Ryan and Wentworth ‘apologise’, but public know the score

When is an apology not an apology? When it’s based on an arse-covering, self-justifying lie.

An apology for a councillor: Pat Ryan

An apology for a councillor: Pat Ryan

That seems to be case with the pair of Palace fans who wandered into a Croydon Council meeting on Monday night, Upper Norwood “councillors” Pat Ryan and John Wentworth.

After the pair were outed by members of the public, outraged at their contemptible behaviour in turning the council chamber into a TV lounge to watch the Everton v Palace game during debates on council cuts, Ryan and Wentworth decided yesterday afternoon to try to cover their tracks. By then it was far too late, as yet again Croydon Council and its Labour councillors had made national news for the wrong reasons.

Apparently, according to the pair, they weren’t watching the game. They were only checking the score.

Do you believe them?

“Being an avid CPFC fan is no excuse for checking score during council meeting. Apologies for any offence caused,” said Wentworth, a headmaster by profession, who is paid more than £20,000 per year for his various councilor-ly duties, including sacrificing just six Monday nights in 2015 for meetings of the full council.

Clearly, the two councillors had collaborated to get their story straight. Ryan tried to claim that he was not “ignoring what was going on” at the meeting.

He told the Croydon Guardian: “If people feel that I was not concentrating then I can assure them that was not the case.

“It was fleeting look at the score and that was the end of it. If they are upset by that then I do apologise.”

Notice that? Is there any sense of real remorse? “If they are upset by that”?

Thing is, if Wentworth and Ryan were truly just checking the score, as they have claimed, they might have done that, quickly and discreetly, on a smartphone app.

But that’s not what they did at all. They set up an iPad and were observed by witnesses in the public gallery avidly watching the match for five minutes or more. Is that “just checking the score”?

And they only stopped when members of the public shouted from the gallery, telling them to “pay attention” and “stop watching the football”. This was not, as Ryan has tried to claim, only “fleeting”.

What has the Labour leader, Tony Newman, done about this? Absolutely nothing.

Final score: Newman’s mates 0, People of Croydon 2 (own goals, Ryan and Wentworth). But this won’t go to penalties.

  • Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 729,297 page views in 2014.
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, John Wentworth, Pat Ryan, Tony Newman and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Ryan and Wentworth ‘apologise’, but public know the score

  1. farmersboy says:

    Don’t think I’ve been to a meeting in years where they haven’t asked that mobiles and tablets are turned off. Obviously councillors need their finger on the pulse at all times In case there’s an important fly tipping incident where time is of the essence. Or something.
    If meeting’s are on a Monday and football is on a Monday surely the full Sky package is a legitimate expense and they can record the match?
    Our councillors deserve Sky…

  2. Mobiles must be on silent or switched off I recall. However, I believe that photography is NOT allowed in the Council Chamber, so tut tut to the person who flouted the rules and used their camera. An own goal that seems to me.

    In my view this is a very small storm in a large tea cup. They were, afterall, watching their local team! Had they been watching “I’m a Celebrity” or “Eastenders” that may have been a different matter. Indeed, had they been watching Manchester United or even Chelsea I would have been dismayed.

    The article, however, is another example of rather cheap and tawdry journalism by InsideCroydon in the way that it is portrayed above.

    The Council has set piece debates that are choreographed by both sides. Six speakers out of 68 councillors able to contribute; all limited to a silly 3 minutes that fails to allow arguments to be developed and all this after the two groups, Labour and Conservative, have already agreed their position. So, for the 62 Councillors not involved in the debate it is a matter of waiting until the 20 minutes of speaking is over and then they raise their hands as previously determined.

    I say this, not to be critical of the Councillors from either side. They earn their money not by virtue of turning up at Council Meetings 6 times a year but by the many hours they spend in the communities during the week. Most do so and work hard, there are always some, as in any profession who are less worthy or less effective, even in journalism!

    What perhaps seems to me remiss is that they were silly enough to do it in view of the public gallery. It can be seen to perpetuate an impression that might be held by the cynics about local politicians that they don’t care or take an interest. I don’t think this is the case but it leaves them open to that challenge.

    But once again, photos are not allowed, so tut tut!!!.

    • You’re wrong in your facts. The law was changed to allow the recording of Town Hall meetings a couple of years ago, and the CEO announces what is allowed before the start of all meetings. And by recording, that includes photographs – but not flash photography. There have even been councillors who have utilised this dispensation.

      Also, there are 70, not 68, councillors elected in Croydon. All paid for by you and us. At a cost of £6 million every four years.

      And since the motions are rarely about anything substantive in terms of policy or issues within the borough, they amount to nothing more than grandstanding, by both sides, as Croydon’s political third-raters try to pretend they’re at PMQs or on Question Time.

      You make an important point about councillors’ casework. There are many who rarely, if ever, speak in the debates, but conduct many hours of casework each week. But there are also some who, frankly, do little of anything. And just like the Veolia contract or the value assessment of the council’s procurement departments, there’s no way of checking.

      • ‘insidecroydon’ is absolutely correct about recording meetings and that more than 99% of a councillor’s work is between these grand standing Council meetings. Indeed, there are a small band of really conscientious councillors work very hard in their communities, not just on case work.
        Even if photography in the chamber is not allowed, it’s use for exposing this sort of behaviour is valid criticism and councillors need to be able to say sorry when they screw up, whether caught in the act or not. I’m still waiting for a valid one from Cllr Flemming.
        Cllrs Ryan and Wentworth are far from the first to misuse their iPads as their use for games, facebook updates and e-mailing has been common in every meeting for years. Maybe the preference for gaming and trivia is why Cllr Watson is forcing all Councillors to use iPads instead of the more practical laptops.
        One point of disappointment in the article was the unnecessary swipe at Emily Benn, who was attending her cousin’s wedding overseas. You could have bothered to check.

    • farmersboy says:

      So the guy with the camera is the one at fault? I suspect we don’t pay him though so can’t really hold him to account.
      It’s ok as they were watching the local team?
      Their only crime was getting caught?
      Please tell me this is an attempt at satire…

Leave a Reply