Interviewed by the Western Telegraph, ousted county council leader Jamie Adams blamed his downfall on “keyboard warriors” and “some sections of the press and members with blogs”.
At my age, it is flattering to be described as a warrior, even if armed with nothing more lethal than a keyboard.
However, I was not amused when I read Cllr Adams’ explanation for his fall from grace in the Herald: “There are two councillors with venomous and personal blogs and commentators on social media have seized upon these views”.
As regular readers may recall, this is not the first time he has used this sort of imagery because a couple of years ago he told a secret meeting of his IPPG group that Grumpette and myself were “the two most poisonous people in Pembrokeshire”.
So his complaints about personal attacks ring a bit hollow.
However, I must admit that, when I sit down to wage war on my keyboard, pleasing Cllr Adams is nowhere near the top of my list of priorities and though my scribblings may irritate him he has yet to demonstrate that anything I have written is untrue.
Indeed, I like to think that one such attempt to refute what I had said may have played some part in the electorate’s decision to call time on his corrupt regime.
I refer, of course, to my revelations about the irregularities in the grant scheme in Pembroke Dock.
This all started in April 2013 when I noticed that grants paid to one particular developer were, on average, three times as valuable as those received by other applicants.
In response to this, council officers presented a report to the audit committee in September 2013 which said everything was hunky dory.
At that time I was flying blind because the council had refused to provide me with information that would enable me to establish if my suspicions were well-founded.
So I put down a notice of motion calling for the documents relating to these projects to be made available to members.
One of the issues was my claim that, though the final account for the former Coronation School was for the whole of the roof, large parts hadn’t been reslated.
When my NoM came before Cabinet on 2 December 2013, I explained that I had spent a good part of my working life in the building industry and knew what I was talking about.
This was met by an impressive display of shoulder-heaving from Cllr Sue Perkins before Cllr Adams asked me whether I considered my career in the building industry had been a success.
When I answered “very successful” he responded: “I was passed some information recently which would suggest that it was less than successful, and from some of the submissions you’ve made, your understanding of the building trade is not what I would have expected.”
However, when pressed to substantiate this venomous personal attack he fell silent.
My fellow keyboard warrior was present and wrote this account of the proceedings.
During the cabinet meeting council officers produced photographs of the inside of the roof showing new felt and battens.
Emboldened by the officer’s presentation, which appeared to torpedo my claims about the roof, Adams and cabinet member David Pugh made a visit to Pembroke Dock accompanied by the clerk of works who had supervised these projects.
When my NoM came before full council on 12 December, Pugh made a venomous personal attack during which he said, among other things, that I didn’t have the truth on my agenda and “Cllr Stoddart reminds me of Don Quixote, the fictional character whose madness drove him to see enemies in everyone and ended up tilting at windmills.”
And both Adams and Pugh claimed they had been into the attic at Coronation School and seen for themselves that the whole (my emphasis) of the roof had been reslated on new felt and battens.
Not to put too fine a point on it, this was a straightforward lie, because, as I later discovered, it wasn’t possible to see the whole of the inside of the roof from the two available access points.
Indeed, almost everything Pugh said during his venomous little speech was untrue and within the week he was forced to email me with an apology for his false statement about a non-existent “third side elevation” at 25 Dimond Street Pembroke Dock.
This link is worth reading for its account of the part played in this attempted character assassination by IPPG toady Rob Summons (now leader of the Tory group on the council).
There is an interesting postscript to all this because last week’s annual meeting was called upon to elect three members to the panel tasked with interviewing and appointing lay members to the council’s standards committee.
And, would you believe it, up jumped Jamie Adams to propose proven liar David Pugh for the role.
At that point there were three candidates for three places, so, in order to ensure that Pugh’s nomination didn’t go through on the nod, I threw a spanner in the works by proposing that other venomous blogger.
I am delighted to report that Pugh failed to gain a podium finish.