Category Archives: Wisbech Standard
Wisbech Standard is fun this week.
Another letter from Cllr. Alan Lay where he gets half his facts wrong and moans that he isn’t Chairman of something. Again.
He might consider that the reason Cllr Jessica Oliver is Chairman of Planning and not him might just be because the members of the Committee who voted for her simply thought she would be better at it than him?
I am aware this is hard for him to believe. A young lady? Better than an older man? IMPOSSIBLE! wink emoticon
He gets very excised about the fact that Jessica is young and female. For some reason he seems to think that by being much older and having male anatomy he must be the obvious choice for every role.
So rather than just accept that maybe the Committee didn’t vote for him because he writes very odd and inaccurate letters to the newspaper every once in a while, insults members of the Council, and seems to occasionally want to indulge in some good old-fashioned Ageism and Sexism – he insists everybody is corrupt.
Another of his favourite words is “nepotism.” He hates the fact that the Leader of the Council, David Oliver, is the father of Jessica. Apparently, in Alan Lay’s mind, you can’t be interested in what your parents did, or follow in their footsteps. Nor can you have the talent and aptitude to do well at it.
His dislike for the family connection between two Councillors is really odd too. Since he got elected alongside his wife, and often appears to be allies with the two Independents – another husband and wife team. There are actually more related Members in the opposition than in the Conservative group. I know, I know. That’s one of those awkward facts which Alan would no doubt respond to by shouting “corruption” at anything that came within earshot. But there you are.
Alan vents his fury about the fact that you can only become a Chairman if a majority of other elected Councillors vote for you. Apparently its not fair that UKIP got only two elected Councillors and the Conservatives didn’t immediately make them Chairmen of all the Committees they felt they had a natural entitlement to be Chairman of.
Alan, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings – but with the exception of you and your wife – your party lost the election in Fenland. That doesn’t preclude you from holding a position on Council Committees, though it is quite unusual for Controlling Groups on Councils across the nation to promote opposition members its not impossible. Certainly, UKIP in Ramsey didn’t jump at the chance when they controlled the Town Council there. I would respectfully suggest that the main things preventing you from holding the positions you think you are entitled to are the way you keep calling everybody on the council names, writing nasty and inaccurate letters to the newspaper, and proclaiming your right to any post that you fancy. Here’s the rub – people seldom vote for the man that just called them corrupt, or made sexist remarks about their colleagues. Who knew, huh?
Looking at the letter closely, Alan mentions that this issue he is furious about (again) was “just brought to his attention.” And there, my friend, may be your problem. Did you never consider you might be being played? Fed this nonsense, wound up, and then pushed along like a clockwork device? Sometimes, when other individuals would rather not do the attacking themselves, they manipulate others to do their dirty work. Think about who “brought this to your attention.” Ask yourself why they might have done that and whether they really have your best interests at heart.
Or just continue in the same vein, whining about how you are entitled to this and entitled to that and how everybody who doesn’t think so must be corrupt or practicing nepotism. How’s that working out so far?
Defending The Indefensible
Just imagine that a prominent individual, or group of prominent individuals, were to openly admit that he, or they, had deliberately and maliciously lied. Then to admit that those lies were damaging to the reputation and business of an innocent individual. And then to further admit that they had done so during an election campaign for the sole purpose of gaining electoral advantage?
What would you expect to happen when such an admission was made?
You’d think that it would be news, right? You’d think that the local newspaper would be, like, “They said WHAT?”
I mean, it’s really not a small thing, is it? To openly and brazenly admit to lying about an individual just for electoral purposes. To slander an individual to try and get a few dirty votes? You’d think, once they openly admitted this is what they had done, it might be quite a story?
So once again here is my definition of a scumbag:
Perhaps I am naive, but I would have thought that almost anybody would agree that my definition of the term “scumbag” was accurate. Somebody who deliberately lies, accusing an innocent person of a crime, for the sole purpose of political advantage. And yet I am told, several times now, by local newspaper Editor John Elworthy that there is something “wrong” with this post. He has suggested the language is “un-statesman like.” I don’t know if he thinks I am a senator or an international diplomat or something? The word “scumbag” is not some sort of awful swear word – and everybody who I have shown my definition to so far has agreed that yes, somebody who would do that does sound like a scumbag. Most have gone further, using words I would not reprint here.
So, dear reader, why is the Editor so up-in-arms about my definition of the word “scumbag?” Which named nobody and must surely be hard to deny is a reasonably accurate definition?
More to the point, since some people have self-identified from that definition, going so far as to reprint it as a screenshot proving without a doubt that they are self-identifying with exactly what I wrote – why has the local Editor not mentioned this at all? Does the fact that a number of prominent individuals are openly admitting to lying and smearing a man’s character for political gain not matter at all?
Or perhaps its just an uncomfortable fact that can be swept under the table if you have no interest in the truth? Or if you have more interest in your own political agenda than the truth?
Finally In The Open
Good to see John Elworthy on Facebook leaping to the defence of the Independents and UKIP. People shouldn’t feel forced to hide their political views and pretend to be neutral and unbiased, even if they are the Editor of a newspaper.
There’s no reason why he shouldn’t hold political views and there’s no reason why his newspaper shouldn’t campaign for a particular group of political people and against another group. It’s just nice if it’s in the open and transparent so that people aren’t fooled into thinking there’s proper news there, rather than personal comment. That way, people can choose to read his paper or just bin it, and they can choose whether to advertise in it or in its less political rival – the Fenland Citizen.
Refreshing to finally see it so openly displayed. Several people have messaged me to say how “gobsmacked” they were by it. I wasn’t gobsmacked. I’ve been pointing it out for years. Every day, more people see it, or admit it.
The truth is out there.
Let me get this straight. UKIP Councillor Dave Patrick, a professional Taxi Driver, decided that the best thing to do was drive to the local Hospital on a broken foot? A foot that he describes as “extremely painful” and that he could “barely hobble” on. That didn’t seem at all dangerous or careless?
What if he had to make an emergency maneuver?
What if his inability to control the car had caused a serious accident?
Was his insurance valid while driving with a broken ankle?
Hardly a surprise really. Invalid insurance wouldn’t be a lot different to “no tax.” http://www.cambstimes.co.uk/…/no_tax_councillor_and…
I don’t expect Dave Patrick meant any harm, and perhaps his mind was clouded by pain. In this instance no harm came of it and all is well. But I still don’t think it’s anything to crow about.
I nevertheless wish him a speedy recovery and hope he feels better soon.
Dave Patrick feels that he has a case against me for defamation, both for the comments I have made and those of others. I think he will find, when he checks, that asking a series of questions is not defamatory. But in the interest of balance, I’m going to print a screen shot of his message to me, as I promised him I would.
The point remains that driving on an injured ankle runs the risk of invalidating your insurance. It doesn’t take much Googling to find this out. Dave says his insurance company have told him that he has done nothing wrong. Cool – maybe so, if he has really asked them. But did he ask them *before* he drove? No mention of him doing so anywhere. So how did he know until after the fact? Also, any driver must surely know that if your foot is in agony and you can only “hobble”, which he has said was his circumstances, then it must SURELY be dangerous to drive unless you have to make an emergency maneuver. Dave feels I’m being rotten to him – I think if I’d wanted to be rotten I could have done a lot more than a vague few questions on Facebook. And I don’t think I’ve said anything untrue, have I? So how is it defamatory? Answer = I don’t believe it is.
It surprises me that Taxi Dave feels he can say anything he likes about other people: For instance when he was telling everybody my businesses have failed (when they are doing fine, thanks) – but that when somebody points out actual facts about things he says and does he starts making threats to silence them. I don’t believe I’ve done anything other than tell the truth and discuss issues he made public by giving an interview to the newspaper about them. In the same way that he failed to silence me with the bogus Standards Board report a year ago, he wont silence me now. I was happy to let this sorry story quietly blur away, but he seems intent on keeping it in focus. That’s his call, I guess.
This morning I had a meeting with some of the local press to discuss the consultation for the Christmas Lights. Other sections of the media are also being informed in order that we can spread the consultation as widely as possible. We believe that we’ve got a plan which has come in under budget and will be tasteful and impressive if installed. I’ll go into a bit more detail about the whole plan next week on here, but I don’t want to steal the thunder from elsewhere until then. Suffice to say – I’m excited about it. I hope the people of Wisbech approve and say “Yes.” If so, there’s a good chance we can still do it for this Christmas! It’s not written in stone, but there’s a good chance!
This afternoon I accompanied Independent Councillor Rob McLaren to Hereward Hall in March to present the application for a new safety crossing in Walsoken that is being supported by Wisbech Town Council. Rob and I may have had our disagreements in the past – primarily because of the Dark Queen of Propaganda and her works – but he was totally on the ball today and I think we made a good team. Whether the LHI Committee approve our bid or not we won’t know until next year, but we both hope it’ll get the go ahead.
I managed to get back to the gym today after a few weeks of being too busy/distracted/lazy. I expect I’ll ache in the morning, but you know what they say – no pain, no gain.
I enjoyed David Cameron’s strong speech about the extra money the EU are asking for. 1.6 Billion or whatever it is. I’m really glad he told them to sling their hook and I very much hope he is able to stick to his guns.
Noticed the Wisbech Standard’s grudging report about my by-election win. It must have really pained them to print it :) You can see that by the phrasing. Notice I won “on my third attempt” but no mention of the UKIP guy failing on his second attempt, or the fact that he polled the lowest the previous time he tried. The Liberal Democrat lady’s letter “criticised the Conservatives” – no mention of the fact that it actually criticised everybody. Also, lots of talk about what I “predicted” – except that none of those were predictions. Wisbech Standard continue to ignore my Media Policy – clearly printed on my website – and abuse my blog posts for their own ends. I suppose its all I can expect from them, really.
Tomorrow is my first surgery. I’ve not had much time to advertise it, so I’m not expecting a spectacular turnout. But you have to start somewhere! My first Medwowrth newsletter will be going out next week. I hope to put out a Peckover newsletter a week or two later.
Based On A True Story
I enjoyed this article from the Wisbech Standard. http://www.wisbechstandard.co.uk/news/zebra_crossing_takes_step_closer_for_lethal_location_1_3724760 Get it from a library near you soon, possibly erroneously filed in the Epic Fantasy section, or maybe “based on a true story.” :)
I particularly liked:
“But it was the zebra crossing scheme, pushed by Councillors Paul Clapp and Robert MacLaren, which won the council’s backing.”
It’s funny because never once during all this “pushing” at the Town Council Meeting did they even mention the bid until I raised the issue. Instead they seemed to be “pushing” the 20MPH Zone bid which people had previously been told (by Cllrs Bucknor & Bucknor) was never going to be an LHI bid. I must be getting confused as I get older, I guess. Perhaps “pushing” has a wider meaning now? Maybe whispering with your colleagues from the Independent “Group” while looking panicky counts as “pushing?” Who knows?
I stood up and said: “How can you possibly be backing this 20MPH Zone bid when you’ve taken the Kirkgate issue to County Council, and been published (twice) in the newspaper for doing so? Didn’t all that mean anything at all? I am going to support the Kirkgate bid and so should you, since you collected signatures for it for goodness sake!” They had the decency to look a little chagrined.
Then later, Cllr Paul Clapp (UKIP) who has recently joined Twitter (user name mintyfresh, or something) tweeted:
So it appears that Cllr Paul Clapp has played a Vulcan Mind Trick on me and made me his unwitting pawn. By not putting a bid in, not mentioning a bid and not raising the bid in his words to Town Council he has “pushed me” into doing his bidding. I had no idea he had this level of subtle manipulative power. He’s missed his vocation as a stage hypnotist. I just wish next time they wanted to “force” something they’d actually file the paperwork for it, rather than leaving me to do it. That’d certainly save me some time.
He also tweeted:
I’m guessing the “Rob” he refers to is Rob McLaren. The only “Will” I think he could mean is Will Lewis, the local gentleman who originally asked for the crossing and who worked with Cllr. McLaren and Cllr. Clapp on the petition and appeared in the photo with them in the newspaper. I’m sure Will Lewis is very appreciative of their efforts. But notice the newspaper didn’t seek a comment from him? The lead member of the public who called for the whole project. Do you think that’s odd? Why wouldn’t they want a comment from a member of the public who led on the issue now that the project has been green lit? Curious, huh?
In some ways this is a good thing. Let them take over the bidding process now, since they claim it was their bid. It’ll be nice to see them do some work. But I hope they get it done soon, because any amendments must be in very shortly and if they mess it up, it won’t go any further.
Talk Is Cheap
I received a tweet from local newspaper editor John Elworthy yesterday taking me to task for a couple of lines in my blog post about the Rock Festival. This was the part he was angry about:
We all rolled up at the crack of dawn – or some unearthly time on a Sunday that felt like the crack of dawn – ready to set up the Rock Festival. And when I say “we all” I obviously am not referring to any lazy, inept or just plain bone idle “never shows” whose idea of being a Councillor is getting their face in the paper quite often.
And this is what he said about it:
It just strikes me as spiteful and unnecessary that’s all to resort to such language. Your choice of course.
There are several things I find a little odd about this conversation. The first is that it is unclear who he is aggrieved on behalf of? My blog post doesn’t name anybody as lazy, inept or plain bone idle but simply suggests that there are some Councillors who might fit that bill somewhere. I doubt many people would disagree with that. Clearly, from my description, he thinks he recognises someone, which I thought was interesting, but when I asked him who he recognises he declined to say. So I remain unclear quite who the victim of this apparent “unnecessary spite” is.
The second thing is that for a newspaper which, time and again, seems to publish whatever certain members of the local opposition say without seeming to do even a cursory investigation of the actual facts, it’s a bit cheeky to start pointing fingers. Further, that on many occasions that same newspaper has published things about others which I and others would call “unnecessarily spiteful.” Quite often with me as the target, though I’ve long since given up expecting any integrity or professionalism in that respect.
Frankly, I don’t think it is either unnecessary or “spiteful” to point out that there are folks out there who don’t have the faintest interest in doing the job they were elected to do. Folk who accuse others of “being political” when they are in fact the most “political” people I’ve ever met. Folks whose every move, every judgement call, every decision seems based on one thing and one thing only – getting publicity to help their re-election. Spiteful? Too strong? I don’t think it’s anywhere near strong enough. This is everything that is wrong with politics. Spin spin spin, in cooperation with a pliant and biased media, delivering nothing more than hot air and bad photographs.
I suppose that every once in a while, even the best newspaper can accidentally let a poorly-researched article slip through*. Hopefully these suggested corrections will be helpful as I know that the Wisbech Standard prides itself on it’s quality and accuracy. There’s not a lot wrong. Just a few bits and pieces. I’ve highlighted things I would consider incorrect, false, biased, debatable, subject to personal viewpoint, silly, misleading, circumstantial, “spin” or just plain wrong in red. Glad to be of service!
HAT TIP: Samantha Hoy, for several bits of this information.
*Might I politely suggest that to avoid such minor errors in future, you avoid simply publishing whatever you are sent as fact without making any attempt to check facts or solicit alternative points of view. Just an idea.
The “Don’t Believe The Hype” Diary Special
I’ve had a busy few days. At the tail end of last week I was at the Newton Village Hall Committee meeting helping the great team there to finalise plans for a number of forthcoming events for the village. On Friday night I attended the Leverington Conservative Branch meeting which was focused on fundraising and other business.
On Saturday I worked a final day at one of the businesses I am a involved in – Number10 Cafe in Wisbech. We have now closed up shop (though will re-open briefly for Rose Fair.) It’s been a fun couple of years and I’ve enjoyed being a part of the cafe, but anybody involved in business knows when circumstances change you have to change with them and sometimes that means cashing in your chips, which is what we’ve decided to do. It wasn’t an easy decision because we will miss the many excellent regular customers we’ve come to know. But external changes beyond our control, coupled with some staffing changes, meant this was the right time to bring the business to a close.
I was amused by the sensationalist report in the Usual Local Paper (no prizes for guessing which one) which said that we had opened in a “blaze of publicity” (we had an opening party that lasted an hour) and which then said that even our good reports on Trip Advisor “couldn’t save us.” Typical article from the Usual Suspect. I’m a bit worried that he might be in love with me but that he doesn’t express emotion well :) Interesting aside – the only comment on the article from a member of the public suggesting that “the business would have worked 30 years ago, but now it had to be Russian to survive” or something. Of course, the fact that our next-door neighbour, an Eastern European delicatessen, shut up shop a few months ago neither merited a news article nor seems to agree with the commenter’s sentiment. Probably it has escaped the Wisbech Standard’s notice that quite a few shops have shut or are shutting in the last few months in our town and others. Obviously the special thing about my shop shutting it that its my shop, and so the opportunity for another of his sly little snipes. He should just ask me for a date. I’m married – and I don’t swing that way – but at least he’d be out of the closet. It’s unhealthy to keep these obsessions on the inside. :)
For the record: we (the owners) have closed up shop for our own reasons and at our leisure. Those reasons have naff all to do with Eastern Europeans, despite them being the bogeyman of choice for so many of late. We have not “gone bankrupt” and are entirely solvent. Nobody has “forced us” to close, we have no outstanding bills to any supplier or anybody else and we have the best wishes of the staff – all of whom have received their full legal compensation in the proper way. We have chosen to sell at this time, we have not “been closed” by anybody or anything. Meanwhile, we provided jobs for local people for two years and we are proud of the service we provided our customers. That’s the actual truth. Simple, really.
On Sunday I was at an Eastern European birthday party. Lots of vodka shots were drunk. Great food, too, and a really enjoyable and positive atmosphere. I had a lot of fun! My Latvian (I’m learning to speak Latvian) got a bit of a workout and I quickly found out I need to learn a lot more before I try and chat about anything other than: “Where is the toilet?” and “My name is.”
Monday evening I took part in the Wisbech Town Council Festival’s Committee, which is presently working on the August Rock Festival (it sounds like its going to be really, really exciting!) and our activities during the Rose Fair.
Sadly, today (Tuesday) I will be spending about fourteen hours doing accounting. Blurgh. Not my favourite task, but its gotta be done. I suppose, then, I’d better get started. Hopefully, my blog post has been long and varied enough to give John Elworthy an article or two to fill the empty spaces in his paper with. I know he relies on me for content and I wouldn’t want to let the side down. Maybe: “Tierney does vodka shots”, or “Tierney says Aliens Have Visited Earth” would be a suitable headline? Does it have to be true in order to be printed? I forget. :)