A strong case of bullshit

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:helen.holland@bristol.gov.uk]
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.

Helen Holland

Cllr Helen Holland

Labour Councillor – Whitchurch Park

Leader of the Labour Group
Bristol City Council
The Council House
College Green

tel/fax: +44 (0)117 987 2238
e-mail: helen.holland@bristol.gov.uk

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?

This entry was posted in Bishopston, Bristol, Education, Labour Party, Local government, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A strong case of bullshit

  1. Anon says:

    If a local council cannot sue for defamation then she would presumably sue as an individual. If that’s the case, in consulting the council’s Head of Legal Services, could she stand accused of misusing council resources? Just wondering Helen, if you are reading this and thinking about whether I can be sued.

  2. chris hutt says:

    Helen Holland appears to have received free legal advice from the Council’s Head of Legal Services in connection with a personal matter. Should that be declared in the Register of Members’ Interests?

  3. Get out says:

    Absolutely priceless…

  4. Accounting Creatives says:

    “which has fuelled some very unfortunate spin-offs”


  5. badnewswade says:

    What utter scum. It is as if Labour are on a mission ensure that nobody ever votes for them again.

  6. john jones says:

    It also cannot be defamation as you have to have a reputation to defame. I doubt hers could sink any lower. However the thought of her being ripped apart by a good QC, along with what shreds of credibility she thinks she has left, would be a joyous one. I’m sure the Labour party would fund her fight for justice though…..wouldnt they?.

  7. There’s only one problem with your blog BB… being about Bristol, so much of it is, franky, unbelievable. I had to look at the calendar to check the date… it wasn’t April 1st. I’m going back to bed… when I get up again after a bit more sleep this posting won’t be here… if it is still here, I will have proof positive that the world (or the Bristol Labour Party at any rate) will have gone stark staring bonkers!

  8. snafu says:

    Bonkers? Maybe you haven’t seen comments on a local blog from someone claiming that he is paul smith, a labour ppc in bristol. This is what he thinks of his party,

    “I was partly motivated to put myself forward to the local Labour Party to ensure that a robotic yes person politician was not selected”

    So we are treated to the spectacle of a labour ppc desperately trying to dissociate himself from the very party he is standing for.

  9. chris hutt says:

    Snafu, can you post a link ot that?

  10. So I get up again and the post is still here… Bristol Labour Party are clearly bonkers.

    Sadly, I have indeed seen the comments from Paul Smith (Note to Chris, they’re below the latest post on Anarchist 606’s blog, which can be found among BB’s blogroll). Is Paul Smith trying to tell us something about Kerry McCarthy? It is a gobsmacker isn’t it? Vote for me because my party’s crap!

    Oh well, going back to bed didn’t change anything in this reality… maybe drink might do the trick?!?!

  11. Jozer says:

    The non-denial denial has a long & proud history in Bristol’s public life. Just ask the no-longer chairman of a certain local football club that is located very close to GCC.

    It’s a favorite tactic of his to loudly accuse anyone who points out that he is a self-serving creep, of having said he has committed a crime (when they haven’t said any such thing), and to threaten legal action. Action which has yet to materialise. Ever.

  12. Jozer says:

    Following a bit of research, I find that the non-denial denial is used a lot by spin merchants, and that one reason for it is to get an ‘apology’ that is actually nothing of the sort.

    When someone points out that your actions are a bit dodgy i.e. hypocritical or morally dubious, you throw a hissy fit & respond to a far more serious allegation than the one actually made, i.e. one of criminal libel, and threaten legal action if you don’t get an ‘apology’ for something that was never actually said in the first place. The other party will often issue a statement making it clear that they are not accusing the complainant of that act, just to cover themselves. The complainant then spins this clarification into an ‘apology’. They then let the legend develop that the last person who critisised them was forced to make an apology or face legal action. This puts the wind up any other potential critics.

    Of course, this is one specific reason. The tactic can also be used just to cause general muddying of the waters, to deflect or deflate attention.

  13. This shit writes itself.

  14. Wednesday 25th. I get up again, take a look at the Evening Cancer’s site to see if they’ve bothered to report on anything of any note… they’ve got a story about Kerry McCarthy… she’s rambling on about cow farts. I go and pour a cup of tea, go back to the computer. Yes, I did read it right… Kerry McCarthy is now rambling on about cow farts! I pour a large slug of brandy into my tea.

    EBLP are even more bonkers than I thought. I can’t take any more of today… and it’s only just started.

  15. Chopper says:

    I sit here after a long day at work, reading this entertaining and informative blog, and my wife has just asked me why I am adopting the facial expression of ‘Cletus the slack jawed yokel’ (out of off of of The Simpsons).

    I think I must just be naive. The councillor is clearly nuts! Why didn’t she just answer the question? (Am I laying myself open to some bizarre legal action by saying that?)

    I actually feel a lot of sympathy for the chap who wrote to Holland. Genuine questions and all that.

    Incidentally I wrote to Kerry McCarthy not so long ago asking her about plans for a more permanent protection of the cycle path given the development at the old chocolate factory (daren’t mention George Redpants) and she replied by rambling on about having seen the plans from Squarepeg and being satisfied they’re suitable. Just left me a bit confused. Still, I guess it’s what you get when you have someone shipped in from Luton to be your MP.

  16. snafu says:

    Yes, someone must be suffering a bad case of cognitive dissonance, because if mr redpants and ms cowfarts and ms hemorroids are all getting paid so much more than you or me and richer than you or me, then surely they must be much brainier than than you or me, and therefore whatever they decide is best, shooorly must be best … or is there shome mishtake?

  17. Chopper says:

    Just need to look up cognitive dissonance – bear with me.

    Yep, got it. Great stuff. Spot on.

  18. Re; local authorities cannot sue – sometimes they can get round it, and our local authority has changed it’s constitution to do just that.
    We were sued by the local head of planning.

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