Richard Barnbrook's caught inventing 'facts' for his blog. Who'd have thunk it?

I challenge you to look at this picture and not think of the 'Steptoe and Son' theme tune.

This will be the first of two posts about Richard Barnbrook's potential suspension. It consists of a bit of background and a lot of pointing and laughing.

Richard Barnbrook has been found to be in breach of the London Assembly (and Barking & Dagenham Council) code of conduct, and could face a suspension of up to six months. He's also being investigated for another potential breach that might lead to further punishment in the future. And we have his own blog to thank.

The potential suspension stems from a video he posted on his blog; the other investigation stems from the front cover of his 'London's Mothers Against Knives' petition, which wouldn't have reached such a wide audience had it not been posted on his blog. It seems that giving the BNP space to say things away from websites and blogs that they directly control gives them the space to make twats of themselves. Because, well, they are twats.

In the video we're talking about, Barnbrook lied about there being three murders in recent weeks in Barking and Dagenham. He's admitted to knowing there had in fact been no murders in B&D when he made the video, and he deliberately left the thing online when it was brought to his attention that the video was there saying things that weren't true.

The report of the investigation, available as a PDF via the London Assembly website, shows Barnbrook's bizarre approach to the truth. If you've got time, give it a full read through for giggles, but I'll be reproducing my favourite bits here.

His defence is that he misspoke. With one murder, he meant to say that someone from B&D had been murdered somewhere else, and with the other two, he meant to say attempted murder since two people were on life support at the time.

  • When I stated that these were “murders” I had actually meant “attempted murders”. This was not picked up in the editing of the report.
He did not state this in his recording, he did not re-record, and he did not say this in our meeting with him, or when we sent him a copy of the record of our meeting to review. [Barnbrook's statement in bullet point, investigation response in italics].
Councillor Rush has provided evidence from the Metropolitan Police in response to the draft report that show that there were no serious incidents during that time period, which includes nobody on life support.
You'd think that would be enough, but not for Barnbrook, who:
...said that he did not trust the police figures and had made a Freedom of Information Act request and had different figures which he would supply to the investigators.
Wow! Barnbrook has documented evidence catching the Met out publishing false statistics. Stop the presses! Except...wait for it...:
However, the evidence provided by Mr Barnbrook does not verify this.

It's not just these defences that show Mitty Barny to be a bit of an Aldridge Prior. Toward the end of the report, Barny's reactions to the draft report are included alongside the investigation team's comments on them. They're better in their entirety rather than paraphrased by me - Barnbrook's comments are bulleted and the investigation team's comments are in italics:
  • I did not know that the data contained in the recording was incorrect. I would not have posted the recording if I had known that it was incorrect.
This is different to the information that he provided at the meeting with us. He admitted at the meeting that he did know that the information was not correct.
  • Once I realised that the data was incorrect, the recording was removed from the internet on my instruction within 24 hours.
At our meeting with Mr Barnbrook, he admitted that he knew that the information was inaccurate when he made the recording. He would have been informed of the complaint made by Councillor Rush after the meeting of both Assessment Sub-Committees of both the GLA and LBBD and also the Review Sub-Committee of LBBD and therefore would have been informed that the video was on the internet at this time. It was not until the investigators spoke to him at their meeting in January 2009 that he removed the statements
So, now I know I should look down and count if Barnbrook told me I had two legs - but I already knew that. It's just nice to have it confirmed in one easy access reference. And a bit of a laugh.

Is it any wonder there's little but tumbleweeds over at his MyTelegraph blog?

More on the relevance to this particular blog in the next post. Lucky you, eh?


Anton Vowl said...

I couldn't do it. Never has a man so much deserved his own theme tune.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

I like Steptoe and Son - I'm not sure we should give the theme to Barny as a permanent theme tune.

I reckon a similar comedy parp-parp style version of Deustchland Uber Alles.