The following links have the full history to this debacle:
1 An emergency safeguarding message has been left with our representative on Wirral Council, Seacombe Councillor Adrian Jones – 4th June 2018
2 The causal link between a Wirral Council failure and a safeguarding emergency – 5th June 2018
3 Safeguarding Emergency. An updating email to Councillor Jo Lovelock, Leader of Reading Council – 13th June 2018
4 Reading Council latest. We hate saying “We told you so…” but… – 14th June 2018
5 It looks like holding Wirral and Reading Councils to account is not going to be easy
6 Reading Council latest. The emergency safeguarding situation. Here’s some “Private Eye” cuttings.
7 Thousands endangered in Reading. Here’s the FOI request spelling it all out. Yet still… Wirral Council FAILED
8 It’s “Wirral In It Together” ……as the Wirral Tory Leader closes ranks to march in step with his Labour chums
9 Reading Council Safeguarding emergency. Confirmation of Noone and Fowler’s compromise agreements
10 Our local councillor Adrian Jones washes his hands of Wirral Council abuse, then passes the buck to Reading Council
11 A crime suspect is chased through Wallasey by the police. What happened next…? And do we have our priorities right……..??
12 High Noone at Reading Council. Danger averted…
Hugh Fort is the name of the journalist. He’s based in Reading, Berkshire and he works for a paper / ‘news bringer’ called @GetReading. He was only doing his job, which was obeying the orders of his superiors and putting his name to stories which they permit him to write in return for a steady salary and presumably holidays, sick pay and whatever perks are associated with the position.
@GetReading is a very small part of a much larger organisation called “Reach” which owns hundreds of so-called “newspapers” up and down the land. Reach was until very recently known as Trinity Mirror.
Having contacted journalists associated with two of their titles (@GetReading and The Liverpool Echo) and received the knockback from both on this story, we are putting two and two together and finding that they are most likely not there to report any news which threatens to be damaging to the reputations of their respective local authorities, Reading Borough Council and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.
And we don’t lurch to this conclusion on the basis of just one incident. We say this from many years’ experience of dealing with these people – or should that be…trying to deal with these people.
We also approached the Reading Chronicle and @reading_co_uk but were met by a wall of silence.
Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to launch into an extended treatise on the bias, shortcomings, corruption and lack of regulation of the local and mainstream media. It’s more specifically related to the subject in hand – a foreseeable and avoidable safeguarding emergency – one which threatened the lives and wellbeing of thousands of people, but one which local newspapers were at pains to avoid.
This post is dedicated to publishing sections from transcripts of recordings we covertly produced of two conversations we had with Hugh Fort.
We asked for Hugh’s permission to reproduce his words here but that was not forthcoming and we’ve replaced his dialogue in its entirety with [xxxxxxxxxxxxxx].
Transcript One – dated 19th June 2018 – 22 minutes.
At the time, Maura Noone was still employed at Reading Council as the Interim Head of Adult Social Care.
Subject: Reading Council Safeguarding Emergency.
Transcriber: Paul Cardin.
Caller: Hugh Fort
Paul: It is, yeah. Yeah.
Paul: Oh, hi Hugh. How are you?
Paul: Yeah, I’m okay, thanks.
Paul: Well, I don’t know him. I haven’t met him at all, but he’s familiar, you know, I know him because I do a blog, sort of thing, he follows me on Twitter. He’s the former council leader as you’ll probably know. And he’s not very forthcoming on Twitter to be honest. He tends to ignore me.
Paul: Yes, he was at the time, yeah. The fella who’s in now has been in about a year, I think. Ian Lewis.
Paul: Yeah. Department of Adult Social Services, quite senior. I think she was one below Director level, Head of…I think the word Wellbeing was in there. I can’t remember…these titles tend to sort of…don’t stick with me for some…for whatever reason, but she was a top person.
Paul: There was a finance person called Mike Fowler, and then there was…she was on the more sort of social services side of things. And…I didn’t work there. I used to work at the council a long time ago, back in 2003, I left. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, but I can tell you quite a bit to be honest. And…let me see…xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. There was financial abuse. A lot…that ran to £760,000 roughly over a nine-year period. Now, this was when they were taking unlawful payments for living accommodation in supported living accommodation and they shouldn’t have been doing that, and they eventually, despite being told…
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
Paul: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Fowler and Noone were suspended. This is going back to about I think around 2007 or ’08. They were cleared. They were sort of vindicated.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx. It’s all on the record, all this stuff, if you look for it xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Noone and Fowler were suspended but they were vindicated – I’ve said that – xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, it started again. The Council were trying to cover it all up while this was going on xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. All this is in the Anna Klonowski report, and something called the Martin Smith report, which was more into the bullying side of things xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. The Anna Klonowski report was more into the governance and power abuse side of things, the failures in that sort of area. Anyway, it all sort of…the Council eventually admitted that they’d been involved in this financial abuse. There was a hell of a lot more as well. There was talk of what you would call gangster care organisations. So these were people who were getting – only in it for the money – and getting £500 a week or something for residents and xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. The extent of Fowler and Noone’s knowledge of these people being gangsters I don’t know xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: I think it was a bit of both from my perspective, yeah. Hold on, I’ve just got somebody knocking at the door, sorry. One second. Ah , it’s my daughter back from school. Hi xxxxxxxxx. Yeah. I think it was a bit of…it was incompetence. It was corrupt. And an element of bullying as well. And then there was a cover-up going on. There was obfuscation going on also. You know, the extent of these sort of aspects xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx…the people who were involved in the so-called care side. The care organisations. These people were setting up fake bank accounts and the innocent, disabled people were having public money paid into these accounts for their care, but these gangsters were raiding these accounts, you know. And they were setting them up with their signatures and all this sort of horrible stuff’s going on, you know.
Paul: It did go to the police, but the police didn’t pursue it and the reason for that is they’re very close to the council. So they took their foot off the gas and tried to manage it or – what’s the word – minimise it.
Paul: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx up-front and to do their jobs, but they didn’t do it, you know. Because they’ve been got at, you know. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. So that was very frustrating. While all that was going on, the Council admitted a level of reimbursement that needed to be made to these people who had their bank accounts plundered over nine years, and they came up with a figure of £250,000 roughly. And which was way below the true amount. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and then it went up to £500,000 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and then it went up eventually to seven hundred and something. And that was settled on in the end and they started to reimburse the money and while that was going on the DWP got involved, the Department for Work and Pensions and treated the payments that these people who’d been abused, they treated the payments as windfalls, so their benefits were stopped while they were getting these payments. They were abused once and then they were abused again by the Department of Work and Pensions. When I say that, I’ve got no proof that that actually happened, but it was talked about at the time. Whether it happened or not I can’t be too clear on that.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
Paul: Mike Fowler was the other one.
Paul: January 2012.
Paul: …no. All I do know from…I don’t know if you looked at the Wirral Leaks website, they…that’s where the story came up a few weeks ago.
Paul: They mentioned that she’d been at Northamptonshire County Council…
Paul: …the one that went under. It went under…failed recently, yeah. She’d been there but she left there before it failed, and ended up at your place, you know, at Reading. So, I mean, I don’t know, I can’t even speculate what happens when people like this get taken on. Don’t they have Google? You know. Because they could put the name in and find out what’s [inaudible 12:21]…
Paul: No, they weren’t, no. What happened was the then CEO of Wirral Council let them out a couple of days before the Anna Klonowski report was released. If he’d kept them, they would have had to face accountability. But what he did was he gagged them with a compromise agreement and a gagging clause. I assume a standard gagging clause which says you can’t talk…you can’t mention this agreement and you can’t talk about the circumstances that led up to it apart from to the tax people and to your family and to your advisers or your union reps and people like that. Which to me is a gagging clause, you know. So they got the…it was just…and they got £110,000 each roughly. I think Fowler got £111,000 and Noone got £109,000, but it amounted to £220,000. That got into Private Eye. I don’t know if you’ve looked at my blog at all, have you?
Paul: Oh, okay.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: Yeah, of course, yeah.
Paul: The report? Oh, the Klonowski …
Paul: …report, yeah.
Paul: I think it’s 13 and 22 for Fowler and Noone.
Paul: Then there’s a key somewhere. There’s a key to not everybody but certain figures who appear in the report.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx?
Paul: Just those two. I don’t know if anybody else left. I imagine others may have left. I put up a post recently that gave compromise agreements for three years. 2011, ’12 and ’13. And ’12 is in there and there’s a few people left around that time, you know? When they left, so…whether that’s connected, I don’t know because they can’t release names on this sort of thing, so you can only look at the figures and that’s it really.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
Paul: Some sort of…what, sorry?
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
Paul: No, I don’t, I haven’t heard about that, no.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
Paul: You’ve got me intrigued now.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: Yeah. Another thing that might be worth knowing is that Wirral Council have blocked me on Twitter and so have Reading Council.
Paul: So it looks like they’ve got no desire to be in touch with me at all over this.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
Paul: Who? Which blogger are you talking about?
Paul: Oh, no. No, I don’t know who Wirral Leaks is. I don’t know who does that. But he tends to be the person who people go to, you know, if they’ve got a story. I know people can have an agenda or whatever, but it does tend to have good information, you know, it’s a reliable source of information.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
Paul: Not now. I left in 2000 and…
Paul: No, I left in 2003. I blew the whistle on a – what would you call it – impropriety I suppose. I worked in the engineer…the Highway Department. And I left…they tried to discipline me with some trumped up charges and I overturned them and then they looked for…they tried to get me another job but I was in Street Lighting and that’s the sort of area…the design of street lighting and that’s the sort of area where your skills are not easily transferable, so they couldn’t put me anywhere else, so while I was suspended for five months, I was looking for another job and then I got another job, basically, that was better paid and I left.
Paul: Oh, yeah, 2003 I left, yeah.
Paul: But if you put my name in there’s a lot more on me. The same thing happened with me at another council, Cheshire West and Chester. I…it wasn’t a whistleblow there. I complained about something and they tried to sack me again, you know, and I did the same thing. I overturned the gross misconduct, trumped up charges again, and I left. That was in 2007, er…2009, sorry.
Paul: What they had to do there was release my pension, so I basically retired when I was 50.
Paul: I know, yeah…I mean, okay, it may sound all right, but it was very stressful sort of thing. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx…I do transcribing, so I’m sitting here typing up interviews and whatever, that’s what I do now to make ends meet. The pension’s very handy but I’ve still got to work as well, you know to make ends meet, sort of thing.
Paul: Oh, yeah. Okay.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: Do you think you’re likely to run with this, or…?
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: Yeah. Okay.
Paul: Yeah. Like I say, my blog is called Wirral In It Together and I’ve put…I’ve been doing a sort of steady drip, drip, drip over the last two weeks of information that I’m able to find, you know, that I’ve already got, you know, to hand and…I mean, this has been through the…I’ve put Freedom of Information requests in at the time and I did advise the council and the Information Commissioner and the First Tier Tribunal of the consequences of not doing something about it, so I’ve stated a long time ago that it’s likely that there will be a safeguarding situation if either of these people gets a job whereby they are back in touch with vulnerable people, vulnerable adults in the case of Reading and in the case of Mike Fowler, he works at a charity now, called Brook Young People. So it’s not as urgent there but I think it’s quite urgent with Maura Noone, with the position she’s in now.
Paul: Cheers Hugh.
Paul: Thanks for your time. Appreciate that.
Paul: Thank you, bye.
End of transcription.
Transcript Two – dated 10th July 2018 – 11 minutes
At the time, Maura Noone was no longer employed at Reading Council as the Interim Head of Adult Social Care.
Subject: Reading Council Safeguarding Emergency.
Transcriber: Paul Cardin.
Caller: Paul Cardin
Paul: Hi Hugh, it’s Paul Cardin here.
Paul: Hi, you okay?
Paul: You all right? How’s the story going?
Paul: Oh, you’ve forgotten about me already. Ha, brilliant, yeah.
Paul: How’s the story going? I’m just chasing it up.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: Hugh, I didn’t catch what you said then. She what?
Paul: Yeah, that’s why I was ringing. The fact that she’d left, yeah.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: I wonder why that is though. I find that a bit startling, really. I mean, I plug away at what I do here. I’m retired basically. I used to work at a council, but I’m retired now. And I put a lot of effort into discovering and trying to expose people like this, and I never get thanked for it. I sit here working away unpaid – I mean, I’m not complaining about that – I mean, it’s work that needs doing. Meanwhile these councillors are claiming allowances and if they get onto the more senior committees, they get even more allowances and then they boast like Tony Jones did on his blog about what he does for charity. But the same person who’s the Member for Adult Social Care, he never got back to me to say thanks for letting him know. His first inclination was to manage his and the council’s reputation. To make everything look fine and block me. They blocked me on Twitter straight away, as did Wirral Council. That’s the thanks I get and I’m a bit disturbed by your people’s conduct as well because you didn’t really put anything out there did you? There was a dangerous situation. You didn’t have to make any allegations of any sort, but you could have at least alerted the local public without causing any legal complications. You could have got the message out there. Do you accept that?
Paul: But what? Sorry?
Paul: Is it fair? Have you read up on it at all? Have you spent a bit of time reading up on it? I mean, I did all the work and I got it all out there. I went to tribunal over this issue a long time ago and I told the judge in my submission that what was happening here was a potential dangerous situation in the future. That’s what came about. I mean we’re post #Savile now. This is after #Savile , but people are still behaving as if we can sweep these things under the carpet. We can’t do that anymore. This is a different world now. So, I mean, I don’t know what your justification is for not running with this story, but you’ve actually helped it to continue and for the danger to heighten even, while it carried on, without informing people. People still don’t know what’s going on in Reading and no doubt you won’t be doing anything to tell them will you, you just want to sweep it all under the carpet, don’t you?
Paul: What are you going to do? Are you going to get it out there? Or not?
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: People here are very clear about what went on. Very clear indeed.
Paul: What you’ve got is you’ve got people in very high positions, abusing their power. And that’s why we end up with dangerous situations like we did in Reading. The person at the heart of this is somebody called Jim Wilkie, who was the…he’s gone now, he left due to stress I think, after this situation. But he brought it upon himself by not dealing with it. At the heart of this situation is…she knew enough to know…you know, I don’t like this phrase but “where the bodies are buried”. She knew where the bodies were buried. If she’d been disciplined by Jim Wilkie – which is what the public wanted – he would have ended up in the firing line himself. So what he did was an act of self-preservation by not disciplining them. That’s what happened in the end. And we are all vulnerable to this behaviour, you are as well. You’re working at a newspaper down there that’s got its hands tied. What’s your umbrella organisation called? Who owns GetReading?
Paul: Who, sorry?
Paul: Oh, Reach? They’re called Reach now, aren’t they?
Paul: Yeah, they own the Liverpool Echo as well and the Liverpool Echo’s in bed with Liverpool Council and Wirral Council as well, so you can’t say a thing. I mean, one of our councillors, a senior councillor, an ex-Leader and an ex-Mayor, him and his wife went on holiday to Sorrento and there was an incident on a bus where she allegedly got violent and started attacking an Asian man from Yorkshire. And allegedly calling him a black bastard, and “you don’t belong in this country”. She was drunk, and she forgot where she was and said, “You don’t belong…” allegedly said, “…you don’t belong in this country,” and the poor fella then rather than going to the Liverpool Echo and the Wirral Globe which have been captured, he went to Wirral Leaks. And thank God he went there because they put the story out. Otherwise it would have been covered up and people like you I’m afraid Hugh, I’m going to be direct with you, you’re complicit in these sort of cover-ups that are going on. So there’s a battle going on between social media, bloggers and people like me and people like you who value your salary and value your holidays and this, that and the other and you don’t want to rock the boat. But that’s dangerous. That’s a dangerous situation to put everybody in, especially vulnerable people.
Paul: Don’t you? I do.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: No, I never said that. You don’t do that, no.
Paul: People on the board of Reach and Trinity Mirror, whatever they’re called, Trinity Mirror, they often get gifts and gratuities, football tickets, drinks, whatever, stuff like that for councillors and that makes me a bit worried because they want something back. They want kickbacks. It’s all out there. They’ve got to declare them. It’s out there. I don’t know what’s going on in Reading.
Paul: That’s going on in Wirral and it’s going on up and down the country.
Paul: I’m not saying you’re in bed with them but what I’m saying is your punches are pulled because you’ve got contacts with these people. I’m not saying…not you personally, but people above you, people pulling your strings, they’re in bed with them.
Paul: And I’m not a conspiracy theorist before you come out with that crap, you know. This is how the world works. Conspiracies do happen. And it’s getting worse.
Paul: The fact that she was working there is a safeguarding emergency, yeah. You were waiting for something to happen, weren’t you? You can’t do that.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: How did she get past Disclosure and Barring? How did she get that job?
Paul: Can’t you put some time into doing that rather than frying eggs on car bonnets, you know? Do something …do some of that serious journalism that you’re talking about – Advanced Content – whatever you call it on your Twitter page. How about doing a bit of investigative journalism, that’s valuable?
Paul: Oh, not enough people, right, okay. But you can still fry eggs on car bonnets, you’ve still got time to do that?
Paul: It’s nonsense, it’s not news. Give us something real we can get our teeth into Hugh.
Paul: I mean, it’s all so sad. It’s very sad. It’s not like it was in the past. We had some very good newspapers in the past. I suppose it’s the Murdoch effect, isn’t it, the dumbing down of the population and of the reporters.
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx.
Paul: Well, I am sometimes because you need people, I mean, I don’t theorise a lot. If you look at my blog, I go for evidence and I go for truth, and I try to keep it dignified. There are theorists out there who put all sorts of theories out but mine are based in truth. And you can see that if you read my blog. I do…
Hugh: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Paul: You didn’t have to say that. You just had to say they’d employed her and that was that. And then people can put two and two together, but all you’ve done is just sat there and said nothing because you’ve got unseen ties to the council that you don’t even know about. That’s the problem here, and it’s going on up and down the country. I mean, I don’t blame you personally, you’ve got your job. You like your salary and you want to go on holiday and you’ve got your family to look after and all that. But you’ve said yes, and you’ve agreed to all this so I’m afraid you’ve lost your integrity to a certain degree.
Paul: I don’t either. I’m not saying…I’m not expecting you to guarantee anything. But I would expect you to report the news once it lands on your desk. You haven’t. You’ve just sat there and done nothing. And it’s probably your boss telling you not to do it. I do accept that. But you’re complicit because you signed on the dotted line and said, yeah, okay, I’ll work for this organisation. Where’s your journalistic code? Journalism, it’s supposed to bring us the stories, serious stories. Okay, I’ll leave it there anyway. Thank you very much. I’ve done my work. I got no thanks for it, but I’ve done it and she’s gone. Thanks a lot Hugh.
Paul: Bye now. Bye.
End of transcription.