Sunday, February 07, 2010

Should we be outraged or entertained?

Dominating today's Wales on Sunday are two stories. Front page headline reads"What were you thinking - Moment of Madness". Not sure which of the central characters this applied to - Alun Wyn Jones or Montgomeryshire's Assembly Member, Mick Bates. Photographs of both men, and then the line 'Politician apologises for night on the tiles he can't remember'. Now, getting splattered is not against the law (even if it is a little unwise), especially with a new hip - so I was sort of entertained by what I was reading. But the biggest headline of all screamed out "AM in 'Drunken Abuse' shame" - Matt Withers' first paragraphs read "An Assembly Mmeber is being investigated over allegations of abusive behaviour towards hospital staff". After reading that, I realised that this was not an entertaining matter at all - and I bet Nick Clegg and Kirsty Williams don't think so either. The BBC have also waded into the story.

Because Mick represents Montgomeryshire, it was no surprise to me that I received calls from the media to comment. I wasn't that keen. But Matt had dug out a quote from me a few years ago where I said "Since he arrived here, Mick Bates has treated the National Assembly as an entertainment centre". At the time I was dismissed as a 'fuddy-duddy'. I think that was after Mick turned up in the Debating Chamber in a Santa suit - to promote the Newtown Santa Run. Great cause, but I did think it demeaned the National Assembly. Mick's most notorious trick was to give the Presiding Officer 'the finger' in the Debating Chamber. Unfortunately it was caught on YouTube. Must admit that I was highly amused by Mick's 'explanation' at the time. He said that he "was showing Rhodri Glyn Thomas which finger he should use to operate the Assembly's modern push button voting system".

What this could really be about is the hot competition for the Wales on Sunday's annual 'Buffoon of the Year Title'. Mick had won this for several years in succession, and we were all stunned last year when the afore-mentioned Rhodri Glyn Thomas usurped him, courtesy of an incident with a cigar. It was a bigger shock than Phil Taylor losing a darts match. It could be that Mick wants the title back this year so that he can retire undefeated in 2011.

Never let it be said that this blog is less than fair. I'm in agreement with Kirsty Williams about this. Lets find out exactly what happened before we throw stones. And anyway, there's a bit of me that wants to support a fellow-Montgomeryshire man in trouble.

UPDATE - If this morning's reports turn out to have any basis in truth, there is no doubt that we should all be outraged. Violence against hospital staff is an utter disgrace. But I still find it so hard to believe. I will await developments during the day, but its likely that this blog post will be removed tonight. There is no longer a shred of entertainment in this story.

23 comments:

alanindyfed said...

What is it about Liberals in Montgomeryshire? They are always cutting colourful capers.
Does the electorate enjoy being entertained by all this and compare them with the staid Conservatives?
Fortunately, there is a third choice to save the day.

Anonymous said...

Lembit Opik and Mick Bates - what a shower! Montgomeryshire deserves better. Frankly, they are both an embarrassment, and I am increasingly concerned that the good folk of the county are conned by them. It's about time Mont woke up and saw the light

Anonymous said...

Mick came up with a far better conference spoiler than anyone else could.

Glyn Davies said...

Alan - I think 'staid' can be considered a compliment in the current climate. There are another four to choose from in fact. I think most of them could also be said to be staid.

Anon 1 - I'm doing my best.

Anon 2 - Another award perhaps - Spoiler of the Year.

Anonymous said...

It seems the esteemed AM Mick Bates was so drunk he couldn't remember anything, but the news this morning is far more damning. He was allegedly abusive and obnoxious in the restaurant and was in the process of being ejected when he fell down stairs and hit his head. Disgraceful behaviour for a politician. To make matters much, much worse he physically attacked a paramedic who was trying to attend to the head wound. Then it seems he continued to be verbally abusive to NHS staff when in A&E.

This is all very serious and I think his head should roll.

Poor Montgomeryshire to be represented by two idiots in their MP and AM.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - If all this turns out to be true (and I still find it hard to believe) it will go down as a shameful day in Welsh politics. It is unforgiveable.

ROMAN JONES Esq. said...

If this story does turn out to be true, it should trigger his immediate resignation. Then we can lance two LibDem boils in Montgomeryshire in a single year!

Anonymous said...

Go to the Wales BBC online news Glyn. You can listen to the evidence from the paramedic involved in treating Mr Bates. I'm afraid there is no doubt about the truth of these allegations.

Kirsty Williams and the Lib-Dem party now has the unpleasant task of dealing with this very shameful situation.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope to goodness that the naive folk of MOntgomeryshire wake up to just how poorly they are served by their representatives.
Sian Lloyd's thoughtful autobiography goes in to the ugly drinking culture amongst some politicians. It was a huge part of her frustration with Lembit Opik. We now learn that Mick Bates is cut from the same cloth. It is simply not acceptable

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why physical violence is outraged but verbal abuse of dediucated front line NHS staff was anything other?

Anonymous said...

I have just recevied another copy of 'Montgomeryshire Mail' written by the Lib Dems, delivered free by the postman and printed in Peterborough, so much for supporting local businesses then?
Under the front page heading NO SCHOOL CLOSURES Lembit writes "I've actually looked at the real situation, not the one leaked in a partial and sensationalist fashion" he then goes on to say how he's been organising and attending public meetings.
To read this you'd think that Lembit Opik and Mick Bates were wonderful,I wouldn't trust either of them further than I could throw them! I hope that after this latest fiasco, the people of Montgomeryshire see Mick Bates for what he really is.

cybyl said...

Anon (09:41:00 AM)>

"... was in the process of being ejected when he fell down stairs and hit his head"

If this is true, maybe the people ejecting him should be investigated. Care should be taken to avoid injuring someone in such fashion.

If it is true he suffered a head injury then what followed is largely moot - they guy had a head injury.

The medical staff and/or police leaking this story are breaking their own rules - medical staff are not supposed to divulge private patient information to the media or public.

There seems to be some duplicity and vilification going on here as evidenced by the appartent release of confidential patient information by medical professionals, and a big question over the way a senior was treated - just how was he manhandled to such that he ended up with a head injury. Clearly with a new-hip he was not a threat to a bouncer, there is no excuse for lack of care in ejecting a senior.

The hospital authorities should investigate if their staff has been divulging confidential information to the press and/or others.

Just a contra-argument ... for your digestion...

Anonymous said...

What grates is the fact the Lib Dums are now trying to dress up the Mick Bates incident as a concussion. The fact is that he was so abusive that he was thrown out of the restaurant well BEFORE the knock to his head. The LDs has better get a better grip on the timeline of this atrocious incident. Otherwise it stinks of a cover up. Why don't they for once come clean and say the behaviour of their Mont politicians is totally unacceptable

Anonymous said...

well I can not comment on what the papers run or what the BBC puts online - all I can say is in the past (less than 5 yrs) I too was verbally abused by a drunk Mick Bates - in a local montgomeryshire town, in the early hours at a nightclub ( i was working there). So from personal experience I can beleive there is substantial truth in this matter. He was ejected from the premisis (under duress) by two doormen - sadly at that time there was no CCTV coverage of the inner entrance area . . . .

and the LibDem rag that arrived this moring really got my blood boiling . . . hope the electorate of Montgomeryshire regognise these two jumping on the bandwaggons at the last min, claiming to be their work. . . .

Anonymous said...

I agree with cybyl. Whatever happened to patient confidentiality? Why are we hearing about this incident now nearly 3 weeks after the event?

The paramedic in question had his voice disguised so he knew he was treading on dodgy ground by speaking to the media, in my opinion he should be disciplined.

However, Mick has been a total idiot and should never have got himself into this situation in the first place.

To have behaved so badly and to have been so drunk that he was asked to leave the restaurant is shameful in itself, and of course he made it so much worse by his subsequent behaviour.

JD Hughes said...

Well said Roman Jones, agree 100%!

alanindyfed said...

To bring honour and dignity back into politics it is necessary first to bring dignity into society.

(to check the meaning of these words you will need a 1950's dictionary).

Anonymous said...

cybyl- I would have thought that you become a patient after you've been treated, when one hits a medically trained person prior to this,you're just a drunken thug! It's because there are too many people like yourself, making excuses for unacceptable behaviour, that this country is in such a state today!
I haven't heard of this paramedic describing Mick Bates'injuries or mentioning any medical details, so in my book he's done nothing wrong, as a matter of fact he's done everyone a favour,this man should be seen for what he his.

cybyl said...

Anon (10:23:00 AM)> there's a time line, Mick Bates suffered a head injury and was subsequently treated (and therefore became a patient) after suffering said head injury.

A medical professional should not compromise patient confidentiality by going to the media; since it is now evident that there has been a breach of patient confidentiality by a medical professional it necessarily follows that this matter should be investigated. The medical professional who complained directly to the media has done him/herself “no favours”.

There should also be an investigation to ascertain if the doormen played a role in the AM receiving a head-injury.

Dixon James. said...

More very bad news lurking in the shadows Glyn down the bay.
This will blow Mick's problem out of the public domain.

I can not believe Mrs Mop has not told you.

This time it is to do with a blue, could have huge implications for the Tories and indeed the others to!!

Glyn Davies said...

All - I'm leaving this story alone now. The accusations are much too serious. I'd take down the post, but in my experience that only makes things worse.

Anon? - I noted the 'accusation' by Lembit Opik that the leaked report was "partial and sensationalist". Total rubbish. Th ereport that was leaked was 'Version 3', while the report that was placedon the Council website was 'Version 8'. But they were almost identical, and all the meetings were based on Version 8. Also, I went to a lot of trouble to ensure reporting was anything other than 'sensationalist'. Everyone else tells me that they think the reporting balanced and professional. He also claims that no decisions had been taken and councillors had not seen the report. No-one ever suggested they had. He is just so out of touch. His comments in his political propaganda newspaper are complete tosh.

Dixon - I'm in Cardiff tomorrow night for CF99, and staying over til Thursday morning, calling at the Council's emergency meeting in Llandrindo on the way home. I'll have a chat with Edna when I'm there. See if she knows anything.

Glyn Davies said...

Wyn Williams - Cannot publish your comment. Unsubstantiated rumour, and its not a subject that interests me anyway.

ROMAN JONES Esq. said...

Dixon - sounds like a bit of stirring to me. AM assaulting a medic, being violently drunk and abusive - that will take a lot of blowing out of water with. WHat's thisblue done then? Will probably just be some expenses fiddle or some ill-judged article written in their youth. I await with baited breath, not.

Cybil - no, the responsibility lies with the AM. He has the higher position of authority and is the one in the wrong, not the medic. Physical assault and drunkardness trumps a bit of confidentiality.