WHEN you're in an argument with someone, there are two clear signs that they're losing. The first is when they resort to abuse - and the second is when they have to distort your case to buttress their own.
In their battle to knock down Greenwich Market, Nick Raynsford MP, the Greenwich Society and the forces of development did both those things - and did, indeed, lose. So it's rather encouraging to see them reprising exactly the same tactics over the Greenwich Park Olympics.
In an article for this website last week, Mr Raynsford accused Nogoe, the anti-Olympics group, of "scaremongering" and a "complete misrepresentation of the facts." His evidence? A poster they issued, with a picture of the open area in front of the National Maritime Museum, and beneath it the statement that "this will be a no go area in 2012 for several months."
It is actually Mr Raynsford who is distorting the facts here. As last week's planning application confirms, the area depicted in Nogoe's poster will indeed be closed - for eight months.
Mr Raynsford attacks Nogoe for "continuing to perpetuate the myth that the park would be closed in a BBC report in October this year, when a spokeswoman said it would be 'socially and morally wrong' for the park to be closed, despite knowing that this would not be the case."
The actual BBC report quotes Nogoe's spokeswoman as saying that it would be socially and morally wrong to close the park during the games. And as last week's planning application confirms, it will indeed be closed during the games.
The outline facts of the Park's closure are actually quite uncontested. They have been established everywhere outside the mind of Nick Raynsford for more than a year now. And what the further details published last week show is that, far from "scaremongering," Nogoe have significantly understated the problems the Olympics will cause.
Forty-two thousand vehicle movements in the park, including more than 6,000 lorry movements; five years of works, starting next spring; the park sliced up with fences for most if not all of that time; full restoration of the park only in 2015. And the more I pore through the planning documents, the more horrors emerge - details to follow.
What other distortions have the pro-Games forces been guilty of? Mr Raynsford describes one survey showing an improbable 85% support for the Games as "independent polling." Actually, it was a voodoo poll. It was market research, not done to the standards of a professional opinion pollster. It was carried out for Locog, and it was packed with questions so comically loaded that 85% must in fact have been a very disappointing result.
Locog, in another of last week's ripostes, claimed that "all work related to the Games will be completed by November 2012," other than the acid grass restoration programme by 2015. Not true: the "amenity grassland" across much of the park will be fenced off until spring 2013.
They also say that the extent of tree pruning will be "minimal" and "routine." I think the trees which will suffer a "removal of branches to the main stem" might quarrel with that.
In this debate and others Nick Raynsford, in particular, is in danger of becoming ridiculous. Not long ago, he was quoted as saying that he had "no doubt" that the redevelopment of Greenwich Market would succeed on appeal and would be built. The proposal was in breach of so many council and Government planning policies, and its rejection by councillors was so comprehensive, that it in fact seems rather unlikely to win an appeal, or to be built in its current form.
Economics have also turned against the development. At the same meeting that councillors refused the market redevelopment, centred around a huge new hotel, they approved a large new hotel on Greenwich High Road. They're also currently considering another hotel proposal - the conversion of the upper floors of the Trafalgar pub. So any new hotel in the market now faces even greater challenges to its commercial viability.
Mr Raynsford's instinct for distortion was also on hand over the market, with a claim that opponents had said Turnpin Lane would be destroyed. Nobody had said anything of the sort, of course. In psychoanalysis, this sort of behaviour is known as "Freudian projection" - when you project on to others the faults and flaws you sense in yourself.
Mr Raynsford may be able to inhabit his own private fantasy world for the majority of the parliamentary term. But with no more than six months before he must face his voters, it seems a rather unwise place for him to be at the moment.