Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lib Fibs?

Following the ongoing controversy regarding the correct "parliamentary" language to use in Darlington Council meetings concerning lies told by the LibDems, I thought it might be helpful to the Mayor if I ran an online poll (bottom right of this page).

For the more Conservative-minded, I have even included a quote from the late great Alan Clarke, MP.

Vote early, but unlike some online polls, you can't vote often.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nick,
Could you please advise to which lib-dem "fibs" your refer?

Not when councillor dixon incorrectly stated (and you have perpetuated this untruth)that Martin S was only at Linden for "10 minutes"
I have it from several sources (not just martin!) that he was there for 1 1/2 hours.
Indeed, it should be noted that he had not been notified of the event at all by the council and only got to hear of it as the event started.

Martin has also refered to a number of residents being unhappy with the proposals. Surely it is his duty as ward councillor to represent their views?
Where is the fib in relation to this?

Could you answer why the Cabinet member for adult services (with responsiblity for warden services) new nothing of the proposals until I told him at his ward surgery?

What other fibs do you refer too? The FACT that chinese granite is being transported half way around the world to form the road surface of the pedestrian heart.
For someone so interested in sustainability I am surpised you do not find this at all questionable!

Still, enjoying the debate!



Darlington Councillor said...

Hi Ian.

Thanks for the post.

I'm not sure how much more I can add to the debate over the veracity or otherwise of Martin's comments at Full Council last Thursday. Clearly he's given his version to you, which you have accepted in good faith. You will understand that I place my reliance on Bill Dixon, a colleague for many years, who told Council that Martin left after 10 minutes. My only question would be whether Martin was talking about the same meeting to you as was being discussed at Council - I believe that there's been another one recently, and it may be that Martin, having learnt his lesson, stuck around for the full hour-and-a-half.

I think one of the problems on Thursday for Martin was that he didn't ask questions do much as make statements which turned out to be untrue. For example I heard him assert that the initial meeting in Linden Court was organised at the last minute so a number of residents could not attend. Bill told Council that all the residents were there, bar one, who had been placed in respite care.

I think the question which really raised the political temperature was this one..

"Would Councillor Dixon like to comment on the fact that a member of the public attending his ward surgery to query the impact such a scheme would have on a family friend, actually broke the news to him. As the Cabinet Member with this portfolio, are you now aware of the plan or would you like five minutes after Council for me to tell you what your officers said to the residents?"

I think you will know by now that again Martin got his facts completely wrong and instead Cllr. Thistlethwaite was approached. I'm sure it was the tone of the final sentence in the written question which raised Bill's ire. It would appear that at the last minute, Martin found out he had been misinformed, and refused to read out his written question. By then the damage (to his credibility, I'm afraid) had been done.

Other Lib Fibs (although that isn't the phrase that's winning in my poll at the moment) can be found in most LibDem leaflets not just in Darlington, but around the country. I'm not suggesting that Martin Swainston is any more or less honest that the next LibDem councillor or candidate - unfortunately they are trained to campaign in a certain way which stretches the truth to breaking point. Look at any LibDem Focus and ask yourself - did the Focus team really raise all these items and get things sorted, or are they sometimes simply taking the credit for things that would have happened anyway? Reading some editions of the brand, one might think that it is only down to the dilligence of the Focus team that the sun rose at all this morning.

Ian Holme said...

Hi Nick,
The question you quote is the one that was not asked, as indeed it was Councillor Thistlethwaite who was approached not Dixon.

Is it in Standing Orders that all written questions must be asked?

Strangley, you have not responded to the point that Thistlethwaite knew nothing og the plans, despite his portfolio covering warden services.

With regard to non-attendance of residents, I recall the questions actually related to relatives/carers of the residents, not he residents themselves.
I note you have not quoted that question in your response.

As far as the time spent at the meeting is concerned, it was the same meeting refered too and I have heard from others that Martin was there for in the region of 11/2 hours. So perhaps it is not martin telling "fibs"....

Again, you failed to pick up on the point that martin had not been informed of the meeting by the council beforehand, and it was only good fortune that he was able to attend at all.
Was Councillor Dixon in attendance?