When Rhetoric Meets Evidence

When Rhetoric Meets Evidence

I was surprised to see UKIP Councillor Alan Lay pop up on ShapeYourPlace this week for two reasons.  Firstly because I wasn’t sure he actually existed beyond his “angry letter” persona and secondly because he managed to write such a self-damning piece in such short order.  I’m pleased to see I was wrong in the first instance and that he does actually exist.  I’m sure it will please his constituents too, I think some were getting worried.  Maybe now that he is showing some interest in the Interwebs and communication beyond the media of the local ‘paper he’ll be able to turn up for a few more things in his division.  Exciting times!

However, that aside, his comment was fascinating.  The background is that the leader of County Council, Martin Curtis, accused him and other ‘Kippers of failing to turn up for a meeting to discuss local issues in and around Wisbech.   I had also pointed out that the various people who had serious problems with the local street lighting changes had been let down by him because he had singularly failed to do his job and help local people communicate with the contractor in advance to mitigate potential issues.

In both cases, Alan Lay categorically denied this.  He said:

I have just been alerted to the inane chatter of Martin Curtis.see 43. I state categorically that I have never been invited to a meeting with M Curtis, I have never contacted him and never accepted an invitation from him. He is fabricating stories to hide the fact that he is scared of UKIP He is not being honest when he says “they agreed to a meeting” I and Paul Clapp did not get any invite for which we agreed to meet him!!!. 44 and 45 show that he is happy to dig dirt and go mud slinging. It is also a sorry state when the likes of the readers believe every word printed. Every one should question every thing they read. In this case the words written by Martin Curtis are untrue, a fabrication of a worried mind and he seems to be running scared. Be prepared folks, the dirty tricks campaign has started. 63 From Steve Tierney, we have never met and he has never sent me information that I have supposedly received.I leave you to understand the truth, I do not tell lies.  Both Tierney and Curtis must get their facts correct before putting them to air.
Alan Lay a hard working Councillor for you all.

Putting aside the rather odd practice of referring to himself in the third person at the end of his message, this particular post was a gold mine.  What I like is the way he calls people liars and insists that he always tells the truth – an issue I’ve made comment on in regards to UKIP councillors before.  Because it’s fairly straightforward to prove my comments were true.  Which rather suggests that his, um, are not.  Well doesn’t it?

Here is a link to my blog, immediately after the May elections.  http://www.stevetierney.org/and-were-back/  As you can see I raised *exactly* the issue he claims I did not.  But I suppose it would be fair for him to say: “Why would I read Steve Tierney’s blog?”  He could deny ever having seen it.  Except that the same week I published it, the blog was picked up by the Wisbech Standard.  Here’s a link.  The article made the front page of the newspaper and (particularly funny this) there are quotes in the article from Alan Lay himself which make it patently clear he was fully aware of my blog post and the concerns I raised.  As follows:-

Cllr Tierney was also adamant about what he felt Cllr Lay should be doing in coming days.

Looming issue of street light changes meant Cllr Lay must, he said, organise public meetings and/or negotiate a delay.

On his blog he wrote: “Alan – if you are reading this please do not ignore it.  These plans urgently need comments and suggestions.  This is no laughing matter. It will affect the lives of people.”

Cllr Lay said he was getting up to speed quickly on street lighting, planned to attend a meeting in Newton on Monday, and was talking to council officials about the complaints.

“Off the top of my head I can’t see major problems with this but I will find out and deal with it,” he said.

Cllr Lay said he was happy to take advice from most people “with the possible exception of Mr Tierney”.

Now it’s a pretty rare day that I’ll compliment the Wisbech Standard in the last year or two, but this article is beautiful isn’t it?  Beautiful in the way it captures the quotes from Alan Lay so perfectly.  Despite his claims this week that he’d had no advice from me about street lights it’s all there in black and white.  My clear and unambiguous warning, published on the front page of the local paper.  Alan Lay’s claim that he knew about the issue and was “on top of it.”  And, best of all, his arrogant statement just a few days into the job that “Off the top of my head I can’t see major problems with this but I will find out and deal with it.”  Clearly, given the loud complaints from every side, Alan Lay did not “deal with it” in a way that meets with everyone’s approval.  And maybe deciding policy that will affect so many people “off the top of your head” isn’t such a good idea?

If Alan Lay happens to see this blog post (he claims not to, but always seems to strangely know what I said) here’s a message for him:-

Maybe you should have taken my advice, Mr Lay?   It was given in good faith and your sneering decision to not only ignore it, but also the very real concerns of local people is the reason for your current discomfort.  You really only have yourself to blame.  Anyway, Mr Lay, next time you demand others: “must get their facts straight before putting them on air” you should probably do a little research to make sure you aren’t going to look pretty silly.  You bring this stuff on yourself.  As for your claim to: “Never lie” – I’m prepared to be a gentleman in this respect.  Maybe you just didn’t realise you were talking a load of old tosh?  Not your fault, we all get forgetful every once in a while.  Though forgetting a front page article you were quoted in just a few months ago seems a bit extreme.  Maybe a diary or something is in order?  Feel free to ignore my advice, as  ever. :)

*I’ve started my timer to see how long it takes for another threat of Conduct Committee looms from the mists to try and silence me.  Like I said last time, whoever wants to, bring it on if you think you have a case.  With classic stuff like this the wider the audience the better.