5th January 2017
We should state right at the outset that despite our apparent obsession with a flying ‘brick’, followed closely by a breaking window, a torrent of media falsehoods mixed with rampant sensationalism, and the contribution of a pisspoor press regulator, this is not trivial.
The weaponising of the #brickgate story, and Labour’s ongoing failure both locally and centrally to report alleged criminal homophobia to the police are secondary to what occurred soon after:
Wallasey CLP became suspended, and remains cut adrift for the foreseeable future on deeply dubious grounds. This was done in order to head off an impending no-confidence vote in Angela Eagle by members who rightly felt deeply betrayed.
The whole Wallasey situation was dishonestly contrived and a raft of serious charges, rather than going through internal due process, have instead been recklessly played out in the media to the advantage of the accusers – before the baying crowd – and need to be challenged.
The Freedom of Information Request
A few years ago, we realised that approaching the Information Commissioner’s Office rarely follows the ‘rules’ of common sense, and that you need to adopt a forensic, legal mindset to open all ‘the doors’ and break on through to the other side.
And where Freedom of Information is concerned it’s rarely as simple as asking a question and being provided with an answer. There are obstacles to overcome.
As usual, this was the case with #Brickgate, when a shared stairwell window on a different side of the building – and quite unconnected to Angela Eagle’s parliamentary function – was broken, and where we asked Merseyside Police 5 straightforward questions as follows:
The answer ‘Yes’ arrived for question 1 very early on, while the rest were withheld.
After internal review, we then got bound up with the Information Commissioner, who is currently drafting a ‘decision notice’.
At which point we came across one of the FOIA’s absurdities. But by applying a neat little trick and re-submitting the same questions again on 2nd December 2016, we overcame the technical obstacle which had left our original questions unanswered and “frozen in time” …and which treated the unsuccessful police investigation as though it was still going on, giving the police the facility of using inappropriate exemptions to block access!
With that out of the way, the answers arrived today for questions 2, 3 and 4, but question 5 remains unaddressed because Merseyside Police tell us it’s not a permitted question within the FOI Act.
That said, a reasonable person would assume that because there was no evidence to suggest that Angela Eagle’s office was attacked (see the answer to question 4, below) then the attack would have been confined to the shared stairwell on the north eastern elevation of the building. Angela Eagle’s office is to the rear of the building.
So it’s safe to assume that Angela Eagle’s constituency office window was not attacked – it’s clearly indicated to any potential attacker by the Labour stickers. We’ll now leave it at that and will not start squandering public money by asking the police to carry out an internal review which, should it be successful, would only confirm what we already know.
It’s also safe to say that if Angela Eagle’s office windows had actually been targeted and put through on 12th July 2016 then “the full horror” would have been crayoned all over the papers and flashed urgently across our TV screens in REALITY, and not collectively crowbarred in while we weren’t looking via some lazy, pisspoor, ham-fisted, cobbled together version of #FakeNews– which is what the long suffering, very poorly served UK public ended up with.
We’re still stuck with this 6 months later thanks to yet another grand failure, courtesy of the equally lazy, pisspoor ‘regulator’ IPSO.
Oh, to hell with it… here are Merseyside Police’s answers to questions 2, 3, 4 and 5:
We kind of knew it wasn’t literally ‘a brick’ all the time after seeing this photo and the very un-bricklike circular edge to the southwest of the hole in the glass, but said nothing because we didn’t want a horde of anti-conspiracy crusaders weighing in and attacking us for being truthers and indulging in wild speculation.
We respect that the police have a difficult task balancing the public interest with the sharply differing interests of politicians but see here, where the police told us ‘a brick’ was found on site. This is getting more and more perplexing. With #Brickgate AND #PieceOfMasonryGate, where is this all going to next…..?