Wednesday, 12 August 2009

SIMON MOORES THE STRAW MAN



I hadn't heard of the term "Straw man". I am indebted to the Thanet Star for enlightening me. His view is that Conservative councillor Simon Moores uses this technique:

"A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

Personally, soon after starting blogging, I came to a view on Simon Moores which I expressed in comments in February 2009. Whenever Simon Moores starts to lose an argument on policy, he resorts to personal attacks. Simon Moores wants to examine my attendance record. Fine. It is important the electorate see what their representatives do. Let's have a look so we can see how casually and disingenuously Simon represents matters. He's doing that quite a bit these days.

For the period examined Simon argues I was on 4 Council bodies. He's wrong.

Airport Working Party

Remarkably, Simon Moores is correct I had a poor attendance at this committee. Only problem is my shocking attendance record has already been exposed........by me 4 months ago! Have a look at this post in February complaining about the way the Airport Working Party met at awkward times to prevent the involvement of members of the public and any councillor who had a job.

When Thanet Council continued to arrange meetings of the Airport Working Party at times I could not make, I did the honourable thing and resigned. I wrote a full post about this in April. So no news here, other than the failure of Thanet Council to engage in meaningful consultation with local people on Manston Airport. Simon Moores follows his normal practice of failing to link to these posts explaining my non-attendance. That's Simon for you, if the facts are inconvenient just ignore them.

General Purposes Committee

There's one meeting I could have attended. I arranged in footballing terms a "tactical substitution" where I was replaced by the then Labour Group Leader Cllr. Richard Nicholson. This was because the main item being discussed was the increase in senior officers pay at Thanet District Council. Quite rightly Richard was sceptical about the Conservative argument that in the current difficult economic circumstances; that large increases in pay were needed to ensure staff retention. The argument seems dubious as despite the Conservatives putting through these substantial increases, senior staff are still leaving. Simon Moores chaired this meeting and understood politically why it was appropriate Labour was represented by a more senior representative than me.

Full Council

On 21st May if you look at the minutes I attended the whole of the first Council meeting. I then left for a personal commitment before the second meeting that evening. Perhaps I should do what anybody who watches the recordings of Council meetings can observe. Some Conservative councillors leave Council meetings shortly after signing in. The so called sign in, and sod off technique. This year I can recall Cllr. Simon Day leaving within 10 minutes of a meeting starting, and Cllr. Ewen Cameron leaving meetings not long after they have started. Should I have stayed an extra 5 minutes to register my attendance at the second meeting on that same evening, to make my attendance record look better? I don't think so, but Thanet Conservatives frequently do just that.

On 26th February I had conflicting engagements. Thanet District Council or the London Labour Party dinner. One of the reasons for my attendance at the dinner was that I met with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


Overview and Scrutiny Panel

On 10th March I missed this meeting because I worked at the European Parliament that day. It is part of my job. I am based in London, but I work 2-3 days a month in either Brussels or Strasbourg. On 28th July I interviewed candidates for a work vacancy in London in the evening. Several promising candidates indicated they would find difficulty getting time off work in the current economic circumstances to attend interviews. Simon is aware that my written submission to this meeting resulted in what my colleagues say was the most important discussion of the Panel that evening. He ignores that and smears. As in the case of ALL my absences, I arranged a substitute. Of course Simon Moores does not refer to when I have substituted at meetings for others, it would spoil his argument.

Recycling Working Party

It is good that Thanet Council is publishing attendance records. However, they are inaccurate. Apart from the Airport Working Party which is a sub-committee of Overview and Scrutiny Panel, I am on another Overview and Scrutiny Panel sub-committee the Recycling Working Party. During the period being looked at my attendance record is 100% having attended both scheduled meetings. As a cabinet member with responsibilities in this area Simon should pick up on this failing. It would have been easy to check this fact for him, but it's not Simon's style to worry about accuracy.

The effect of this would be to improve my attendance record, perhaps that is why Simon omitted it?


Now, if only when I wrote examining Conservative councillors records they responded with an open clear explanation like the above wouldn't it be better for local politics? Thousands of pounds could be saved and the Council would be more efficient, effective and accountable. My record is not the best because of my work commitments. I have argued before how unhealthy it is that Thanet Council does not do enough to ensure its representatives reflect the community. Remember the 5pm Council meeting to rush through Manston Airport expansion?


There are some points Simon Moores has raised that I have not responded to because I am still checking facts, I will address them. This though shows my attendance record, and I will always be happy to account for it.

Is Simon Moores prepared to be accountable for his record? My job often means I am in Whitehall, and I sometimes meet with civil servants, ministers and MPs. For the record I have worked in Number 10 Downing Street. Twice. Low level meetings that I think have no relevance to how I conduct myself as a Councillor in Thanet. I only mention this because Cllr. Simon Moores thinks it is important that Westgate constituents know that

"He was also a member of Tony Blair's Cabinet office unit that developed 'UK Online'."

I have asked several people I know in Westminster and none of them have ever heard of Simon Moores working for Tony Blair. As more and more diaries are published of the Blair years from key players, you can search in vain for any mention of Simon Moores working with Tony Blair or his key advisors. I know many local people want Simon to clarify this so perhaps he would kindly answer these 10 questions.

1.On what dates did he start and finish working for Tony Blair in the Cabinet Office?

2.Was he a Civil Servant or did he work for an outside contractor, if the latter please provide the name of the firm and the details of their contract.

3.If a Civil Servant what grade was Simon Moores and what were his prior and subsequent positions?

4.Where was the location of his work?

5.What was the exact name of the "Cabinet Office unit"?

6.What did his work involve?

7.Which of Tony Blair's staff did he work with and when? Please provide full details.

8.Who was the Cabinet Officer Minister at the time?

9.Why did Tony Blair take personal control of this matter rather than allowing the Cabinet Officer minister to have control as is normal practice?

10.Which Cabinet Committee was responsible for monitoring this work?

All my contacts express amazement at the idea that Tony Blair was spending time micro-managing this project with Simon Moores. He was renowned for his ability to delegate.

I have found whenever asked precise questions, Simon avoids them. I trust I will be proved wrong on this occasion. Is that a blustery wind I can hear in the direction of Westgate?
UPDATE 13.8.07
Very blustery winds in Westgate emanating from Simon Moores who as predicted is unable to answer the questions in a direct fashion. Have a read of his ramble here. I wouldn't waste much time clicking on his links as most of the "proof" is Simon Moores or a link to somebody's Wikipedia profile. Here are his answers.
1. Unable to answer, no dates given, many rambling references but he cannot remember the date he started and finished. I would have thought he would have a CV and know this. Even MI6 staff are allowed to give this information these days!
2. No answer again. It seems he was not a civil servant, but sadly Simon refuses to answer this simple question.
3. Not a civil servant it seems, again doesn't answer.
4. Not answered. Follows on from 1. Says he visited the Cabinet Office but if he worked there, dates and position please. Anybody can look up its address on the internet.
5. Unclear possibly Ofice of the E-Envoy ( he incorrectly calls it eEnvoy). Simon hates answering questions directly!
6. Most people would say my job title was xxxxx and I did this. Simon rambles, unclear.
7. Provides several names but never gives dates. Perhaps he doesn't want his assertions checked?
8. Doesn't know or won't say. Cites Patrica Hewitt, that's wrong she was in the Department of Trade and Industry around the dates Simon mentions. She was never a Cabinet Office minister.
9. Doesn't answer. I think because Simon is exaggerating his role and name dropping to imply he was at a more senior level than he was if he had a role at all in the Cabinet Office. Answer seems to be that he never had anything to do with Tony Blair personally.
10. No answer.
So not one single question answered. It would be best if Simon could answer each of the questions 1 to 10 in a couple of sentences in a clearly laid out fashion.
I think we can all draw our conclusions as to why he chooses not to do this.
UPDATE 14.8.09
Simon Moores has written in comments on his blog that he will not answer any of these questions. Provides a typically boastful quote...


"Unlike you, at the level at which I work, I don't have "bosses"."

If he had worked in the Cabinet Office he would have been responsible to the Cabinet Officer minister ("his boss"). I am grateful to Simon for confirming in writing that he never worked in the Cabinet Office. I hope he will amend his inaccurate entry on Thanet District Council's website to reflect this.

13 comments:

  1. I like Matt, but he's probably the only person that's more obsessed with Simon Moores than you are Mark...

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  2. having read this and moores responce its a job to work out which one of you thinks he the most important

    ps
    i would post this comment on moores blog but he would not print it he appears too grand to take criticism

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  3. I have asked this question on Moores blog.

    Why is it that he had a degree in English, and then ended up with a Doctorate in IT having got a degree from a university in America that has never heard of him!

    This is not slander or libel, but fact. He had a City and guild qualification in programming from a London college ( Fact) and then got his Doctorate from a University in America that sold it's products!

    Again facts!

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  4. I note on Councillor Moores' blog he's having a go at you but fails to address your main topic -your attendance at meetings and your explanation of why you can't make every meeting. Apart from our absent friend in Panama, has anyone checked the attendance records for the Tory councillors?

    It would be interesting to see if he has a reply to anonymous 0.31.

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  5. Surprise, surprise, my critical comment on Cllr. Moores' blog hasn't been posted. Wonder why? It was similar to the one above here posted at 8.07.

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  6. I think Simon makes the right noises on the state of the economy and the reality to be faced.

    I admit to some interest about details of his service with Royal Marines Reserve.

    What rank did he hold ?

    Did he know James SHORTT (exposed as bogus former SAS earlier this year in the Cabinet bunker security fiasco matter).

    SHORTT's 13 page CV makes claims about being a qualified paramedic and aeromedic (casualty care flights) and 10th Dan Black belt and Special Forces and running the Royal Marines "Combat Training Team" based at Deal Barracks 1975 to 82. Out of the "Royal Marines Combat Training Team" grew SHORTT's "International Bodyguards Assn" and the "International Law Enforcement Training Agency"

    I understand that men from the Royal Marines Reserve and from Kent based Territorial Army became involved as instructors for ILETA or IBA or CTT and also as employee(s) of a company "Special Training Services".

    I think ILETA may now have taken down its websites. IBA may be on the cusp of changing its name.

    I think an ex SAS advisor on television shows (Ultimate Force ?) with claims to be a Muay Thai master .. he appears to just have been outed as a Walt. Never served in SAS.

    Perhaps it is the season for outing such persons ?

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  7. I posted on Councillor Moores' blog asking why he hadn't answered your questions if he's got nothing to conceal but, surprise, surprise, he's failed to post it.

    If you've nothing you prefer kept quiet, and this applies to all councillors from any party, why not come clean and answer critics?

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  8. It's interesting that Cllr. Moores directs you to stuff he's written himself to justify his claims. Surely a link to some independent sources would give more credibility? After all, this is a highly selective list and he fails to answer the comment about his qualifications posed by an earlier poster.

    I can show you my qualifications to prove my background and give chapter and verse,independently checkable, for every job I've ever held.

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  9. I think, Mark, that you are touching a semi-exposed nerve here with Moores.

    Moores is a tremendous self-publicist. He is a master of spin. And, just as you say, when he is cornered, or things are not going in the way he would like, he resorts to personal abuse.If he does not direct it himself, others come on his blog and do it for him. Unless of course he posts anonymous comments on his own site, and the "others" are him. In actual fact, he has done that less of late than 18 months plus ago, when his attacks and comments were at best distasteful and at worst vile. His only escape from allegations of libel was that his targets were usually anonymous bloggers.

    Many choose anonymity because of the real risk or retaliation from the Tory Right, locally. Some will instantly say this is fanciful, but there is historical precedent.

    Those who accuse you of an obsession with Moores miss the risk he poses and the point. He manipulates his own arguments, he manipulates facts, and he seeks to manipulate others. This coupled with his obscene arrogance makes him a character who has to be challenged. I have been there, done it, and got the t-shirt!

    Some 18 months ago, it emerged that the University - Pacific Western - which issued his PhD was one of the cash-for-degrees academic centres. The "University's" credibility was shown to have been demolished, and this had prompted several scandals around the world with officials brought down by the discovery their qalifications were bogus.

    There was absolutely NO suggestion that Moores's qualifications had been obtained in this way, but within days he claimed that his family had been exposed to personal face-to-face abuse because of blog comments - never evidenced and widely held as rubbish - and he closed his blog. His political cronies, including (Ewen) Cameron, started threatening bloggers over their use of allegedly copywritten photos, and Moores started threatening legal action for libel.

    But what libel? And of course nothing happened. He remained silent for many months before quietly relaunching his Tory propaganda blog.

    The suspicions continue about his claims of more achievements than most of us would ever aspire to. He often referred to his time in the Royal Marines. When a couple of people probed, he admitted he had only been in the Royal Marine Reserves. A laudable spare-time activity, but not what he gave readers to believe.

    I would love to have the time and resource to check out all his claims. I have tried, with the humble Internet and some phone calls. I, too, have SERIOUS doubts, but sadly, the evidence I have unearthed is inconclusive - hence my wish for time and resource.

    Like all arrogant, pompous show-men, he becomes a challenge for others. And he has gone further to make himself a hate-figure.

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  10. The best claims against him are those made by the idiot himself. He makes claims on Thanet Life that are laughable.

    He claims to have been a house master at a local college; and yet when asked which house; he can't remember? He forgets that while he makes these claims, there are people living locally who were really at these colleges and can verify, or indeed shoot holes in, his claims.

    This is a dangerous Walter Mitty who is at best deluded, and at worst, a political fantasist who for reasons best known to themselves, has been able to pull the wool over the eyes of the local Tories. Not that they have much to be proud of themselves!

    But be careful; remember what happened to ECR and OVIT when Moores got annoyed 18 months ago!

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  11. My question is whether he was in the Royal Marines Reserve at a time (1982) at least one RMR sergeant was on James Shortt (see above) "Combat Training Team" which went to Belgium to instruct Belgian Police and Para-Commandos.

    The Belgian diplomatic authority recently directed me to MOD to ask if James Shortt (and the instructional team of serving police officers, Royal Marines and Royal Marines reservists) had Crown Authority.

    Without such authority it would have been, IMO, further breach of the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819 which made instructing military skills without authority punishable by seven years imprisonment.

    Of course now, with new evidence I recently submitted to HM Coroner Thanet re paramilitary firing activity at a range on the late Pc ELEY's rural beat (A range of which murdered ex MI5 officer retd Ramsgate town clerk Ken Speakman was a member and 1995 custody death Phillip SEED was suspected to have been a guest firer)more Thanet questions emerge.

    These questions reach into Thanet tories as indicated above.

    It appears to me that Cllr Hayton covered for police and in Court, on oath, allegedly perjured for North Thanet tory vice chair George Maison. Then the TDC Standards covered for Planning (failure to enforce legislation against the range) and covered for Bill Hayton.

    The impression I formed is that in 1998 Sericol held an internal inquiry which concluded that a site safety engineer had obtained employ by decption for ten years by using forged engineering qualifications. That shortly after the conclusion of this inquiry Sericol gave site safety engineer tory George Maison ten grand severance.

    That questions went back to a certain tory Cyril Hoser who had used Sericol experts in support of a document and dollar forgery scam (consistent with the reported MO of Sean Garland of OIRA incidentally). Questions should have been cross referred to the Deal Barracks bombing inquiry of 89 IE Obtaining employ by deception (false qualies) but Sericol MD wanted to "Stand back from the matter" and, presumably, ten grand severance was a small price to pay.

    As site safety engineer (even of dubious qualifications and merit) the man would have known about the Sericol contamination of the aquifer.

    So did he tell HAYTON ? Didn't MAISON sit on Planning the cttee with responsibility for aquifer ?

    Why was it Thanet had to wait till my FOI request last year to learn the truth about Thor and Sericol contamination ?

    Simon posted on the subject of Thor's fire a couple of years ago. There was an opportunity for him to have explored and revealed the truth re Sericol and Thor.

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  12. I worked in a local school some time ago when a new member of staff claiming all sorts of qualifications was appointed. It turned out that his higher education qualifications, cv and references were all fabricated and he was invited to leave to avoid a scandal involving him and the school.

    I also worked with someone elsewhere who claimed a better degree than he actually had and, coincidentally, would have been in my own final year class had he been as claimed.

    People should never forget that the hand of coincidence, as in the last case, can ensure you can be found out at some point.

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  13. Having read all these posts with interest, I wonder if anyone has noticed that Simons' wife was a'Downing Street Press Officer' Surely thats verification that his position with the PM is Kosher? ...or not...?)

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