Error In Judgement

Error In Judgement

It is incredibly common for the opposition folks in Wisbech local politics to play the victim.  They tell you Conservatives have been mean to them and called them names and stuff.  I’ve often pointed out that, while I am no angel, most of the worst stuff originates on their side.  Still, the local media will often pitch in for them, while completely ignoring anything they say or do.  We have a new instance today which perfectly highlights what they do.

A few hours ago, UKIP Parish Councillor Dave Patrick published the following on Facebook:

Patrick attacks Kings head Windows

The text is:

This is a picture today of the Kings Head Wisbech. The pub that lost its late night licence because of of violence and serving drunks. The pub quote by the Conservatives run by a responsible landlord. Obviously been some trouble in the last day or two. Maybe election campaign manager Mr Steve Tierney or member of staff Cllr Sam Hoy could enlighten us as to what happened to cause such damage to the windows.

So Dave Patrick’s assumption is that there has “obviously” been some trouble.  Then he demands that Sam or I respond to him to “explain” the damage.

Now, putting aside the fact that what a private business is doing with its windows is none of his business – it must be pretty embarrassing for him to have gotten it so dramatically wrong.  You see the windows are feature stained glass and they have been taken away by Elgoods, the company who owns the pub, for refurbishment.  No violence.  No damage.  No crime.  These are the same people who have tried to accuse the landlord of the pub of illegal parking (in a vehicle he doesn’t own), and have published the same picture twice while suggesting the second one is “new” (but forgetting that the posters in the back window are good guidance for the date of the posting.)

Dave Patrick’s motivation to say there has “obviously” been some trouble is clearly to muddy the name of the landlord, because the landlord is a current candidate in a by-election.  But this time I reckon he’s made a mistake.  His comments and completely inaccurate misreading of events can clearly be seen to cause direct damage to the reputation of the landlord and his business.  Even were he just a member of the public this could get him into trouble.  As a Councillor?  A bad error of judgement, I think.

After they realised they had made a mistake, the contributors of the site desperately tried to backpeddle.  Some of it is a bit sad.  Some quite funny.  Some unbelievable.

I like this one, from Sharon Horne, after an Admin had pointed out that maybe a mistake had been made:

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Sharon appears to think that “free speech” means the right to cast aspersions on other people’s businesses and reputations, without any evidence to back it up.  Sharon is a UKIP activist and was an organiser of the infamous “anti-immigration” rally and the Wisbech Immigration Issues Facebook site, just for context.

Here’s Jason Hatcher, suggesting that there were no incorrect facts.
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Clearly the term “(there has) obviously been some trouble” is viewed by him as “speculation” rather than a statement.  I wonder if he would feel the same way if somebody “speculated” about him by using the term “he is obviously….” and then some sort of criminal activity?

At this point Sam Hoy pops onto the forum and tells Dave Patrick he should apologise, that he has got it wrong and that he has gone too far.  He responds with characteristic charm:
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“What are you going to do, report me to your conduct committee?” he asks.  The suggestion that he doesn’t value the Conduct Committee hasn’t stopped him reporting other people to it in the past though, has it?  Somebody should remind him that he signs the Councillor Code Of Conduct when he becomes a Councillor.  Or perhaps giving his word doesn’t mean very much?  Who knows?

Apparently not following the “wriggle pattern” set by others, Sharon Horne continues:
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Come on guys.  Make your minds up.  One minute its “speculation” then he “states what happened?”  This grand “threat” to which she was referring was when Sam Hoy said he was incorrect, advised he apologise, and said he had gone too far.  To suggest this was a “threat” is to play the victim into the realms of fantasy.

Then, the Wisbech Standard reports the actual facts.  And suddenly they fly into a panic, realising they’ve got it completely wrong.
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So Jason Hatcher thinks that its the admins fault that Dave Patrick made a nasty guess that was completely wrong.  Apparently it is the admins job to provide them with a live feed of information, just in case they might get something completely and utterly wrong and make no effort to check their facts before spouting off about it?  And Dave Patrick thinks it is Sam Hoy’s job to feed him information, to save him from making a complete fool of himself.  The funny thing is, she did!  She said he had got it wrong and should apologise.  Apparently, it’s also her job to be his personal news service just in case he is about to attack a business and an individual based on false assumptions.  How about a little personal responsibility Dave?  You make the same mistake every time.  You cock up and then, instead of just holding your hands up and saying: “Sorry, my bad,” you keep digging and digging.

At this point Dave goes into “play the victim” mode.
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I’m not sure how many more times he can play the victim card, while being the one doing the attacking, and get away with it.  In fact, I think he stopped getting away with it a while ago.

Jason Hatcher, my hat goes off to him for this most expert and wily wriggle:
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No joke, I really did enjoy that bit of wordplay.  Very clever.

But at this point members of the forum are leaving because they don’t like what is going on.  And there is a backlash:

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At time of writing this blog post, Dave Patrick has not answered the question of where he got the photo, or why it is the same as the newspaper’s photo but he claims not to have seen the newspaper’s story.  Now there could be a perfectly innocent explanation for it, of course.  Unlike Dave, I’m not going to “presume” guilt, I’ll wait for his response.