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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Libel Part 2

Well, we have a response to our enquiry about how busy the EA PR department have been defending the tattered reputation of the organisation that employs them.

It would seem that defending "the brand" on the Internet is the most popular option with 212 requests for takedown in the last three years - just over once a week.

"We have to closely regulate how our logo is used in order to
avoid members of the public being misled, for example, by thinking that we
are endorsing a service or product because a website displays our logo."

It's hard not to smile about this - it would seem that our disrespectful little pants on fire animation doesn't qualify as it's not seeking to mislead !!

The PR department have requested takedown of articles on TV/newspapers /radio on 19 occasions since 2010.

In terms of libel / defamation (you can't libel a government department) the EA PR department have acted only two times since 2010 - and only once about Avoncliff.  - which is odd, because as I presently understand the situation - the PR dept. sent out two, separate nasty letters - one to the editor of Narrowboat World and another one to Allan Richards - one of his contributors who was at the time wholly unconnected with Avoncliff.

Allan was less than impressed with being selected for attention (and no subsequent retraction / apology) and FoI'd the Environment Agency about goings on at Avoncliff. Whereupon ...  it certainly looks to me like ... somebody untrained and unfamiliar with a loaded firearm shot themselves in the foot  - and it has to be said, volunteered themselves for remedial courses in the comprehension of - and writing clearly in - English !

EDIT Oh, Dear! ....  I have just found an Environment Agency document (copy here - you never know!) from March 2011 that says that in the previous year alone they contacted 223 people about improper use of the EA logo...  I wasn't going to - but now it's absolutely irresistible.....

I'm minded to re-open the FoI - but to be honest, I think it a waste of public funds to subsidise further inept floundering about on their part. Somebody needs to apply a suitably PPE'd toe to a few backsides (and  check the EA stock of trouser extinguishers? and maybe issue staff "at risk" with fire retardant trousers?).


  1. That link to the response to Allan Richards's FoI is better than satire!

    I had to read it three times and still wasn't errr... clear about what was being said or not said about things that might or might not exist and things that EA officials might or might not have done who might or might not be named in court cases that might or might not happen.


    Google verification words "bolt fartson" is that a secret message?

  2. what are they trying to hide ?????

    1. To be honest with you anon, I don't think they're trying to hide anything - it's a question of competence and co-ordination and the almost complete lack of either... I mean, there's nothing surely to be gained by answering my FoI deliberately wrong? is there?....

      The trouble is - the footsoldiers are as bad and quite possibly worse answering really important questions as simple ones. When it comes to managers and executives that is where you cannot trust what you are being told - and we have been fed some whoppers over the years.

      Nothing "EA" surprises anymore.

  3. I suppose you wouldn't mind if someone else asked why there's what looks like a dramatic (maybe 300%? depending on your point of view) difference between the numbers different EA officials claim in this matter - that's not a small error... might be a big mistake though!

    1. I believe that a certain amount of nievaty is being shown in this question. How do you know when a politician is lying? Their lips are moving. How do you know when a civil servant or if the EA are to be believed, a public servant, is being economic with the truth? Their lips are moving or, more usually, they have written a report which shows they had nothing to do with the mess.
      It would be amazing for EA officials to be using consistent, verifiable numbers for anything.
      Please excuse the cynicism.

  4. I have been following this blog site for ages. It now reminds me of the latest news headlines about the Leeds Hospital NHS fiasco. Lots of money spent on a survey and consultation after the decision had been made to justify their actions. Who trained who is the obvious question?

    I suppose they have shot themselves in both feet by now and are trying to find an A&E which can help them. Dial 111 is my advise. They can suffer just like the public.

  5. On a unrelated subject but having a go at civil and public servants. The good news is there are less now than there have been since about 2000. The Tory and Lib-Dem coalition is doing something right.
    As a working taxpayer I do not like benefit cheats. I believe people should be in productive work. The big question, is civil and public servants pay just another form of benefits. They produce nothing and make work for everyone else which gets paid for by the working population. Sounds like benefits to me. But worse they get paid more than someone producing nothing on benefits and end up with a gold plated pension. All this for making life hard for the average person with unnecessary bureaucracy and creating overheads for companies which makes them less profitable and therefore unable to employ more people. Even worse, they are allowed to breed, making more civil and public servants.

  6. Please stop having a go at civil & public servants. We are just applying the rules that the government you and we elected have put in place. It is not our fault. We, the general foot soldiers, are simply obeying the higher ups commands. The fact that they mainly are blind to reality and looking for easy high pay and fantastic pensions is not our fault. We do not have a say in which idiot happens to be running our Ministry at the time.

    1. Actually, if you are a public servant - you are bound by common law and statute - as are your bosses.

      This seems not to have sunk in in.

      You cannot simply run around "making it up" and inventing arbitrary and inconsistent "rules" as you go and then try bullying and bribery to try and coerce compliance.

      "Bosses" are as easy to fire / dispose of as the office cleaner - if they are not performing. What is required is the will to do so - and that is plainly the case at The Environment Agency.

      If the Environment Agency had actually done their job as defined in statute at Avoncliff instead of brazenly indulging bureaucratic whim, breaking the law, spouting lies, hiding evidence and wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds - well, we wouldn't be here - would we?

      That glass of petty power is a very heady brew.

    2. As for civil servants - if you are one - nip over and have a look at The Civil Servant's Code of Conduct

      This is a document that people involved with North Mill have been looking at and conducting a box ticking exercise - sadly, there is not a single area where the performance / behaviour of the officials we've dealt with that can reasonably be said to have been complied with "The Code" - and The Civil Servant's Code is purportedly legally enforceable!

      Never mind "Just Following Orders" - how about taking a bit of responsibility and acting to remove the incompetent, mendacious power drunk flimflam artists embedded in public service?

  7. 14 june blog 16.29 the problem seems to be the rules have not been applied they have been broken unlawfully and we did not elect them for that.

  8. If you think this is bad, as an ex-EA employee, you'd be amazed at what actually happens internally. It would certainly go a long way in helping you understand the internal mentality of the organisation. I have myself set up a blog about the EA at www.insidetheenvironmentagency.co.uk. I'd be happy to share my personal experiences inside the "green beast" with you.

    1. Hello Henry - welcome to the West Wiltshire Branch of the EA fan club.

  9. Allan would have been associated with you on the MEMEX intelligence database that's in operation with the EA. This records ALL information that is reported from the public, officers, etc and does not need to be verified or substantiated. Everything from rumor to opinions are recorded, potential associates, number plates, vehicles, online activities, etc.


Get it off yer chest - please keep it civil