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Friday, November 30, 2007


The immediate past Labour Leader of Swansea Council, who is also a former Lord Mayor of the City, has been banned by the Adjudication Panel for Wales from holding public office for two and a half years.

Amongst other offences, the Panel found that he had broken rules by writing to a local newspaper using false names. Council computers being used by the former Councillor were found to contain 253 documents, mostly letters to the Swansea Evening Post. "Although the police examination showed Mr Bailey as being the author, the documents purported to have originated from various residents of Swansea," stated the report.

"In some cases the addresses did not exist or the postcodes did not match them, or the true residents had no knowledge of the letters."

In his own submission to the panel, Mr Bailey claimed that writing letters to the press under pseudonyms "was widespread practice in political life in Wales".

Really? I wonder how the South Wales Evening Post will feel about being taken for a ride in this way.

I posted on this yesterdat too Peter.I am just amazed at how lightly he was dealt with
> "Really? I wonder how the South Wales Evening Post will feel about being taken for a ride in this way."

I shouldn't be surprised if its public reaction now is rather different from what it was thinking internally while it was printing the letters - that was probably 'thank God *someone's* writing to us'.

Real letters are a thing of rarity, to be prized above rubies, and when no-one sends any you still have put something on the letters page.

When I was news editor of a series of local papers in London we were so short of letters that we used to make them up ourselves, and I know damn well we weren't the only paper doing that. One I wrote, and credited to a sunnily optimistic but entirely fictitious little old lady, was even quoted with approval in a Tory council motion because of its juxtaposition with a genuine Lib Dem letter complaining about something or other. Most embarrassing.

The chances are, the paper (or, at least, the poor sod responsible for compiling the letter page) knew something was going on even if they didn't know exactly how extensive it was - and certainly isn't about to admit it now.
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