Another week, another local emergency service performing a 180-degree u-turn. Last week it was the Avon & Somerset Constabulary; this week it’s fire chief Kevin Pearson at Avon Fire & Rescue.
Pearson has now been aimlessly staggering from embarrassing crisis to increasingly weird pronouncement and back again ever since it went public earlier this month that his service had decided to heavily discipline four of its fire fighters for shining a torch on a group of gay men having sex on The Downs one evening.
As this fiasco has unfolded, the public has looked on increasingly appalled and aghast at Pearson’s bizarre and self-serving conduct. Indeed not since Pigfucker Gurney dug a large hole costing £10m in the middle of Portsmouth and then announced to the press it was “a bit of fun” for his bored local government officers has The Blogger seen such an example of entirely fuckwitted leadership in action.
Friday, however, saw Pearson attempting to justify his conduct in front of the only group of people possibly more stupid than him and the rest of his management team – the local councillors that make up the Avon Fire & Rescue Authority. People who are supposed to manage this £150k self-styled chief executive and scrutinise his decisions on our behalf.
Pearson, in a bit of tight corner since this story he was trying to hush up embarrassingly blew up in the national press, has recently taken to claiming that the disciplinary action his management team took over the four fire fighters was about misuse of equipment and never had anything whatsover to do with gay sex, homophobia or homosexuality. He has then combined this blatant spinning and post-rationalisation with regular accusations of rampant HOMOPHOBIA!!!! toward anybody and everybody daring to criticise him.
Pearson’s performance on Friday was therefore quite predictable. “Hysterical HOMOPHOBIA!!!” was to blame for the criticism he had received after disciplining these four fire fighters he announced to this rapt audience of local councillors. He then went on to attack THE MEDIA!!!! for their reporting of the story, claiming they had made up a link between gay sex and this incident when they had no evidence of this whatsoever.
This story, despite having holes as large as Gurney’s in Portsmouth, seems to have been accepted in its ludicrous entirety by the councillors working on our behalf who, it’s reported, passed a motion at the meeting on Friday expressing their total support for the service and chief fire officer Pearson.
All well and good. But you have to ask how well these councillors have bothered to scrutinise Pearson and his team on our behalf. Here’s a few problems with Pearson’s latest efforts at self-serving spin:
1. If the case was purely about misuse of fire equipment aren’t £1,000 fines and demotion rather steep and excessive punishments for misusing a fire service torch? Did the councillors obtain evidence that this was the usual punishment for such an offence?
2. If the case was purely about misuse of equipment why was the complainant – The Terrence Higgins Trust – consulted after the disciplinary action and allowed to pronounce they were “happy” at the outcome? Is it usual practice for the Avon Fire & Rescue Service to consult the Terrence Higgins Trust on the outcome of their disciplinary actions? Do they usually consult outside bodies on matters of discipline? And why would you be consulting another body on what’s supposed to be an entirely confidential process anyway?
3. Why – if the case was purely about misuse of equipment – was part of the fire fighters’ punishment to attend a LGBT conference and why were they asked to pay their fines to a gay charity? Are these part of the normal tariff of punishments available to the Avon Fire & Rescue Service? Have these ever been used as punishments by the service before for misuse of fire equipment?
Are we really expected to believe that the press just made up a link between gay sex and this incident? I think we should be told. Although it’s unlikely we ever will.