Monday, 6 February 2012

Afore the House falls in


'THERE is always a warning crack,' says the Spanish Bawd in the novel by Rojas, 'before the house falls in!' Is this what's now happening at Bury MBC, following last Tuesday's dawn raids by police on former Bury Council boss, Councillor Bob Bibby, and his colleague, Councillor Jim Taylor? The police told the Bury Times that the two Conservative councillors 'had accepted bribes in relation to a planning application in Radcliffe'. Three other men were also arrested suspected of submitting the application. In an interview with the Bury Times, last Wednesday, Bibby denied the allegations saying sternly: 'Bribery hasn't been part of local government for 30 years - those days are long gone'. He added: 'I turn 70 this year ... I have had 13 years in local politics and have been around long enough to know that such corruption is not only impossible to hide, but undesirable given the negative attention it is bound to bring to those involved. I have nothing to hide and can speak for Jim as well. These allegations are unfounded.'

It seems that the allegations relate to a planning application tabled in February 2011 by a property company, and that the application was for 200 homes and and a warehouse to be built on land at York Street and Bury Road in Radcliffe. Councillor Bibby admitted the application was 'problematic' because the houses would be near a flood plain. Bibby claimed police had told him they had seen text messages suggesting he would take a £10,000 payment for help with the application. Councillor Bibby strongly denies sending or receiving any such message.

In April 2011, members of Bury planning committee granted permission; now there's a coincidence! Defending himself, Bibby who was then the Council leader, declared to the Bury Times:
'I am in no position to influence planning at all. As council leader, you generally encourage investment in your town and you want companies to come in and clean up grotspots and provide businesses that create jobs and homes for families. But when it comes to the details of particular applications, that is not for the council leader.' Furthermore, he said: 'To allege that someone would pay £10,000 to one individual in relation to an application is very strange.' Councillor Bibby, a Conservative Councillor from Church Ward who became council leader in May 2007, was replaced as leader last May, when the Tories lost overall control to Labour.

Last Tuesday, detectives and uniformed police seized computers and paperwork from Bury Town Hall and from business premises in Moston. Premises in the more middle-class areas of Didsbury and Altrincham were also searched. All five men, aged between 45 and 69, were released on bail until April. Police say the arrests came after an intelligence-led operation conducted in June 2011. Superintendent Rush said: 'This has been a complex investigation and these arrests are a result of a lot of hard work ... I recognise this operation will cause some disruption at the council ... However, the council is co-operating with the investigation and we intend to keep disruption to a minimum.'

A council spokesman, last week said: '... it would inappropriate to comment.'

Joe Cleary, former Bury binman and UNITE shop steward at Bradley Fold sacked in dodgy circumstances contacted Northern Voices last week to say: 'Have you seen the news about Bury councillors allegedly using their positions for pecuniary gain? I can't believe that somebody from Bury Council could be corrupt; this must be a mistake, these people are whiter than white, they don't do anything wrong. Do you think we should offer them our support? Maybe have a collection or maybe picket the police station until the "Bury Saints" are exonerated? I've just bought Bob Bibby a card, on the front it says: "Thinking of you at this sad time." I'm off to post it now!'

Now then; Joe Cleary was a bloke and trade union activist who was sacked a few years ago as a binman in Bury for allegedly allowing himself to be tempted and swayed in his duties by a bottle of 'Strawberry Volvic', unlike Councillor Bobby Bibby now, he was never given the chance to clear himself in an English Court: rather he was condemned and tried by Bury MBC councillors of the likes of Bobby Bibby sitting in a pompous tribunal in Bury Town Hall. Councillor Bibby the politician, is going to get a form of justice that was denied to the binman, Joe Cleary and his colleagues. As our own great bard Shakespeare had one of his character's say: 'Jockey of Norfolk be not too bold, for Dicken thy Master is bought and sold.' Yet, Joe Cleary, a former UNITE shop steward, is typically English in his charitable instincts, whereas a Frenchman may have called for the Guillotine, Joe is recommending a whip-round!


Anonymous said...

The house fell in a long time ago, it's just that no one noticed - or wanted to. Bury Coucnil is riddled with corruption but 'corruption' is relative, and attracts attention only in certain circles at certain times:i.e., I don't see any headlines related to screwed about bin men!

Anonymous said...

its funny how when bury mbc suspend you on unfounded allegations one of the terms of suspension is that you cannot speak to anybody about it,yet mr bibby can give statments to the national press outlining the allegations about him i think this may be called DOUBLE STANDARDS practice what you preach mr bibby

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the news about the Bury councillors using their position for pecuniary gain. I can't believe that somebody from Bury Council could be CORRUPT! This must be a MISTAKE these people are whiter than white they don't do anything wrong do you think we should offer them our support maybe have a collection or maybe picket the police station until the Bury Saints are exonerated. I've just bought Bob Bobby a card on the front it says: 'Thinking of you at this sad time.'
I'm off to post it now.

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