Archive for May, 2015

How quickly love can turn to hate. Less than three years ago, bestselling Hodder & Stoughton author and “eBook superstar” Stephen Leather was admiringly telling me “you’ve a lot going for you … you could be selling tens of thousands a month”, and now … well, we all know where we are. In addition to bragging foolishly on stage about using sock puppet accounts to promote his books, Mr Leather has been revealed as a bully and a creepy stalker, and oooh, he has not liked being called out on it. There are numerous accounts detailing his behaviour. Here’s one, by Nick Cohen, which also includes the Press Complaints Commission’s outright rejection of the objections Mr Leather raised to a previous article.

I actually had no intention of blogging about Mr Leather again – it’s very boring; he’s very boring – but circumstances compel me slightly, as we shall see at the end. In the comments below that two year old Nick Cohen article, I noticed he had recently replied to an ancient comment of mine. Here are both:


Which is interesting on a few levels. If anybody’s interested, the interview where Leather talks about the Thai bar girls he was meeting not being as pretty anymore, it’s here; it quite clearly makes no sense for him to be referring to my mother in the reply he made, although I’m genuinely not sure why he would consider that any better. I’ll just note that he accepts his own ‘Tick tock’ comment is a direct reference to me, or at least some member of my family.

Most bizarre of all, of course, is the time lag, which I was surprised enough by to mention it on Twitter:


Well. He did not like this.


This may be entirely coincidental, of course; he may not be meaning it in connection to me and my tweet. But it does tie in with the content of comment on the Cohen piece, and it’s difficult to imagine who else he might be replying to.

It’s an interesting approach, incidentally. One of the things that narcissists find difficult to do is to avoid personal projection in their attacks on others. In terms of the overall argument, what has been in dispute is Leather’s personal and professional behaviour. His sales, looks, writing talent and the number and quality of his sexual partnerships have never had any bearing on the matter. But it is reasonably clear from his attacks on myself and others that he cares very deeply about these things. A psychologist I am not. But: he is vain and insecure about his looks; he worries about his status, particularly with regard to other men; he views women as objects and trophies; he derives self-esteem from external and often random means of validation rather than any sense of inner confidence. And because the comments he makes would hurt him, he assumes they will hurt others. Even after numerous failed attempts, he remains unable to understand that I am completely oblivious to these lines of attack. He simply can’t comprehend it.


Because I directly name and link to people, I am somehow passive aggressive. And because he subtweets snide little asides without mentioning names, he is not. Which is obviously nonsense – it’s the opposite of the truth – and again, it’s likely projection. He associates passive aggression, correctly, with cowardice, and so is unable to accept he is guilty of it, whereas I very clearly am not. I have never written anything I would not say to his face. He barely dares to write my name.

Anyway. He did not like this. Read from the bottom up.


To which I responded:


As you can probably guess, he did not like this.


That’s a link to a website for acne cream … oh, please don’t look at me with those eyes – I’ll survive. But it ties back to his initial comment below Nick Cohen’s article. Despite still being too afraid to mention me by name, it is perfectly clear that he is directing these tweets at me. Which makes the follow up, a few hours later, all the more disturbing:


From the chronology above, and the correlation of the “you” in his various tweets with the comment on the Cohen piece (amongst others), and the direct reference to “Tick tock” (which he has admitted is a specific response to me, and which he may well be regretting placing on the end of that tweet), his tweet is clearly directed at me. It very likely falls foul of Section 16 of the Offences Against the Person Act:

“A person who without lawful excuse makes to another a threat, intending that that other would fear it would be carried out, to kill that other or a third person shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.”

While I highly doubt that Mr Leather is physically capable of carrying out such a threat in person, Steve Roach made reference to Mr Leather’s powerful friends, and Mr Leather is certainly both a very strange and a very wealthy man, and apparently very proud of both things. So yes, I absolutely believe he intends me to “fear it would be carried out”. For what other reason would he say it? And so I shall be considering my legal options with care. In the meantime, I’m still not so much of a coward as to avoid naming Mr Leather and calling him out for what he is.

the 2015 election

Posted by on May 8th, 2015


So. A small handful of pros:

1) Seeing Farage and Galloway’s faces as they lost. The former is more important, of course, but the latter was probably more amusing, as Galloway is so pompous and serious, in addition to being an awful human being. There was some small joy in seeing him smashed into insignificance by the woman he’d smeared during the campaign. I don’t think Bradford is going to miss him.

2) With a slightly heavy heart, the evisceration of the LibDems. They conjured such goodwill in the run up to the 2010 elections as a genuine alternative. They then basically threw all that away to sit for five years beside the throne, enabling the Tories in so, so much. Whatever their alleged mediating effect, it simply wasn’t enough for me, and I find it impossible to forgive them for that. I’m glad that the oh-too-predictable outcome has come to pass, albeit sad for the many party members whose desires may not have been reflected by the actions of the leadership. They’ve been wiped out as a credible political force for a generation. They asked for it, and they deserve it. I hope the last five years have been worth it for Clegg, because anyone with the slightest amount of sense could have seen this coming.


Well, pretty much everything else, from a personal perspective. There’s little more to say than that.

I know I have friends who will be pleased with the result to some degree, and look: there’s no denying the Tories won, and that Labour fumbled the ball in umpteen ways. They were unfocused, and they let the Tories dictate the narrative without ever successfully challenging it. Even given the fact that Ed Miliband comes across as a decent man, and the weight of the media was often against him in ridiculous ways – who doesn’t look stupid for at least one second while eating a sandwich? – it’s clear Labour lacked a coherent overall picture to present that differed enough from the Tories’ to reach voters.

Trying to look on the bright side, for my own views, the Tory majority is relatively slim, and perhaps this will give Labour the chance to reinvent itself that I think it desperately needs. But to be honest, for the moment, that bright side is fairly hard to find. Gah. Today, the rain outside feels entirely appropriate.