Cllr David Patrick, or “Sour Grapes” Patrick as I may now have to call him, has really gotten himself in a rage over comments on Facebook recently. It all started with the obligatory Wisbech Standard article published on command. This is the specific comment which has caused the Taxi Warrior to become so furious:
Its a pack of lies, but when you never ever do anything other than promote your business interests I suppose thats not surprising. Dave patrick approached me a few weeks ago and asked me to stop pointing out his bull on social media. I agreed to take it easy on him if he’d stop spinning yarns. Well Dave, the gloves are off.
He decided that this comment was the straw that broke the camel’s back and came back with the following:
I shall make this one comment and one comment only with regards Steve Tierneys calling it all a pack of lies I am sure he has made all the enquiries to quantify this. I doubt it very mugh but then if he speaks to the town clerk and the Roddons officer. With regards promoting my business interests I do that in my own name and not through the media. So rather than just call me a liar regarding the letter I wrote qualify your statement as to how I am a liar. Gloves off ? You have never been any better than a boxing booth fighter always trying to hit below the belt when under pressure. It seems as though should you wish to criticise we cannot reply but what ever others outside your group do or so is met with by sordid response by you and your cohorts. Freedom of speech only seems to suit what you say and not others. With regards some of your comments I do not rate people who make things PERSONAL and outside of politics you remind me of a playground bully.
And then I said:
You can say what you like, mate David Patrick but I suggest you read what I wrote before you get your knickers in a twist. Happy to write an extensive blog post pulling apart your claims about Rob McLaren if you want me to? Alternatively, you can always try another Standard’s Board Complaint based on fanciful inventions, if you like? I’d have thought you might be a bit busy with your crusade against FACT though? What is it they do, again? Ferry people around? Merry Christmas indeed.
Now I know what you are thinking, dear reader. It sounds like a lot of silly squabbling. And yes, you’d be right. Except that dug into these comments are some claims that really have to be refuted, or else they stand forever as though they are true. So if you can’t bear these long squabbly posts then I recommend nipping off for a cuppa and coming back when it’s all over. Otherwise, since Dave has asked me to ‘quantify’ my comments, I shall proceed to honour his request.
First, some clarifications. You will notice that in his Facebook comment, Taxi Dave that I called something “ALL a pack of lies*.” This is spin. What happens is that in order to make something fit their desired rhetoric the spinner slips in a word or two that change the emphasis of the statement. It’s subtle and you’ve got to look for it carefully, but it’s a common tactic. In this instance the word Dave has slipped in is “ALL.” In fact, I didn’t say “It is ALL a pack of lies.” That is a small but substantial difference because it suggests that there are a number of deceptions, but not that everything is a deception. This is because when somebody is crafting a piece of spin for the newspaper they always mix in some facts in the way a drug dealer might disguise their white powder with flour to deceive the forces of law and order.
So let’s have a look at the claims Dave Patrick made in the newspaper:
1. It was Paul Clapp, UKIP county councillor, who stood beside him gathering signatures for the Walsoken crossing petition. No Tory councillors supported it, In fact they spoke against the petition.
This is true, but it’s also only half of the truth, if you care about the whole picture. Paul Clapp did indeed stand beside Rob McLaren just long enough to get some signatures and a picture in the newspaper. Funny that. However, he did not stand beside him at the key moment – when it came to preparing an LHI bid and submitting it in order that it might actually have some chance of being enacted. Dave Patrick is also being creative with his phrasing when he says that “Tory Councillors” “spoke against” the petition. Because we did not speak against the actual idea, as he well knows. What we criticised was the way it had been gone about. Because we knew full well the only way it was going to be possible was by an LHI bid. Which is a fairly simply task. You prepare the bid and submit it. We offered to help them do so. We also know that since those bids are run by County Council, Paul Clapp, a County Councillor, should also have known all this and been able to advise on it. Instead, Paul Clapp appears to have led Rob McLaren about it in the longest and most publicity-seeking way possible, then deserted him when it came to actually preparing the bid and presenting it. Instead, the UKIP Councillors who showed up supported an alternative bid, the 20 MPH Zone one favoured by the Bucknors. Curious, huh?
2. I fully supported the zebra crossing petition and drove Robert to Cambs County Council in order for him to present it.
I propose that this is untrue. The reason it is untrue is because of Cllr Patrick’s use of the word “fully.” Sure, he paid lip service to Rob’s plans when it came to driving to County Council to present the bid. But that was a trip that never needed to happen and it achieved the sum total of the Committee there saying: “Go back to Town Council and submit an LHI bid” (or words to that effect) which is precisely what I had been suggesting all along. However, if you want to claim that you have “fully” supported something, then I propose that you need to have supported it as much as you feasibly could. That’s what “fully” means. In this instance, Dave Patrick admits he went to County Council to present the petition, so he must therefore have known that their advice was to put in an LHI bid. Had he “fully” supported the bid then he would have helped Rob put the bid in, or put it in himself, or at the very least not tried to push the 20 MPH bid ahead of it.
3. All the Independent councillors fully supported the Walsoken zebra crossing bid at town council and could not understand why Robert allowed the Conservatives to present rather than himself. The Independents even encouraged this councillor to take the credit we felt he duly deserved.
The first part of this is untrue for the same reason as (2) above, the use of the word “fully” – and for all the same reasons. However, I had to laugh at the later claim that they “could not understand why Robert allowed the Conservatives to present rather than himself.” When they arrived at that meeting and Rob McLaren was sitting beside them, they knew that the Walsoken Crossing had not been submitted as a bid. I suggest that this was because they wanted their preferred 20 MPH Zone to be this year’s bid and that they threw Rob McLaren’s idea under the traffic in favour of it, but that’s just my personal view. Nevertheless, since they knew there was no bid coming from Rob McLaren how “surprised” could they have been that he didn’t present it? Not very. The surprise, if there was one, was that the Conservatives had actually bothered to prepare a bid that they had been big in promoting, but utterly failed to actually present.
4. Unfortunately Robert walked out of our regular Walsoken surgery rather than engage with residents, the Roddons staff and the Fenland District Council officer because he did not agree with the way the meeting was being conducted. Many of the problems raised at that meeting have been resolved including the Fenland road potholes.
He “walked out” did he? “Rather than engage with residents?” If you’re going to make an accusation like that then you need to provide some evidence. If what you actually mean is that he left, because he thought you were running a sham surgery rather than actually dealing with issues, then that’s not the same as “walking out” is it? Walking out, in the way you phrased it, carries the connotation of a fit of pique, particularly when paired with your further qualifications. Would it be fairer to you both to say that you: “had a disagreement on the best way to help residents?” I suspect it would. One of your wanted to help them by getting in the newspaper a lot, whereas the other wanted to actually – you know – do stuff? You tell me, I don’t know.
5. I continue to hold surgeries for residents with Roddons/Circle Anglia and Fenland Council officers. Robert fails to attend.
Well we know that Robert McLaren has attended surgeries previously, because Dave Patrick says so earlier in the article. The blank statement “Robert fails to attend” could mean many things. It could mean that Robert could not attend a date because of a family issue – in just the same way Dave Patrick has not always made meetings this year. It could mean that Rob McLaren could not attend because of a diary clash. Or it could just mean that Rob McLaren thinks some “surgeries” might be a waste of time because some other Councillor spends all his waking hours trying to do battle with a charity bus service that might trim a little bit off of his own profit margin. I don’t know. What I do know is that the statement is vague and potentially misleading. It says “Robert fails to attend” – but only moments before Cllr Patrick had referred to “their regular surgeries” suggesting that on many occasions Rob McLaren had certainly attended. Otherwise, why use the word “their” and not “my?”
6. Robert refused to support a 20mph speed limit in residential areas, yet he put up posters on bollards in Walsoken telling people to slow down.
Um, no. Robert McLaren stood right alongside the Independents trying to push their 20MPH Zone. I was there. Alright, he didn’t claim to have “extensively canvassed his residents” in the way that both Patrick and the Bucknors did. Probably because Rob had not extensively canvassed his residents and so didn’t want to tell lies about it. Rob was a little more open to listening to the debate about it that they were – probably because he hadn’t decided exactly what the outcome would be in advance. But Rob McLaren did support their bid – right up until the moment that it came into conflict with the Walsoken Crossing that he had petitioned for, presented to County Council, been in the newspapers with and promised to his constituents. At that point, unlike some, Rob McLaren was unable to do something sneaky for political gain and just voted for the Walsoken crossing. It was an unpleasant situation for him, but it was not one of his own making. I propose, dear reader, that he had been royally stitched up. But that’s for you to decide.
Earlier in the year when this was all going on I blogged about it extensively. I was a harsh critic of Rob McLaren because I thought he was going about things the wrong way. But it was clear that what was really going on was that Rob McLaren was being used, like a pawn in a bitter game of chess. He trusted people, because that’s in his nature, he is a good guy. But once he realised what was going on he had enough of it. And who can blame him?
Now, a few other remarks from the article which need a response:
With regard to Jasmine Park and the need for play equipment, I have had numerous meetings with the Fenland Council leader as well as the cabinet member with responsibility for open spaces and parks, and I continue to push for this funding for my ward.
Here’s an idea, Dave. Instead of “pushing for” funding (whatever that means) how about doing some actual fundraising? How about setting up a community group to champion the idea. You could help them put bids to organisations that give grants. How about that?
Although it can be frustrating, things do not happen overnight and no political party has a magic wand to wave that will grant you all your wishes.
I like this one. I’m going to save it and quote it back to him the next time he or his allies demands a “quick fix” from the Magic Money Tree.
With regards Robert’s Christmas decoration competition in our ward – apart from cheap publicity – what will this actually achieve for the people of Walsoken?
What a mean thing to say. And particularly galling coming from one of the masters of “cheap publicity.” But let me answer the question. It might make them feel a bit more festive. It might brighten their mood. It might encourage one or two to put up some more lights, also making people feel more festive and brighten to mood. It might foster more community spirit. It might remind people that they actually have a local Councillor who is interested in something other than Taxis. Who knows? But the entirety of Rob’s “cheap publicity” was a couple of messages on Facebook. Which is a lot less exposure than Dave Patrick’s sour grapes rant in the Wisbech Standard, isn’t it? Make of that what you will.
With regards the “Conservatives get things done” comment – the very state of our town suggests otherwise.
Why does it? The “state of the town” (notice, Patrick doesn’t clarify what he means by that) is what precisely? Whatever it is he is referring to I bet you that the Conservatives have been working to improve it – but that’s impossible to say since he leaves his statement open and vague. Either way, Dave, although it can be frustrating, things do not happen overnight and no political party has a magic wand to wave that will grant you all your wishes. Hmmm?
The town’s Christmas lights, whilst great for the few days they are there, were paid for by our residents’ council tax rather than a lights appeal carried out over the year – which was agreed at town council but not undertaken by the Tory councillor who said he would do it.
I presume Dave is referring to me. I have done exactly what I said I would do, so this is a lie. Unless he is not referring to me, in which case he should clarify which “Tory Councillor” has not done what they said they would do. As Dave knows full well, we have never said that the Lights Appeal would take place before the work was quoted on because until it was quoted on the public could not be surveyed – and until they were surveyed we could not proceed.
The £30,000 set aside should not have been necessary. It does not add up much to actually improving the state of our town, particularly when Wisbech Foodbank is in such demand.
Whereas pointless dead end Standards Boards complaints, a load of unenforceable signs saying “20 MPH” and the closure of the much loved F.A.C.T. Community Bus service would be a wonderful addition to the “state of the town” and fill the bellies of the hungry? Pull the other one, Dave, it’s got bells on.
I have no doubt that following the publication of this letter I will receive the usual tirade of abuse from some of Robert’s new best friends on social media – after all it is what some of them do best.
If you think the scrutiny and challenge you receive from me on this blog and elsewhere are “a tirade of abuse” then you must have led a sheltered life. Perhaps, rather than just alluding to it, you could spell out what you qualify as a “tirade of abuse” otherwise this just looks like lies, doesn’t it?
I propose your problem, my friend, is that you don’t like challenge. The reason you don’t like challenge is that you are singularly poor at making your case. And the reason you are singularly poor at making your case is because you generally don’t have a case. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.
*I should also point out that the comment “a pack of lies” carries no attribution. At no time did I specify what was a pack of lies and any presumption that I was referring to Dave Patrick’s Wisbech Standard rant is just that, a presumption. Nor did I specify who I was referring to who does nothing other than promote their own business. This may seem tricksy, dear reader, but this is what we bloggers do in order to protect ourselves from the repeated attempts to silence us. You’ll notice, if you look carefully at Dave Patrick’s article, that he performs a number of these same literate flourishes himself. Though I suspect that may have been the helpful work of another.