Wednesday 16 April 2014

A Tale of Two Councillors: Part Two - Tom Davey, the Tory Councillor with 'a dry sense of humour'

On the same day it was revealed that a Labour councillor had been wrongly accused of 'tax dodging' and a decision made to refer her to the police, just before the period of purdah began, another story emerged regarding a Tory councillor and the grossly distasteful comments he has published on his Facebook page.

Tom Davey is the Cabinet member for housing. 

He is still only in his mid twenties, and Mrs Angry has frequently commented on his lack of maturity and unsuitability for the responsibility that such a post represents. 

Such an opinion is based on the evident delight he takes in spouting inflammatory comments in council meetings about those for example, working in the public sector, who should get a 'real job', (Tom Davey's real job is working for a tobacco company) ... the poor, the homeless, who lack 'aspiration' - after all, 'you can't help those who won't help themselves' ... and he wants to see Barnet populated by those who are not 'dependent on council services'. 

As Mrs Angry has previously commented: 

Obviously Cllr Davey uses no council services, as his feet never touch the pavement, he has no rubbish to be recyled, other than his half baked political ideas, and judging by the content of his contributions in debate, has failed to take full advantage of the benefit of our marvellous local education system, so highly praised by Richard Cornelius.

In his time in charge of housing, Barnet's new housing rules have imposed a five year contract for new tenants in social housing, a limitation which means families now have no security of tenure, no assurance that their children will have continuity throughout their young lives, and education, and that the tenants cannot commit to rooting themselves in a community - or call their house their home. 

To wean the feckless poor out of their pointless lives, groaning under the weight of a lack of aspiration, social housing is now to be allocated to those who can prove they have made a 'positive contribution' to society. 

The children of the undeserving poor must be punished, in other words, for their parents' failure to become social entrepreneurs, in between looking after them, and working all hours in a low paid job, or, even worse, depending on some council service or benefit to support them.

More recently, in the arguments over the lack of social housing, or even affordable housing, in the so called 'regeneration' schemes in West Hendon, Davey has stated that he would prefer to welcome the arrival of 'Russian oligarchs', than  ordinary families without means.

After all, he has stated that people must live within those means, and if Barnet becomes too expensive for those without:  well ... we only want 'well off' people here, don't we?

Mrs Angry took it upon herself to repeat this stupid comment of Davey's to Boris the other week, when he had the privilege of meeting her at the great celebration laid on by our Tory councillors for the opening of three new council houses in Muswell Hill. The only three built in 22 years. 

Boris clearly did not believe anyone would say something so idiotic, but Davey stood behind him, beaming with pleasure, in his moment of notoriety.

Another moment of notoriety occurred last week, when leading website Political Scrapbook featured a clip of Davey spouting his nonsense about people 'flocking' to live in Barnet - as you will hear, Libdem councillor Susette Palmer protests angrily that they are only the people who can afford it, and he responds that 'they're the people we want'.

And then yesterday, Tom Davey was featured once more on Political Scrapbook. 

This time the story was far more serious, and truly shocking. 

'Vile Facebook messages of 'social cleansing' Tory councillor', was the heading, and the article published a number of deeply offensive, sick 'jokes' that were made by him in the year he was elected to council, in a Mill Hill by election, aged twenty one. 

Where do we start with this disgusting stuff?

"...benefit claiming scum beware. ps i don't like paying taxes for you lazy bastards! "

He claimed that finding a job would be easier if he were:

"a black female wheelchair bound amputee who is sexually attracted to other women.

He expressed himself as being "more excited than Harold Shipman in a nursing home", and, perhaps most appalling comment, made a remark that he was:

 "smacking his bitch up…that’ll teach her for ironing loudly whilst the football is on"

These remarks are telling: they represent the extreme degree of his political views on taking office, and exhibit the same lack of tolerance or compassion that so clearly underlies the way in which he undertakes his responsibilities.

These comments are not some vague, ironic challenge to 'political correctness'. They are hurtful, hateful remarks that dehumanise the vulnerability of women, disabled people and the elderly.
In the case of someone who was entering public life, it is staggering, frankly, that anyone would allow such remarks to remain on a public social media profile, and for that, the Conservative party shares responsibility by its failure to ensure adequate vetting procedures and policies on the use of social media while in office.

No wonder that the housing policy in Barnet so mercilessly directs a policy of exclusion of the poorest residents of this borough, and is intent on removing them from the landscape.

Decanted over the border, as economic refugees - or asylum seekers - from the monstrous regime of swivel eyed loon, neo Thatcherites who have sold Barnet into bondage to Capita, so as to concentrate on something else, something more abstract, less tangible - an ambition beyond the practicalities of a commissioning council. 

Because now they are moving onto another level, and one which is truly frightening. 

The Tory mind sees the pursuit of individual liberty, and the principle of choice, as fundamental to their philosophy. 

Except of course they mean liberty for themselves, and choice for people like them. 

Freedom is too dangerous to leave in the hands of the lower orders, the benefit scroungers, people who do not live within their means, and expect everyone else to support them. 

The logical progression, therefore, of a true blue Tory council - of a Conservative government - is the adoption of policies that do not serve the people, but rules the people - that shapes their lives, and minds, and controls where they live, and where they go to school.

You might call it social engineering: you might call it something else, something much worse - and there will always be those in the Tory party whose views and actions take us dangerously close to the edge of such wilful interference in the real rights and liberties of ordinary people. 

Apologists for Davey point to his youth, and try to excuse his behaviour on the grounds of past indiscretion. 

In fact Mrs Angry can reveal that only last April a complaint was made to him by her, which he forwarded to leader Richard Cornelius and Cabinet colleagues, regarding another matter relating to his then publicly displayed Facebook pages, after a resident contacted her with a copy of a highly offensive image that they had seen there.

As the matter involves a third party, Mrs Angry will not publish the material in question, but she can tell you that Davey was, in contrast to yesterday's revelations, utterly unapologetic, and indeed continued to maintain the image was amusing.

No action was taken by Richard Cornelius, and indeed it would seem that Councillor Davey continues to retain his full support, despite the further embarrassment caused by yesterday's revelations.

In the local Times  newspaper, Davey says:

 "These comments from 2008/2009 were intended to be in a jokey saloon bar humour. “I realise that they are offensive terms and I regret allowing them to appear. “They do not appear funny now with the benefit of hindsight. I am very sorry for this error of judgement.”

Not sorry enough to resign, it seems.

Labour leader Alison Moore commented: 

"These comments are totally unacceptable for anyone to make, much less an elected politician. Tom Davey is the cabinet member for housing and he makes decisions that affect the very people he attacks in these disgusting remarks. "I am calling on the leader of the council to take immediate action against Cllr Davey - in my view he is not fit for office having made comments of this kind."

To Political Scrapbook Davey defended himself by stating that he has "a dry sense of humour". He also admits that his 'sick jokes' were 'probably a misjudgement in hindsight'. 

Hindsight appears only to have kicked in during the last week or so, sadly.

As Mrs Angry remarked to him last year:

I have sat and listened to you in council meetings throughout the last three years and have felt appalled at times at the tone and content of some of your statements regarding such issues as social housing, benefits, bedroom tax, public sector workers.

You are only twenty six years old, and in my view you are simply not mature enough or experienced enough for the responsibilities that you hold, responsibilities that have a huge impact on the lives of so many families and individual residents, struggling to survive in these times of unprecedented hardship. 

Davey's misjudgement in these matters is absolutely a reflection of the lack of experience and depth of maturity that he brings to what is a hugely important role: the lives and well being of many thousands of residents rest in his hands. 

And that he continues to endorse the juvenile opinions of this fool is a reflection of the abject lack of leadership by Richard Cornelius.

During the debacle over Labour Councillor Kath McGuirk, Tory Councillor Tom Davey could not wait to try to make political profit from her predicament,in which she was an innocent victim. 

He started a petition to force the Labour leader to name the member whom he claimed had failed 'to pay the council tax they owe', which was not the case. 

And he called for the Labour to leader to resign, as her position was 'no longer tenable'. Here

again he repeats the claim that she had tried to dodge her obligation, which was untrue:

“I demand that you name the Labour councillor who has tried to dodge their obligation, and make public exactly why they thought they were different to hard working families who pay their tax".

The Labour leader is right to call for Cornelius to take action. 

Davey should be immediately sacked from his Cabinet position, and in Mrs Angry's opinion, if he had any sense of honour, he would resign as a councillor. 

In a few weeks time, of course, the voters of Hale Ward will have the opportunity to send him on his way, regardless of his own decision - or the indecision of Richard Cornelius. 

The ward was always likely to fall to Labour, which is said to be the reason his fellow councillor Brian Gordon is standing elsewhere. It is pretty clear now that the Tories will lose Hale, and this fall of this marginal ward will hopefully help Labour to take control of the council.

The tale of two councillors, then: more than the sum of its parts - and a really rather distasteful reflection of political life, here in Broken Barnet.


Mr Mustard said...

Oh now let's see, do I recall one Richard Cornelius in the film A Tale of Two Barnets (or was it the billion pound gamble, I can't remember) being asked what his aspirations were for the borough and he didn't have any. He should be run out of town, the slacker.

Mrs Angry said...

There is clearly an important difference, Mr Mustard, between the likes of Richard Cornelius, and the ordinary folk of Broken Barnet. The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate.

It is the duty of our betters, who live in Totteridge, to encourage the feckless poor, and direct the course of their pointless lives.

Aspiration, like tax, is for the poor, and privilege for the fortunate few who inherit wealth, or manage to accumulate it. I believe Cllr Cornelius is a third generation Hatton Garden jeweller, and very probably has little experience of the sharp end of life, outside the leafy boundaries of Totteridge.

Anonymous said...

Youth is no excuse. We had one of the youngest town councillors in the country when the qualifying age went down to 18. She achieved more than most of the other councillors put together (and not only for young people). She did it with charm, energy and enthusiasm and was much missed when she decided that 4 years was enough.

Your chap just sounds like an idiot and a bully - a dangerous combination pissing both inside the tent and outside.

Mrs Angry said...

Yes, Anon: I agree. Youth is not the problem, but maturity and attitude. Many of the older Tory councillors in Barnet are equally limited by their blinkered views and limited life experience.

I think that Conservative activism in one so young is always a sign of something awfully wrong: the natural tendency of any teenager is to rebel and question the establishment. Wanting to join it as such a young age is really rather unwholesome.

Would be worried that my kids would see it as an act of rebellion to join Conservative Future, but a. they know their lives would be in danger, and b. they are naturally challenging of injustice and c. they are really, really pissed off by the student loan outrage, which has politicised a whole generation, and inspired a profound hatred of Libdems, which can't be a bad thing, can it?

Anonymous said...

I think it's worthwhile reminding people that while the student fee debacle was an appalling mass betrayal by Libdems (which will rightfully haunt them for many generations) was in fact implemented at the behest of their Tory puppet masters.

A huge coup for the Tories with their aim of restricting further education to the greater detriment of the least well off, and in this instance also managing to off load public association fully and squarely onto the Libdems.

A price worth paying for an inglorious time in power?

Somehow, I think not.

Anonymous said...

Same here - our kids would rather poke their eyes out with a sharp stick than vote Tory, Lib Dem or - heaven forfend - UKIP. Makes an old woman proud!

Mind you, they were told from a young age that if they married into said parties we would disown them!

Mrs Angry said...

Yes, Anon 21:00 .. (please commenters do me a favour and adopt a pseudonym, thank you)... I can think of no shame worse than having a child who joins the Tory party. It must be a cry for help, or attention, or the sign of a dreadful lapse in parenting. In fact my son showed early signs of rampant revolutionary zeal when he was about six and suggested the Royal family should be taken to Trafalgar Square and guillotined. He has mellowed slightly since then. Miss A is less keen on the whole horrible business, and her political views are rather more unpredictable, and based on irrational dislikes, (rather like her mother, but usually to do with hairstyles or ties).

Anon 20:47, I think you are exactly right, the Tories do want to restrict the best standard of education, including further education, as we saw from Gove's comments about welcoming the deterrent effect of tuition fees.

And it is already beginning to work. Many pupils from less well placed backgrounds are actively considering not applying to uni now.

Both my student children are at UAL, and the vast majority of their peers are from affluent middle class backgrounds, and some very wealthy indeed: almost no one is from a working class family,and seemingly very few from an ethnic minority.

There are also large quotas filled by wealthy overseas students who are welcomed due to the higher fees that can be extracted from them.

It is practically impossible for a child from a lower socio-economic background to get into a selective school, of which there are too many here: this is creating educational apartheid. And those children will increasingly fail to move on to further education.

Red Sonia said...

Anon 21.00 is now Red Sonia as requested!

To add: all 4 of us (ma, pa, 2 kids) have separetely been in newspaper photos at demos or on picket lines. Never seen a Tory picket line:

"What do we want? Nothing - we own it all. When do we want it? What a silly question we already have it"

Doesn't roll off the tongue does it!

Mrs Angry said...

Yes, Red Sonia: very true - funny when you think about it ... being a Tory activist is necessarily less about unity and all about me me me,I suppose. Must be rather sad, having no sense of comradeship, and only a vague collective feeling of ... what? Lack of care for the fate of your fellow human beings, an absence of any social conscience. Sometimes tempted to go to the Tory conference, just to see how they interact, en masse. I imagine it is an unwholesome spectacle.

Red Sonia said...

I go to services at the Cathedral (I am an atheist) just to observe them at play. Too much Trollope (Anthony not Joanna) in my youth - I have to say they don't seem to have moved on much since his day either.

These are the people who call themselves Christians but let poor kids starve because it's their fault their parents can't earn enough to feed them.

We don't have local elections this year but hoping yours will be a precursor to get our Tory majority out.

Mrs Angry said...

Well, traditionally the Church of England has been the Tory party at prayer - although now it seems to be being hijacked by equally right wing evangelists with their own agenda.

On the other hand, a Catholic upbringing seems to endow the lucky recipient with a sense of social injustice - or maybe just a resentment of injustice.

It's no coincidence that two of the local bloggers went to the same Catholic primary school, and were psychologically abused by the same psychopathic teacher.

Methodism was an early foundation for the trade union movement,and radical politics, especially in mining and industrial areas. Quite how it came to produce Margaret Thatcher and Brian Coleman, is something of a mystery.

There: Mrs Angry's Thought for the Day, on a very long Good Friday.

Red Sonia said...

According to my aunt who lived in Grantham from the 60s onwards and was born on the same day as Maggie Thatcher, few people liked going into her father's shop .....

Mrs Angry said...

I think it is now accepted, Red Sonia, that it was young women who disliked going into her father's shop, according to some reports ...

Red Sonia said...

Yes, I was too polite to say that ... there were young women who were told to avoid the shop at all costs.

Mrs Angry said...

Oh. How refreshing. Not used to polite commenters.

In fact, I'm surprised the reference to the sainted Margaret Roberts and her father's alleged activities hasn't provoked Don't Call Me Dave, and a torrent of Tory disapproval ...

Vellstells said...

Sorry to add a comment to this so late but only just caught up on your recent blogs. This is surely the perfect opportunity to highlight the difference in maturity and attitude of young Tories (Davey et al) and young Labour candidates (Rebecca Challice, Amy Trevethan) who have worked hard for the party in Chipping Barnet, constantly out on the streets talking to residents and I hope come May 23rd will become two wonderful new councillors showing young Mr Davey how it is supposed to be done!

On the young tories point, as a 19 year old Labour member and activist, it sickens and angers me at the number of friends that I have that are Tory leaning and even Tory members!

Mrs Angry said...

I absolutely agree with you, Vellstells: age is not so important as maturity, intelligence, empathy and imagination. The average young Tory tends to be drawn to the party probably exactly because they lack those qualities, and see their own inadequacies affirmed as values. Most young Labour activists are idealistic, and are angered by social injustice. Their idealism will inevitably be worn down by grim reality, but hopefully not to the point of complete disillusionment ... Young Tories turn into Tom Davey, Robert Rams, and Daniel Thomas. Nuff said.

Red Sonia said...

Greedy=Tory! Simples - in every sense of the word!