Friday, 28 March 2014

Ross At A Loss

A local shopkeeper was mortified that his photo has appeared on a Lib Dem political leaflet without his knowledge or approval. Ross Nelson who has run Ross Fruiterers on Central Road for over 24 years appeared with the three Liberal Democrat council candidates (although Stephen Fenwick is now no longer standing as a Lib Dem) on the party's February leaflet.

A section from the Lib Dem leaflet
A rather exasperated Ross told the blog that
everyone had been winding him up about it. He continued:
"Three people came in and asked for a photo with me. I didn't know who they were so I just said ok. They didn't tell me they were Liberal Democrats, or that the photo was going to be used on one of their leaflets."
Not a fan

Last year Ross was obliged to shorten his pavement display to one metre after complaints that the 1.5 metres he had been using for over two decades was making it difficult for pedestrians to pass.

Ross commented:
"It cost me £500 per week to lose that extra display area but I understand that everyone needs to use the pavement. What upset me though was the way they treated me.
It was only [Conservative] Cllr Stuart Gordon Bullock who told me there was a scheduled meeting at the council to discuss my license and that I should receive a letter inviting me to go and put my position across. No such letter ever arrived. The letter that did arrive was the one telling me my license had been reduced from 1.5 meters to 1 meter. 
It was only afterwards I found out the first letter was sent to the wrong address. How does the council expect me to put my case across if they send the letter to the wrong address? They clearly know the address of my shop."

A section from one of the letters sent to Ross is reproduced here on the right. You can clearly see it has been sent (by hand) to 511 London Road, North Cheam. This is the address of a Chinese Restaurant. You can also see that they didn't manage to work out which name was Ross's Surname.

Ross went on to say:

"I'm sick of this council in Sutton. I would have done anything for this town but not now. I've had enough. This thing with the Lib Dem leaflet was the last straw."

The blog must point out that the author, Simon Densley is standing for the Conservatives in Worcester Park in May's council election against Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens and other parties. It might be worth pointing out also that Ross did give his consent to this being posted.

39 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Cliffo said...

Despite the disclaimer (at the very, very bottom of the article) I think it's iffy to use this blog to comment on political issues. The praise to the Tory councillor, the dig at the reduction in his pavement depth, the criticism of the Liberal Democrat leaflet. It's not hard to argue that none of this is news to local residents and is only point scoring.

Guest said...


I'm disappointed that this blog is gradually losing it's political impartiality.This story serves no purpose but to act as a thinly veiled attempt to bash the liberal council. Do we really care that Ross had his photo taken without permission?

I'm a daily visitor to this blog and I'm no lib dem fan but, come on, you can do better.

Nick Burt said...

I love reading the blog to see what's happening in my local community but I'm fast losing interest the more political it becomes.

guest said...

Seems like Nick/Guest/Cliffo (or should i say 3 Liberals) do not like bad press even when its the truth. I think the blog does a great job and have rightly posted this article to the local community. It shows the council not doing their job regardless of what political party are involved. Once again well done the blog!!!!

Barry Cullum said...

Yet another thinly veiled attack on the Liberals!!
I am neither a Liberal or Consevative supporter. However, since the lampooning of soon-to-be ex-councillor Fenwick, it would appear that this once interesting, but now fast diminishing blog is becomming a surreptitious mouthpiece for the Conservative Party.

Advice to blog editor... LEAVE NOW or risk losing more contributors. WE THE PUBLIC ARE NOT SO STUPID!!

Miss Pelling said...

Great photos. I especially like the one of Ross surrounded by vegetables. What were their names again?

Alex said...

Barry, if the blog was funded by public funds (i.e. us), you'd have a very good point - but it isn't. However, by contrast, if you log on to Sutton Council's website (which, of course, we ARE paying for), you'll find something that resembles a party political broadcast on behalf of the Liberal Democrats!
...I find it strange that people are unhappy for a privately funded website to write anything political other than pro-Lib Dem, yet happy for a publicly funded website to be party political, but only so long as it's pro-Lib Dem...

So, the fact is, the Lib Dems have covertly used the name and photo a local trader for political purposes, against that trader's wishes. Most people would agree it was wrong - regardless of the party. However, some readers seem to be suggesting the trader ought to keep quiet and obediently support 'the party' - whilst the rest of us don't have a democratic right to know about it!

[No doubt, if ANY other party had done the same thing we'd have a queue of critics, lining up to complain about the shocking conduct of (any other) political!]

Alex said...

Apologies - missed off the word 'party' from the last comment.

JACKSON said...

Totally agree with Alex regarding the blog. As for Mr Cullum if you do not like this blog stop posting ridiculous comments.SO MR CULLUM WE THE PUBLIC ARE NOT STUPID SO LEAVE THIS BLOG ALONE.

guest said...

Here here time for Mr Cullum to leave the blog.Keep up the good work blog.

Ginger said...

Totally agree, Blog now far too political to point of being boring. Badly needs change of author.

Gino said...

Another mismanaged Banana split decision
inflicted on local hard working businesses people.

Like blog said...

Supporting opinion
I agree with Alex. I am not political. I read pieces like this, which with the disclaimer informs me, to then make a judgement. Without such blogging where would I find such 'news'? if the Lib Dems etc had an equivalent site, I would equally read that and make similar judgements. This blog is informative on many local issues and if the person that makes the effort to compose blogs wants to give opinion, then that only seems fair.

Unless the Fenwick story had been blogged here, I would never have known without seeking the information. Our road stopped getting the local guardian years ago.

Do also remember this is a blog, so everyone is given the chance to respond, so if you think too politic then you get your say. I would rather that, than blogs be pre-filtered to be neutral. This is the era of information, so I welcome being informed.

guest D said...

I agree with you, you read the site and make up your mind, treat it like a tabloid. The lib Dems do have a site WorcesterparkDOTOrgDOTuk, replace the DOTs with . run by the prospective candidate Richard Marston. But that site is in my opinion very dry, just facts no commentary and no commenting, more like a notice board.

When I read a story like this one, I think to myself is a shopkeeper being photographed with a bunch of councillors news or is it something dug up in desperation?

I always judge propspective candidates on their platform and also their previous experience. Personally I would rather vote for someone with experience of the real world rather than a career politican. For an incumbent I judge them on their record on matters that are important to me.

After that I look at the policies of their national party and how that party has performed in power in similar councils.

Hrtless said...


Walking said...

Back to topic,
I would like to know if Waitrose have been issued something similar? The new garden displays are making if very difficult for pedestrians to walk, I'm having to step-out on to the car park to then rejoin the pavement when heading left out of the shop.

Small family business said...

We were pretty disgusted when we read that a local political party had pushed out political leaflets without a local trader's knowledge or consent. [And it seems highly unlikely they've secured his vote!] It should never have happened. It cannot be defended. And it was clearly neither an accident, nor something of the printer's creation.

What makes this particularly nasty is that it's against a background of the same local Lib Dem Councillors also having allowed a licensing hearing to happen without his knowledge, with the result that they have covertly damaged his business behind his back. [Or is it just the opposition parties who know what's actually going on in the Worcester Park Ward?]

But the worst part about this is that reading through the comments below, there are some who (presumably for reasons of political bias) think it's ok for the Lib Dems to behave like this. It is obscene to read that they are critical not of the Lib Dem antics, but of the victim - the trader, and the publisher who, in response to a local family business being damaged, dare to exercise their democratic right to freedom of speech!

How revealing about the morals of the local Lib Dem loyalists! And it very well illustrates the local Lib Dem Councillors' dismissive disinterest and deceitful attitude towards KT4's small businessmen and businesswomen.

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

This comment keeps making me laugh ... brought a smile to my face a few times now.

More... said...

I would like to understand more of this comment "I'm sick of this council in Sutton. I would have done anything for this town but not now. I've had enough. This thing with the Lib Dem leaflet was the last straw."
Ross the fruiter has been around many years, I would be interested in what changes he as a long-term trader feels have been negative. There has been lots of spending recently in WP (£2.1m pot) with the aim on improving trade, has this aim not been achieved?

caldbeck kid said...

Mr Blog - I think the majority are slightly uneasy about the political nature of this and other recent posts. The blog was not set up as a political vehicle and to use it in this way leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and may actually have the opposite effect to the one you intend

Guest said...

Stop the politics please. That gets my vote

guest said...

According to the discussions on this article, i would say that the majority are in favour of this article.There is no political bias involved, wrong is wrong its as simple as that.If the blog was not allowed to report something for the fear of upsetting certain political parties we may as well give up,Its called democracy. As for the caldbeck kid what majority? look at the comments so far.Carry on the blog good work.

bazza said...

Well done the blog, no nasty taste in our mouths.Doing a great job.

Steve said...

Have to agree with others. Seems like a piece of non-news has been made into something to have a good dig at the Lib Dems and play the "vote for me, I'm the WP blogger!" card. If the blogger were running as an independent or residents' association candidate it wouldn't be so bad but to play that card [especially considering the blog was set up by someone careful to be politically neutral] in favour of any political party is distasteful. It's like the BBC being bought up by Murdoch so he could create another right-wing mouthpiece (cue the swivel-eyed loons' accusations of BBC bias).

guest D said...

Murdoch, would not create another right wing mouthpiece, but another mouthpiece that promoted Murdoch's aims. After all Murdoch switched the support to Nu-Labour when it seemed he could get more out of B'Liar than the Tory party.

I agree with your viewpoint but the article made me think if that is the worst accusation that can be thrown at the Lib-Dems then they must have done a great job whilst in power. I support The Blogger's right to do what he wants with his blog, but as someone else said such tactics can backfire badly.

Smokin Joe said...

I'm grown up enough to have my own views and to judge the blog and their political interpretations. If you're not, then perhaps the Beano or Dandy might make better reading?

We all buy a newspaper and read it, yet we don't necessarily hold the same political opinions?

The WP Blog does an amazing job, don't knock it out of political jealousy, you might just miss it. Unless you're a Lib Dem... LOL

And on the subject matter it's a disgrace that the Lib Dems used a reputable and trusted local trader to further their cause. But understandable since these are the same charlatans that knock on doors garnering votes on the thinly disguised excuse of collecting signatures for St Helier, St Raphael's and any other sympathetic cause that offers an cynical opportunity to gain direct access to voters and collect valuable and marketable email addresses.

Smokin Joe said...

Are you offering Ginger?

Smokin Joe said...

Are you prepared to do the job Barry?

I am neither a Lib Dem or a Labour supporter but I'm old enough and ugly enough to see through any political bias and make my own mind up. I am though grateful for someone who puts as much effort and thought into running this blog as its editor does. I can forgive the slight political edge as I'm intelligent enough to see through it.

As far as Fenwick is concerned he has proved to be fair game hasn't he? Didn't that fool deserved lampooning?

Alex said...

Reading the comments under this article made me think, what would the reaction have been IF the Tories or Labour or UKIP or the Greens had behaved as the Lib Dems had done here?

What IF any other local political party had covertly utilised a photo of a local of a local trader in their literature, who, (ironically) the same party had done their level best to undermine? And (again, ironically), as here, their political opponents had actually been the ones to try to assist the trader?

What then???... I wonder if those sensitive Lib Dems would have fully embraced this article, held their hands up in outrage and disgust, fervently argued that it was a politically neutral and claimed it was merely an unbiased reporting of the facts? Oh, I don't doubt it for a minute!

The Worcester Park Ward Lib Dems tried their hand at covert and creative PR and found they were totally useless at it! They have screwed up - in public - and now their screw up is the news, rather than their message. I suspect the politically neutral view in Worcester Park would be "Serve them right for being so blatantly dishonest! - And good luck to the trader!"

Barry Cullum said...

I put my hands up guys & gals... I went a bit over the top in my comments.

Smokin Joe...
1. No, I am not prepared to do the job.
2. As it turned out, yes Mr Fenwick is a fool, ref: the position he now finds himself in after thumping a barman. It leaves me wondering how the hell he became a councillor in the first place.
However, IF I were the editor.....IF.... and if I were a prospective councillor, I'm sure that I'd, in your words, be putting as much effort and thought into running this blog.... and I'm sure I'd be cleverly inserting political edge into it too. And I'd expect to get severely critisised for doing it.
Let's return to the lampooning of councillor Fenwick a few months ago. Yes, he deserved it for that ridiculous speech he made. He sounded like a complete idiot. If it wasn't on such a serious issue, I would have found it quite funny... it was certainly pathetic. It worried me that such people can actually get into public office. It worries me even more that he isn't the only one.
My main grouse is that the new editor only revealed AFTER this lampooning that he was a prospective Tory councillor, and that he had in fact secretly been the editor for a full six months before revealing this fact.
I'm pretty old and ugly myself, and I can usually see through the political bias..... but on what is supposed to be a politically neutral blog, why should I have to?
It might have been nice, to maintain the neutrality by, at least, publically giving councillor Fenwick to chance to defend himself on this blog .... yes, I can hear you laughing now. How the hell could anyone defend themselves after a comical display like that?
Sorry if I ruffled a few feathers.... seems I wrote a bit too much "off the cuff" so to speak....

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

Thanks for climbing down a bit here... I would like to point out a couple of things to straighten the record a little... Firstly, I did offer Cllr Fenwick the right of reply - I saw him (we were both at the dedication of Ray Bunce's bench) the next morning and I encouraged him to make a comment. Then a couple of weeks later I spoke to him for a little longer (at the Fairlands Park tree planting) where he said he didn't want to rise to the bait. I added an update to this story in February to this effect:

Secondly: As I pointed out in the post where I revealed my identity, I had twice shown that video in public and invited any and all blog readers to the event. The first one was only a few months after I had taken over. Up until that point the identity of the blogger had been completely anonymous so it was a big step. When I posted the revelation I had only just been selected to stand for a council seat by the Conservatives and had realised that in that situation I would need to be clear about who I was. Up until then (including when showing Cllr Fenwick's video) I was not a prospective councillor, although I was hoping and working towards becoming one.

Third: If an intelligent person like you didn't see any political bias for 9 months its probably because there wasn't any. I spent my time (as I do now) delving into issues and events going on in Worcester Park, hopefully demonstrating to potential voters, through sheer dedication and hard work that I know and care about Worcester Park enough to be worth voting for. I considered the Fenwick video and also this situation with Ross to be newsworthy in their own right. They are probably more interesting than today's story about a gas leak being fixed. If anything, these stories (which could just as easily have been posted by a non-political person) have been used to attack me as a Tory. But these are often the sorts of stories that stay under the radar and I think it is right that I let people know about them. Of course I will write things from my own point of view - it's a blog not a scientific report. But since I have taken to being completely upfront about my political position when mentioning anything political, people have the necessary information to draw their own conclusions.

Forth: if I wasn't running this blog there wouldn't be a Worcester Park blog. Yes it's true I'm not Andrew who started it, but I have tried to keep it as close to the original style as possible. At the end of the day though, I am who I am and I write what I write. Of course my own views (political and otherwise) will come into it - why shouldn't they? If I was going to start one from scratch it would probably be more political than this but I didn't and so this is where we are - and I will continue my endeavour to keep it running in a similar style to that in which it was conceived. There is nothing compelling anyone who complains about my postings to read them, and there is nothing stopping any of them from starting their own blogs and filling them with whatever views they feel are 'unbiased'. Several known Lib Dem activists have already 'unfriended' the blog facebook page. I'm not feeling the love so much from that direction any more but hey, nobody can please everyone. Better I think to just stay true to myself and to Worcester Park.

Barry Cullum said...

Thankyou Simon
As you know, we are on either side of the political fence, and we always will be. That's no reason we can't have a sensible discussion as we both want the same thing.... well run councils. We just have different ideas on how to acheive this.
There was no excuse for my overheated rant.... I apologise

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Bazza said...

Here here Smokin Joe, you have totally nailed it. I could not agree more,keep up the good work blog

guest said...

As much as i would like not to reveal my political views I will tell you I think the Lib Dems are a bunch of plonkers and yet I am the 'guest' who said 'Stop the politics. It gets my vote' (see below) . So this is not about 'political jealousy' Smokin Joe.
Casually logging on in an idle moment and seeing uplifting news about local endeavour , or helpful news about new facilities or events or traffic problems etc is what makes the Blog. Its just that a subtle ulterior motive seems to have crept in recently. Don't spoil it, that's all I say.

Guest said...

Barry/Simon, It's not just you two who want, (as Barry says), "well run Councils". That's exactly what the rest of us want too! And fundamentally, that's what we haven't got in Sutton.

I also suspect that actually, you both have much in common and strange as it may seem, Sutton Council being run by an energetic, creative Conservative/Labour coalition would be a dramatic improvement on the wasteful, lethargic, disinterested mob that we currently have.

By the way, I do hope that our excitable Liberal Democrats operating locally will forgive me for uttering an opinion that deviates from the junk mail that they seem to be shoving through our doors on a weekly basis? [I know how upset they get]. Perhaps if they put as much effort into recycling their weekly, paper based junk, as they do delivering it, and adding to the Borough's waste mountains, we wouldn't actually have any need for a Lib-Dem incinerator?

Barry Cullum said...

Guest... A Conservative/Labour coalition in Sutton? What an interesting thought. Something that had never occurred to me before.....Could it actually worK?
Bearing in mind that there's more chance of finding an oak tree on the moon than a Con/Lab coalition in Sutton, I'd be more than interested to hear Simon Densley's and Stewart Mackay's thoughts on this.
As for myself and Simon having a lot in common, you could well be right. In the recent past I have wished both he and Stewart good fortune in the upcoming elections in May, because I see a Conservative win as the only way forward to overcome the ridiculous waste of money we have seen lately.
Yes, of course I'd love to see a Labour administration in Sutton, but I know that's not going to happen. What is more important is that Sutton gets more level headed regime in place than at present. Can the Conservatives achieve this?... at present I am of the opinion that they can. Now let's see them do it......

guest D said...


Comparing the council tax for Sutton and its neighbours in Greater London it looks like a Labour / Conservative hung council is the most efficient.

Band D with GLA precept. (Parks tax not included for Kingston).

Merton £1401 Lab/Con
Sutton £1439 Lib Dem
Croydon £1470 Con
Kingston £1678 Lib Dem.

Makes me wonder why Kingston is so much more expensive?

Barry Cullum said...

Good point guest.
No doubt the Tories would state Lib Dem inefficiency. I'm of the opinion that the rates are loosely based on average income. I assume the Lib Dems would have some different excuse... Labour can scream all they like.... they seldom really do all that well around here.
Your observation about the Lab/Con hung council, ( in effect it has to work as a coalition or nothing would get done) ... interesting if London consisted of just Merton, Sutton, Croydon and Kingston, but it doesn't... Too narrow to prove anything, but thought provoking. The more I've thought about it, the more I think it is possible for Labour & Conservatives to work together. for the benefit of all. To forget all the ideologies and point-scoring and come to decisions through compromise.... Perhaps I'm just thinking of too perfect a world.....
Give me a day or two and I'll do a bit of fishing around on the web and see how hung council rates compare overall with, unhung?.... council rates....

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