The Conservative mayor of Barnet Council in London sent an abusive reply to a Labour party-supporting blogger who included him in an email criticising the council’s leadership.
Brian Coleman responded by calling blogger Roger Tichborne “an obsessive, poisonous individual”.
“You are an obsessive, poisonous individual and Labour Party member whose blog is full of lies, half-truths and misinformation.
“Do not email me agin.”
Brian Coleman, who last year ran up an £8,000 taxi cab bill and has refused to publish his expenses, said that Tichborne’s blog was “abusive and provocative” and had once described him as being “addicted to cash and hospitality”.
An independent lawyer told a court hearing that Coleman had breached the code of conduct for councillors, in that he did not treat a member of the public with respect.
“Even if his previous blogs had contained sustained abuse and lies, this would not justify this response.”
Mr Tichborne told the BBC that Coleman should have been able to address any criticism in a civil manner.
“You can tell someone you think they’re an idiot, you think they’re a liar. You can do all that without insulting someone,” he said.
It must be tough being a public figure under fire from both traditional and public-generated media, but the fact is that you should be held to account for your professional life.
By hitting back at a blogger, a story which may have stayed hyperlocal has now made the front page of the BBC London web site, and has likely done Mr Tichborne a lot of good.
More power to the bloggers!