Author Topic: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors  (Read 24579 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Also blogged here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1112



Regular readers of my blog will probably be familiar with my recent notes concerning Swindon's small clutch of Liberal Democrat Councillors who represent the electoral ward of Eastcott and that, in that post, I discussed how the residents of the ward were being subjected to a concentrated bombardment of political Porky-Pies contained in Lib Dem election material.

Well, here's the thing:  Councillor Dave Wood, (the boyfriend of newly elected Eastcott Lib Dem councillor Nicky Sewell), recently appeared on the Talkswindon forum and,  in a discussion topic he euphemisticly named 'Coming Soon: The Truth about Eastcott 2011',  he promised to:

Quote from: Cllr Dave Wood
"Set the record straight"


I became briefly excited by this, until I read a bit further and noticed that he'd almost immediately added:

Quote from: Cllr Dave Wood
"Well, not now.  As soon as I get the time I will be back"


Councillor Dave has been back, but hasn't yet set any records straight.  In fact he's gone to some lengths to avoid answering any questions at all which,  all by itself,  raises yet more questions but, as  Dave has already accused me of trying to divert his 'topic-of-truth',  I thought I might chuck a couple of interesting questions out to the world at large and see what comes back.

During Nicky Sewells election campaign the lib dem election leaflets variously trumpeted the messages that Nicky Sewell was a 'local campaigner', a resident of Bowood road and that she was fiercely opposed to 'HMO's, (no, not Homo's, but 'Houses in multiple occupation').   In no leaflet was reference ever made to Nicky Sewell and Dave Wood being a couple or apparently living together at Nicky's Bowood Road address.

Normally it absolutely should not matter what the living arrangements between two people are, unless of course they are doing something illegal while they are doing it.  I'm not suggesting that Cllr's Sewell and Wood are doing anything illegal, but my curiosity is piqued by the effort Dave and Nicky are both expending as they apparently try to hide where they live from the very people that elected them.

Just prior to  Councillor Wood being elected to council in his nomination papers gave his address as: 21 Bowood Road, Eastcott and his proposer was none other than Nicola E Sewell, his girlfriend and also latterly known as Councillor Nicky Sewell.

Oddly though, after he was elected Councillor Wood submitted his contact details for inclusion on the Swindon Borough Council Website, and listed his home address as:

Quote
Home Address:
c/o Civic Office


Councillor Woods register of interests entry is also interesting because, in the section where councillors must disclose any "Land in the area of the authority in which you have a beneficial interest", Daves entry says starkly:

Quote
Details available at the Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH


I presume then, that Cllr Wood does have a beneficial interest in some land or property within the Borough, but he does not wish members of the public to easily find out what, or where it might be.  At this point I can only speculate as to why he wants to hide these details from public scrutiny.

In 2011, when she decided to join her boyfriend in the council chamber,  Nicky Sewell also recorded her address as being 21 Bowood Road, Eastcott on her nomination papers but, following Cllr Dave Woods previous example,  post-election she appears to have given her address as:

Quote
Home Address:
c/o Civic Office


This strikes me a being more than a little curious and quite contrary to my previous perception that liberal democrats are wedded to the notion of demanding transparency, openness and honesty from elected public servants.  Considering the considerable gravity which her election material gave to her being a 'local' resident of Eastcott, it seems very strange to me that both she and Dave Wood would, upon being elected to council by other residents of Eastcott, would then go to considerable lengths to hide where they live,  reduce their contact details to the bare minimum and go to  similar lengths to prevent the easy examination of their register of interests.

Perhaps Dave rents out a house to multiple occupants, (embarrassing for him considering the Eastcott Lib Dems apparent policy on HMO's), or maybe the pair of them don't want Eastcotts Catholic population to know they're living in sin.  Despite what their own election material said recently, and what was submitted on Cllr Sewells nomination papers,  it's also possible that neither of them live within the ward and the Bowood Road address may not be where they actually reside.  (that would cause a problem with electoral law of course).

I don't know what the answers are to be honest, (and as Cllr Wood has already said he won't answer questions from anyone he thinks is a labour supporter -  I actively supported Chris Watts' campaign in Eastcott so I guess that makes me a labour supporter in Daves opinion), but I think this is very strange behaviour from two people who actively sought votes from the residents of Eastcott - because they said they wanted to publicly serve those residents - but then try to hide where they live and what other property they have a 'beneficial interest in', within the Borough.

Cllr Wood is refusing to answer reasonable questions about public domain information about himself which ought to be freely and easily available.  His example, which Cllr Sewell is now following, seems to suggest that they might both think that transparency is something which applies to other Borough Councillors, but not to them.  I beg to differ.

Given that it is a mandatory requirement that all Borough Councillors accurately maintain their register of interests and update it within 28 days of any changes, I feel it is my civic duty to stick my nose in and have a good long sniff on behalf of the other incurably curious tax-paying residents of the Borough.  To that end I have today submitted the following freedom of information request.
It may yet prove to be the first of several.


Quote from: Geoff Reid
Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I note that the Register of Interests entry for Swindon Borough
Councillor Dave Wood (Eastcott Ward) does not record details of
land in the area of the authority in which he has a beneficial
interest.

The on-line register of interests document available at

http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=926&T=6&J=3

states that this information is available at the Civic Offices,
Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH.

Question 1: Please supply the address and other relevant details of
any land and properties in the area of the authority in which Cllr
Dave Wood has a beneficial interest.

I note that a register of interests entry for Cllr Nicky Sewell is
not available online at:

http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=1576&J=1

Question 2: Please supply the address and other relevant details of
any land and properties in the area of the authority in which Cllr
Nicky Sewell has a beneficial interest.

Question 3: On the current electoral role for the Borough of
Swindon, at what address or addresses are Nicky Sewell and Dave
Wood registered to vote?



Yours faithfully,

Geoff Reid




As the  'No smoke without fire' analogy is so often proved correct within local politics,  I very much look forward to finding out what it is that Cllr's Wood and Sewell are intent on hiding.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 10:40:23 AM by Geoff Reid »



Ringer

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Has Cllr Dave Wood and Cllr Sewell got telephone numbers? How are their people meant to get in touch with them?

Offline Spectre

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Has Cllr Dave Wood and Cllr Sewell got telephone numbers? How are their people meant to get in touch with them?

They don't want them to now the election is over Ringer.  Watch this space in about ten months time.  :coolsmiley:

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They don't want them to now the election is over Ringer.  Watch this space in about ten months time.  :coolsmiley:

Have people got to wait for 10 months before they can get in touch with a councillor in Eastcott by phone?  :popcorn:

Offline Richard Symonds

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According to the internet they both live at 21 Bowoood Road, but mysteriously whilst Dave's link works Ikky's does not!!

Typed it all out but lost it and cannot be bothered to do it again at this time of night.
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According to the internet they both live at 21 Bowoood Road, but mysteriously whilst Dave's link works Ikky's does not!!

Typed it all out but lost it and cannot be bothered to do it again at this time of night.

Never mind you old night owl  :wakeup: don't blame  O0

Offline DarkAuror

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Has Cllr Dave Wood and Cllr Sewell got telephone numbers? How are their people meant to get in touch with them?

They don't want them to now the election is over Ringer.  Watch this space in about ten months time.  :coolsmiley:

Does this mean that the only time residents will see the councillors will be in the FOCUS meetings and Elections?

Surely this is what alleged in the LibDem leaflets about the labour candidate, you would only see the candidate at elections. If other councillors have made their details available, including Councillors Bluh and Perkins,who to be fair have more on their plate then the most councillors, why not the 2 LibDem councillors?

There is probably a very simple explanation for the lack of details but how do residents contact the councillors outside of the FOCUS meetings?

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There is probably a very simple explanation for the lack of details but how do residents contact the councillors outside of the FOCUS meetings?

Some Swindon Borough Councillors sit on a Parish council and I believe there is a condition of residency.
 
Quote
A candidate for a Parish or Town Council is qualified if, when nominated -

(a) he or she is a British subject or Irish citizen,
(b) is 18 years of age, and
(c) is either in the list of electors for that Parish or Town or has during the whole of the preceding twelve months
(i) occupied land as owner or tenant in it, or
(ii) had a principal place of work there, or
(iii) resided in or within three miles of it. (as c)

 


If they move after election is it only out of politeness that the people who elected them should be informed of where they live? Cllr Dale Heenan made much of the North Swindon MP's/candidates residential status and where they were registered to vote. Why does he not scrutinise Cllr Peter Heaton Jones, another C/O the civic councillor?
 
I think it is only fair in the interests of local transparency that councillors explain why they do not publish their addresses on the SBC website.  Another worrying trend that I have noticed in the recent election is some candidates hide from the   are not disclosing their own home addresses to the voters on their election bumpf.

As the Leader of the Council Rod Bluh has said previously scrutiny is generally to be welcomed. Is generally the word open to interpretation?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Funny that, PHJ is already the subject of another discussion elsewhere.  :wink:

For the time being though, what Cllr's Wood & Sewell may or may not be up to or hiding has certainly woken the Lamplighters network up.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2011, 06:47:54 PM »
Having started this Dave isn't it about time you finished it?
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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2011, 11:30:27 AM »
Having started this Dave isn't it about time you finished it?

Richard when you are sitting comfortably he'll begin  :2funny:

Offline Walker

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2013, 08:29:53 PM »
from: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/business/9533086.print/

It looks likes they live in Kingshill, Nicky comes from Jersey (the tax haven) and Dave the Isle of Skye (speed bonnie boat springs to mind)

 :fish:


Two more councillors tie the knot in secret ceremony

4:02pm Wednesday 15th February 2012

 By David Wiles

WEDDING fever has gripped the Lib Dem group at Swindon Council, with members tying the knot in two ceremonies at Swindon Register Office this year.
 
Andy Harrison, 48, who has been a Penhill councillor for just over five years, married his partner Sue Beeston, 50, in front of friends and family on January 28.
 
Their wedding was attended by partners Dave Wood and Nicky Sewell, both 30 and councillors for Eastcott, who wed in a surprise ceremony on February 4.
 
Both ceremonies took place in a room at the Civic Offices which was once committee room six, where all three councillors previously took part in many debates.
 
The weddings mean all four members of the group, led by Coun Stan Pajak, are now married. Dave said: “There are four members and three got married within seven days. It’s a bit bizarre.
 
“We were trying to decide between the two weeks. It was good luck we went for the weekend afterwards because we didn’t know Andy was getting married.
 
“Andy, as far as I know, doesn’t know we got married because he is still on his honeymoon.
 
“We just told parents and grandparents before the day.”

There are only a few couples who are both borough councillors in Swindon, and this is thought to be the first time for decades, if ever, that serving councillors in Swindon have married.
 
Dave said the politics does not get in the way of the relationship but presents its challenges.
 
He said: “It’s difficult in not seeing as much of one another as other couples would because we’re on different committees, so we’re out on different nights.
 
“And we don’t agree on all the issues, so we’re very much like any other members of the group. We have to separate the political and the personal.”
 
Dave and Nicky met as students at the University of Plymouth, when he was studying psychology and politics, and she was studying psychology.
 
On the wedding day, the couple, who live at Kingshill, invited friends to their combined 30th birthday party and ten-year anniversary of being together.
 
When the guests arrived, they were greeted by a video message telling them they had been married that day. They were then invited to a blessing at Lydiard House before a party at the Hilton Hotel.
 
The blessing was conducted by the Rev Lionel Fanthorpe, a friend of the couple and veteran of TV and radio.
 
Nicky said: “We didn’t want the pressure that normally comes with wedding so we decided to only tell parents and grandparents. We did it very our way and were pleased we did.”
 
The blessing and reception were nearly derailed as weather warnings meant many parts of the country were at a standstill.
 
But guests still travelled from Nicky’s home of Jersey in the Channel Isles and Dave’s birthplace of the Isle of Skye, in the Hebrides. They will honeymoon is Romania in May.
 

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 12:09:26 AM »

Interesting choice of subject for your very first post on TS, especially as it appears to be out of date by at least 18 months.  Welcome to TS though.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2013, 01:42:14 PM »

Interesting choice of subject for your very first post on TS, especially as it appears to be out of date by at least 18 months.  Welcome to TS though.

Does it have anything to do with the fact that both of them were absent again at Council last Thursday?

I wonder how long it will be before the people of Eastcott notice that their Representatives have such a poor attendance record?  Or more importantly do they actually care?  Over to you Tobes.  :wink:

Either way dear old Dave must be dangerously close to the minimum requirements for attendance.  Such a difference from his heady days in his remunerated position of Chairman of the Children's Overview Scrutiny Committee.

So even with the absence of the Mayor there was absolutely no chance of the Administration being outvoted and even more so with the early departure of two Labour Members!  Does anyone agree that the minutes should record a late arrival and an early departure of a member?
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Offline Alligator

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2013, 02:03:34 PM »
Does anyone agree that the minutes should record a late arrival and an early departure of a member?

I think this would be a good start, however it's the quality of their contributions that matter more to me.  I'd prefer that someone didn't attend if all they were going to do while there was engage in a load of yah-boo politics or attend only for the sake of being seen to attend. 

I think a Hansard style reporting would be beneficial all round,  allowing us to see both their attendance and their voting record.   I know that this may be costly, but if transparent, accountable democracy, designed to operate in the 21st century, is something we can't afford, we may as well give up.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2013, 03:17:39 PM »

Interesting choice of subject for your very first post on TS, especially as it appears to be out of date by at least 18 months.  Welcome to TS though.


Does it have anything to do with the fact that both of them were absent again at Council last Thursday?

I wonder how long it will be before the people of Eastcott notice that their Representatives have such a poor attendance record?  Or more importantly do they actually care?  Over to you Tobes.  :wink:

Either way dear old Dave must be dangerously close to the minimum requirements for attendance.  Such a difference from his heady days in his remunerated position of Chairman of the Children's Overview Scrutiny Committee.

So even with the absence of the Mayor there was absolutely no chance of the Administration being outvoted and even more so with the early departure of two Labour Members!  Does anyone agree that the minutes should record a late arrival and an early departure of a member?


I don't know Richard but I thought it interesting, (for several reasons), that the first post made by new member 'Walker' dived straight into an older topic about Cllr Wood.

I understand, (via hearsay),  that there has been another online Twitter/Facebook/Beebo/Myspace spat betwixt Swindon's Tory and Labour Councillors which is, I am told, centred upon Cllr Wood.  Cllr Wood is, as we know, A liberal Democrat Councillor for Eastcott Ward.  I don't know the content of the spat and nor am I really interested.

I genuinely couldn't give a proverbial rat's arse if the opposing teams want to fang each other over a Liberal, but my antenna twitches when a new post, by a new member, suddenly pops up in an old thread about Woody......at about the same time that Cllr Faramarzi mentions Nazigate and Olive has yet another abortive attempt at fibrillating the mouldering corpse of Sweary Bob. I never figured either of them as being particularly necrophiliac in nature, but they do seem to like repeatedly mounting and flogging dead horses.

...anyway, I figure there's some diversionary political activism going on, and my money is on a small number of Tories desperately trying to shift public attention away from the embarrassing civic spectacle of a Mayor whose credibility increasingly resembles the painting of Dorian Grey

It is literally rotting and sloughing away as we watch.   

Offline Tobes

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2013, 05:44:11 PM »
Quote
I wonder how long it will be before the people of Eastcott notice that their Representatives have such a poor attendance record?  Or more importantly do they actually care?  Over to you Tobes.

I suspect I am not giving away any confidences - seeing as 'Opportunity Anne' Snelgrove has already kicked herself full in the mouth by trying to make hay over his absence, but I understand that he was rushed to hospital. He's now back at home - but I'm not sure he's fully recovered from what ever was wrong.

In answer to your repeated rhetorical question Richard, I'll repeat my usual answer  :wink:

His absences compared to other councillors have already been noted, but as i said before, as long as voters in Eastcott think that he's good at reacting to and acting on issues in the ward, I doubt support for the libs will waver much. The bullshit which goes on in the chamber is something which we find interesting - but the majority of the electorate find asinine. Dave's actions regarding the old college building, for example, are the only ones I know of which have had any impact at all - people notice things like that and it has a resonance, whatever else the criticisms of him.

Besides all, on this occasion at least, I think the reason for his absence is pretty valid, don't you?  ::)

Quote
...at about the same time that Cllr Faramarzi mentions Nazigate and Olive has yet another abortive attempt at fibrillating the mouldering corpse of Sweary Bob.

Interesting? Another outbreak of 'put the knife into Geoff' eh? What seems to have sparked that, or is the drawing in of the winters nights mean that they're looking to dust off a favourite old hobby?

Quote
Does anyone agree that the minutes should record a late arrival and an early departure of a member?

Yes - defo. It seems a lot of councillors use this as a sneaky 'fourth' way of voting - it being neither an aye, a nay or a recorded abstention...
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline concerned_of_Old_Town

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2013, 06:16:24 PM »
Must admit when I first saw Walkers  post couldn't understand the relevance and suspect Geoff is right in his suggest that some kind of Troll looking to create troubleert attention


Walker if you are reading this please advise why you posted it ?


Yes I also heard the rumour about Dave collapsing and if you happen to be reading this hope you are ok.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2013, 06:55:50 PM »
Aah....the light dawns, cheers Tobes.

Interesting? Another outbreak of 'put the knife into Geoff' eh? What seems to have sparked that, or is the drawing in of the winters nights mean that they're looking to dust off a favourite old hobby?

It's a predictable cycle of Cllr A tweets about Cllr B, Cllr's C, D & E take offence on behalf of X, Y & Z. 

I get added into the general fun because this week's C, D & E Councillors  see it as another opportunity to wield a bit of reputational leverage, (the implied threat of damage to 'reputation' and 'integrity'), on several groups of people who have/will/might/might-not use(d) TS to do some some stuff which has/is, quite frankly, made/making the administration even more disturbed than usual  ;D

Pretty sure that some currently non-political-but-active Swindonians are just starting to realise that they're being pushed into either 'playing the game' at the big house - thus possibly losing the trust of Joe and Josephine average, or remaining with Joe and Josephine out in the cold, frozen out by the big boys. 

My interest in this is pretty much academic/TS centric* unless/until I'm libeled again.

* With the exception that, politics aside, I don't wish any physical ill on Dave Wood and hope he recovers speedily...so I can get back to kicking him politically  :)


 

Offline Mart

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2013, 07:46:44 PM »
Aah....the light dawns, cheers Tobes.

No, still stygian here here. Atramentous even.

Haven't they got anything better to do?
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.