Diary – 24th January 2015

Diary – 24th January 2015

This week has just flown by.

Monday I was at Overview and Scrutiny, where I was the only committee member to vote for a Council Tax freeze at Fenland District Council.  I noticed both Mr. and Mrs. Bucknor voted quickly enough with their Independent allies to whack the sum up by 1.9%.  Yikes.  How come it is me left making the case for easing the burdens on hard-working tax-payers, while the Members for Waterlees happily vote for a hike that will surely be felt as hard in Waterlees as anywhere?  Disappointing but no need for panic – this stuff doesn’t get decided until Full Council and I’m confident that there’s a strong case for delivering a freeze so fingers crossed other Councillors agree.

Tuesday I was off to Hertfordshire to work in one of the businesses that Taxi Dave keeps telling me have “failed.”  Luckily enough, the staff remain quite busy and customers well-looked after.  But it’s hardly the first time the Cabinet Member for Taxis has gotten his facts completely wrong and I doubt it will be the last.  Clearly, my scrutiny of his activities is unwelcome so he’s turned to the personal attacks.  No doubt he’ll be telling the local paper how he is a “victim” shortly, while dishing out his bile.  I’m sure he thinks all this Machiavellian spin is some kind of Master Plan but I really don’t think anybody is fooled by it.  Like some kind of twisted Wizard Of Oz he continues to work his levers and trigger his smoke and mirrors without realising that the screen is down and his actions are plain to see.  Even the unconditional assistance of the Wisbech Standard is no longer sufficient cover, really.  Like I always say, the truth is out there.

On Wednesday I spent the day working in my other business that Dave Patrick keeps declaring “failed.”  It’s lucky he’s wrong, because gawd knows how I’d pay my bills otherwise. :)  Wednesday evening I was at the Area Conservatives A.G.M. where I have just completed my year as Deputy Chairman Membership.  I decided to step down, since I’m presently consolidating my work in my own District Ward.  I took many of these roles on before I won the Medworth election, so it’s useful now to free my time up again in order to be able to give more time and energy here at home.

On Thursday I spent the early part of the day catching up on paperwork and accounts and some Councillor casework.  Once that was clear I paid a visit to the gym and then went on to the Conservative Group Meeting at Fenland Hall in March.  I don’t think it’s any great secret that there have been a few disagreements over the last few months, but it was great to see the Conservative team back on track, working together and with a solid and positive plan for the future.  Every group is challenged from time to time – but the mark of a strong team is how they put differences aside under strong leadership and with respect for one another.

I had meetings with constituents in the morning on Friday, followed by a light lunch with colleagues.  This afternoon I was working on some campaign leaflets and other literature and then this evening I was the volunteer Quizmaster for a Fenrats Fundraising Quiz in Gorefield.  The quiz was well attended and I thoroughly enjoyed the company.

The Mysterious Meeting

The Mysterious Meeting

I promised myself I wasn’t going to write about Cllr. Dave Patrick again, but I just can’t resist.  Here he is “fuming” about how nobody turned up for his “meeting” about new play equipment.

Organiser Councillor Dave Patrick says, having spoken to Fenland District Council, he is still confident the park on Jasmine Close will get new equipment. But Cllr Patrick, who alongside FDC’s horticultural officer Kevin Wilkins also leafleted homes around the park area, is “disappointed” that the people of Walsoken didn’t come out to support the cause.

I like the term “organiser” used here.  What was organised, though?  An empty meeting?  Awesome.  He states that he leafleted all around the area in order to let people know that this meeting was on.  Yet immediately after the post in question  Helen Haestier says she did not receive a leaflet.  Meanwhile, over on the Wisbech Discussion Forum on Facebook, while Dave Patrick “fumes”, local people don’t sound immensely happy with him either:

Neil Huggins Didn’t know anything about it lol

Julie-Anne Wood I had no idea it was on until I read it on here last night.

Mike Carrington Maybe the event should’ve been at the weekend? (School children at school the report says). Or doesn’t the Councillor and Council Official work weekends? Perhaps the local residents were working on a week day? Just a thought.

Melissa Bullen Could have sent a leaflet home with school children to inform them….so many things in this town are so badly advertised…even if it’s in the papers, what you have to remember is….they are so picky as to where they deliver now as well

Kate Thorpe We haven’t had a leaflet at Krazy Dayz about this and we are just across the road we would have taken our children over from preschool as they would love to share their ideas. We have used the park for picnics but not much else to do there.

Rebecca McCourt I live jeffery avenue im.sure i never got a leaflet

Jo Newby I was about to ask if they went to the local schools and left leaflets to go in their book bags

Jo Newby Simple Lack of advertising then by the looks if it

Rachael Richardson Seem to be a lack of organisations as noone was even aware of event such a shame

Angela Wymer It says Councillor Patrick leafleted homes around the park. But one person in the area says they didn’t get a leaflet. So I can only surmise that Councillor Patrick didn’t leaflet enough houses but still wants a pat on the back for the few he did do.

Kim Taylor I’ve just been looking back over things and it doesn’t look like DP has done anything for Walsoken, maybe this is just pre-election stuff. Maybe he shouldn’t be blaming the people who he wants to vote for him!

Jamie Edwards My ex also didn’t receieve a leaflet I suppose he leafleted his own house.

Josh Garner Same old problem in this town, nothing is organised properly and nothing is advertised properly!

Rebecca McCourt My sister in law Michelle Bella Lloyd lives jeffery avenue too she didnt know about it either we would love to hear about whats happening for the kids

Dave continues to explain his “many years” of “badgering” for this:

He said: “Talking to Bob Ollier (FDC parks and open spaces manager), I’m sure there will be some play equipment for Walsoken but I’m so disappointed that with all the work that’s been put in – I’ve been badgering FDC for years about this – nobody could be bothered to turn up.

Nobody seems to have ever heard him “badger” for it before Rob McLaren began to mention it, but no doubt he has been doing so relentlessly “behind the scenes.”  He would have been in the newspaper about it, but he’s always so busy talking about other important stuff in the newspaper so there probably wasn’t time to fit it in.

“I know it was cold and children were at school but that doesn’t stop parents from coming along.”

True.  But never receiving a leaflet and knowing nothing at all about it might have stopped some of them.  Not the psychics, obviously, but surely some of the others?

Dave Patrick says: “At the end of the day, people say they want things but they really need to put in the effort to show they want things.”

Also true.  And some people only say they want things when there’s an election a couple of months away.  Strange.

A FDC spokesman said: “Some people have been asking for new play equipment in the park so the idea was to go along with pictures of different types of equipment and see which types people would like if we can secure external funding.”

So, back the the beginning of this article, when Dave Patrick said he was “still confident the park on Jasmine Close will get new equipment” what was this opinion based on?  Since the FDC Spokesman above is talking vaguely about looking at pictures and then potentially “looking for external funding.”  What is the cause of this sincerely held and clearly stated “confidence?”  It rather looks like presently there is no plan and no money.  I mean, sure, you have to start somewhere.  Fair enough.  I think I’d have started a few years ago myself, though.  What is it, six, seven years he’s been the Councillor for that area?  Clearly, he’s taking his new role as a UKIP Councillor seriously and following the Paul Clapp Method (tm) (patent pending) of getting things done.

Conference table

Entropy

Entropy

No matter how strong the foundations are, no matter how sound and long-lasting the structure – eventually everything reaches a point where it can no longer be patched back together.  Cracks and rents and small damage accumulates until what used to be easy to resolve becomes one major issue after another.  This is equally true of old machinery, old buildings, and even old institutions.

When is the breaking point reached?  At what time does the cost of repair outweight the value of doing so?  At what point do the custodians decide to just let it all come tumbling down?

Sometimes, if something is to survive it has to be allowed to fail.  So that from the wreckage, ground can be cleared, stock can be taken, and then the process of rebuilding from scratch can begin.  Either as a copy of the original form, or with changes and adjustments for the new time in which it is made.

Crying Wolf

Crying Wolf

And so it begins.  Election season has started early and all the usual tricks are in play.  We have the overblown claims of outrage.  The deliberate misrepresentation of what people say.  The demands for apologies.  Naturally all accompanied by the obligatory biased press coverage, zooming the favourites to front pages and places of prominence.

Check this one out.   Good old “Taxi” Dave Patrick is in the newspaper again and guess what it’s about this time?  It’s about taxis.  Of course it is.  Prime position on the front page is certainly valid for a simple remark made by the Mayor during a Council meeting which Dave decided was perfect for his purposes.  The purposes of maximum publicity, maybe?

The mayor of Wisbech has apologised to a taxi driver – and council colleague – after claiming cabbies charged “rip-off ” prices to customers on Christmas Day.

Except he didn’t claim “cabbies”, the plural, did any such thing.  He suggested that he felt the charge that one particular cab journey cost seemed to be a “rip off.”  Probably not a wise remark for him to make, but given that he was talking about a vulnerable lady suffering from dementia and a Christmas journey, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that he was concerned.

The comment was made at Wisbech Town Council on Monday when Councillor Michael Hill mentioned he had taken a woman to Peterborough Hospital on Christmas
Day to visit her husband, who suffers from dementia.  But UKIP councillor – and taxi drivers’ leader – Dave Patrick said the mayor’s comment was “offensive” and a “slur.”

Now hold on a second.  This is a UKIP Councillor?  Is this the same UKIP who are always complaining about “politically correct language” and always demanding the right to their “free speech?”  Yes, of course it is.  As usual what they seem to mean is “free speech” for anybody who is saying what they want to hear.  So let’s examine the claim.  How is this comment “offensive” or “a slur?”  In order to be offensive, there’d need to be a target to be offended by it.  The Mayor did not name any individual, nor did he suggest he was talking about “all taxi drivers” – so to whom is the comment offensive?  Only those determined to be offended, I would suggest.  To get the aforementioned media coverage.  If you talk about an anecdote concerning an individual case, but name nobody and suggest no individual as the subject of your comment, then it cannot possible be “a slur.”

Even so, when Dave Patrick leapt to his feet at the Council meeting and shouted about how furious he was, the Mayor was quick to point out he wasn’t referring to any individual, meant no insult to Cllr. Patrick and was happy to apologise if that had been misconstrued.  You’d have thought that Taxi Dave would have been happy with that.  But he couldn’t be, because if he had been happy to accept the clarification and apology he wouldn’t have been able to use his red hotline to get it on the front page.

Cllr Patrick said: “I believe his statement has brought his position of mayor and that of the council into disrepute.

Oh Yeah.  A personal anecdote about the cost of a taxi to an old lady with dementia at Christmas, naming nobody, is definitely “bringing the Council into disrepute.”  I tell you what does bring the Council into disrepute.  All these attempts to try and spin something out of nothing in order to get some cheap publicity.  For Goodness Sake give it a rest.

“He has also brought into question the integrity and honesty of all taxi drivers who worked hard on Christmas Day, giving up their own time meeting the needs of people wishing to visit their families.”

How has he?  He didn’t even mention them and he made no suggestion that his personal individual story related to all taxi drivers.  If this yarn is spun much longer it’ll have to be written up like one of the old Grimm tales, complete with a witch in the woods living in a house made of candy.

He said that many taxi drivers, including him, capped prices on Christmas Day taking a Peterborough journey down from a metered rate of £90 to £70.

Many?  So not all then?  Notice that slight twist of the word there?  “Many.”  Since he did not say “all” it is entirely possible that the Mayor encountered one of the ones who did not, isn’t it?  Is it not even possible that he may have encountered a rogue of some kind?  I don’t know, I wasn’t there.  But the way Dave Patrick seems to be calling the Mayor a liar is, in my opinion, bringing the Council into disrepute.  But don’t worry, I won’t take offense.  I’ve not mastered the art of being deliberately offended yet.

As an interesting aside, Dave Patrick popped up on Facebook last week.  We don’t often see him on Facebook so when he appears and posts something it’s a cause of interest.  This is what he said:

Utility bills namely electric and gas. Oil at its lowest for years at 50$ a barrel. Electricity and gas prices still to be reduced. While they are quick to put up prices have seen no decrease in home energy prices. It is the rocket and feather syndrome. Up like a rocket and down like a feather except the feather has not started to fall. RIP off or what???

So, you’ll notice the term “rip off” being used.  Isn’t that the exact same thing he is offended by when the Mayor said it?  So does this mean, as per Dave Patrick’s logic, that he has just delivered a slur to every single one of the tens of thousands of people working in the Electricity and Gas industries?  Has he brought the Council into disrepute by maligning them in this public way?  Of course he hasn’t.  He didn’t name individuals, and he’s entitled to his view – even if it is deliberately populist and sounding a little like it was delivered to his mailbox by Head Office.

If I understood his claim correctly, he was saying that the energy firms are “rip offs” because they are now paying less for one of the key items of expenditure involved in delivering their service to the public, but that they haven’t been quick enough to pass this saving on to the customers themselves.  A fair enough point.  So I suggested that there was another group who was also paying less for the exact SAME key item of expenditure and who had also not been quick to pass it on to the public.  Taxi Drivers.

Immediately Dave, and a couple of other Taxi Drivers, took offense at my comment.  (Though they stopped short of saying it was bringing the Council into disrepute.)  He wanted it to be an attack on Taxi Drivers and tried his best to take it that way.  Of course it was not.  It was simply a direct parody of his simplistic comment, using the precise same logic as he had employed.  The Taxi folk were quick to say that other costs to them had increased, that they were bound by bureaucracy, that times were hard.  I don’t doubt it.  I expect the energy firms would make very similar arguments, were they able to respond to his easy attack.  I know that the vast majority of our taxi drivers in Wisbech are decent, hard-working folk and we are lucky to have them.  I support them and the job they do one hundred percent.  I just don’t support their self-appointed champion and his poor attempts to create offense and drama where none was intended.

What I find telling, and it’s a shame the newspaper didn’t see fit to pick up on it, is this: Do you notice that Dave Patrick didn’t give a hoot about the old lady?  Wasn’t concerned that she might have been unfairly treated.  Didn’t want to know the details, or how she was, or how it all worked out.  He immediately sprung up to defend “all” taxi drivers against a remark aimed at just one incident.  No interest in the vulnerable old lady’s plight, not even prepared to consider that she might have been mistreated.  Don’t take my word for it – the article is clear.  He didn’t check, he didn’t say: “Give me the details and I’ll look into it.”  As far as I can see, he didn’t give a stuff.

What we have here is yet another case of Taxi Dave crying wolf.  Repeatedly.  I don’t blame him.  With the local newspaper complicit, he gets away with it and it serves him well.  For those people who like a little logic with their fairy stories, maybe it’s all a bit tiresome, but our new UKIP leading light is walking a well-trod path that he is remarkably familiar with.  He should remember the story of the boy who cried wolf though.  Eventually the community got tired of it and stopped listening, and that led nowhere good.

The boy who cried wolves - 'WAAAAAH, HAAAH, AAAAH!'

UPDATE:
Having now heard a clarified version of this story, it was not the “lady” who suffered from dementia, but her husband.  She wanted to visit the husband in Peterborough.  I am informed that the reason Taxi Dave didn’t ask about the lady was because he already knew the details.  This would have been clearer if he had said so, rather than just shouting at the Mayor about how outraged he was.  The correct thing to do would have been to raise his hand to make a “point of clarification” and then to explain that he was aware of the situation and xxxx – whatever his points were.  Rather than to try and make it about “all taxi drivers.”

Council Tax Cut

Council Tax Cut

We had a great Wisbech Town Council meeting tonight. All sorts of interesting things, but chief one of note was the new budget delivered by Cllr Sam Hoy and agreed by Full Council.

I can confirm that Wisbech Town Council is delivering an (almost) 1% cut in Council Tax this year. Well, actually it’s a freeze, but it becomes a cut because of additional houses now paying tax in the area this year.

Still, good news, even if WTC is the smallest bit of the bill.

From The Lair Of Dr. Earth – Pt. 3

From The Lair Of Dr. Earth – Pt. 3

Previously on “From The Lair Of Doctor Earth” – Doctor Earth has set about terraforming NE Cambs in order to demoralise it’s electorate by putting hills in the way of their open views. 

“I think we need some more people, Mephisto,” Doctor Earth mused, stroking his black cat absently.  “I know we have Laurel & Hardy and that strange fellow who draws everybody, but we need to fill out our ranks.  I’ve been doing some research.  I think I know just who we need.”

“Meeeeeoooow,” Said Mephisto.

“It was quite clever, what I did.  I asked around and I said to people, who is the most hard-working conscientious and knowledgeable individual who I might be able to get to join my growing evil organisation?  I got a few names and crossed them all off the list.  You don’t want that sort – they might have their own ideas or something.  From the ones who were left, I asked myself, which of these is most likely to want to keep promoting their own private business?  Once I’d worked out the perfect target I sent Laurel around to see if he’d be interested.  And what do you know?  He was.”

The cat began meticulously cleaning its paws.

“Anyway, I was hoping to get a really big name super-villain to come down and announce my new recruit.  Doctor Doom, or the Red Skull, or that nice Magneto chap.  I even tried Hamburglar.  But they were all busy developing Doomsday Devices or stealing children’s lunches so I had to settle for that red-faced fellow in the tweed.  Never mind, make do and mend, I say.  Or better still, make do and destroy!”

Mephisto dropped from Doctor Earth’s lap and padded across the floor of the underground base towards his litter tray.

“No, no,” the supervillain cried urgently.  “Not there Mephisto!  That’s where I’m growing my new Fenland hills.  You’ll have to go outside this time.”

Mephisto gave him a hard look.

“Get over it, puss,” Doctor Earth sneered.  “I’m trying to conquer North-East Cambridgeshire.  I don’t have time for your delicacies.”

Oh don’t you?  Thought Mephisto, wickedly.  Well, we’ll just see about that….

… Next.  Mephisto’s Tale Tail.

Lex-Luthor

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Defining Incompetence?

Defining Incompetence?

This is UKIP’s main political website today.

1

It appears that the party who have the most representatives for the UK in the European Union and who aspire to run the nation, the economy, the NHS, our schools and our legal system have managed to forget to renew the domain of their main political website.

The adverts are funny  though, aren’t they?  “Looking For Older Women?”  “Search Death Records.”   But my personal favourite ad featured on UKIP’s political homepage today is “Be Seen Online.”  I wonder if, when you click the link, you get taken to information about how to renew domain names in a timely fashion?

Hat tip: Guido Fawkes.

Confused? Let Me Help.

Confused?  Let Me Help.

I’ve had a few people say to me: “Steve, I have no idea what’s going on with these Independents on Fenland District Council.”  I can see what they mean.  But it’s really quite simple and I’ll try my best to clarify*.

Originally there was Mark Archer (MA), who was Independent.  Then he was joined by Virginia and Michael Bucknor (VB and MB), who used to be Labour but were elected as Independents.  Then there was Rob Skoulding (RS), whose Dad was Conservative but who decided to stand and was elected as an Independent.  Dave Patrick (DP) and Gavin Booth (GB) were elected as Liberal Democrats.  MA and RS formed a political “group” called the Fenland First Independent Alliance (FFIA).  MB and VB formed a political “group” called “The Truly Truly Truly Independents (TTTI)” (or something.)  GB and DP formed the Liberal Democrat “group” (LDG).  MA resigned from the FFIA and joined the LDG which then changed its name to the Liberal Democrat Alliance (LDA) because it was no longer just Liberal Democrats.  This made GB the “leader” of the “largest opposition group” (three people).  DP resigned from the Liberal Democrats and became an “Independent”, remaining in the LDA (which now only had a single Liberal Democrat in it.)  MA vanished overseas, apparently never to be seen again.  Bernard Keane (BK) and Peter Tunley (PT) left the Conservatives to become Independents.  DP stopped being an Independent and joined UKIP.  So we end up with RS, BK and PT as Independents, VB and MB as the TTTI, GB and DP as the LDA (though maybe soon to be the LDUKA) and MA who is MIA.

Hope that helps.

indy chart
*I’m easily confused, so if I’ve gotten any of this wrong – sorry.  To be fair, Einstein would have probably failed to follow all this, so what chance do we ordinary people have? ;)

From The Lair Of Dr. Earth – Pt. 2

From The Lair Of Dr. Earth – Pt. 2

Previously on “From The Lair Of Doctor Earth” – Doctor Earth begins to hatch his fiendish plot to rule the whole of North East Cambridgeshire, primarily by confusing the difference between debt and deficit.

“Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa,” said Doctor Earth as he stood before his huge wide screen monitor system and gained a bird’s eye view from his orbiting satellite of the area known (to him) as Fanland.  “The local MP in this area is too popular.  I must damage his reputation thoroughly.  But how?”
“Meeeeooowww,” Said Mephisto, his black cat, who was curled up on the Throne Of Bones and entirely comfortable.

“I considered trying to kidnap some gay people and influence the weather – a bit of flooding would soon dampen their mood.  But they seem well prepared for such things in Fanland.  I can’t understand why.  I should probably do some research about the area, but that would take up valuable shouting and gloating time.”

Doctor Earth paced away from the view screen, angry at the colourful Christmas lights he could see in each of the towns.  These people were having altogether too much fun.  Before you know it their different groups might start making friends with each other, and then where would he be?

“It is simply intolerable, Mephisto!  I find it morally repugnant that I am not the accepted all-powerful ruler of Fanland.  Indeed, I shall unveil my new Policy of Rulership of Fanland.  The first priority in that policy will be to make me the accepted all-powerful ruler of Fanland.  It is the very first thing I need to do so solve the problem of my not being absolute ruler of Fanland.

“Wait!  Mephisto!  I’ve got it!  I know what we can do to conquer this strange, flat place.”

Mephisto looked across quizically.  Or as quizically as a cat can look, anyway.

“Hills.  I need some hills.  Fetch me my cane and my monacle, Mephisto.  And my tailor.  I’m gonna need a bigger coat.”

dr earth 4

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes

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.

Merry Christmas!

*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.