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#Swindontory Bluh’s ‘Safe Guarding Children’ WiFi Hypocrisy

Liz Brackenbury

It looks like the Swindon WiFiasco is set to give Leader of Swindon Borough Council Rod Bluh another headache.

Not only is Bluh’s WiFiasco months behind schedule,  it has swallowed £400,000 of public money and is already several months behind schedule.  The WiF’iasco bears all the hallmarks of another expensive but undelivered vanity project from the ‘vibrant’ mind of Rod Bluh and, now that the  rush is all but over and the political PR fanfares have echoed their last, it is now time to rake through the various piles of legislative wreckage that Bluh’s haste inevitably leaves behind him.  As with most of his fantastic schemes, there is very little visible evidence to show for amount of money spent, except for the paperwork his projects generate, and it is ‘in the paperwork’ that Swindon Columnist Liz Brackenbury will find more evidence to further expose Swindon Borough Council’s ‘scrutiny’ of the WiFiasco as an embarrassing sham.

In late June of 2010 Liz wrote a short column on the potential threat to Swindon’s children from Bluh’s Wifi ‘mesh’ – a mesh which, if completed, will cover almost every square inch of every living person in the Borough of Swindon.   Bluh didn’t actually bother to ask the inhabitants of the Borough if they minded being constantly bathed in the radiation emitted by hundreds of WiFi transmitters bolted to the lamposts and public buildings, (including schools and libraries), across the Borough, he went ahead secretly until he couldn’t hide his plans any longer and swapped ‘secretively’ for ‘stubbornly’ when awkward questions were asked of him.

For a list of ‘awkward’ questions and account of ex-Swindon MP, Anne Snelgrove’s Parliamentary debate on Swindon WiFi, readers are invited to visit the WiFi enquiry section of the Talkswindon Forum.  Incidentally, Bluh describes those of us who ask ‘awkward’ questions or publish opinions he doesn’t like, as ‘loud mouths’.  Bluh also bemoans the fact that we’re ‘not even in politics!’.   To listen to Rod Bluh for any length of time is to realise that he has a strangely distorted and dictatorial view of politics.  The words ‘public servant’ do not appear in Bluh’s personal dictionary and he has no understanding of Nolans Principle of Public Life.

Anyway, Liz has picked up the public health baton as it pertains to Bluh’s WiFi’asco.  Other ‘loudmouths’, a title I’m quite proud to have pinned to my chest, were so busy scrutinising the many inconsistencies, lies and incompetent acts associated with WiFi’s legislative passage through the council that we didn’t really have the capacity to pay the degree of attention to the ‘Health Scrutiny’ aspects that it really deserved, but we did recognise some glaring inconsistencies in the ‘evidence’ presented to the Council’s ‘Health Scrutiny Committee’.  A committee which was chaired by Swindon Councillor (and Tory Whip) Peter Mallinson who was later rewarded with a ‘Cabinet’ position on the council by Rod Bluh. Cabinet positions carry an ‘extra responsibilities’ allowance of £9836.68 per year.  Not rocking the boat seems to pay quite well on Bluh’s council and once a paying seat is gained it is very rare to see a cabinet member give that seat up voluntarily or resign on principle.

Although I don’t object to the principle of WiFi being made available across the borough of Swindon I did, and still do, object to the way it was introduced.  There was no public consultation, no open tendering process – no other companies were allowed to advance plans for the project and Bluh secretly arranged to lend £450,000 of public money,  (that’s our money), to his personal friend John Richard Hunt, also known as ‘Rikki Hunt’), the CEO of Digital City (UK) Ltd who currently runs his business empire from offices in Swindons Landmark David Murray John tower….rent free, courtesy of you, me and every other council tax payer in Swindon…..

….and not forgetting that the scrutiny process was so obviously manipulated and abused by Bluh’s Wifi-Mafia that even the dictator of a a Banana Republic would blush.  I think Bluh must have recognised every lie, every half-truth and every bit of spin as they surfaced in teh various scrutiny committee hearings, and he didn’t seem to twitch uncomfortably even once.  Even when members of the Health Scrutiny committee fell over themselves to accept official ‘evidence’ that wifi had been ‘tested’ in classrooms and found to be ‘safe’, Bluh did not twitch.  He should have twitched though, because I believe that he, and his political allies on the health scrutiny committee,  knew as well as we did that those ‘classroom’ trials never actually took place…..but that inconvenient fact didn’t stop them pretending that they had.   Make no mistake, there are few latter-day Abraham Lincoln’s on SBC committee’s, and where they do exist they are not conservative.

Liz should not expect any principled offers of help from Cabinet members and should view any offers of ‘help’ from members of the WiFi compliant conservative group with suspicion.  She may find a couple of helpful councillors from other quarters, but they will come under pressure from Bluh’s gang, (known as being ‘cHarmed’), to keep quite and not be ‘too helpful’.

Following her column last month, Liz just had a letter published:

“IN response to Basil Jones and Cheryl Boyd’s letters in the SA and because of the incredible numbers of Swindon residents who have also express their concern to me personally, after my column went in the SA on Wednesday, June 23, about the introduction of Wi Fi by Swindon Borough Council to the town and the unknown harm it may cause ourselves, our children and future generations I have now set up a facebook campaign: ‘Swindon Campaign Against Wi Fi’. If any readers are unhappy with the implementation of Wi Fi in Swindon, this gives them an opportunity to join this campaign and voice their concerns. With thanks to everyone who feels as concerned and strongly as I do for making this campaign happen. LIZ BRACKENBURY Upper Stratton Swindon

I’ll happily do whatever I can to help promote Liz’s campaign.  As I said earlier, I’m not necessarily against WiFi per se, but the health aspects of Swindon’s WiFi scheme were not investigated or discussed fully and properly by the Council, in fact our council almost fell over itself in its rush to sign everything off as quickly as it possibly could, and in doing so proved to every interested observer that the Council should not scrutinise itself because it cannot be trusted to do it properly and honestly, let alone  transparently.

If you’re a user of Facebook have a look at and consider joining Liz’s online campaign group.  Perhaps have a look at the Talkswindon Forum’s  WiFi enquiry to better acquaint yourselves with Swindon’s WiFi’asco and Rod Bluh’s ‘visions’ for the town.

As I find myself saying quite often of Bluh’s term in office, “You can’t bury a bad smell”…….

Posted on
Monday, July 5th, 2010
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