar’s wife.
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