Author Topic: Michael Dickinson - Psephologist, Pseudologist, Sexpert & Political Mercenary  (Read 14629 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Also blogged here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1080
 


Have you met Michael?, if you haven't yet had the pleasure, but you live in Swindon's Freshbrook and Grange Park ward, your chances of finding Michael on your doorstep will greatly increase as we get nearer to the local elections on May the 5th and Michael becomes increasingly desperate for you to back his Conservative candidature with your vote.

Many residents won't recognise Michael without first seeing a photograph of him because he's not as regular a feature in the ward as you might expect your local councillor to be. Michael lives about 4 miles away, doesn't drive himself and usually relies on his wife to chauffeur him to West Swindon in the family Mercedes.  Once Michaels striking resemblance to Homer Simpson is noted I can almost guarantee you'll recognise him on sight when you he wanders nervously down your street.

Perhaps you're of the opinion that it doesn't really matter where your local councillor lives as long as they do a good job of representing your ward, and normally I'd agree with you, but in Michael's case I don't think he's doing a good job for anyone apart from himself and his political party.  Representing the residents for Freshbrook and Grange Park, and the town generally, seem to be a long way down Michaels list of priorities so, if you are tempted to lend your vote to Conservative Cllr Michael Dickinson, here's a few things about him you might wish to reflect upon before putting your 'X' next to his name on the ballot paper and returning him to council for another lucrative, (for him), but ineffectual, (for you), term in office at your expense.

Firstly, Michael works as an accountant at a college on the other side of Swindon - so he's supposedly good with numbers.  He's also a very keen psephologist, which means he obsessively studies the statistical and sociological results of elections.  Over the past few years I've gradually formed the opinion that the direction of Michaels internal political compass is heavily influenced by the results of recent elections.   I believe that Michaels political 'position' is always dictated by what is most likely to get him elected and, of course, to keep him drawing a handsome allowance from the public purse.   The rigorous application and defence of political principles is an alien concept to someone like Michael who, I think, is most best described as being Politically Mercenary.


Psephologist & Political Mercenary

Michael hasn't always been committed to the Conservative party as he likes to suggest and generally avoids discussing his political past because he doesn't like people to realise he was first a Conservative, then became a Liberal Democrat before leaving them and re-joining the conservative party again.

Michael was first a member of the conservative party at some time prior to 1998.  At this point in time Swindon Conservatives, (having just 5 Council seats), were obviously not a healthy party in Swindon and with a recently elected Labour government sitting in Westminster Michael probably thought that the Swindon conservatives were unlikely to gain power in the Council in his near political future.  Having psephologised the numbers, he left the Conservative party and threw his political lot in with Swindons Liberal Democrats who, at that time, had 9 council seats and seemed likely to gain more. (remember that this was a happier time for the liberal democrats generally and the spectre of breaking their own pledges had not begun to seriously erode their credibility with the Swindon electorate).


Michael Stands For Election

The 1999 Swindon local election results showed Michael that his psephology had correctly oriented his political compass as the Lib Dems gained another seat, Labour lost one seat and the Conservatives remained static.  Michael knew he was now in the party most likely to get him elected and in 2000 he was duly elected as a Liberal Democrat Councillor in the West Swindon ward of Freshbrook & Grange Park.  I think it's fair to say that Michael didn't exactly impress folk with either his performance as a ward councillor or his longevity in his first stint as an elected member.


Sex on the ward

In March 2001 Freshbrook and Grange Park was represented by 3 Liberal Democrat Councillors, Geraldine Robertson,  Judith  Peppitt and Michael Dickinson.  All three said they were 'shocked' when  the  Swindon Advertiser reported that a brothel was operating in their ward.  I'll come back to this later, but it was perhaps this  'shocking' piece of news which first ignited in Michael an enduring  interest in Swindon's sex industry and led to him becoming the butt of several long-running and ribald jokes which are still repeated in the civic offices today.


The Accountant Also Loves the Euro

In January 2002 Michael irritated many of Swindon's Euro sceptics when he was described as 'arguing passionately in favour of joining he Euro'.  He didn't enjoy the criticism that his europhilia provoked and he appears to carefully hidden his Pro-Europe leanings ever since.   If Michael appears at your door in the next few days you may wish to enquire of him what his current position on Europe is.  Tip: Have a box of tissues to hand by your front door because Michael tends to sweat profusely when asked questions or made nervous.


Struck through section factually incorrect - awaiting edit

Michael Stands Down - 1st of May 2002 

Versions vary as to why Michael stood down from council in May 2002, almost exactly two years before the end of his elected term.  One version of events is that Michael had a falling-out with the lib dem leadership and another is that he simply couldn't take the pressure.  The 'pressure' scenario is unlikely in my opinion as he doesn't appear to have put himself in any positions where he was under any pressure, which leaves another version sounding most plausible to me - Several Councillors, (who were serving at the time),  have told me that Michael had told them that he stood down because he felt he couldn't represent the residents of Freshbrook & Grange Park properly while he was living in Swindon Road, Eastcott.  This might be the single and most electorally honest act of his political career thus far.



Drugs, Lies & Sex Again

Michael was no longer an elected member after the 2002 local elections but he continued to be quite vocal in response to Conservative criticism of his lib dem colleagues and, on one noteworthy occasion in 2002, he publicly accused Conservative Cllr Justin Tomlinson of "spinning a web of fabrication" when Tomlinson, (now the North Swindon MP),  had apparently suggested that the Lib Dems wanted to legalise drugs and hard-core pornography.  This is quite funny in a typically and politically hypocritical way, because:


By 2004 Michael was pushing to allow street prostitution in Swindon.

By 2005 Michael was pointedly refusing to answer questions as to whether he'd illegal taken drugs

And by 2006 Michael was enthusiastic about Swindon sex shops being allowed to sell hard-core pornography.


B Dawson of Bramble Road Swindon suggested that Michael investigate using the grounds of the civic offices for prostitution, after which his internal 'votometer' seems to have alerted him to the notion that supporting street prostitution is a potential vote-loser except perhaps to other Councillors with a similar professional interest in the worlds oldest profession.



The Saint, The Sinners and The Lib Dem Pseudologists

Michael decided that he wanted to stand for council again and was selected by Swindon Lib Dems as their 2003 candidate for Central Ward.  This must have been quite convenient for Michael as it meant, if elected,  he could now walk out of his front door and into the ward he wished to represent in a matter of minutes.  No more being chauffeured to West Swindon.

But it wasn't long before Michael's preoccupation with the Swindon sex trade, mixed with the liberal democrats natural tendency towards publishing fiction as fact, began to foment a toxic cocktail which would boil up into an ugly scandal immediately after election day on May the 1st 2003, an election which saw Michael elected to council with just 16 votes between him and the 2nd place candidate, Labour's David Cox.

Michaels inner-psephologist must have been bloated with elation at being elected and wetting himself with fear at the ultra-slim margin by which he had been elected.  He knew from day one that Central would never be a 'safe ward' for him, and I believe he began preparing an exit strategy from the ward and the Lib Dems at a very early stage of his new term of office.


The Sinners: During his 2003 election campaign Michael, supported by the Eastcott Lib Dem Stan Pajak, (Pajak acted as Michaels election agent/promoter), made much noise about dealing with the various 'problems' caused by street prostitution in Central ward   In one edition of the Liberal Democrat 'Focus' publication Michael & Stan used a picture of St   Luke's Parish Priest Father Leslie Pinfield under the headline "I'm  backing Michael" but it was a claim which was later proven to be an outright lie by none other than Father Pinfield himself.

Michael seems to have been profoundly affected by dishonestly using a parish priest as part of his election campaign and on election night he opted to stay at home rather than attend the count and face his critics.  Local legend has it that someone had to run along to Michaels house and persuade him to come to the count to acknowledge his, (admittedly slim), victory over the labour candidate.  This is how Michael started his second, and similarly undistinguished term in office (as his first attempt in Freshbrook).

I've already blogged the Father Pinfield episode as part of a blog called Eastcott Ward – Swindon Lib Democrat Pajak Plays Pinnochio Politics which also discusses other lies currently being pedalled by Swindon's Lib Dems.

Oddly, and I'm really not sure how Michael managed this in such a short space of time, but in August 2003  the Swindon Advertiser reported that the "recently elected Michael Dickinson (Lib Dem,  Central) was reimbursed £310.49"in expenses.


December 2003 found Michael, now the liberal democrat spokesman for corporate governance, warning Swindon inhabitants that they faced 'real misery' if the Conservative council led by Mike Bawden couldn't balance their budget with an extra £1.2 million being given by the then Labour government.  For his part, Mike Bawden (Old Town and Lawns) dismissed the new money as "not a vast amount" and the Swindon Advertiser reported that Council finance officers were recommending a 13.1 % rise in council tax.

Feelings continued to run hot about the 2004 budget and, by the time the annual budget setting meeting rolled around in February, Michael was facing something of a quandary - having psephologised the 2003 results of the Swindon local elections in which the Conservative gained 6 seats from Labour, Michael was already considering leaving the now electorally stationary lib dems and joining the upwardly mobile Conservatives, but he had to decide which way he would vote on the 2004 budget.  The lib dems were expecting him to vote in support of a Labour/Lib Dem budget amendment which would result in a higher increase in council tax than the ruling conservatives wanted, or whether he should he vote with the conservatives, (and therefore against his own party),  in order to keep his future political colleagues sweet?   Several conservative councillors have told me that they expected Michael to vote with them on the night but, when the time approached for the vote to be taken, and Michael realised that his vote would tip the balance either way, he was suddenly 'taken ill' and had to be helped from the chamber.  Michaels 'Italian Legs' had returned in time to help him avoid taking any responsibility for anything. Again.

The advertiser described the scene thus:


Quote
Friday, 13 February 2004

LABOUR and Liberal Democrats teamed up last night to defeat the Swindon Council Tory administration's proposed budget.

Council taxpayers in Swindon now face a 7.3 per cent rise this Spring   instead of the much-hyped 6.3 per cent planned by the Conservatives.

The drama and knife-edge outcome lived up to past tax-setting night epics in the council chamber.

The vote for the Tory budget was all square at 28-28. The tie-break   was then decided by Mayor Derek Benfield's casting vote. The Labour   member for Covingham and Nythe supported the joint   opposition.

Earlier, Coun Michael Dickinson (Lib-Dem, Central) was taken ill and had to be helped from the chamber.



The conservatives were furious with Michael and many of them consider that he 'bottled it' and had feigned illness to escape the chamber.  To this day some of them still hold him solely responsible for the 7.3% rise in council tax and it was perhaps this which spurred conservative councillor Mary Martin  (Toothill and Westlea) to publish a leaflet which contained, according to the lib dems, 'untrue statements' about their policies - specifically regarding the Shaw community forest. 

Mary Martin's leaflet apparently claimed that the lib dems wanted to "bulldoze" the  Shaw Community Forest to make way for a new football stadium after Michael was quoted on the lib dem  website as saying that he was "enthusiastic about the initial plans"  for the  proposed stadium there.  The lib dem web page was later removed by the Lib Dems because, (they said), of the "confusion" it was causing.   Not much would surprise me with Michael, after all, he's currently enthusiastic about building next to Coate Water Country Park but supposedly dead against just 175 houses being built on Hook Street near Lydiard Park,  but when Michael promises: "If you elect me I promise to oppose development on Hook   Street and adjacent to Lydiard Park ...he doesn't bother to tell residents that he's already aware that Wiltshire County Council have scrapped their 'urban buffer' around West Swindon and that every inch of land on the West Side of Hook Street is likely to be developed, but there isn't a damned thing he can, or will do about it.

Anyhow,  back in 2004 a lot of politically embarrassing things for Michael had been quietly swept under the civic carpet and he appears to have taken advice from older, wiser Conservatives who told him to keep his head down and not rock the boat.   It's commonly believed that Michael was something of a double-agent during this period and was busily feeding information to the Conservative group.

The 2004 local elections arrived and Michael noted that his psephological compass was definitely pointing the right way for him when Labour lost another 3 seats to the Conservatives and the Lib Dems also lost one to them.  Psychologically speaking, Michael was now sitting next to an open aeroplane door, parachute on, ready to bail out.


On Thursday the 18th of November 2004 Michael spectacularly popped his head above the media parapet up to announce that he wanted the council to allow vice-girls to ply their trade in the town.  This immediately caused smouldering resentment of him to ignite into a blazing row within the Lib Dems, partly because of the standards board complaint made against Stand Pajak, (Michaels election agent), for dishonestly claiming Father Leslie Pinfield was backing Michaels anti-vice election campaign when actually he wasn't.   Other lib dems felt that Michael had avoided taking any responsibility when the sticky stuff hit the rotating thing for Stan Pajak, and that Michaels rigorous defence of Stan consisted of saying "No Comment" to the press when approached for interview.


Just six days after Michael issued his proclamation about Swindon's sex workers, the political atmosphere at Lib Dem HQ had become so toxic that he finally announced he was leaving the liberal democrats to become an independent councillor.  Michael said at the time:

Quote from: Michael Dickinson
"This is one momentous change for me after six years in the Liberal Democrats"



Michael also said that he had no   plans to leave the council, that he had not requested to join any other political group and had no plans to do so.

I firmly believe that Michaels exit from the lib dems was not as rushed or haphazard as it was meant to appear and had in fact been very carefully planned and executed.  Michael knew exactly what he was doing and, just 8 days later, he joined the conservative party for the second time and joined the largest, safest group of Swindon Borough Councillors - the Conservative group.

When quizzed by a reporter from the Swindon Advertiser Michael claimed that when he left the Lib Dems the week before he had not approached any other political party and said

Quote
"I didn't request to join the Conservative group until Monday"


But Michael must have forgotten that earlier in the same week he had already told the Advertiser:

Quote from: Michael Dickinson
"This is something that has been on the cards for a while now.


The conservatives subsequently offered Michael a political move to a 'safe' conservative ward - Freshbrook &Grange Park - (which you will no doubt remember is the same ward Michael abandoned in 2002 after serving only half his term of office).  For the remainder of his term as a Councillor for Central he effectively did nothing at all for the ward, preferring to spend his remaining time in office ingratiating himself with his new colleagues and not rocking any boats.

It was during Michaels 2007 election campaign that I started to observe him quite closely and I quickly concluded that he was shifty, politically mercenary and apt to deliberately deceive people as and when it suited him to do so.

When Rachael and I, (my wife), attended the 2007 count at the Oasis leisure centre, Michael and his wife admitted to us that they had deliberately deceived residents when speaking to them on their own doorsteps - leading them to believe that they would be moving into the ward if Michael was successfully elected.   Michael was elected but, for the next couple of years he remained firmly rooted in Eastcott until the the Swindon Lamplighters Network revealed in 2010 that Michael had finally upped sticks and moved from Eastcott.  At the time no one was quite sure where had he actually gone though.

It didn't take long to track Michael down to his new house, (although he did make a feeble effort to disguise his whereabouts by having his councillor contact details on the SBC website appear to be a postal address only), but he couldn't prevent the electorate of Freshbrook & Grange Park learning from his nomination papers that he had not moved into, or any closer, to the ward but had actually moved even further away from it to a Groundwell Road address on the very the edge of Walcot Ward.   Michaels new house is happily within easy walking distance of Michaels place of employment at the New College on Queens Drive, but is unhappily even farther away from West Swindon - suggesting that the problems he'd previously had in 'representing' the ward, which had led him to abandon Freshbrook on his first tour of duty, were probably worse now than the first time that he'd he failed to represent it.

There's not much more to add about Michael, unless we want to get deeply into the daily minutiae of political facts about him, but one other significant point is that he was at some point appointed by Rod Bluh to the unpaid position of chairman of the Council's Audit Committee.

This was significant for Swindon residents interested in the now-infamous Swindon WiFi scheme because Michael indicated that his financial scrutiny of the scheme would be rigorous and he certainly seemed intent on doing the right thing when, in early January 2010 he proposed that the WiFi deal, (the commercial arrangement made by Cll'rs  Bluh and Edwards with Digital City (UK) Ltd), be referred to the internal  audit committee.  Unfortunately that was about as far as it got.  An audit report was ordered and produced, but the remit of the investigation was deliberately narrowed to the point where it did not examine any aspects of the WiFi scheme which were remotely embarrassing to the conservative administration - which meant that almost nothing of importance was scrutinised or reported on properly.

To say that many of us were disappointed with Michaels performance would be a severe understatement, but we quickly learned why Michael had 'gone flaccid' on his earlier promises when the Swindon Advertiser revealed that Michael was now being paid a £4,211 'special  responsibility allowance' for his role as chairman of the audit committee.  It also emerged that Michael was the only councillor in 2010 to enjoy an increase in his allowances.  He was now firmly on the payroll and therefore very unlikely to rock the boat, in fact, he has since begun openly hampering efforts to get the audit committee scrutinise the WiFi scheme properly. (It could start by investigating why the £400,000 public loan to Digital City was never secured (response to 7a.) - despite multiple claims by senior officers and councillors that it had been secured).

I don't intend to shred every aspect of Michael current election campaign in this blog because there is a lot to shred, I don't have the time and I anticipate a healthy discussion of the political campaigns being fought in Freshbrook will happen naturally on the Talkswindon forum.  Michael has certainly made enough questionable election statements to promote a good discussion all by himself.

In summary then, it's proper that I declare something of an interest in the Labour candidate Neil Heavens.

Neil lives just a few yards from my house and, because he does live in the ward, I've found it very easy to get to know him a little and get a sense of how he'll represent the ward if he's elected.  I can't say that I agree with every aspect of Labour policy but I can honestly say that I think Neil will represent the residents of Freshbrook and Grange Park in a more honest and effective way than Michael Dickinson has ever managed.  To that end, and as a resident interested in who represents his family, street and community at council, I asked to second Neil's nomination for election.  Of the candidates available to me I think he's the best one and, unless he does something really silly in the meantime, I fully expect to vote for him.

I'm not going to tell others to vote for Neil though, I think residents are quite capable of making their own minds up about him and he's more than capable of communicating his intentions and ideas to residents on their doorsteps.  What I would encourage residents to do is think very carefully before lending their votes to Michael Dickinson again.

Recently Michael said....

Quote
'... I have helped deliver many improvements. Millbrook Primary School    has been built and new play grounds have been opened. Freshbrook    Community Centre has been re-opened and sport has been enhanced by the    building of three new G3 Astroturf pitches at the Link Centre and a    full-size G3 Astroturf pitch at Greendown School. On a larger scale,    Lydiard Park restoration is complete and Shaw Forest is growing  wonderfully. If you elect me I promise to oppose development on Hook Street and adjacent to Lydiard Park, campaign to bring more jobs to  Swindon.'


....and I invite readers to consider whether Michael helped to 'deliver' any of them.  Him saying he did does not cut my cynical mustard and I am very much reminded of a letter written in 2003 by Wendy Goodenough of Rushey Platt, who apparently had cause to regret, within days of the 2003 election, voting for Michael in Central ward:


Quote
I was horrified enough when I woke on Friday morning to discover that  my decision to vote against my Labour councillor may have contributed to  electing a Conservative council.

But only five days after voting for Michael Dickinson I discover that  he had used the most despicable underhand tactics to put himself into a  council seat.

I am not particularly religious, but I think to abuse the trust and office of a vicar is unforgivable behaviour.

I won't be experimenting with my vote in the future. I don't agree  with the ethics and service-cutting tactics of the Tories and Mr  Dickinson has proved that you can't believe a word a Liberal   Democrat says at least Labour were just incompetent.

Wendy Goodenough


Rushy Platt




Personally speaking, I think a man can leave the Liberal Democrat party but you can never take the Liberal Democrat out of the man.


Discuss....  :popcorn:
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 08:20:30 PM by Geoff Reid »



Offline Drone

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Second hand, I've been aware of some of MD's actions as a ward councillor. The Hook Street thing... he was very interested in the early days when the Adver afforded the local residents a lot of positive coverage. As it dragged on, he disappeared (which Greenhalgh didn't - Pogo stuck with it to the end, to give him credit). MD has a reputation for not being great with practical issues (money, service delivery, etc) and not being very nice to staff.

(The great thing about working for SBC is you get to experience how councillors treat you as a potential voter compared to a lowly 'officer'. Amazing how quickly they can flick from smarmy and patronising to utterly contemptuous...)

derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Geoff Reid

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I received a message earlier from a veteran who, after reading post#1, reminded me that I'd previously published something about Michael Dickinson's political 'use' of the Lydiard Field of Remembrance.

Originally posted on February 19th, 2011 and reproduced again here today:



Also Blogged here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=944



Each November since 1928 The Royal British Legion has invited individuals from across the country to join them in honouring and remembering loved ones lost whilst serving in our Armed Forces.

The Fields of Remembrance are officially opened by a member of the Royal Family and a special Remembrance ceremony is held where we honour the 2 minute silence at 11.00am. The Royal British Legion buglers will play the Last Post and the exhortation will be read.

In 2010 the Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance was situated in the grounds of Lydiard House & Park, Lydiard Tregoze, Swindon.

Lydiard Park is situated in Swindons Freshbrook & Grange Park ward, and is currently represented by three Conservative Councillors:  Mick Bray, Michael Dickinson and Peter Greenhalgh.

I voted for Michael Dickinson in the 2007 local elections but I don't think I'll be repeating that mistake this year because, apart from resembling Homer Simpson, Michael has a habit of making promises he's ultimately unwilling to keep which causes residents of Freshbrook and Grange Park to utter Homers signature phrase, D'Oh!, repeatedly.  Michael usually just makes me laugh with his Simpson'esque antics,  but by politicising his visit to the Field of Remembrance he seems willing to plumb new depths in his search for re-election to Swindon Borough Council.

I was similarly 'Dickinsoned' only yesterday when I read a leaflet which the Swindon Conservatives had thrust through my letterbox.  Most of the leaflet was the normal political 'look how clever we are' guff, but what caused me to say D'Oh!', (followed quickly by a 'how dare he!', and then later by bit of colourful language), was the picture of him standing in the Lydiard Park Field of Remembrance looking suitably solemn as he posed for his leaflet picture.

Now, I don't know whether the following opinion is widely shared or not, but I'm going to share it as widely as possible because I need to know if my moral compass is out of whack or my local councillor doesn't have a moral compass at all....

....but I think it is distasteful, disrespectful and possibly even dishonourable for local politicians to seek political capital or votes in this way and I think Michael should be ashamed of himself.




I can't help noticing that Councillor Dickinson, who is described in the Conservative 'InTouch' leaflet as 'visiting the Field of Remembrance to mourn', didn't bother wearing a poppy for his piccie.....

....and I can't help wondering whether Cllr Dickinson, a man desperate to be re-elected, bothered paying the small admission charge to enter the walled garden at Lydiard park, or whether he merely flashed his Swindon Borough Council Identity card at the gate before waltzing in to use the Field of Remembrance as a politically useful piece of landscape to appear in front of.  Perhaps Michael will set me straight.  Maybe he'll send me a copy of his receipt...

It's also surprising to see Cllr Mick Bray mentioned in connection with Michael Dickinson's photo-shoot in the Field of Remembrance, in fact the author of the leaflet makes a particular point of mentioning Cllr Brays legion membership and suggesting that Councillor Bray has prior knowledge of next years ceremonial arrangements.  On balance,  I was left with the strong impression that Councillor Dickinson is suggesting that he is endorsed by the Royal British Legion.

Mick Bray will become deputy Mayor in May this year and become  Mayor in 2012 so I sincerely hope that, (as a member of the Royal British Legion), he wasn't holding the camera for Cllr Dickinson.

The Royal British Legion recently said:


Quote
The Royal British Legion is strictly non-political and for nearly 90  years we have scrupulously remained above the party political fray. We  have never endorsed any political party nor do we accept party donations  made for partisan purposes.


Offline Bogomil

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Geoff I apologies for the cut and pasting but I didn’t want to repost the whole of your post in reply.

Quote
Michael Stands Down - 1st of May 2002

Versions vary as to why Michael stood down from council in May 2002, almost exactly two years before the end of his elected term.  One version of events is that Michael had a falling-out with the lib dem leadership and another is that he simply couldn't take the pressure.  The 'pressure' scenario is unlikely in my opinion as he doesn't appear to have put himself in any positions where he was under any pressure, which leaves another version sounding most plausible to me - Several Councillors, (who were serving at the time),  have told me that Michael had told them that he stood down because he felt he couldn't represent the residents of Freshbrook & Grange Park properly while he was living in Swindon Road, Eastcott.  This might be the single and most electorally honest act of his political career thus far.


I think you’ll find that he stood down from being RE-Selected for FB&GP by the Lib Dems. I’ll explain why later in the post.

In 2000 he was elected for 2 years not 4 as 2000 was an all out election and the one with least votes only gets 2 years. This was also the year that Labour lost overall control of the council.

Tricky Dicky's terms of office from SBC Webb site.
04/05/2000 - 01/05/2002
01/05/2003 - 03/05/2007
04/05/2007 - 05/05/2011
http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgUserInfo.aspx?uid=249

Tricky Dicky DID stand in 2002 in CENTRAL but was beaten by Labour’s David Nash

Quote
CENTRAL WARD
Peter Bates, Conservative: 300
Michael Dickinson, Liberal Democrat: 628
David Nash, Labour: 758
Simon Smith, Green Party: 84
John Stuart (known as Mad John), The Rock n Roll Loony Party: 37


http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/archive/2002/05/03/Wiltshire+Archive/7351168.Swindon_Borough_Council_2002_Election_Results/

However you’re SPOT ON about Trick Dicky and his being a Psephologist & Political Mercenary.
Having seen the writing on the wall for his position in FB&GP he was seeking to be selected for the “safer” Eastcott Seat. (I believe that Anne Baxter was standing down) However the Eascott Lib Dems didn’t want Tricky Dicky so they selected Michael Evemy (who I also believe was also a councillor in another seat)

Having been rejected by Eastcott he had to settle for nearby Central ward and it was a close and dirty fight. The following year Pinocchio Pajak took the can as agent for the leaflet that Tricky Dicky produced claiming the local preist was supporting him and thus he beat Labour’s Dave Cox, who had jumped ship from Toothill and who's seat I coincidently was won by Conservative Steve Wakefeild who had in turn been pushed out of his Shaw & Nine Elms seat in favour of Perkins. Plenty of musical chairs that year.

Quote
Michaels 'Italian Legs' had returned in time to help him avoid taking any responsibility for anything

He was drunk…. Ask those who were there and well remember.

On Mike Bawden’s suggestion Cllr Doreen Dart paired with Trick Dicky so that he would go home and thereby cancelled his missing vote. Mayor Benfeild was left with the casting vote and pushed through the Labour/Lib Dem budget and Cllr Bawden actually got what he wanted. He played a stunning hand really because he wanted the extra money in the budget that the Labour/Lib Dem budget delivered without having to take the blame. It worked, and Cllr Dart did not have to pair with Trick Dicky.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 07:52:36 PM by Bogomil »

Offline Geoff Reid

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Thanks for supplying the corrections to Dickinson's early years, much appreciated :)

Offline Ringer

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Was that the one when it was rumoured that Mike (ABBA) Bawden was going to resign as Tory leader if Labour had been political?
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

Offline Drone

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I received a message earlier from a veteran who, after reading post#1, reminded me that I'd previously published something about Michael Dickinson's political 'use' of the Lydiard Field of Remembrance.

...


Useful to compare with Broon and David InCamercompetent who were both heavily criticsed for using the Field of Remembrance at Westminster for personal promotion: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1229917/Brown-Cameron-apologise-Abbey-turning-Poppy-Day-contest-photo-ops.html

As I don't believe MD had any role in bringing the Garden of Remembrance to Lydiard Park, and as thousands visited during the two weeks the garden was in place... what point is MD trying to make? That he put on his best fleece, no poppy and attended? That he cares about the war dead? That he's trying to bring the garden back this year? That it's right up there with playgrounds and litter picks in terms of his own achievements?

It does seem spectacularly misjudged. The garden was located there because it's close to Wootton Bassett and Lyneham. It's not political and should not be used for personal or political promotion.
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Richard Symonds

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Geoff Where and When was the photograph of Michael Dickinson taken at the beginning of this thread please?
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Geoff Where and When was the photograph of Michael Dickinson taken at the beginning of this thread please?

It should very familiar to you Richard  :wink:

Offline Richard Symonds

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Geoff Where and When was the photograph of Michael Dickinson taken at the beginning of this thread please?

It should very familiar to you Richard  :wink:

Yes thought so but you haven't answered the When Geoff?
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Offline Geoff Reid

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No, that's right, I haven't.  Why, is it important that you know?  ???

Offline Richard Symonds

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No, that's right, I haven't.  Why, is it important that you know?  ???

No good reason except it appears to be a very recent one and that in itself adds to the intrigue.

I have to say I found your write up compulsive reading.  I am not usually too good with long posts!!
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Offline Drone

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Off-topic and slightly cruel - MD has the strangest shape head I have ever seen!
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Bobby Bingo

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Drone, you would have strange shaped head if you had nothing between your ears. The lad cannot help being thick!
Bobby

Offline Muggins

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Drone, do you mean in real life or is it a picture?  If so has Chav been at it with her photo-art stuff? 

Are you trying to say he's an alien or do you think his mum had a forcep delivery?
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Chav

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Drone, do you mean in real life or is it a picture?  If so has Chav been at it with her photo-art stuff? 

Are you trying to say he's an alien or do you think his mum had a forcep delivery?

No haven't done any editing re: MD at all !

He is who he is  :wink:
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Offline Mellon

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Quote
He is who he is  :wink:

A slimey oxygen breathing octopus?
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Offline Chav

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Quote
He is who he is  :wink:


A slimey oxygen breathing octopus?


all arms and legs then ! ............ nope make that 'all arms' octopi dont have legs do they or tenticles which are flexible extentions (squid and cuttlefish have them) 

The Mouth of an Octopus
The beak-like mouth of an octopus is located on the mantel cavity at the back of the bulbous head of the octopus, surrounded by the eight legs. The mouth is the entryway to the mantle cavity which has gills inside of it. The octopus uses these gills to breathe. Water is brought into the octopus mouth and is then passed through the gills back into the body of water. As the water is pushed over the surface of the gills, oxygen is picked up by the blood in the capillaries of the gills.

The Gills of an Octopus
The gills are made up of many feathery filaments. These filaments allow for a larger surface area across which the oxygenated water passes over. This large surface area allows the octopus to pick up more oxygen per breath.

The Exchange of Oxygen
The oxygen is picked up in the capillaries by the process of a counter current exchange. Oxygen will be picked up in the capillaries as long as the level of oxygen is lower in the blood than it is in the water. When counter current exchange is used, the oxygen level will always be lower in the blood than in the water, allowing for continuous exchange of oxygen between the water and blood. This means that blood travels in an opposite direction in the gills than the direction that the water is traveling. This allows for maximum oxygen exchange per breath.
Due to the muscular system of the octopus that contracts the mantle cavity, forcing oxygenated water across the filaments of the gills, the octopus is able to attain the 11 percent oxygen saturation level in its blood that it requires. Most fish and mollusks attain an average of 3 percent oxygen saturation.



Read more: How Does an Octopus Breathe?
 | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4566479_an-octopus-breathe.html#ixzz1KWjriUn0

And they are slimey  :o
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Offline Karsten

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Phew what a loooong post.. The name of MD rang a bell so I start reading...
I remember the year he was elected as the LibDems posted tons of leaflets and started posting even before the election was called. Delivering their 1 page Focus leaflet, err newsletter a couple of times.

Amazed to hear Geoff voted for him and not Labour?   Mind you I might have done the same, had I not been a candidate at the time.
Hope I don't get on the wrong side of Geoff.

I do remember MD switching parties mid term and do remember that after the election he was not heard of and did nothing for Central.
When he switched parties mid term, I thought he should have stood down if he had any ethics.
But Clegg seems to be of same mold, even though he hasn’t quite shifted party.. (yet)… maybe the LibDems are full of Conservative sleepers.

When MD got in, only 1.6k voted in Central just 23%.. With AV it would probably have been D Cox and Labour that got in.
In 2010 4.4k+ voted!   That more than 2.5 times the norm even for a general election.

I think the fact that it was not a 2 horse race, made people pay attention.
Even though I do not think AV much better than the existing system, it will increase interest in voting I think.
PR is what must be the goal, but if people vote No today I doubt it will be on the cards again.

First time I stood in a Local Election in Central I got 101 votes and the Labour guys got in with 400+.
I think it was the lowest turnout ever at 18%.
In my opinion that low a turnout should invalidate an election. What do others think?

The problem with local Elections is that most people don't know anything about the person standing, just the Party.
There is often nothing more than a name.
When SBC dabbled with E -Voting we were sent a photo and short description given by each candidate.
Nowadays it's only the readers of the Pradvadiser that get an election insert and an edited description of candidates.
The main parties are favoured just because they have and spend money on leafleting etc..
I suspect they spend a lot more than allowed but who checks what is really spent and what is declared? There has not been an audit as far as I know.


I have an idea that would give voters better information about candidates and cost very little to implement.
If candidates could send in a PDF leaflet to the election dept. of SBC and then have this leaflet emailed to people on the electoral register that had given their email (>50%), these people could have their electoral information removed from the public lists sent to candidates.

That way it would remove the importance of leafleting and improve the playing field for candidates that aren’t in rich parties.
It would perhaps also make bollocktical claims less likely as all the email PDF leaflets would go out same time and would have to go through a vetting process similar to the one the Post Office does of leaflets it delivers.
Anyone think this is worth taking further?

Karsten




Offline Geoff Reid

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Michael Dickinson has just wobbled down my road as fast as his larger-than-average frame would allow and leafleted every house except mine.

Will pop round to my neighbours in a bit and see what he delivered - expecting it to be the small one he started distributing a few days ago:



So far then, this seems to be the only leaflet distributed generally in Freshbrook & Grange Park, nothing from the Lib Dems or UKIP.