Author Topic: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?  (Read 3788 times)

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Offline Francoise De Lampe

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Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« on: April 22, 2010, 11:13:10 PM »

An appeal for Lamplighters to cast some light onto tonights events at the Civic offices.  leaks@talkswindon.org


A lamplighter who lives close to the civic says there is a lot of unusual activity there this evening. Raised voices could be heard just outside the chamber and what Marguerite describes as the Mayors Gavel being banged repeatedly.

Sounds like a political ding dong.

What do you know?, you know what to do and where to send it  :)



Offline Francoise De Lampe

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2010, 11:36:04 PM »

Lamplighter Victor tells me that tonights full council meeting has been quite ugly, even uglier than normal.

Apparently Derique Montaut and Stan Pajak proposed the wifi motion below.  Rod Bluh has been trying to get Monty to withdraw the motion all week, yet despite his repeated threats to 'take Monty to the standards board' Bluh still hasn't followed through.

The Proposed Montaut/Pajak Motion

Quote
9.
   

Motion - Wi-Fi

Councillor Derique Montaut will move and Councillor Stan Pajak will second:

"This Council notes that there has been evidence produced that has brought concern from Councillors and members of the public alike, over this Council’s dealings with Digital City (UK) Ltd and the provenance of the investments that have been made in to this company.

This Council requests the Chief Executive to present a report to Cabinet on the appointment of external auditors to hold an enquiry in to specific aspects of this Council’s dealings with Digital City (UK) Ltd, Avidity Consulting Ltd and the three companies registered under the aQovia name. The terms of reference for this enquiry will be the following:

The Constitution of the Board of Digital City (UK) Ltd

Who has been and is currently, on the Board of Digital City (UK) Ltd?

What is the position of Mr Mustafa Arif in regards to Digital City (UK) Ltd and AQovia UK Limited?

The provenance of the loan arrangements with Digital City (UK) Ltd and their compliance with current legislation

Was full due diligence made by the Swindon Borough Council before entering in to a partnership with other private sector companies?

What is the provenance of all the investments made in to Digital City (UK) Ltd?

Do the origins of all the investments in to Digital City (UK) Ltd comply with the Swindon Borough Council’s own Constitution, standing orders and protocols?

The relationship between Digital City (UK) Ltd, Aqovia and Avidity Consulting Ltd

What is the relationship between Digital City (UK) Ltd and the Swindon Borough Council with each of the three aQovias?

What is the relationship between all three companies named aQovia, with each other?

What is the relationship between Digital City UK Ltd and Avidity Consulting Ltd? And is William Richard Hunt the sole investor of Avidity Consulting Ltd?

Cabinet Member Response Note signed by the Lead members on the 15th October, 2009

Was all aspects of the Cabinet Member Briefing Note fully adhered to after it was signed by the two Lead members on the 15th October 2009?

Could the Swindon Borough Council have loaned up to £450,000 of Council taxpayers money to Digital City (UK) Ltd in a more open and transparent way without jeopardizing the Swindon Wi-Fi project?”



In an act of what appears to be spiteful democratic vandalism the wording of the above motion was rejected by the Conservative group and amended to read:

Quote
"This Council notes that there has been evidence produced that has brought concern from Councillors and members of the public alike, over this Council's dealings with Digital City (UK) Ltd and the provenance of the investments that have been made in to this company.

This Council notes that the Scrutiny Committee (19 April 2010) and Audit Committee (20 April 2010) have reviewed and investigated the loan arrangement and concluded that due process was followed and due diligence was undertaken. This Council notes the Memorandum of Understanding between the Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition dated 15 April 2010 to find a way forward for this and other innovative and beneficial projects. In particular, this Council notes the review being undertaken by the Director of Law and Democratic Services investigating consultation options with councillors while preserving commercial confidentiality when required.

Therefore, this Council endorses the request for the Director of Law and Democratic Services to complete this review and to report back to the Corporate Governance Working Party and to Council as soon as is practicable"


At a single stroke the Council has just declared itself Wifi-fit, reneged on Councillor Bluhs promise to 'invite' the district auditor in for a look and paved the way to create a 'black box' business unit to keep future Bluhtastic 'deals' away from the concerned eyes and probing questions of the general public.


Offline Jarvis

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2010, 11:37:34 PM »
 
The council has declared itself wifi-fit ???  Isn't that like trusting Gary Glitter to look after the creche ?

Offline Francoise De Lampe

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 11:48:53 PM »

Tenpin Terry says:

Quote
"Perkins was spitting bile at Monty, even called him a liar at one point. Wren, [The Mayor], whacked his gavel a couple of times, (never heard that before), and told Perkins to apologise.

The Tory amendment to Motion 9 was stupid and spiteful. This will come back at them like a napalm-covered boomerang and then Bluh will be screaming at the audit commission to pull his lily-white arse out of the fire.  Everyone knows the Tory dominated committees just rubber-stamped Bluh's decisions.

By the way, there had been some angry chatter earlier in the members room about Rods agreement with Month being leaked by Talkswindon on Saturday. that's why the Adver story had to run a day earlier than planned. Rod was terrified and angry that people would realise that the scrutiny committee decision was a complete stitch-up"



Thank you Terry

Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2010, 10:27:29 AM »
Rod has other thing to worry about such as an ex-leading councillor telephoning around  canvassing for votes for his leadership campaign.
Bobby

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2010, 10:29:23 AM »
Another series of hastily decided upon political mistakes from the Rodigarch & his faithful.

I've split the Perkins/Bluh motion into three parts:


Part One: "Trust me.."

Quote
"This Council notes that there has been evidence produced that has brought concern from Councillors and members of the public alike, over this Council's dealings with Digital City (UK) Ltd and the provenance of the investments that have been made in to this company.

This Council notes that the Scrutiny Committee (19 April 2010) and Audit Committee (20 April 2010) have reviewed and investigated the loan arrangement and concluded that due process was followed and due diligence was undertaken."


"I'm a doctor......."


Part 2:  "Of Course I love you...."

Quote
"This Council notes the Memorandum of Understanding between the Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition dated 15 April 2010 to find a way forward for this and other innovative and beneficial projects.


Bluh, bullshitting fantasist that he is, can't resist adding something into his fake agreement with Derique Montaut that wasn't there in the version leaked by Lamplighters last Saturday or the one published by the adver last Sunday night.

The agreement the leader of the Labour group was conned into signing mentioned applies only to the WiFiasco and makes no mention whatsoever of 'other innovative and beneficial projects'   The Rodigarchy is once again making it up as it goes along.

Here's the exact wording of last weekends 'agreement' between Bluh and Montaut:

Quote
“I have reached an agreement with the Labour Group Leader that as and when the wi-fi project, which is fully supported by both the Conservative and Labour Groups, has been finally cleared by the Scrutiny and Audit Committees then in the interests of allowing the wi-fi project to move forward without further damaging publicity, without incurring additional costs to the taxpayer and to stop the enormous amount of officer time being spent on this issue to date, I will ask the external auditor to confirm the findings of the internal audit report and also to confirm that due process has been followed throughout,” he said.

“It is time to allow this fantastic, innovative opportunity to get properly underway to deliver for Swindon.”


Readers will remember that the 'agreement' between the leaders was leaked last Saturday in the 'Scrutiny Committee Respectfully Request "No More Surprise Questions Please' thread and that Tory Councillor Peter Mallinson, Group Whip and Chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee tried (weakly imho) to deny that the Scrutiny decision to approve the loan release to Digital City had already been taken, (as evidenced by the agreement between the leaders), and had only become public knowledge early because the agreement had been leaked from within the Conservative Group itself. 

The Advertiser then published Bluhs 'press release' 24hrs earlier than planned on the Sunday night when I feel sure that Bluh's original plan required that release to be published on Monday night, after the scrutiny committee had made an 'independent' decision to okay the release of the loan.

Is it surprising that institutional political incompetency at SBC is the constant companion of the commercial incompetency that has mired the WiFiasco in controversy since day one?  SBC can successfully conclude multi-million pound deals with all manner of organisations, but only when Roderick Bluh and Mark Edwards are kept well away from them.  Everything this bloke touches turns to shit and by now Derique Montaut will have realised, long after the rest of rest, that Rod Bluh's written 'word' is as worthless as his verbal 'word'.  It's difficult to believe a word he says these days.


Part 3:  "What do you mean you're pregnant, prove I'm the Father....."

or

"Say Hello to Rod Bluh's Black Box Democracy



Quote
In particular, this Council notes the review being undertaken by the Director of Law and Democratic Services investigating consultation options with councillors while preserving commercial confidentiality when required.

"Therefore, this Council endorses the request for the Director of Law and Democratic Services to complete this review and to report back to the Corporate Governance Working Party and to Council as soon as is practicable"


In future, 'deals' like the WiFiasco will be secretly conducted.  'Deals' will be done in secret, scrutinised in secret and the public will simply be told:

Quote from: A Rodigarchical Bullshitter
"This innovative and unique deal offers a fantastic opportunity to vibrantly deliver for Swindon"


The SBC Politards, not you, will decide on your behalf that everything is Kosher.   Readers don't need me to explain how bad this looks, how bad this already is.

If both scrutiny committees ignore the public record and instead favour weakly fabricated excuses for incompetency, mutually contradictory statements from officers and bare faced lies from councillors then democracy and 'due process' do not exist within Swindon Borough Council.  I'd reached this conclusion a while back and it is why I won't attend any council meetings while the current leadership continue to corrupt the work and nature of the Council.

Last night, like a spiteful coprophiliac, the Rodigarch rammed through a motion which was supposed to dump on the Labour group and throw crap at the question asking public.

Like a Heroin Addict saying: "Honestly Mum, I'm not an addict I just need to borrow a tenner to get some fags", the Bluhtocracy said whatever it felt it need to say to get what it wanted most, but in doing so it showed its real nature.....

.....and, like a bent mechanic who MOT's his own car without inspecting it, issues a certificate to say it's safe, sells it the next day just before it bursts into flames and incinerates the occupants......saying: "I checked it myself, it was fine" is not going to cut the mustard.  Public sSuspicion and cynicism is inevitable.

It may be that the District Auditor has told the Bluhtocrats he's not investigating the Wifiasco, it may be that he's told them he is but not until the elections are over. It's also possible that the District Auditor hasn't told them anything and they've simply made some assumptions so, if you know what is or is not happening, feel free to drop an email to leaks@talkswindon.org

What is fairly clear about the motion proposed by Gary Perkins, seconded by Rod Bluh and carried by the Tory group, is that is was also intended to be another kind of 'motion of confidence' in the leader.  As the motion was carried quite comfortably, and as Councillor Perkins seems to have replaced an absent, (again?), Peter Greenhalgh as the Rodigarch attack Puppy, I'm assuming that Councillor Perkins has decided to withdraw his nomination of Nick Martin as a leadership candidate and has thrown his lot in with the Rodigarch.

Has Nick Martins leadership bid been torpedoed like the General Belgrano, is Perkins now doing a desperate Argentine Tango with the Rodigrach and which one will stab the other first?  WHat do you reckon Bobby, will Nick Martin need to get as frantic about his telephone canvassing as Bluh is about covering the streets of Dorcan with 'Vote for Me!' leaflets?

What last night proves for me, again, is that the majority of Swindon Councillors are quill pen wielding, self serving tribalists who believe that if something is said to be 'true' in Euclid Street it will automatically become 'true' across the Borough. 

I'm not an expert but I don't think it works like that any more.....   

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2010, 10:35:58 AM »
I was in the public gallery last night and now know why the public are so convinced they have absolutely no influence over any decisions taken by the Council and therefore do not vote.

Whilst I can understand his frustration Garry Perkins' rant was an eye opener and I suggest does him no favours.  Calling Councillor Montaut a liar from any perspective is not acceptable and following pressure from Council this was reluctantly withdrawn.  A quieter more considered approach would have been far more effective and raises the question as to what he was trying to hide?  From a procedural viewpoint I cannot understand why it was not noted, at any time, that there was a conflict of interest being discussed in that Garry Perkins is a Director of Digital City?

I am also somewhat bemused as to how, we the public, can actually alllow closure on this issue when it is believed that there are still questions to be answered?  Perhaps Chris Watts and Des Morgan could advise the forum as to whether the questions they raised at the last scrutiny meeting, in writing as requested beforehand, have ever been answered?

Also having been present at the Audit Committee meeting on Tuesday I would question what was said in the context of the District Auditor.  It was my understanding that he said he would not take instruction from Swindon Borough Council and that he would make his own decision.  I believe he said that he did not usually investigate the level of the relatively small sum involved but he noted the public concern on this issue.  This does not, in my opinion, mean the matter is closed.  There were other independent witnesses to his involvement in the process and I invite your interpretation of the evening.

and one final point Rod Bluh denied he had said at Scrutiny he could not trust his Cabinet or his group to divulge any of the Commercial Confidentialy of this deal.   

None of this does any of the participants any favours and it was indeed fortunate as noted by Rod Bluh that no one from the Adver was present to report any of the details in todays paper.

All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2010, 11:48:02 AM »
 
I am also somewhat bemused as to how, we the public, can actually alllow closure on this issue when it is believed that there are still questions to be answered?  Perhaps Chris Watts and Des Morgan could advise the forum as to whether the questions they raised at the last scrutiny meeting, in writing as requested beforehand, have ever been answered?
 

I think it will be over when the public decides that it is over and not before.   Bluh issuing a proclamation to that effect is as worthless as his 'leaders agreement' with Montaut, as valueless as his 'word' and carries as much gravitas as one of his statements to a scrutiny meeting*


and one final point Rod Bluh denied he had said at Scrutiny he could not trust his Cabinet or his group to divulge any of the Commercial Confidentialy of this deal.
   

*Oh, what a coincidence.  Isn't his just the latest example of Councillor Bluh denying something he'd previously said at a scrutiny meeting?   Several people who were present at that meeting have confirmed that he had said he did not trust the cabinet or group not to divulge the detail of the WiFiasco 'deal'.   Perhaps Bluh has simply forgotten what he'd said earlier or perhaps he's lying.  Readers are capable of making their own minds up but imho I would have though "I cannot remember saying that" would be the correct response if he'd merely forgotten.

I wasn't there, but I would sooner believe the word of 30 members of the public (who I've never met), than Councillor Rod Bluh who constantly makes threats about his 'personal integrity' being impugned but fails to recognise that he is impugning it himself, and readers might remember that Bluh has previous form for attacking the integrity of others as a means to hiding the nature of his own and that he does not trust the integrity of others, even those that voted to elect him as their leader. 

Case in point:  Bluh refused to allow the Chairman of the Internal Audit Committee (Tory Councillor Michael Dickinson), access to the Getsignal/Digital City Business plan and accused him, (Dickinson), of being a 'leaker.' 

From Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices

As is often the case, this lamplighters thread took off quite gently.......

Quote
I understand that the Chair of the Audit committee, (Cllr Michael Dickinson) asked Rod Bluh for the business plan upon which Rod Bluh and Mark Edwards decided, (all on their own using 'delegated decision making powers'), to lend Digital City (UK) Ltd, £450,000.  Apparently Rod Bluh again refused to discuss the business plan and, alluding to his 'gang of four', ( the cabinet-within-a-cabinet), admitted that only himself, Mark Edwards, Peter Greenhalgh and Phil Young had knowledge of 'the deal' and access to 'the business plan'.

It finally began to dawn on the Conservative councillors present that Rod Bluh, the man they had elected to lead them and the Borough, did not trust them in July of 2009 when the 'deal' was 'firmed up', and does not trust them now.  Perversely, Rod will be expecting them to vote him in as leader again this May, provided of course that Dorcan Ward wants him back as their councillor.

There is disquiet in the Tory group as many members are now wondering how many other delegated decisions have been taken without their knowledge or discussion, and what skeletons are going to fall out of cupboards on them.  Bluh's refusal to discuss the business plan, and his apparent intention not to release the business plan to the internal audit, only adds fuel to the fire of suspicion that the plan either does not exist or is so weak that to lend against it would be reckless.  The Tory group want the gang of four to show them the business plan. Presumably the will continue to assume the worst until they've seen it.

There is also growing group speculation about Bluh's political future.   Within his own group he is increasingly regarded as 'incredibly vain' and 'ruthlessly manipulative'. Doubts exist as to whether he could stomach up to 4 years as a back-bencher when he's ousted as leader...and it will happen at some point -  no political leader lasts forever.  However, another point of view is that Rod is so vain that he is not capable of envisaging any scenario in which he will not manage to get his own way and stay at the top.

Time will tell whether he will successfully plan for, and stage manage, his own departure or whether it will come as a shock to him when the group make that decision for him.  Tory members might be pissed off to realise Bluh doesn't trust them, but then reflect on whether the really important question is whether they can trust him.  How accountable Rod Bluh is to the 43 members who are responsible for putting and keeping him where he is today, could be of increasing relevance to the Boroughs electorate as they realise his reign is more myth than legend.


...and then gained momentum when someone, perhaps a bit fed up with Bluh's version of events being 'briefed' at them, decides to drop a line to Lamplighters.  ( leaks@talkswindon.org )  because little later the fuller picture started to emerge: http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=4985.msg31465#msg31465

Quote from: Me
Michael wants to give Rod Bluh a fair chance to retract and apologise for what seems to be an unprovoked attack on his professional ethics.

Only Michael, (and every other Conservative councillor present), know what was said but I'm told Rod refused to give Michael the Getsignal/Digital City Business plan because, and I quote Rod Bluh approximately:

"You [Michael] will leak them".

Apart from the obvious insult to Michael, and apart from the likelihood that Rod Bluh sees Councillor Dickinson's Chair of Internal Audit role as being the largest internal threat of exposure to his WiFi dealings, there is another question that Bluh's attack raises.....

.... is Rod Bluh's refusal to divulge the business plan to the Chair of the Internal Audit Committee, and then compounding that refusal by smearing Councillor Dickinson with the 'You're a leaker' allegation actually starting to look like Rod Bluh is now protecting the commercial interests of Digital City (UK) Ltd at the expense the proper working of the Council ?

If I were Councillor Dickinson I'd already be drafting my letter of Complaint to the Standards Committee, (which is meeting next Monday), in the event that Bluh tries to stall for time until the meeting has already taken place.

If I were Rod Bluh I'd be reflecting on the dangers of apologising, or indeed, not apologising and the attendant dangers of trying to stall any existing Standards Board complaint(s) against him.





None of this does any of the participants any favours and it was indeed fortunate as noted by Rod Bluh that no one from the Adver was present to report any of the details in todays paper.



But readers wanting the unadulterated story, warts 'n' all, will always turn to Talkswindon anyway.  Keeping the Adver away for political expedience, (if that's what happened), is not an effective prophylactic.  The Swindon Pravdatiser is not an effective Dutch Cap.

I'm afraid the evidence points to it being far too late for any prophylactics to prevent Bluh doing his business in the chamber.  Bluh has done to Swindon Borough Councils 'Cabinet' style leadership exactly what Tony Blair did to Cabinet Government.

Offline komadori

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2010, 09:50:34 PM »
Last night's full council meeting was a rather odd affair. There had clearly been a decision made that the blues would lay into Mr Montaut, so Mr Tomlinson blamed Mr Montaut for not getting the wifi deal referred to full council (he seemed to be saying that Mr Montaut should have politicised the meeting more), and Mr Dickinson repeated Mr Bluh's lie that the Audit Commission representative had said at the Audit Committee that they won't investigate the deal, and berated Mr Montaut for not accepting that.

What the Commission's bod actually said at the Audit Committee was that the council couldn't tell them whether to investigate or not (they make their own decisions thank you) and that, although the material value of the loan is below the value that they would include in their annual review of the council, they might choose to investigate in this case "because of the level of public debate".

I have seen written evidence, from the Commission, that the matter will not be closed in their view until after they have considered the council's Internal Audit report. I also have a date by which they intend to report. Regardless of what Mr Bluh would like you to believe, this isn't over yet.

and one final point Rod Bluh denied he had said at Scrutiny he could not trust his Cabinet or his group to divulge any of the Commercial Confidentialy of this deal.
*Oh, what a coincidence.  Isn't his just the latest example of Councillor Bluh denying something he'd previously said at a scrutiny meeting?   Several people who were present at that meeting have confirmed that he had said he did not trust the cabinet or group not to divulge the detail of the WiFiasco 'deal'.
At the Scrutiny meeting I observed Mr Bluh was rather careful with his words, effectively blaming the opposition parties (because cabinet papers are circulated to the whole council), whilst also emphasising that he wasn't blaming them. :idiot2:

Whilst I can understand his frustration Garry Perkins' rant was an eye opener and I suggest does him no favours.  Calling Councillor Montaut a liar from any perspective is not acceptable and following pressure from Council this was reluctantly withdrawn.  A quieter more considered approach would have been far more effective and raises the question as to what he was trying to hide?  From a procedural viewpoint I cannot understand why it was not noted, at any time, that there was a conflict of interest being discussed in that Garry Perkins is a Director of Digital City?
Mr Perkins' conflict was noted, though rather late in the discussion. If there's one good reason why video of Swindon Borough Council meetings should be made publicly available, it's so that the residents of Shaw & Nine Elms can see what an arrogant, ranting, aggressive disgrace Mr Perkins is.

I also noted that Mr Wren was not very even handed in his chairing of the meeting. He allowed Mr Perkins to rant on at length, without even waiting to be called to speak, and although in the end he did partake of some gavel banging to silence Mr Perkins, it was only after proceedings had got totally out-of-hand.
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Offline Ringer

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2010, 08:59:49 AM »
Those that know Cllr Perkins will tell you that there is Nothing new about Cllr Perkins rants, its just a long time since it has been witnessed by the public. He was like that on housing committees when he first came to the council as a leading light councillor with bags of experience. His performance was easily spike in those days by labour .... or so it is said  :popcorn:
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Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2010, 10:07:52 AM »
Somewhere in my distant memory I think Perkins was having some trouble around the area in which he lives and was featured in the local press with his, as he called them, Guard Dogs.
That showed him in his true light.
A confrontational, arrogant, ignorant bully.
They say "Empty vessels make the most sound" and he epitomizes this.

Do you like my new image?
This bloody election, combined with the councils current performance has put years on me!
Bobby

Offline Francoise De Lampe

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2010, 10:34:38 AM »
Do you like my new image?

I do.  The Michael Foot look suits you  :)

Offline Francoise De Lampe

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2010, 10:35:23 AM »

Lamplighters #17 coming very shortly

Offline Ringer

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Re: Lamplighters #16: What's happening at the Civic tonight ?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2010, 11:33:49 AM »
Somewhere in my distant memory I think Perkins was having some trouble around the area in which he lives and was featured in the local press with his, as he called them, Guard Dogs.
That showed him in his true light.
A confrontational, arrogant, ignorant bully.
They say "Empty vessels make the most sound" and he epitomizes this.

Do you like my new image?
This bloody election, combined with the councils current performance has put years on me!

I like the new image by the way gives you elevation.. ;) I see you know something of cllr Perkins and his past is it warts and all?  :popcorn:
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print