I was invited to the Hawarden High School service of Remembrance last Friday, the 11th day of the 11th Month of the 11th year. The event was a deeply moving and poignant occasion. Historic clips of Neville Chamberlains sad pronouncement that we are now at war with Germany, followed by the famous rousing Churchill speech “we will fight them on the beaches and never surrender”set the scene. Then with readings and music interspersed, more clips of life in the trenches, the mud , the battles, the animals struggling to pull huge artillery and all the horrors that came with all wars. The statistics of the dead, the casualties and how many had been affected were staggering and the saddest moment must have been when the list of those who were pupils who had paid that ultimate sacrifice were read out solemnly by serving pupils. The very last name, James Smart stood out on its own. He was the most recent departed boy who had very recently lost his life whilst serving in the RAF. His mother was in the audience as she was a few days later when we paid our respects at the Hawarden War Memorial.
Sunday 13th, threatened rain as I lined up with the British Legion contingent, Sir William Gladstone plus black brolly, military personnel and all the other community groups that process every year from Gladstone Playing Fields to the Hawarden cenotaph. Last year, with knee well into collapse mode and knowing the march would be tricky, I parked close by & slid into the midst of my marching councillor colleagues. This year no such problem courtesy of Gobowen ‘s good deed and the march there and back was performed with ease. The sun finally broke through and lit up a heavily berried holly tree behind the war memorial. The crowds were as big as ever and in no time, the the whole base of the memorial was deep in red poppy wreaths.
Ever since I have been an elected member, Remembrance Sunday has been a sacred duty when as as AM, I had to decide where to pay my respects, Mold, Flint, Holywell or wherever. One year, Caerwys held their ceremony in the afternoon and laid on an excellent tea once the parade had dispersed. As the solemn occasion of this latest service drifted by, I wondered what I would be doing next year? Would I be an elected member or even a member of the Community Council at all? Time to make a decision is now getting short. To walk away from the numerous problems facing Flintshire and the ever growing piles of council papers would be a great relief and yet….how some officers and councillors would rejoice! And yet…..of course, to stand and to lose would be a great blow to my pride and yet……Much to ponder on!
OUR POROUS BORDERS!
Why were new applicants put to the effort of an expensive passport with iris recognition and all the other built in checks when our Border Agency can so wantonly put up is collective feet and takes a nap rather than tackle long queues issues.. On the last leg of a world trip, I arrived at LA airport where I had a reservation on a BA evening flight back to the UK. I had over 7 hrs to get through the airport to the BA terminal. Easy Peasy I thought. How will I kill the time? I watched planes landing with less than 30 seconds to clear the run way and then I joined the queues to get through immigration. I queued for hours so long that I nearly missed my BA plane despite the terminus being within spitting distance. Some attempt was made to identify travellers who were running out of time and put us in a faster track but the US Authorities seemed unwilling to cut corners. It was a stressful experience and I was so pleased to make the flight but at least I knew I had not boarded with terrorists clutching bombs. No wonder the Americans are worried about security at the forthcoming Olympics and are sending their own backup!
THAT BEER WITH BRIAN!
Lord Justice Leveson’s enquiry starts in earnest on 21st November. More than 50 individuals or organisations have been give “core status” & will give evidence on oath. Some evidence will not be heard at once to avoid prejudicing the hearing. Seems a very fair way of doing things and nothing less than I would expect of genial and friendly barrister Brian Leveson, as I knew him when he occasionally popped into the Oxford Lounge, (the Merseyside Police HQ Watering hole) for a lager all those years ago. My equality action against the name-sake of the Oxford lounge, the then Chief Constable, ended the drinks round for me. I got suspended and was refused entry to HQ. Brian Leveson got the brief to defend the CC as he had been named as a defendant in my industrial tribunal.
Interestingly, both lawyers in my legal action, against i.e. Brian L and for me, Stephen Sedley have climbed to very top of their legal “greasy pole.” Both became QC s and Stephen is an Appeal court judge.
THE WAY WE DO IT IN WALES- NO LESS THAN OBSTRUCTING THE POLICE FOR SURE!
Regular readers will know my feelings about the Ombudsman’s system in Wales. The Ombudsman ignored my claim that I had finally discredited Cllr Arnold Woolley’ INFAMOUS journal but nevertheless, it was still a major plank in the case against fellow cllr, Patrick Heesom. The Adjudication Panel for Wales have been hearing Cllr Woolley’s evidence for weeks now. Cllr Woolley was recalled three times. He will not be required again! Yet, this Panel has refused to release the transcripts relating to Cllr Woolley’s testimony given at Patrick’s hearing to the police. REASON- “the tribunal is still receiving evidence & has not made any finding in relation to the evidence of Cllr Woolley.” “The tribunal is an ongoing quasi-judicial process.” “The tribunal could not allow those proceedings to be put at risk whilst matters are ongoing”.
WOW. Doesn’t get much more arrogant than that? This must be obstruction of a police investigation? It is wrong for a civil process to prevent the scrutiny of a criminal act: my only interest is what Woolley said on oath. I heard him admit himself on 15th September that an entry that seriously maligned my integrity was “impossible”. The lawyers who heard all this evidence looked thoroughly uncomfortable as he struggled to give sensible answers under cross examination. However, it is not part of the script that the star witness of two tribunals should be caught out telling very serious porky-pies and of course the panel know that I would be exonerated when the judgement against me is agreed as no longer sound. So, how to avoid a humiliating legal “car crash” that would occur once the police are allowed the evidence needed to send Mr Woolley to the criminal court. Play for time of course. The tribunal will cooperate with the police but only after the Cllr Heesom case has finished. THIS IS AN APPALLINGLY BIASED DECSION and my lawyer Martin Howe will be challenging it vigorously as I need to clear my name now. As it could drag on till March or even later and there is an election to consider. This is so unfair if I cannot have the finding against me quashed before the elections again.
The Panel wish to delay the bad publicity of their star witness in both tribunals crashing into a possible gaol sentence when so much public money has been spent on trying to get rid of Patrick Heesom. £3 million is the latest estimate! I have already been knocked out by Ombudsman’s tacky tricks. All I want is to clear my name. Seems Messrs James & Peter J Davies of the Adjudication Panel have other ideas.
I bet that Lord Justice Leveson would turn white over this appalling unfairness. I don’t have much luck. First, I lose a career through discrimination, two, found guilty on a bent journal and thirdly, the tribunal is happily obstructing the police to keep up the pretence of running a fair process!
We need a Brian Leveson to intervene. Once he’s dealt with his current review, perhaps he should be invited to Wales to sort out the mess of our own PSWO & Adjudication Panel débâcle in Wales..The only way to deal with this lot is to disband them entirely.