Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Doing Labour's work - the BBC & the list of dodgy councillors

It is always nice to know the BBC is keeping an eye on our figures. In their 'Reality Check' on our list, Anthony Reuben, Head of Statistics at BBC News says in an article titled 'Have 319 councillors really stood down in 2015?"

"The number comes from a blog called Nope, Not Hope but it does not make quite the same claims about it that Mr Nuttall makes."

And then continues

"And if you look at some of the miscreants cited in the list you may doubt the figure further."

OK, we accidentally included the Moroccan born mayor of Rotterdam saying that "Muslims who didn't like the Netherlands should f**k off back to where they came from". Clearly he is not a British councillor. That said, if you count the number of stories in the master document, there are 292, not 291, meaning the Dutch mayor is not counted: the inclusion was a typographical error, with two lines selected rather than one when the document was compiled.

Reuben then complains that 'There are examples of the wives and children of councillors getting into trouble, although they themselves were not investigated."

The two examples he links are interesting. The first involves the wife of a Tory councillor who was convicted of theft. Her husband subsequently resigned as a councillor as a result of her conviction. The second relates to the son of a Rochdale Labour councillor who was arrested on the Syrian border attempting to travel to join ISIS, and who was subsequently released without charge on his return to the UK. We'd consider that both of those - had they involved UKIP - would have warranted coverage on the BBC and elsewhere. It's not as if the BBC doesn't focus on the nationality of Nigel Farage's wife, as in this story - "Nigel Farage says German wife is not taking Briton's job"

He then states that a Plaid Cymru councillor arrested and charged over an assault on his wife who was cleared at court when his wife refused to give evidence against him "should not be on the list anyway" as "he does not count as being affiliated to Labour, the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats". Had he read the introduction to the PDF he would have read:

"This PDF file lists all the councillors we can find from other parties who have been accused of..."
Reuben does concede that

"This does not mean that UKIP has a monopoly on candidates getting into trouble though. The Liberal Democrats, for example, replaced Jason Zadrozny as their candidate for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire after he was accused of child sex offences.
The Conservative candidate for Dudley North Afzal Amin resigned over claims of a plot between him and the English Defence League. Both cases were widely reported."

Although he fails to mention the so far nationally unreported (by the BBC nationally) convictions of two Labour candidates in separate trails last week for fraud, with one being sentenced to 2 1/2 years imprisonment.

So, out of a list of 291 councillors from Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservatives, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens, he finds 4 to complain about. Of those, only 1 shouldn't be on the list - the Dutchman - and he wasn't counted in the total anyway.

What we actually clearly claim for the list is as follows:

This PDF file lists all the councillors we can find from other parties who have been accused of racism, sexism or homophobia, those who have been arrested, sentenced or convicted of crimes, and those who are just plain useless, offensive or incompetent. We have tried to avoid duplication. Almost all of those featured have appeared only in the local press - very few have made the national media. Links to online sources are provided for all stories.

The original list can be downloaded as a pdf file here -

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