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Friday, 3 May 2013

Daniel Clayton Strikes Back (Sort of)

I wanted to write about the (apparently) successful campaign against plain packaging today, but it will have to wait because something else has happened that needs to be addressed. It is this:

The trouble with most of the people working for tobacco control is that they are short-sighted morons. They never seem to understand the potential consequences of their actions. Worse, their first impulse is to ban and censor things they do not like. And when they do, I get annoyed.

Take Dan Clayton, for instance. He used to work for ASH Wales, but his latest employer is Stop Smoking Wales, an NHS smoking cessation organisation based in Cardiff.  Dan Clayton used to be on Twitter under the handle @savemethecolour, but very recently he deleted his Twitter account for reasons unknown.  He and I had a brief exchange about the substance of his tweets immediately following Margaret Thatcher's death.  I tweeted:


Because Dan Clayton deleted his Twitter account, I do not have his replies available, and unfortunately, Twitter does not always send an e-mail notification for each "mention" one gets on Twitter.  But if memory serves correctly, Dan Clayton responded along the lines of:

"Why are you watching my feed?"

It should be noted that Dan Clayton hated it when (as he considered it) the "pro-smoking lobby" followed him on Twitter. He had blocked just about everybody who attempted to follow him.

And then he replied with (roughly):

"Can't you read? There is nothing offensive in my tweets about Thatcher."

But of course I thought there was.  Thatcher's body wasn't even cold, the news about her death only a few hours old, and it appeared to me that Dan Clayton was gloating over her death on Twitter.  One of his tweets had an image comparing Dracula (as played by Gary Oldman) to a pic of Thatcher. The tweet suggested that Thatcher's death was a bluff, that she was a vampire, or as Clayton had put it: "Nosferatu."  So, I had intended to point out that particular tweet to Dan Clayton, but lo and behold, Mr Clayton had deleted it.  Now why do that if it wasn't offensive, Dan?  Instead, I replied to Clayton with this tweet:


Dan Clayton's next tweet to me was (roughly):

"Good work! Keep up the anonymous trolling. Byeee!"  or something like that.

Funny thing is, my tweet to Clayton about saving his offensive tweet was a bluff.  I hadn't saved anything. I didn't really care enough about it or Dan Clayton to bother saving it (although I regret that decision now as I write this post).  I was merely winding him up on Twitter, as you do.  Because a few weeks earlier I had spotted a tweet from him complaining that his Twitter account had caused him a bit of grief at work. Somebody (it wasn't me), had written to Dan Clayton's boss and complained. If I recall correctly, Dan had to delete some of his "blue tweets" as he put it.  So, it's possible that he deleted the Thatcher tweets to avoid getting in any further trouble at work. I have no idea.

The very next day, Dan Clayton deleted his Twitter account @savemethecolour. I really don't know why. Perhaps his employer forced him to delete the account, or perhaps he's just a coward. Who knows? Maybe the above exchange had something to do with it?  (I should point out here that Clayton's colleague, Laura Rich, on Twitter as @belle_rich, made her Twitter account private following my tweets to her and Clayton. To be fair to Ms Rich, she did reply saying she did not hate Thatcher, and it's possible that I misinterpreted her retweet of George Galloway's "may she burn in the hellfires" tweet about Thatcher as an endorsement.)  Whatever the reason for Clayton's disappearance from Twitter, I do think his absence from social media has been a wonderful thing for humanity.

And that, I thought, was that.  Except I was wrong.

Last night I got a notification from Google's Blogger that my earlier post about Dan Clayton was taken down. It is titled:  "I, Drone (Special Cannabis Edition)."  If you're in the UK, and you try to view the page, then you will see this message:

The blog post, however, remains open to everybody outside of the UK.  And if you are in the UK and would like to see the post in its entirety and uncensored, you can easily do so by following this link:

Alternatively, you can visit the Hell Nanny blog, where it has been re-posted.

I don't know the reason for the takedown, though.  And I may never find out. You might recall that I had another post about Bruce Guthrie taken down in Australia a year ago, and I still don't know the reason for that takedown. Because Google and Blogger fail to inform authors of the reason, instead sending takedown notices to Chilling Effects, who are clearly overwhelmed with work and unable to process takedowns in a timely manner.

I loathe all forms of censorship, and of course censoring things is the prohibitionists' action of choice. A takedown is censorship. So, here's the thing. I hereby freely release the text and HTML of my "I, Drone (Special Cannabis Edition) post into the public domain, to be freely reposted with or without attribution to this blog.  Do what you like with it.  BUT! Some important things to note:  I don't know the reason for the takedown, so you republish at your own risk. It's possible that one of the images I used could be the reason, maybe this one (although, I created that image from a screen cap of this awful fucking video starring Dan Clatyon when he worked for ASH Wales).  Also note that all of the links to Dan Clayton's former Twitter account @savemethecolour will no longer work because he deleted his account. Anyway, the "I, Drone (Special Cannabis Edition) post is now yours.

You know, I really feel bad for the Welsh who stop in at Stop Smoking Wales and have to deal with people like Dan Clayton. I cannot say for certain what it's like for those people, but I imagine it's horrible.  I mean, imagine being face-to-face with him:

The above video is from NHS Wales's Champions4Health YouTube channel.  Rejoice. Your money paid for this shite propaganda.

On the other hand, take some comfort that some people in Cardiff have no love for the Stop Smoking Wales (SSW) team, as evidenced by this tweet from another SSW employee:


For more about Daniel "Dan" Clayton, formerly of ASH Wales, and probably still working for the NHS at Stop Smoking Wales (assuming he hasn't been sacked for his dreadful social media skills), you may also wish to read the following: