Swindons Ministry of Truth: Councillors Re-writing History of WiFi-Lies?

Just days after publishing ‘More WiFi Lies Busted: Vindication & Exoneration For the ‘Swindon 4’ I can reveal that Swindons Conservative councillors are already re-writing recent history as they attempt to escape the consequences of their smear campaign against members of the public.

In the Blog mentioned above I said:

“The smear campaign reached a critical point when, on the 7th of February 2011, Councillor Perkins told Swindon Borough Council’s Scrutiny Committee that  West Lothian Council had received vexatious emails and/or phone calls from a resident(s) of Swindon,  and that these ‘vexatious’ communications had convinced BathGate to terminate their involvement with  Digital City (UK) Ltd.

It is my understanding that Councillor Perkins then told the committee members that he had submitted a Freedom of Information request to West Lothian Council to find out who had authored/made the ‘vexatious’ communications.”

Yesterday it became apparent that Councillor Andrew Bennett, a Conservative member of the Swindon Borough Council Scrutiny Committee, was hurriedly telling anyone who would listen that Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council & Director of Digital City (UK) Ltd Cllr Garry Perkins had not claimed that members of the public were responsible for Enterprising Bathgates rejection of Digital City, but had instead told the scrutiny committee that the rejection was caused by ‘media coverage’ of the WiFi’asco.

Luckily for us, Des Morgan and Chris Watts make copious and accurate notes which have proved to be more reliable than the ‘official’ minutes of Scrutiny meetings which, in the drafting process, are often subjected to political ‘modification’.  Des and Chris are both clear on what they heard, and on what they recorded in writing and both their accounts consistently concur in that Rod Bluh, Rikki Hunt & Garry Perkins referred to ‘external interference‘ in Digital City’s Bathgate Bid no less than 6 times during the meeting.   I hardly need point out that ‘external interference’ is very different from ‘media coverage’.

It is also recorded and remembered by several people present that Cllr Perkins made much noise about submitting a freedom of information request to West Lothian Council about the ‘external interference’.

It is a matter of public record that only ONE Freedom of Information Request has been received by West Lothian Council regarding the ‘external interference’ frequently refereed to by Rod Bluh, Rikki Hunt and Garry Perkin, and it said:

Please could you supply me with details of any contacts from the following individuals and any councillor or officer at West Lothain Council with regard to a borough wide wi-fi project or Digital City Uk or Rikki Hunt between 1st September 2010 and 31st January 2011. This should request covers any written or email communications, particularly the time and date, and any transcripts or recordings if you have them.

The individuals are:

Chris Watts
Geoff Reid
Des Morgan
Steve Wakefield

The above request looks very specific and very personal and does not suggest that the author of the request was at all interested in ‘media coverage’.

Further to this, despite Enterprising BathGate and West Lothian Council quickly and transparently publishing their reasons for rejecting Digital City (UK) Ltd, Councillor Bennett is now promoting the notion that the rejection letter is a ‘cover-up’ for the real reason for rejection which was, according to Councillor Bennett, because of vexatious emails and communications received by Enterprising BathGate, from members of the public.

I probably don’t need to spend much time getting forensic on Cllr Bennett, but I will point out that his statements appear to be mutually exclusive.  They can’t both be right, so I’m left wondering whether he is paranoid, particularly stupid or involved in promoting yet another wifi lie at someone else’s behest?

Enterprising Bathgate were very clear on their reasons for rejection, and for most observers of the WiFi’asco the reasons will seem horribly familiar:

“Following the submission of the feasibility study of Bathgate Wi-Fi Zone I can confirm that the Board of Enterprising Bathgate have elected to not proceed with the scheme for the reasons outlined below.

1. The initial Wi-Fi network area is too limited and excludes over 50% of Levy payers.

2. Digital City proposes a 6 year scheme; the BID is only in operation until 2013.

3. There is no guaranteed funding for the future phases as recommended in the feasibility study.

4. WLC do not have the resource to designate and officer to champion the scheme as recommended in the feasibility study.

5. Enterprising Bathgate do not have the resources to facilitate Market Research with local businesses.

6. There is no commercial feasibility demonstrated within the report.

We would like to thank you for your efforts and wish you well for the future.”

If Councillor Bennett is sincere in his belief that West Lothian Council is complicit with Enterprising Bathgate in covering up the ‘real’ reasons for the rejection, I hope to see him put some meat on the bones and prove it, and do so quickly because I have a strong feeling that this is going to escalate further.

I understand that as late as yesterday morning, Cllr Peter Heaton-Jones, (another member of the Scrutiny committee), confirmed that his recollection of events and oral statements at the scrutiny committee meeting concurred with those of Des Morgan and Chris Watts.

It will be interesting to see whether his recollections will start to resemble those of Councillor Bennett and whether the publication of the meetings minutes is being delayed because they are currently within Swindons very own Ministry of Truth.

The Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue, in Newspeak) is one of the four ministries that govern Oceania in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. As with the other Ministries in the novel, the Ministry of Truth is a misnomer and in reality serves an opposing purpose to that which its name would imply, being responsible for the falsification of historical events

Forum discussion topic open here on the Talkswindon Forum

Posted on
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
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