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