Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stone cold sober (2)

Mine's a pint.....maybe not if you're BNP councillor Bob Bailey...

Councillor Bob Bailey's little local difficulty regarding his rather interesting take on sobriety at last week's Freedom of the Borough ceremony in Barking - refuses to go away - as much as he might hope it would.
The Barking and Dagenham Post is the latest media source to give the hapless BNP group leader another unfavourable headline:

Councillor thrown out of civic reception
‘BNP man was ‘drunk and an embarassment’.

COUNCILLOR Bob Bailey was removed from the Freedom of the Borough ceremony last week because he was drunk, claimed fellow councillors.

The opposition leader was "clearly under the influence" according to deputy council leader Cllr Bob Little.

Cllr Little is now calling for Cllr Bailey's resignation, however the BNP man says he has done nothing wrong.

Cllr Bailey, who is an ex serviceman, was due to speak in support of bestowing the borough's highest honour on the Royal Anglian Regiment - the Freedom of the Borough.

But before he could deliver his speech on Wednesday January 27, he was escorted from the Broadway Theatre by a security guard.

Cllr Bailey claims this is because council staff and other councillors were concerned his address would be a "political hot potato".

"I must have received four calls from council officers that afternoon asking me not to mention the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

"They had already decided that I should not be allowed to speak. They were trying to censure me. That's why I was told to leave.

"And as for Bob Little - I didn't see or speak to him all evening - so I don't know where he is getting his information from."

Cllr Little has said Cllr Bailey was in no fit state to deliver a speech and suggested he apologise to the award recipients.

"Councillor Bailey should resign," he said. "Turning up for such an important event inebriated is at best embarrassing, at worst an insult to the event, the sponsors and to the people receiving the Freedom of the Borough.

"In all my time as a councillor I have never seen anyone behave in such a way."

Cllr Bailey claims senior council staff were behind his removal from the ceremony last week and his being drunk is a lie invented to cover up the truth.

Council chief Rob Whiteman said: "When I spoke to Cllr Bailey during the day I did not ask him to say nothing about the war but rather reminded him that the Freedom of the Borough ceremony is a civic and non-party political occasion where guests would be offended if the atmosphere was not one of celebrating the achievements of those being honoured.

"Cllr Bailey was not removed from the event because of any views he might express but because he was very drunk and causing embarrassment and concern to others which we are not willing to tolerate from anybody."

And the paper's editorial did him and his party no favours either.

“Why did one of our elected representatives, Councillor Bob Bailey allow himself to be ignominiously thrown out of the very civic reception arranged to honour six new Freemen of the borough….?

Councillor Bailey has tried to defend his actions but if he is honest, he set himself up at a time when he needed to be squeaky clean….”

All in all then a bit of an own-goal from the BNP.

Earlier in the week Bailey's notoriety hit the headlines in the Guardian diary:

• The gloves are off again in Barking, where the boxing promoter Frank Maloney, Ukip's talisman for the general election, has been rebuffed in his attempts to settle the issue in the boxing ring. Nick Griffin said no, ­citing a historical eye injury. Margaret Hodge was never going to make the weight. And so each will rely on their high-calibre local supporters in east London. In Griffin's case, this will mean a prominent role for Bob Bailey, the leader of the opposition on Barking and Dagenham council, where the BNP has 12 councillors. Oh dear. For Bailey, the BNP's main organiser in the capital, will keep making a fool of himself. He did it again last week. The occasion was a high-profile event to award the freedom of the borough to various worthies. Sir Trevor Brooking, Barking born and bred, was a recipient, as was General Sir John McColl, the deputy supreme allied commander Europe, who accepted the honour on behalf of the borough's adopted regiment, the Royal Anglian, currently deployed to Afghanistan. All received testimonials, and no doubt the Royal Anglian would have been showered with praise by Bailey – as had been arranged. Alas, he was pissed. So pissed that when he left the room, officials ruled that he should not be re-admitted. There were protests, of course there were protests, but then this is a man who attributed last year's drink-driving conviction to "a conspiracy against the indigenous people". People drink and then they say the strangest things.

It's not been a good few days then for Mr Bailey, to put it mildly - no wonder his colleague Richard Barnbrook wants his job as group leader after May's elections.

One serious thought to ponder - if Bailey, a former Royal Marine, couldn't stay sober for a ceremony to honour the British military (and it shoud be added - Holocaust Memorial Day) how can he be judged fit to run a council?

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