Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Astragate, the fallout.

I have just read my colleague John Dickies last post on the troubles besetting local Council Leader Tony Woods following the 'Astragate' affair and must agree to disagree with my friend and elder statesman on an important point of description

John, understandably annoyed at Woodsy's reference to him in the report as not a 'Bona Fide' member of the public has now compared the local leader of the Lib Dems in Northampton to Uncle Joe Stalin, suggesting that anyone disagreeing with the leader would find themselves sent to the gulag never to be seen again.

This is a disgraceful slur on the Leader of the Council and totally inaccurate. You see I have it on very good grounds that after witnessing Cllr Woods strutting around Northampton Market arms behind his back, nose in the air, king of all he purveys, indifferent to any opinion other than his own, that market Trader 'Fitzy' has likened Woodsie to another more self effacing member of the dictators club...............................

IL DUC'E, himself!

And judge for yourself below the resemblance is quite striking. It seems as if this tag has now caught on across the square and cries of "IL DUC'E, IL DUC'E" are now to be heard from traders whenever he sets foot on the Market.

And that should trouble Cllr Woods more than his local difficulties with the standards board. You see in my view the issue of where he parked his untaxed car pails into insignificance when placed beside the comments contained within the report from Tony Woods when interviewed by local investigator Phillip Mears.

It is the air of arrogance and indifference when questioned that condemns him, not his actions alone. See

According to 'IL WOODSY' The two complainants are not even "Bona Fide" members of the public and their interest was 'Political' It reminds me of the time he refused to attend a public meeting in the Guildhall in January because that was also 'Political'

Press interest he tells us was puerile and his whole manner of suggesting that he was far too busy to abide by the law of land smacks of self importance and lack of understanding of how others will judge his indifference. He was busy every day and every night we are told? but going to the theatre or watching the Arsenal were far more important than abiding by the law.

He also reveals that he told the Chief Executive in October 2008 that he would move his car in November when he could afford to do so, when and after he had received his backdated increase in his Cllr Allowances!

And this was before we had even discussed the matter of increased allowances in Full Council. Shouldn't he have declared an interest? after all his judgement and the decision he took to vote himself a huge pay raise in the middle of a reccession was obviously clouded by his need to get his hands on a quick back payment to ensure his car was legal again!

The report also reveals that despite alluding to the Chief Executive that he had registered the car as off road with a SORN certificate in January that no such registration had taken place and that as a result he was issued with a fixed penalty notice thereafter.

I said to Cllr Woods earlier this year at a full council meeting, when I accused the Lib Dems of not listening to the public view that it is the little things that do for you in the end, and I can't help but think that if he had been a lot less cocky, a little less arrogant, and a little less triumphant then in ridding the town of dangerous Alderman, (Like John Dickie) then the public and John would have been perhaps a bit less eager to have exposed him to a taste of his own medicine.

The local standards board committee will of course have the final say, and thats how it should be, but the damage to his reputation and the Lib Dem group on the Council not to mention his standing within his own group are probably damaged far beyond the level they need to be.

Sometimes saying Sorry at the outset not at the end is a far better policy. Sometimes remembering that whatever the title says on your post that you are no more important now than you were first achieved office and supposed greatness is also very good practice.

It's humility, and genuine remorse that will save you Tony not belittling your detractors and undervaluing their opinion.


  1. Two things Tony.
    Please see the comment made on John's blog about this matter... I still stand by that and would like to think that you, of all people would think the same.
    Secondly, regarding Mr. Woods being too busy watching Arsenal or going to the theatre... Pot Kettle and Black spring to mind here. How did the Cobblers get on Tuesday night by the way? You know, the evening you should have been at a council meeting?
    I trust that you will understand sometimes a point needs to be made, there is no reason why it cannot be made WITHOUT bring petty snipes into the matter!

  2. Nicky,

    There is nothing wrong with going to the football or the theatre, more councillors should attend both to support their local venues.

    But Tony's suggestion that he was so busy working every day and every night from October right through to Christmas and as such he never had a moments time to sort out his illegal vehicle or get it registered off road is a weak and feeble excuse.

    He should have just said, "I should have done it but didn't"

    As for Tuesday, and indeed other games, as a director and an employee I am expected to be there to represent the club so as such I sent my apologies on to the Council meeting.

    As for the other matters have a full read of the report at the link above and see if you still feel the same way.

  3. Hello gentlemen, and apologies for not replying sooner.

    What with getting ready for my holiday, life, a poorly pc and bad phone; I just simply have not got round to getting back online and answering your points. I will also “double post” so as I get my point across to both of you and answer you both...

    I also wanted to see what else came up regarding this “Astragate” stuff, I saw your reasons in the Chron John about why you made the complaint... in my draft reply I had mentioned how I felt that it was somewhat “sour grapes” on your part John, having been called not a “bone fide” member of the public etc. However, having read your reasons I now take that back, and apologise.

    My reply to you both, because this lovely blog is playing silly buggers with me!)




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