Saturday, 2 July 2011

Stony Stratford Councillor Struggles With His Evidence

Say, for the sake of argument, you were a councillor. And say you hypothetically decided to propose something as ludicrous as a total smoking ban outdoors on the premise that:

"When you walk through the high street in any town smoke is in your face and harming you and any children there. Smokers then get their butt, which is full of saliva, and chuck it on the floor. It costs millions to clear street rubbish, and goodness knows what a child could pick up from them. If I make the environment cleaner and save on council tax, sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns."
And say you were approached by BBC Look East to appear in a feature on such a proposal.

Would you:

a) Tactfully decline under the weight of adverse publicity - you're a savvy politician, after all?
b) Agree to do so, and back your rhetoric up with examples from the town you represent?
or c) Be filmed in anywhere but the place which would be forced to suffer your lunacy?

Guess which option Councillor Bartlett chose.

The proposed smoking ban in Stony Stratford was featured on the BBC's Look East programme last night, 30th June.

Stony Stratford Town Councillor Paul Bartlett, the man who is making the proposal is, rather strangely, interviewed and shown picking up cigarette butts outside the Tesco's Store in Kingston, Milton Keynes. That's nearly 10 miles away from the picturesque High Street of Stony Stratford!

In another shot, the Smoke Room window of The Swan pub in Old Stratford is shown. That may be geographically close to Stony Stratford, but it is over the river in Northamptonshire.
Yes. It's such a massive problem in Stony Stratford that Bartlett was forced to travel for miles, and over county borders, to find evidence for his plan to ban smoking in a town where there is - judging by his choice of televised venue - no apparent problem.

I think this curious case requires further investigation seeing as the council is adamant that the vote will still go ahead on the 19th of July. I reckon I'll pop up there and have a look around, have a beer, smoke a bit lot, and maybe even track down Herr Bartlett for a little chat (if he's not mooching around in an entirely different town, of course).

Fancy coming along?

I'm serious, by the way.

UPDATE: Bartlett's BBC Look East appearance can be viewed here.


subrosa said...

Wish I could Dick. A day out in Stoney Stratford sounds just what I need to rid myself of some political cobwebs.

Good luck.

TheBigYin said...

When I blogged about him on Wednesday DP one of my commentators gave a link about The good Aldermans 'ethical' conduct hearing of 2005 where he was eventually haulled up on front of a committee for this allegation. Here is the allegation:

the matter to an Ethical Standards Officer for investigation, was made
by Ms Katherine Gillard. The following is a general summary of the
allegation (ref. SBE 13644.05) as provided by the Standards Board for
The complainant is head of a regional branch of the Open College
Network. It is reported that on 25th November 2005, Councillor
Bartlett called at their offices at Maybrook House and requested
information about such matters as who paid for the office space
there. It is alleged that he did not properly explain who he was or
what his role was in respect of the council or as community
representative, and when asked to explain, became belligerent,
demanding and aggressive. It is reported that he refused to leave
until a senior member of staff threatened to call the police, and that
his behaviour frightened the junior staff present.
The complainant has produced an e-mail which Cllr Bartlett
subsequently sent to the member of staff which seeks to justify his
actions, but which also upbraids the employee for her own attitude
and ends by repeating his question and asking for an apology. The
complainant believes this adds insult to injury.

The man is just a bully, who'll lie and cheat to get to the top, fine pickings for Tobacco Control or a paid job with ASH i'd say.

The witch from Essex said...

Apparently he also was accused of going round to the womans house and she thought that he was going to hit her.
Xxxxxx also alleges that at one point on 8th May Cllr Bartlett raised his hand causing Xxxxxx to fear that he was going to assault her and that Cllr Bartlett then shouted at her as she closed her front door.

Conservative Party agent Gordon Williams said the local party had "not lost any sleep" over Cllr Bartlett's resignation.
Mr Williams said: "He has not been a committed person over the last few years.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Interesting character. All the more reason to pop along and make an appearance. ;)

Dick Puddlecote said...

Rosie: Why not come along then? It's nice and central. Step away from the hoover and get on a fast train for the day. ;)

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Sounds like a plan DP, where to meet and what time?

Dick Puddlecote said...

A date needs to be set first, WfW. Watch this space for details.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sounds like a plan, can you announce exact renezvous point, place and time etc? And check that this is where the vote will be held.

Lysistrata said...

I would love, absolutely ADORE, to join you in Stoney Stratford. Sadly it's a little far from Greece to go just to blow smoke from my red-lipsticked mouth into Cllr Bartlett's face.

But I'm visiting the uk in August. Do tell me if you still need a little help. I even have my own dinky little silver and cloisonne travelling ashtray.

My professional opinion of Cllr Bartlett, apparently shared by his political minders, is that he is a fucking LULU.

Anonymous said...

Well spotted Dick. I have passed those lies onto Look East and the Daily Express

B7 said...

Dick, this is definately a worthy day out, it needs national coverage and thousands of smokers with placards etc.

Hope to come along

CiaranG said...

People who throw cigarette ends on the floor are scum, as far as I'm concerned. It's just litter though, and there are plenty of ways of dealing with litter louts already, so the bulk of his justification is utter nonsense, unless he also advocates banning crisps and chocolate.

That leaves only the first sentence, regarding harming people [gratuitous mention of children]. I'm sure he has some evidence to back that up. Does he?

Anonymous said...

Let us be honest with ourselves,
when we allowed the silly total
ban to survive ,we opened the
stable doors for every hair brained ass and neutered mule to
prowl the streets with even more
barmy suggestions.
Mind you ,(Milton Keynes)there's
a real nest of whackos ,weirdos,
freaks, poo poos and hand wafters
As for the Silly Billy councillor
he just requires some detailed
attention.As said before,if the
half cocked landlords and yellow
streaked pub goers in the dipstick
town crawl under their garden gnomes,whats the point in worrying

There must be some Spartans somewhere,but where ?

Bring back normal pubs brigade

Pat Nurse MA said...

I'd love to come but not sure if I can make it. my protest went great today. I think it'd be fantastic if we keep up this pressure on the smokerphobics so I hope you can draw enough people to make their voices heard in stony stratford!

handymanphil said...

Hi DP,last year Stony Stratford denied it had a problem with smokers/smoking ban-and then the Working Mens Club suddenly closed due to lack of customers after donkeys years of providing for the community!

Twenty_Rothmans said...

Bartlett is not fit to pick up butts - well, not fag ends, anyway.

Would like to come if work permits.

Anonymous said...

Anon @22.17

You're spot on, there. Only one problem, SHS. Without that nothing else stands. That's the only aim. Belting the credibility of it's troops like ASH is a good start but there's also the APPG, another fraud.

david said...

I don't think ASH et al will be too pleased with Bartlett - he's a loose cannon. They like to go through all the usual bullshit channels to claim popular support for anti smoker policies. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see him back pedalling over this.

Ian R Thorpe said...

On an IT contract for the Post Office in the early 1990s I asked for a Personal computer for a new starter. It was the Information Technology dept after all.

You will have to produce a cost justification, I was told. I did and showed how giving this persona a PC would save £5million a year. Even the post Office spotted I was taking the piss.

Obviously this guy has dug out my cost benefit analysis, a lot of his reasoning is very familiar.

david said...

Anon @ 08:58

Absolutely. Therein lies a major flaw of the SOPAC campaign - it indicates acceptance of the passive smoking shite. We might, just might, get an amendment re pubs and clubs, but there'd be a heavy price to pay - smoking bans in cars and possibly homes. I suppose we could campaign for separate cars for children, maybe stick them in a trailer, or strap em to a roof rack......

Junican said...

Something was floating about in my mind that I could not quite identify - and then it struck me. ASH cannot claim that the recession is both harming pubs and not harming pubs at the same time.

Here are some recent posts by ASH. I trust that people will see the basic contradictions. "Oh what webs we weave......."


“”Data from the Office for National Statistics shows a net increase in the number of people visiting pubs since the smoking ban. When England went smoke-free in 2007, the number of premises licensed for alcohol increased by 5 per cent, and it has continued to grow every year since.”"

That from Emily Duncan in the Independent 29th May 2011 “The unstoppable march of Big Tobacco”


."""Pubs, like all small businesses have been hard hit by the recession...""" From Arnott.


"""However, the pro-tobacco lobby’s claims that the smoking ban has led to pub closures are unfounded. In 2007, the year England went smokefree, the number of licensed premises for “on sales” of alcohol actually increased by 5% [4] and there has been a net increase in the number of people reporting going to pubs since the smokefree law came into effect. [5]"""

Essentially, it is the same statement of fact, but from ASH on 29th June 2011 and unattributed.
Arnott, of course, comments:

""“Pubs, like all small businesses have been hard hit by the recession. But the tobacco lobby group assertion that thousands of pubs in England and Wales are under threat of closure due to the smoking ban does not stand up to scrutiny. The British public are enjoying the benefits of smokefree drinking and dining and there is little appetite for a return to the bad old days of smoky pubs.”""


Is ASH contradicting itself or not?

david said...

Seem so J. They're losing their own plot. Panic stations at ASHHQ.

NewsboyCap said...


Had a lovely day out with Pat on Saturday, so yes, name the date and time I'll be there.
So much fun to be had baiting Anti-smokers.

Bucko said...

I'll come if anyone from oop north wants to split petrol?

NewsboyCap said...


I'm from Bolton, more than willing to to split the petrol costs.

Let me know time & place

Bucko said...

Nice one Newsboy. I'll keep your email and be in touch when it comes together.

steveshark said...

The Swan in Old Stratford is right by the side of the A5, just before what can be a very busy roundabout which takes you out to Northampton, Oxford and all points north.
If Bartlett was interviewed outside there, it's my guess that he inhaled far more crap from exhaust fumes than he would if he walked the Streets of Stony for a fucking year.