Bristol Labour Party’s education policy has become a bit clearer this week.
Having already created a national laughing stock out of the city’s secondary education provision some time ago, they’ve followed this up by failing to provide enough primary school places for new kids starting school this year, despite being aware of a growing problems for years.
So having gloriously fucked it all up – not least by employing the half-witted Heather Tomlinson on a six-figure salary for five years to run the city’s education services further in to the ground for them – Bristol Labour now unveil an intriguing third prong in their education strategy.
And er … That’s to threaten any poor parent blighted by their failed education service with legal action if they dare complain about the shambles. I kid you not!
As promised, here is former Labour leader Helen Holland’s response to a Bishopston parent who had the cheek to fume directly at her about her extraordinary decision to cancel the building of a desperately needed new primary school at Ashley Down just prior to her embarking on a bizarre PR escapade with Gloucestershire County Cricket Club who wanted the land earmarked for the school for their extra car parking:
From: Helen Holland [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 18 March 2009 18:39
To: Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
Cc: Stephen McNamara
Subject: RE: Primary Schools Crisis in Bristol – putting children first
Dear Mr Xxxxxx
I have been waiting for you to write to me with your apology for what you stated in your e-mail below to Cllr Derek Pickup, ie that I attended a parliamentary reception for Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, and further that I did not declare my attendance at this reception.
This is completely untrue. I was not at the reception, and therefore obviously could not declare attendance.
I have taken preliminary legal advice and am advised that I would have a very strong case against you, which I intend to pursue unless as I hope, that you will take the opportunity as soon as possible to apologise to me, and to put right what is a blatant untruth, and which has fuelled some very unfortunate spin-offs. Please confirm that you have corrected this defamation by writing to all recipients of the original email and please confirm that you will not repeat this defamation.
Please also note that I have referred your correspondence to the Head of Legal Services in the City Council.
I look forward to hearing from you very soon.
Cllr Helen Holland
Labour Councillor – Whitchurch Park
Leader of the Labour Group
Bristol City Council
The Council House
tel/fax: +44 (0)117 987 2238
With such an absurd concoction of pomposity, bluster and stupidity it’s hard to know where to start. But you have to wonder who on earth Helen is getting her “legal advice” from? Sid and Doris Bonkers of Sea Mills?
For starters, it might help if Helen’s “legal advice” could actually fucking read. Helen and her “advice” seem to think that her correspondent claimed she had “attended a parliamentary reception for Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, and further more … did not declare … attendance at this reception.”
But they haven’t said this. The correspondent actually quotes word-for-word directly from the website of JBP, Helen’s cricket club friend’s upmarket PR firm. And what they said – and continue to say – is:
“Attendance of over 100 members of the political and business community at the Bristol reception, including explicit endorsement in the media and at the event itself from Cllr Helen Holland, Leader of Bristol City Council.”
No mention of “a parliamentary reception” there. It refers only to a “Bristol reception”. It rather looks like, behind all the bluster and the third rate legal threats, there’s a good old fashioned non denial denial going on here.
That’s where you loudly and proudly deny something you haven’t been accused of – eg. attending a Parliamentary reception – in order to avoid addressing what you have been accused of – eg. attending a reception in Bristol and not declaring it in the council’s register of members’ interests.
So did Helen attend a Gloucestershire County Cricket Club reception in Bristol or not? And why doesn’t she want to say?
Still, while we wait for the answer, we can always look forward to this sensational and innovative defamation action Helen and her “legal advice” intend to pursue as they have – in their seriously warped view – a “strong case”.
A strong case of delusion perhaps? Do they really intend to attempt to sue someone for not saying something they have? That should be quite a day in the High Court, if a tad on the expensive side for Helen.
Could someone quietly tell Helen you usually find the super rich fighting defamation cases in the High Court, not deluded teachers from Southville?
And what’s Helen hoping to achieve by referring this correspondence to the Head of Legal Services at the council? He’ll know sod-all about defamation and there’s even less he can do about it. Local authorities can’t sue for defamation. They’re not a person .
Surely not just another empty and desperate threat from Helen to try to cover-up her miserable failings and her deliberate policy depriving Bristol’s parents of school places this year while her corporate friends’ car parking needs get met in full?