I had got wind that His Master's Voice were sniffing around Basher McKenzie's disgraceful, bullying, thuggish and misogynist behaviour at a Reading Borough Council meeting, and they have found that some of those on the receiving end of it would talk. You can read the story here. Some of it though is worth expanding on, so here is an extract:
Richard Mckenzie, a former Labour borough councillor, is accused of calling a Reading East Conservative Party member and wife of a Wokingham borough councillor “Wokingham scum”.
The comment is said to have been made in the public gallery of the meeting on Tuesday last week at which the controversial changes to Maiden Erlegh School catchment area by Wokingham Borough Council were discussed.
Mr Mckenzie – who was a Park ward Labour candidate in the last council election and a Labour candidate in the Henley parliamen-tary election – admitted saying “something” to Alison Swaddle, wife of Wokingham borough councillor Paul Swaddle, “in the heat of the moment” for which he apologised to her at the time.
However he told the Reading Post he “could not recall” exactly what he said. Oh yeah? Not much of a defence that. You want to be in politics you better find a better rebuttal strategy - and you better sort a few other things out too.
And he added he thought it was “a little bit deceitful” to send a member of Wokingham Conservatives to “spy on the proceedings”. It was a public meeting! Stupid arse!
After the meeting Mrs Swaddle confirmed Mr McKenzie had used the phrase “Wokingham scum” to her. She said: “I couldn’t understand why he said it because I have known him for 10 years and our children went to the same playgroup.
“I said to him at the time, ‘Richard, why would you call me that?’”
She added she was “rather shocked” by the remark and said she was there to support the parents of Park ward as a member of Reading East Conservatives.
Liberal Democrat councillor Rebecca Rye also had an exchange with Mr Mckenzie – who has been spearheading the parents’ campaign against the catchment changes which would exclude children from Reading borough from Maiden Erlegh School.
Cllr Rye was unwilling to have the remark repeated in print, describing it as “an unsettling and inappropriate personal remark” made just outside the council chamber. Here it is: I would also like to say that when I went outside Mr McKenzie was abusive and came across as very threatening although he kept accusing me of being threatening myself as I gesticulated as I talked with him. Lastly I was also very perturbed by his comment to me "May I call you Rebecca, Oh I'm not looking at your chest"!
She said she was glad Mr Mckenzie stood in Park ward and not in Katesgrove where she is a councillor adding: “If he were to stand in
Katesgrove I might consider making a complaint to the Labour Party about him. See how far you get Rebecca. This has been done before, when Basher physically abused a female member of the public at a public meeting, and the Reading boys, who heard the complaint, said it was just fine. That is what they are.”
When the wording of the alleged remark which had a mildly sexual content was put to Mr Mckenzie he said: “I catergorically sic deny having said it.” Liar. But we knew that.
He said Cllr Rye had “gesticulated aggressively” at him and he had been forced to remind her he was a member of the public and threatened to report her to the council’s standards board.
He added he had actually reported two Liberal Democrat councillors to the standards board – one for comments about him on a Facebook page and the other for tweeting during the meeting.
Tory councillor Richard Willis alluded to Mr Mckenzie’s alleged comments in his blog saying he “abused a woman in the public gallery who is the wife of a Wokingham councillor” and adding “I am also told he was abusive and threatening to a female councillor and then sexually suggestive.”
Mr Mckenzie added he was taking legal advice about the content of Councillor Willis’s blog. What about this one, hey Basher? The Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak? Not mentioned in His Master's Voice either? Will I be hearing from m'learned friends? Still waiting.
On his own blog, Mr Mckenzie also writes about a complaint made by another member of the public during the meeting – shouted down from the public gallery – about Liberal Democrat Cllr Warren Swaine for tweeting during the meeting.
On the blog Mr Mckenzie said of Cllr Swaine, it was “just a bit pathetic really”.
Head of central administration John Painter known as "Wild Man" when he was at university was asked to rule on whether or not Cllr Swaine should be allowed to tweet during the meeting.
He said no at first but after the meeting admitted he was probably wrong as the council had new policies on greater use of electronic social media.
So - this is the man who wants to be elected in Park ward. I have posted previously what witnesses to this and previous instances have reported. Remember that when you vote. And remember that Reading Labour has never distanced itself from this behaviour. Ask them to. See what they say. And see what they do.