It’s as though I’d never been away…

Sometimes, returning from a long absence is like awakening from a hibernation: everything is new and fresh. A new beginning. But then there’s times like now when it seems that nothing’s changed.

So what’s not new? Fanciful predictions that the old College building will soon be demolished continue to be peddled by our less-able councillors. Now — as last summer — Mr John Richard ‘Rikki’ Hunt, is begging for money for his tin-pot wifi company that’s taken almost £½M of our money and delivered virtually nothing in return, failing on its commitments whilst it does so.

And the unifying feature of it all? Mr Perkins spouting unadulterated rubbish. For example, Mr Perkins on the old College site:

We’ve been in discussions with the developer for the last few weeks. If that goes through, we’ll start removing the college from Swindon. Hopefully it’ll be going ahead by April.

Would that be April 2012? As the rather more rational Mr Bawden notes, we’ve heard this all before… many times.

We were talking about it when I stepped down. Now five years later, we’re still talking about it! It’s no good saying: it’s all the economy. Until two or three years ago, the economy was going like a rocket…. I get more and more frustrated walking around the town centre, I feel we just don’t really know what to do with it.

Quite. But hey, we’ll soon have yet another person at the council’s expense — over £45,000 of expense — puffing out a smoke screen about grand plans for nothing much in the town centre, when Forward Swindon appoints a new Head of Communications and Marketing.

Mr Perkins on wifi is no more logical, despite his alleged business acumen.

No business in its first year is completely trouble free and most of Highworth is still operating and the technical problems are mostly sorted out.

Given that Digital City (UK) Ltd originally claimed that their wifi in Highworth would be fully functional by 15 January… last year, even someone as politically warped as Mr Perkins should be able to see that’s as shining an example of failure as one could ever hope to see. They may brand themselves as ‘Get Signal’, but in Swindon getting Digital City (UK) Ltd’s signal is one thing you’re guaranteed not to do.

However, things don’t always go as you plan in business, particularly when you are dealing with something that is innovative.

As many have noted — but Mr Perkins and his colleagues choose to ignore — there’s nothing innovative about wifi. Seemingly the only thing innovative about this project has been the company’s ability to pull the wool over the eyes of the likes of Mr Perkins and walk away with £½M of our money whilst delivering almost nothing in return.

Mr Perkins also flatters himself when inviting people to talk with him.

I wish people would come and talk to us if they have a problem, but it has to be in a positive way. Going through reports to find things that are not 100 per cent right is not helpful — business doesn’t operate like that.

As anyone who has seen Mr Perkins in the council chamber will know, taking a positive approach with him is not something he rewards. Mr Perkins in the council chamber has just one mode of operation, a loud-mouthed, bad tempered yob, shouting down anyone he disagrees with, spitting with fury and hatred.

Swindon Borough Council has repeatedly waived the conditions it applied to its loan to Digital City (UK) Ltd. If Mr Perkins isn’t happy with the council being legitimately held to account over how it’s spent our money, then he really shouldn’t be a councillor.