J’Accuse Gerald Smith

Borough councillor and parish councillor Gerald Smith has a wholly undeserved public reputation.

Over the last few months I have been trawling through Gerald Smiths political career and personal life to expand on my previous posting, The last of the Dinosaurs – Gerald Smith, an appreciation by termite!. Thanks to those who have given me further information, more needed so please keep the information coming.

The picture that has emerged is that of a deeply flawed man who’s personal and public life does not bear even the most cursory of investigations.

There have been at least two occasions that should properly have resulted in his expulsion from the Labour Party. They were covered up using the combined resources of Labour Group and senior officers of the council! One case resulted in significant expenditure buying the silence of a staff member the other misusing council property to view inappropriate (understatement of the year! Ed) material online. Both of these cases involved a sexual theme.

Gerald Smith is an arrogant bully who intimidates opposition from wherever it comes and revels in it even though wrong! The latest series of correspondence in the letters columns of the Rotherham Advertiser are a perfect case in point! He repeats his libels, confident in the knowledge that he cannot be sued for defamation because the cost is simply prohibitive! This is what makes his recent behaviour in the local and parish elections in May and repeated ad nauseum since, as though constant repetition would make it true, such an egregious example of unacceptable behaviour in a Labour Party candidate and Party Agent!

Gerald Smith’s past is littered with incidents any one of which should have resulted in internal Labour Party discipline. Even those that made it into formal complaints were covered up, or his behaviour excused. Considering that there are so many well documented cases, it is quite unbelievable that this arrogant political thug has not been held to account by his own party or the Rotherham Standards Board! The fact that they have failed in this duty, is the truly outrageous element to this case.

Gerald Smith’s private life is no better, investigations reveal him to be more Bonobo than Chimpanzee in terms of his sexual continence and morals. I will not give details but it is safe to assume that this has not been recent in origin but has been a feature of his behaviour all along in his political career.

I am therefore of the opinion that Gerald Smith has demonstrated his unfitness for office. Over many years the Labour Party did nothing about it, indeed they actively covered it up! The Labour Party must now deal properly with this arrogant man, if they are to retain any credibility here. They are beginning to look very foolish indeed! If one was looking for an example of how not to be an elected local politician, Smith would be a perfect example. Labour must deal with this! Their inaction is now inexcusable!

Tell them yourself : yorkshire@new.labour.org.uk.


Déjà vu – Has anything really changed?

Upon opening my print copy of the ‘Tiser this week, on page 6, there was an excellent piece under Gareth Dennison’s by-line, dealing with the Millers loan and the Titans financial arrangements re Millmoor. He was reporting the July Meeting of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council which took place on Wednesday 27th.

Although generally supportive of helping the Millers, I read the account with increasing incredulity and amazement! I couldn’t believe what I was reading, it was as if Roger Stone was talking about Monopoly money, not real Pounds and Pence of hard earned. By the evening the import of the article had reminded me of the way Layden had operated. Who always explained his actions using confusing terminology to bamboozle listeners that he actually understood what he was talking about! I’m sure he didn’t understand either, because he could never answer the most basic of questions when asked, at the many opportunities I had to see him in action! He was a master of his craft and achieved National prominence largely through guile rather than ability.

The feelings of Déjà vu became ever stronger, the more I let my mind wander to the past when Sir Jack was King of his Castle. I can remember an autumn meeting of a Labour Party Branch in Rotherham when he was explaining the reasoning behind the funding of the Anti Poverty Forum, based in Rotherham. That was Garvin Reed’s little side project, that ended in disaster and Reed spending time in one of Her Majesties prisons! Involving among others, one much younger Roger Stone! That story is for another time, perhaps? I digress.

Layden was fond of terminology such as ‘innovative’ and Roger Stone’s use of this term certainly rings alarm bells! As does the use of the Prudential Borrowing Facility, a right to borrow for investment that Councils have had since 2003. The assurances given to officers, it was stated, were ‘cast iron’, another Laydenism, that no money of ours was being put at hazard!

“Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss!” A line from Won’t get fooled again, by the Who. Released on 31 July 1971, exactly 40 years ago today, was an angry denunciation of the dashed hopes of a generation for genuine change. In the wake, of the then, recent events that demonstrated the inability to put dreams into action, the disillusionment was felt keenly by those of us who experienced these events contemporaneously. We may have been guilty back then of more than a little naivety but who would have thought this song might still have resonance in Rotherham of today, in that nothing ever changes, only the people change, in Rotherham of Layden’s  day, councillors waited for the ‘grim reaper’ to remove them from office, not quite such a universal expectation these days, I’m glad to say.

Roger Stone seems to have become a reincarnation of his illustrious predecessor, it would appear, when he makes the following guarantee, “There’s no cost to us.” We will no doubt see in the passage of time, if he is right. Meanwhile, we wait and see, and perhaps ponder upon one of Roger Stone’s more ridiculous claims that, “better football will be played there,” quite on what basis he makes this claim is not clear, but perhaps it was one of those ‘cast iron’ guarantees he referred to earlier in the report?

The report also states that RMBC stands ready to take the same action in other cases and raised the possibility that the Titans might benefit in future, from a similar arrangement.

The simple sad fact of the situation is that absolutely nothing has changed in Rotherham since the 70’s, we still get council decisions, made with no one understanding the consequences of their actions, not even the officers! The officers track record in this respect has been lamentable and no reliable guide as to what is permissible. I would cite the recent case concerning Chris Read, the Bramley traffic scandal and the blue badge abuse scandal as evidence for my assertions. Déjà vu, indeed!


The last of the Dinosaurs – Gerald Smith, an appreciation by termite!

For my first posting on Rotherham Politics, I thought I would start with a look at Councillor Gerald Smith, who has been in the news recently on Rotherham Politics and had a letter published in the Rotherham Advertiser last Friday.

Gerald has been a fixture on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council pretty well since it’s inception in 1974 (Gerald Smith joined RMBC in 1979) and had been active in local politics for a time before that. A genuine product of his age, a veritable dinosaur in the flesh. This man’s antediluvian views have not changed one bit in much of that time, mostly due to the fact that he will not listen to anyone, but himself, never has!

Gerald Smith’s abilities and power is ebbing away as his supporters fade away or increasingly fall victim to the grim reaper. The complexion of Labour Group is slowly changing, with new members, not quite so tolerant or imbued with the Leninist attitude to rigid control and the use of patronage to bring about total adherence to discipline. So called working class democracy in action, with the, ‘do as you’re told or else mentality,’ often referred to as ‘democratic centralism,’ that still pervades labour politics in Rotherham Borough.

Never one to have doubts about his actions, Gerald has become a boor, a bully and infallible, if his letter is anything to go by! His ignorance and basic stupidity are clear for readers to see for themselves, as is his over bearing arrogance that, if ever it belonged in Rotherham, should now belong in the past!

Gerald Smith is a bully, so it does not surprise anyone, least of all me, that there are members of Aston cum Aughton Parish Council that will not speak at main meetings, because the get their heads bitten off if they do! Gerald Smith pours his contempt and derision upon anyone who does, even obliquely ask a question, the first time they try it! Been on the receiving end from time to time, so I know, only too well, what it’s like having this bombastic idiot in your face. I am sure that there are others that could, on Smith’s definition of silence, be so labelled.

On the rest of Councillor Smith’s assertions, I cannot comment other than to say his attitude throughout his letter would seem to form prima facie evidence, of a serious breach of  his and the Parish Clerk’s, codes of conduct! I do hope that a complaint is lodged at Parish and Borough level.

The final paragraph which describes what is called an imprint, incorrectly as an ‘indent,’ goes on to state that to use; published and printed by Holderness Lab Party at 4 Brook Close, Aston was entirely legal! Does this stupid man not know, even the basics, of the legal niceties of imprints on leaflets distributed during election campaign periods? Clearly a fool, this man states categorically that his version is “sufficient and legal” when it is anything but! I won’t bore blog readers with the arcane details but I would refer him to Labour’s own Legal Handbook, that discusses it in detail and a quick read of it indicates that it is seriously deficient in a number of respects! Perhaps Martin, Tim or Maggs, would like to show him his errors? Like to be a fly on the wall of that discussion as Smith is never wrong!

Gerald Smith and Tim Mumford have a long and intertwined past which almost encompasses the entire history of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, since Tim Mumford has been with RMBC since ’74 and Smith joined the Council on 4th May 1979! They have had an interesting time and I am sure some of their exploits would feature prominently in any memoirs of Tim Mumford, should they ever be written. If Tim needs a ghost writer for this project, I would be happy to oblige!

So there you have it! One of the last of the dinosaurs, from a bygone age, on Rotherham Council. Beginning to become an embarrassing joke at Council and Cabinet and would it not for the control by the Council by another more powerful dinosaur in the shape of Roger Stone, he surely should have been retired, years ago! Smith’s, Diplodocus! To Stone’s, Tyrannosaurus! I shouldn’t wonder!

Arrogant, ignorant and stupid in good measure, this foolish man is also a bully and a boor with his fingers in so many ‘pies’ I doubt that he could count them all! Always right and if he wants, can make Black appear White,  North appear South and East appear West!  Gerald Smith has a great deal of form as a control freak and is contemptuous of dissent from his views even from party colleagues, so Independents have no chance.