Author Topic: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?  (Read 11690 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« on: February 11, 2011, 01:35:46 PM »
Also blogged here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=922




They used to say a week was a long time in politics but that statement was rendered obsolete the moment the internet went live.  These days, an hour in politics can seem like an eternity to politicians who, having spun a line, then have to wait nervously until they find out if they've got away with it. Often they don't, and Hosni Perkins is a perfect local example.

In mid January 2011 I advanced the opinion that Digital City (UK) Ltd had already defaulted on its loan repayments to Swindon Borough Council and by the end of January I was discussing the loan default as if it were confirmed.  My opinions didn't find sympathetic ears with Swindon's Conservatives though, and Cllr Garry Perkins, (Deputy leader of the council & director of Digital City (UK) Ltd),  lost no time in trying to convince anyone who would listen to him that his company had not defaulted on repaying the loan his council had made to it.

But the truth was far different from the version Cllr Perkins was spinning publicly.  The truth was...that  Cllr Perkins' company had not made any loan repayments to Swindon Borough Council since the 4th of November 2010, a fact which Councillor Perkins would have been doubly aware of because not only is he a Director of Digital City (UK) Ltd, he is also the Deputy Leader of the Council and, (as if that wasn't already enough),  in his role as Deputy Leader of the council he had recently, with Hitesh Patel, co-authored a 'wifi update' report which contained the following paragraph:

Quote
3.2       Loan repayment update

Three Interest payments on the loan have not been made and they were due on the 4<sup>th </sup>November 2010, 16<sup>th</sup> December 2010 and 20<sup>th</sup> January 2011.


Busted, and Hoist upon his own petard Perkins eventually admitted his deceit when he apologised to Des Morgan, (a member of the Talkswindon Forum),  for misleading him.

Cllr Perkins knew in December 2010 that his company, (Digital City (UK) Ltd, was not making its loan repayments to the council of which he is the deputy leader, yet he was telling people and reporters that it was making loan payments on time.  Naughty and not clever.

But, as if Cllr Perkins obvious deceit wasn't bad enough, his fellow cabinet member Cllr Keith Williams and North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson decided that want to get some action - both apparently wanting to use appearances on BBC Radio Wiltshire to put the boot into local businessman, (and Talkswindon member), Chris Watts.     Chris had the temerity to not only criticise Rod Bluh's WiFi'asco but, after many months of aggression, obfuscation, arrogant dismissiveness and sneering contempt from Rod Bluh and his Bluhnderbirds,  eventually joined the labour party.

Judging Chris Watts to have blasphemed in the worst possible way, Justin Tomlinson MP lost no time in claiming Chris' criticism of the WiFi'aso was politically motivated.   Cllr Williams was next to ascend to the pulpit of local radio, from where he delivered a sermon of slander mightily upon Chris Watts, smiting his blasphemy and exposing the industrial espionage wreaked upon the Bathgate/Digital City Union by none other than the WiFi Devil, incarnate as Wattsy himself, horns 'an all,  so help him God and may he be turned to a pillar of shite....

...and thus, after a bit of wandering around the political desert 8 or nine paragraphs we eventually reach the point of this blog post:


Swindons Conservatives have been briefing anyone who will listen that Chris Watts is responsible for preventing Digital City (UK) Ltd from getting it's money-sucking straw anywhere near a sizeable pot of regeneration money in West Lothian.


Swindons Conservatives are claiming that the Swindon WiFi'asco has stalled because they have been prevented from  getting their hands on Bathgate's regeneration money.


While it is true that some who have been following the WiFiasco  in the papers and via the Talkswindon forum have corresponded with West Lothian Council.  I do not believe that Chris Watts is one of them.  I would like to see any evidence Councillors Williams &amp; Perkins have to the contrary and I would like to know why Justin Tomlinson felt able to put the boot in.  Personally I think they are worried that Chris might stand as a Labour candidate in Swindon's Eastcott ward in May this year, and their attacks on him genuinely are politically motivated.

As if they haven't already, (as usual), compounded their earlier errors and made things worse for themselves, Swindon's Tory's are determined to put themselves back on the National media stage as they try to 'hunt down like a dog' the person that 'Buggered Bathgate' for them. They claim to have submitted an Freedom of Information request to West Lothian Council to find out what was said, and who said it.   Well, I can answer 50% of their questions, i.e, what was said by one person but they'll get shit-all from me regarding peoples identities.

What follows is a partial extract of a covering email and the correspondents letter to West Lothian Council.   I have called our correspondent Roderick.

Roderick told me:


Quote
"I sent my e-mail when I realised that a “WiFi Feasibility Study” contract had been awarded to Digital City as I thought that the first stage of the con trick was in place and wanted to stop it.

You may like to know and perhaps share with TalkSwindon that I am not political, certainly not Labour and I have never met or spoken to anyone in the Swindon Labour group.

I do not live in Swindon and have more connections to Bathgate than Swindon, so obviously my loyalties lie with the citizens of Bathgate who will now not have to pay for anyone’s foreign holiday homes or expensive lifestyles. At the same time I want the citizens of Swindon to get their money back but from the estates of those that took it, not from another town."






Quote
Dear XXXXXX at Enterprising Bathgate



I note that Bathgate commissioned Get Signal Ltd to carry out a Wi-Fi feasibility study for the town centre regeneration project. I also note that a “Focus Event” was due to be held during early August.

As an interested party, from some distance away, I am very keen to know what the outcomes for this feasibility study and Focus Event were. Perhaps you can direct me to a web-site where I can read about them or if not, give me some information on the project?

The reason that I ask, is that Mr Rikki Hunt of Get Signal Ltd / Digital City / aQuovia who have been commissioned by Swindon Borough Council to install a pilot Wi-Fi project for the Swindon Borough town of Highworth by April 2010 and then the remainder of Swindon by September 2010 has failed to meet his targets.

The pilot project at Highworth, by Mr Hunt’s own admission, is still not complete and his latest estimate, given on BBC Radio Wiltshire yesterday, was that it will take another year before the Swindon project is complete. A full one year later than his original one year estimate.

It seems strange that Get Signal felt competent to carry out a Wi-fi feasibility study in Bathgate when, also by Mr. Hunt’s public admission, the Highworth pilot project revealed to them the basic physics of Wi-Fi transmission and several practical aspects of street furniture i.e electromagnetic waves will not go around or up and down hills, nor will they penetrate metal films or beams used in buildings. Also that they struggle to penetrate thick stone walls. Get Signal Ltd also admitted to not understanding that some street lights do not have an electrical power supply 24 hours per day. Yesterday Mr. Hunt also said, on BBC radio that they did not know that they could not put screws into concrete lamp posts and that installing an electrical cable up a concrete lamp post was difficult.

As Get Signal, Digital City and aQuovia are start up companies with no history of Wi-Fi installation I am not surprised at these late revelations.

Perhaps you would like to review what the citizens of Swindon think of this project by following the links below and then review Bathgate’s relationship with Mr. Hunt, Get Signal,  Digital City Ltd and aQuovia.


http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?board=207.0


http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=6361.0




Best Regards,



XXXXXXX




I understand 'Roderick' is not the only concerned member of the public to correspond with West Lothian Council.  Should others wish to share their correspondence with the wider world, (anonymously),  please email leaks@talkswindon.org

In the meantime, readers may be interested to learn that, because I think it would be interesting to know how the Swindon Conservatives 'Dog Hunting' is going, I though it might be fun to see who and how they're going about it:

FOI requests received by West Lothian Council Regarding Digital City (UK) Ltd &amp; the Bathgate WiFi Project

'Bathgate-Gate' - As Swindon's Conservatives indulge in a replacement for Fox hunting, are they also bringing a new twist to the phrase 'Hunt Saboteur'?
.



Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 01:41:30 PM »
Also Blogged here:  http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=914





FOI requests received by West Lothian Council Regarding Digital City (UK) Ltd & the Bathgate WiFi Project



Quote

Submitted by:  Geoff Reid

11th February 2011
 


Dear West Lothian Council,

At a Swindon Borough Council Scrutiny Committee meeting on the 7/2/2011 a Swindon Borough Councillor stated that the Council, (Swindon), or a member of the council, or other person acting on the members/councils behalf, had recently submitted a freedom of information request to West Lothian Council in relation to members of the public who may have contacted West Lothian Council in relation to Digital City (UK) Ltd and the Bathgate WiFi scheme.

Specifically, I understand that members of Swindon Borough Council, or other individuals acting on their behalf, are seeking to determine the identities of correspondents who have contacted West Lothian Council in relation to Digital City (UK) Ltd and its recent involvement with the Bathgate WiFi scheme.



My Freedom of information request is as follows:


1. Has West Lothian Council received any requests, (either freedom of information requests or enquiries by other means), for copies of correspondence between members of the public and West Lothian Council concerning Digital City (UK) Ltd and the Bathgate WiFi scheme?

2. If such requests have been made, who made them?

3. Please supply copies of any requests received.

4. If such requests have been answered, who answered them?

5. If such requests have been answered please supply copies of the answers.

6. Will West Lothian Council publish or release the names and addresses of members of the public who correspond with it, if such information is requested by another council, member of another council or member of the public?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully

Geoff Reid



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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2011, 02:01:31 PM »
Interesting post Geoff.

The assertion by Swindon Conservatives that the project stalled because they could not get their hands on Bathgate money is ludicrous. It makes the original granting of the loan to DC and the supposed risk assesment inexcusable.
Are they saying that the original Business plan from DC included moies from other projects to cashflow the rollout in Swindon? Are they saying that the risk assesment approved this? RIDICULOUS!!
Which ever way you want to look at it, it makes Bluh and his cohorts look ridiculous and exonerates Mr Watts.

Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 06:03:13 PM »
While it is true that some who have been following the WiFiasco  in the papers and via the Talkswindon forum have corresponded with West Lothian Council.  I do not believe that Chris Watts is one of them. 

I corresponded with West Lothian Council via an FOI on Wednesday (9/02/11). This is my first contact with West Lothian Council.

I am trying to ascertain if West Lothian Council take into consideration possible vexatious information from unknown external sources when tendering or if West Lothian Council trust in its own ability to perform the required due diligence.

I think that West Lothian council may be a little insulted by the comments of the Leader and Deputy Leader of the council in Monday's scrutiny meeting.
Small Print: Member of the Labour Party. GMB Accompanying Rep. IT consultant on sabatical.  Postings may contain political bias. If you have an adverse reaction please desist from reading. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Offline Steve Wakefield

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The New West Lothian Question?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2011, 09:36:21 AM »
The West Lothian Question? Now is that possible to answer? Does anyone think that just when you think you have the right supplementary question, it appears that the previous answer to your question has been changed?  :-\

All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 05:27:22 PM »


Oh dear.  While chasing the facts of this wi-facet down, I seem to have exposed yet another WiFi-Lie made by the Bluhnderbirds.

I'll write it up for publication tomorrow or Sunday.


It's a corker..... :popcorn:

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 01:12:53 PM »

Also blogged here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=885



Regular visitors to my Blog and the Talkswindon Forum will already be familiar with the on-going saga of Swindons WiFi'asco but new arrivals here might appreciate a brief re-cap before I discuss the latest developments which prove to me, once again, that some Swindon Borough Councillors and one Swindon Member of Parliament will go to extraordinary lengths to protect their political 'reputations'.

In 2009 Swindon Borough Council made a loan facility of £450,000 available to a company called Digital City (UK) Ltd so it could provide a 'Borough Wide' Wireless internet connection to the residents of Swindon.  From day one the project was plagued by incompetent management, a lack of council supervision and diligence over its 'investment' which borders on criminal negligence and an official attitude of belligerence towards anyone publicly scrutinising the project.

By April 2010, Digital City (UK) Ltd had drawn £400,000 of the loan facility, (taxpayers money), but had not completed it's 'pilot' in the small town of Highworth.  Although Digital City repeatedly indicated it intended to continue  'rolling out' the project across the entire Borough, it never did.  Spring turned into summer and summer turned into Autumn but no new WiFi transmitters appeared on any lamp posts and John 'Rikki' Hunt, CEO of Digital City (UK) Ltd had all but vanished from the streets of Swindon.

Then, in November 2010, Mr Hunt cropped up in Bathgate, a small town in Scotland.  It seemed that upon hearing that Bathgate was to be the first  Scottish town to deliver a BID, (Business Improvement District), and  that a reasonably sized chunk of cash was to be sprinkled upon the town, Rikki had hot-footed it up North to do a feasibility study - i.e, he went  up there to check that the lamp posts were metal and round, had free electricity and that there  were no pesky hills in the landscape*

*Apparently Mr Hunts version of WiFi does not work very well unless the landscape is billiard-table flat, but, as all Swindonians are already aware,  the Borough of Swindon is nothing but hills.  Most of Swindon's 'area' names:  Gorsehill, Penhill, Kingshill, Taw Hill, Victoria Hill, Windmill Hill, Blunsdon Hill, Toothill, etcetera, etcetera, bloody etcetera, tend to give the game away.

Anyway, Rikki Hunt trotted off to Bathgate in November 2010 and I asked, (at the time):  Will 'Rikki Fix It' For Bathgate WiFi Before Work In Swindon Even Starts? (A Talkswindon Topic).

November 2010 was also the month that Digital City (UK) Ltd began defaulting on its loan repayments to Swindon Borough Council.  Deputy Leader of the council, (and himself a Director of Digital City (UK) Ltd),  Cllr Garry Perkins knew in December 2010 that his company, Digital City (UK) Ltd, was not making its loan repayments to the council  yet he continued to tell people and reporters that it was making loan payments on time.  Busted, and Hoist upon his own petard, Perkins eventually admitted his deceit when he was forced to apologise to Des Morgan, (a fellow WiFi scrutineer and member of the Talkswindon Forum),  for deliberately misleading him.

But,  if a Deputy Leader of a Council deliberately deceiving people wasn't already bad enough, Cllr Perkins cabinet colleague - Cllr Keith Williams and North Swindon MP Justin  Tomlinson, apparently decided that wanted to get some WiFi'asco action for themselves and both used  early morning January appearances on BBC Radio Wiltshire to put the boot into  local  businessman, WiFi scrutineer, Talkswindon member and my friend, Chris Watts.     Chris had the temerity to not only scrutinise Rod Bluh’s WiFi’asco but, after many months of aggression,   obfuscation, arrogant dismissiveness and sneering contempt from Rod Bluh and his Bluhnderbirds,  was so disgusted by his treatment at the hands of Swindon's Conservative-led Council administration that he eventually joined the labour party.

After Chris joined the Labour party, Justin Tomlinson MP lost no time in claiming that Chris’s criticism of the   WiFi’aso was entirely politically motivated. (Tomlinson conveniently ignored the inconvenient fact that Chris had sought cross-party support in his scrutiny of the WiFi'asco and joined the labour party many months after his scrutiny of wifi had begun).

Conservative  Councillor Keith Williams was next to ascend   to the pulpit of local radio, from where he comprehensively slandered Chris Watts by accusing him of  'industrial espionage' before really getting 'into his groove' by repeating the falsehood that Councillor Perkins was forced to apologise for:

Quote from: Cllr Keith Williams
"The loan hasn't been defaulted on yet, and interest is being regularly paid"


Demonstrably untrue.

At this point in time Cllrs Garry Perkins and Keith Williams, aided and abetted by Justin Tominson MP, were busily engaged in laying the blame for the failure of their wifi'asco at the feet of Chris Watts, myself & Des Morgan.  Instead of answering our legitimate questions about the wifi project honestly they orchestrated a smear campaign against us and, somewhat bizarrely, decided to include Cllr Steve Wakefield - a  Labour Councillor and former Mayor of the Borough - in their despicable designs.

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, or residents 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.

In order to confirm that Councillor Perkins really was 'hunting down' the identities of his WiFi'asco saboteurs, and wasn't just bullshitting again, I then submitted a Freedom of Information request of my own to West Lothian Council.  I did not have to wait long for their response. They told me:

Quote
West Lothian Council received a Freedom of Information Request relating  to correspondence between Chris Watts, Geoff Reid, Des Morgan, Steve  Wakefield and the council concerning Digital City (UK) Ltd and the  Bathgate WiFi scheme on 11/02/2011.


The request was as follows:

Quote
Dear Sir,

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



So far so good, Councillor Perkins seems to been honest about his claim to have made enquiries, but what did West Lothian Council say in response to the above enquiry?


Quote
West Lothian Council has not received any communications from the  individuals named above relating to the Bathgate Wi-Fi project.



So, there you have it from the horses mouth.  West Lothian Council received no communications whatsoever from myself, Chris Watts, Des Morgan or Steve Wakefield.  But the story does not stop there, in fact it rapidly gets a whole lot shittier....

...because, in an answer to a different Freedom of Information request, we discovered that BathGate Bid had written to Digital City (UK) Ltd in December 2010 outlining their reasons for not using Digital City (UK) Ltd.   I, Chris Watts and Des Morgan already know why BathGate decided not to use Digital City (UK) Ltd to 'wifi' their town centre, and I can state with certainty that Councillor Garry Perkins has comprehensively misled the public again, as well as Swindon Borough Council, as to what the genuine reasons were. 

I think we'll give Cllr Perkins one final opportunity to come clean and tell the truth before we do it for him. Again.

Councillor Perkins knew in December 2010 that Bathgate were not going to use his company, (Digital City (UK) Ltd).  His company had been fully appraised as to the reasons why they would not be invited to tender for the work, so one could be forgiven for wondering why he then chose to tell Swindon Borough Council,  (of which he is the deputy leader), that members of the public vexatiously contacting BathGate were to blame  for the failure to obtain a contract in Bathgate, and that it was members of the public who were therefore responsible for causing the entire WiFi Scheme in Swindon to stall.

Councillor Perkins, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council and Director of Digital City (UK) Ltd, has knowingly misled the Council, and the taxpaying public, on multiple occasions.

Councillor Perkins has allowed, possibly even encouraged other Councillors and one MP to repeat untruthful statements about members of the public which he knew to be incorrect, but chose not to correct them at the time and then, shamefully repeated the same untruthful statements under cover of the privileged status of Council meetings.

Councillor Perkins has already broken the Council Members Code of Conduct in at least 7 different ways and, in my opinion, has brought Swindon Borough Council into serious disrepute.  I do not intend to raise a complaint against him yet, but other readers might and they can find the relevant complaint form here.

In the meantime I'm giving Councillor Perkins, Councillor Williams and Justin Tomlinson MP a short time in which they are invited to apologise of their own volition. This 'short period' will end when we decide to publish the genuine reasons Bathgate rejected Digital City (UK) Ltd.

From then on in, if the lying and smearing continue, it will be gloves off and, as Alice Cooper so eloquently put it:  "No More Mr Nice Guy"

Offline Chav

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 01:27:40 PM »
I am speechless  :popcorn:
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 02:15:13 PM »
I am speechless  :popcorn:

Chav, you should prepare yourself for more speechlessness over the next couple of days.

Cllrs Perkins & Williams, your window of opportunity to publicly apologise is shrinking rapidly.

The opportunity for Justin Tomlinson MP to do the right thing will be offered to him in another place.

Offline Mike Taylor

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 02:59:32 PM »
Geoff, have you thought about a TV Documentary on this? I have and am seriously considering pulling the resources to do so.

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 04:56:06 PM »
You can't make it up can you when the truth is more amazing than fiction!!
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Tobes

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 05:28:28 PM »
I hope Private Eye are reading TS again...

What an absolute farce - and once again, an in a nutshell example why nobody takes this town or most of its politics seriously. Not only does it damage the individuals involved, but it smears the reputation and standing of the entire town.

If Geoff's claims are correct, this should be a resignation issue, pure and simple.

:censored: ing shame
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Offline A Mole

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2011, 06:05:56 PM »
If only the professional journalists were as diligent in tracking down the truth.  Well done Geoff.

Come on Advertiser, Radio Swindon etc - step up!

Bluh & Perkins Out Now

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2011, 06:11:29 PM »
Quote
Not only does it damage the individuals involved, but it smears the reputation and standing of the entire town

And damaged 'reputation' was one of the risks identified by officers from the onset.


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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2011, 07:07:27 PM »
If only the professional journalists were as diligent in tracking down the truth.  Well done Geoff.

Come on Advertiser, Radio Swindon etc - step up!


I am but one of several people steadily unpicking the tangled web of misinformation weaved by Rod and the Bluhnderbirds.   Some of us you can see, some you can't :)

Geoff, have you thought about a TV Documentary on this? I have and am seriously considering pulling the resources to do so.

That would be both interesting and fun to do, but potentially a long way off.  This has a way to go yet.

You can't make it up can you when the truth is more amazing than fiction!!

That's just it Richard, we've never made anything up, but have exposed plenty of fiction generated by them.

If Geoff's claims are correct, this should be a resignation issue, pure and simple.

Oh, you're going to simply love what's coming next.....


To Cllr's Perkins & Williams - Clock is ticking boys..... :popcorn:


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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2011, 11:11:29 PM »
I received answers to an FOI that I put in after the last Scrutiny as the extract below shows:

Quote
Dear West Lothian Council,

I attended a Swindon Borough Council Scrutiny Committee meeting on the 7/2/2011. An agenda item within this meeting concerned a progress report of Digital City (UK) Ltd. Swindon Borough Council is a majority share holder within Digital City (UK) Ltd. Part of the scrutiny highlighted the failure of Digital City (UK) Ltd to secure the contract to supply WiFi to Bathgate Town Centre. It was stated at the afore mentioned Scrutiny meeting that West Lothian Council had received vexatious emails/phone calls from a resident/residents of Swindon, Wiltshire and that this formed the basis for West Lothian Council to terminate the Bathgate wifi project and future project that may have been forthcoming.

Q: Can you confirm that Swindon Borough Councils assertion that vexatious email/phone calls from a resident/residents of Swindon, Wiltshire is the primary or contributory reason that the project was terminated by West Lothian Council?

A: A WiFi project in Bathgate was the subject of a feasibility study commissioned by Enterprising Bathgate (a body separate from West Lothian Council). A decision was made by the board of Enterprising Bathgate in December 2010 not to take forward the project as the scope and cost of the proposed project were not compatible with the available funding.

Q: Is it the case that the project was terminated due to the current funding cuts that all councils are currently working to?

A: The decision not to take forward the proposal was taken by the board of Enterprising Bathgate as the proposed WiFi network did not suit the area. The full reasons can be found in the attached letter from Enterprising Bathgate to Digital City UK.

The following is the full reasons in the letter, dated 6th Dec 2010, from Enterprising Bathgate to Digital City UK

Quote

[CEO Digital City Ltd]

Digital City (UK) Ltd

10th Floor
David Murray John Building
Swindon

SN1 1NH

6th December 2010

Dear [CEO Digital City Ltd],

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.

Yours Sincerely

[name]

Chairperson

Enterprising Bathgate Ltd

I need to gather my thoughts on this.  ??? :o

It's a tangled web...


Small Print: Member of the Labour Party. GMB Accompanying Rep. IT consultant on sabatical.  Postings may contain political bias. If you have an adverse reaction please desist from reading. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 12:47:16 AM »
So - the claim that 'vexatious' correspondence was initiated by NAMED swindon residents (subsequently exonerated in the response) might appear to be libellous, eh?

Jesus, I'm beginning to have difficulty in deciding whether the individuals behind the WiFiasco are malicious or merely totally and utterly incompetent. Before these revelations, I was inclined to assume the latter. Now I'm not so sure.

Heads should roll for this - people have broken the covenant of trust empowered them by their electorate: SOMEONE is responsible for the wasting of £400k+ of tax payers money at a time of financial stricture. Someone is responsible for the defaults on the loan. Someone is responsible for the seemingly unblinking acceptance of an proven to be undeliverable 'back of a fag packet' plan which (to quote Bathgate), apparently shows
Quote
no commercial feasibility

 :argh:
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 Geoff Reid

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2011, 01:00:19 AM »
 

Your time appears to be up councillors....



The news in brief then:

The proposed WiFi project in Bathgate was the subject of a feasibility study which was commissioned by Enterprising Bathgate and conducted by Digital City in autumn/winter 2010.

In December 2010 the board of Enterprising Bathgate decided not to take the project forward and informed Digital City (UK) Ltd by letter dated the 6th of December.

Later in December 2010, Digital City subsequently failed to pay the £1,000'ish invoice due for the November 2010 loan repayment.  It has failed to pay all further loan repayment invoices from that date to present.

Councillor Perkins stated on multiple ocasions after December 2010 that the loan repayments had, and were being been met. 

Councillor Keith Williams appeared on BBC Radio Wiltshire and stated that the loan repayments had been met and the company was not in default. 

Councillor Keith Williams appeared on BBC Radio Wiltshire and stated that Chris Watts was responsible for 'sabotaging Digital City's chances of obtaining the Bathgate WiFi contract.

Councillor Keith Williams also stated that the alleged sabotage by Chris Watts was politically motivated. 

Justin Tomlinson MP appeared on BBC Radio Wiltshire and stated that Chris Watts' scrutiny of the Swindon WiFi scheme was politically motivated.

Councillor Garry Perkins, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council and Director of Digital City appeared alongside the Chief Executive Office of Digital City (UK) Ltd, John Richard 'Rikki' Hunt at the last SBC scrutiny committee meeting.  Both men were repeatedly questioned by members of the committee regarding how the alleged 'interventions' by members of the public had affected Digital City's bid to tender for the Bathgate WiFi.  It was noted that Councillor Perkins and Mr Hunt stated on at least six occasions during that meeting that they believed their bid had been significantly affected by the negative input provided to Enterprising Bathgate by certain un-named correspondents.

Further to the above paragraph, Councillor Garry Perkins, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council and Director of Digital City also informed the Scrutiny committee that he had, or would, submit a freedom of Information request to West Lothian Council to determine the identity of Swindon residents he alleged had affected Digital City's bid with Enterprising Bathgate.

A freedom of information request was duly received by West Lothian Council requesting the information Councillor Perkins said he would request, Chris Watts, Geoff Reid, Des Morgan and Steve Wakefield were specifically mentioned in the request - West Lothian Council confirmed that no communications relating to the Bathgate wifi had been received from anyone named in the request.

Chris Watts asked West Lothian Council to disclose why Digital City had been unsuccessful with Enterprising Bathgate - the answer was pretty much as we'd expected:



  • The scope and cost of the proposed project were not compatible with the available funding

  • The proposed WiFi network did not suit the area

  • The initial Wi-Fi network area was too limited

  • The initial wifi area excluded over 50% of Levy payers

  • Digital City proposed a 6 year scheme; the BID is only in operation until 2013

  • There was no guaranteed funding for the future phases as recommended in the feasibility study

  • West Lothian Council does not have the resources to designate an officer to champion the scheme as recommended in the feasibility study

  • Enterprising Bathgate does not have the resources to facilitate Market Research with local businesses

  • No commercial feasibility was demonstrated within the report





I don't propose to deliver a forensic report on this - Des and Chris, and whoever else was at the last scrutiny committee are better able to supply that but, once again, the contradictions between what the public record shows, and what Councillor Perkins, Councillor Williams, Justin Tomlinson and Mr Hunt say is the truth......are self evident. 

Enterprising Bathgate declined to use Digital City (UK) Ltd because they could see what the rest of us have seen and discussed from day one of the WiFi'asco - in its current incarnation the project looks like it has been put together by Blind Pew, managed by Mickey Mouse and promoted by Baron Munchausen.  It is not, nor has it ever been, commercially feasible.

Enterprising Bathgate, in a matter of days, clearly saw what the Conservatives within Swindon Borough Council have obstinately refused to recognise for the last 17 months, despite having more than sufficient quantities of evidence placed under their noses time after time.

Unable to publicly acknowledge a refusal by proper businessmen, our WiFi-Tzars decided to promote the lie that 'other people' were responsible for their failure. They were quite willing to heap blame onto other people to save their own 'reputations', such as they are now.  I expect they were hoping and praying that one of us had been in contact with Bathgate, because a kernel of semi-plausibility could then be ascribed to the lie.


I never forget something my Mother told me when I was very young and had just been caught telling a lie. She said: 

Quote from: My Mother
"There is no punishment I can give you which will be worse than the one you deliver upon yourself if you become known as a liar"






Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2011, 08:31:19 AM »
I find this morning that I am reflecting on the disclosures, however what does Cllr Andrew Bennett and Cllr Russell Holland make of this update? I ask this question as they both asked questions in detail about the Bathgate Bid. I recall ( no pun intended) they both laboured the point about the Bathgate Bid and the "Noise" and who were responsible  for the "Noise" . Will these two Conservative members of the scrutiny committee be comparing what was said to them in Scrutiny and what has been disclosed now? How they will interpret it and  what will they do about it, is only down to them individually. Councillor Andy Albinson, another Conservative member has always been very professional in all his council and political work, as he is a professional, and has experience of  working for a large consultancy. I recall Andy had the look of surprise, or maybe it was the look of being affronted? When Cllr Bob Wright persisted in following a similar line of questioning previously asked by Conservative members of scrutiny of Cllr Garry Perkins.  Will Andy now be reflecting on the wifi project along with Andrew and Russell?

Labour Cllr Des Moffatt used many strong words and statements that night, and not surprisingly Liberal Cllr Stan Pajack also questioned the Bathgate Bid in fact he called it Bathgate Gate. He scratched the surface of it, but will he now dig deeper? Some people who speak to me make it clear that they believe Cllr Stan Pajack could have had a greater involvement in the scrutiny of this project, my answer to that is if you believe that ask Cllr Pajack yourself.   Maybe now Cllr Stan Pajack has given it the handle "Bathgate Gate," he may also reflect on what he was told at scrutiny about the Bathgate Bid?

I think Cllr Stan Pajack calling it Bathgate Gate and his comments at Scrutiny was the opener to the age old political scandal tool that has hurt many political careers. It is known simply as "who knew what and when did they know it". Is this going to become the classic who knew what and when did they know it political scenario?
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Jarvis

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Re: Bathgate-Gate - A New Twist On The Phrase 'Hunt Saboteur' ?
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2011, 08:48:41 AM »
Is this going to become the classic who knew what and when did they know it political scenario?

Swindon WiFi became a "who knew what and when did they know it political scenario" from the instant the first lie was spoken to protect it.. 

I applaud West Lothian Council for demonstrating the honesty and transparency which is so lacking in our own local authority.  I'm almost embarrassed to be a Swindonian this morning.