Tag Archives: alex folkes

Some better news for Alex Folkes

In November, Cornwall County Councillor Alex Folkes had to suffer the ignominy of the Council’s Chief Executive writing to local youth organisations and schools saying that he was a “serious and enduring” risk to children. As Alex explained at the time this had its origins in his 2006 arrest after a cloned bank card of his had been used by criminals to access indecent images of children online.

In 2006 (and before I became a councillor) I was one of many people who was arrested when credit or debit card details were found which linked the cardholders to a site containing indecent images of children. I have never viewed any such images nor had I ever visited the site or any others like it. I was able to show the police that my card had been cloned at some time in the past and used illegally for various things including a hotel in Brazil. I reported that at the time and my bank refunded the money. Of course I cannot be sure, but that is how I believe my card details came to be linked to the site as it fits the time my card was used fraudulently. When details are stolen on the internet they tend to come in a package and hackers can also have access to your address, email, password, phone, IP address, etc, which can easily be cloned and used by another person to cover their own identity and make it look like the victim of their fraud is the guilty party. The police searched my computer and other electronic devices I owned. Because I had done nothing wrong, and therefore there was no evidence against me, the police did not bring any charges and they told me the matter was closed.

Now he has had proof from the Metropolitan Police that they found nothing on his computers at the time. He wrote to the councillors in his group at the beginning of this week to say that he was going to seek re-entry to the Liberal Democrats and to the group in light of this. The Cornish Guardian has the story:

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Support fund set up for Alex Folkes

You might remember Stephen Tall’s article about the way Liberal Democrat Cornwall County Councillor Alex Folkes had been treated by his council’s Chief Executive, who had branded him as a “potential risk” to children and written to youth groups to say so. This unelected official even called on Alex to resign as a councillor and publicly said so. All this action was taken despite there being no actual evidence of wrongdoing.

As Stephen said at the time:

Alex is determined to establish his innocence and clear his name (the latter especially hard in cases like this). He has not only resigned from the cabinet but also voluntarily suspended his party membership and referred himself for investigation under the Lib Dems’ own disciplinary procedures.

Cornwall Council and its chief executive Andrew Kerr have a number of questions to answer.

If Cornwall Council has evidence of any wrongdoing by Alex that should be shared with the police so they can act on it. Has this been done? It appears not, or at least if it has the police don’t regard the evidence as meriting re-opening an investigation, according to a police statement reported in the local paper: ‘”We are not investigating him,” the force spokeswoman said. “It is an internal investigation by the council.”

On what basis, then, is Cornwall Council warning local people of a risk posed by Alex, and on what basis is it demanding his resignation? Why has Alex been given no opportunity either to hear the allegations against him, or been subject to any form of due process investigation so he can defend himself?

Cornwall Council’s press statement suggests they have based their decision publicly to name and shame Alex based on information received from the police — yet if the police have decided not to charge Alex with any crime why has the Council used its powers to pronounce him guilty as not charged?

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Independent inquiry to probe handling of allegations against Councillor Alex Folkes

On Sunday, LDV’s Stephen Tall raised serious questions about the handling, by Cornwall Council, of allegations against Councillor Alex Folkes. Now BBC Cornwall reports a new development:

An independent inquiry will examine a council’s handling of allegations that one of its members was a “risk” to children, the BBC understands.

Cornwall Council warned schools and clubs in Alex Folkes’ Launceston ward not to allow him near children.

Mr Folkes has denied any wrongdoing and said he was cleared by police in 2006 after his credit card was cloned.

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Alex Folkes: Cornwall Council and its chief executive have serious questions to answer

Many Lib Dems will know Alex Folkes. He’s a Lib Dem councillor on Cornwall Council, and was a member of its cabinet until earlier this month, when he stood down to “deal with a personal issue”. I noticed it at the time, hoped it was nothing too bad, thought no more of it.

Then on Thursday night I read Alex’s 1,500-word blog-post, ‘The truth about why I resigned and the claims being made against me’.

It is an extraordinary account which, if shown to be true, must surely lead to the resignation of Cornwall Council’s chief executive, Andrew Kerr. It was Mr Kerr who has asked Alex to resign from the council over claims he poses a “potential risk” to children. Last week, without giving Alex any advance notice, the council wrote to all schools and youth clubs in his ward about him and issued a press release to say they had done so. Why? Here’s how Alex tells it:

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Blog of the Year Awards 2012: The Winners #LDBOTY

What’s loosely termed the awards “ceremony” for the 2012 Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards has just drawn to a glittering close. As the last firework fades in Brighton’s night sky, I’m delighted to announce the winners:

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LibLink: Cllr Alex Folkes takes on the tobacco industry

Alex FolkesOn the Local Government Association blog, Cllr Alex Folkes writes:

At a time when all councils are trying to save money, why should an authority be funding both sides of an expensive battle? That’s the case in Cornwall, and many other councils, in terms of the tobacco industry.

On the one hand, in our public health role, we have a duty to work to cut smoking rates. On the other we have pension funds, which are invested for the benefit of our former and current staff and for which members are trustees

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Cornwall Council tightens up second home electoral registration

Cornwall Council members such as Alex Folkes have been pushing for some time for the council to tighten up its implementation of electoral registration rules in the face of the county’s large number of second homes.

Where people genuinely split their time between living elsewhere and living in a second home in Cornwall, they can register at both addresses (though vote in a Parliamentary election at only one of them). However, there are widespread concerns that many people who register to vote at a Cornish second home are not qualified to do so as they only use it as an …

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Meet the Lib Dem bloggers: Alex Folkes

Welcome to the latest in our series giving the human face behind some of the blogs you can find on the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator.

Today it is Alex Folkes, who blogs at lansonboy.blogspot.com.

1. What’s your formative political memory?
My first memory was a mock election at my primary school during the 1979 general election when I was one of about four people to vote Liberal. My most abiding memory is of David Penhaligon driving me home after a party fundraising event in about 1983. I only lived about 100 yards from the venue but he insisted on driving a group of youngsters to their various homes and dropped me off last. During the half hour or so that it took we had a great chat about all things political and he became my political hero.

2. When did you start blogging?
I had a couple of abortive attempts but started properly in February 2008.

3. Why did you start blogging?
I wanted to write about a combination of local and national politics as well as my own interests of football, rugby and horse racing. I also thought it would be a good way of getting across to a range of people who don’t read leaflets pushed through their doors and I had it in mind to stand for election to Cornwall Council (the election took place in June 2009). Since then the local politics has taken over and it’s regrettably rare I write about much else.

4. What five words would you use to describe your blog?
Robust, local, argumentative, frequent, did I mention local?

5. What five words would you use to describe your political views?
See above.

6. Which post have you most liked writing in the last year (and why)?
Probably the one about our council leader drinking in Downing Street on a Monday evening and then saying he had flu the next day when we had a full council. All brought about because I spotted him in the background of a photo on ConHome.

7. Which post have you most liked reading in the last year (and why)?
I’m terrible about not reading very many other blogs, particularly those by fellow Lib Dems. But I like reading a good rant – particularly if it’s one attacking Ryanair.

8. What’s your favourite YouTube clip?
One of my two favourites is this one of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. It’s Jimmy Carr, isn’t it?

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Blog of the Year Awards: The movie

The BOTYs were quite simply the glitteringest event of the whole Liberal Democrat conference last week, and Lib Dem councillor and blogger Jonathan Wallace was there to film them.

If you look carefully, you might just spot the tail feathers of the last flamingo, as it was startled away by popping flashbulbs. Alas, the heat of said flashbulbs also melted the ice sculptures before Jonathan could film those too, but the video’s well worth watching for the great speeches from winners and presenters alike:

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Blog of the Year Awards 2010: The Winners

What’s loosely termed the awards “ceremony” for the 2010 Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards has just drawn to a glittering close. As the last firework fades in Liverpool’s night sky, I’m delighted to announce the winners:

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Is one of these more dangerous than the other?

To the untrained eye, it may appear that one of these creatures is rather more dangerous than the other and therefore that it may make sense to have rules about keeping one of them which shouldn’t apply to the other:

Tiger and tortoise

However, to the keenly trained eye of a Cornwall County Council officer, it’s a different matter. For, as Alex Folkes reports,

Cornwall Council is forcing a woman who runs a rescue centre for pet tortoises to apply for a zoo licence if she wants to

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Daily View 2×2: 18 May 2010

Good morning and welcome to today’s Daily View on International Museum Day.

On this day in 1991, Britain’s first astronaut, 27-year-old Helen Sharman,  blasted into orbit on the Soviet Soyuz TM-12 space capsule. I wonder if I should mention that Ms Sharman is from Sheffield?

Sixty years ago, twelve nations agreed the aims and objectives for the permanent organisation of NATO. The founder members at the launch at Lancaster House in London were: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States.  Later that year, Dwight D Eisenhower was appointed Nato’s first supreme commander.


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Daily View 2×2: 8 April 2010

Welcome to this morning’s Daily View. We’ll be changing the format of this a little over the next four weeks, in order to better reflect the way the general and local elections campaigns are progressing, so here are my thoughts  four weeks out from polling day.

2 big political stories

Digital Economy Bill forced through by Labservatives
We’ve all heard the news, but those interested to see exactly how the #debill progressed through the Commons last night, the Guardian live blog makes interesting, if ultimately depressing reading .

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Daily View 2×6: 25 March 2010

A pleasant surprise this morning to wake up and find that, despite the fact I am doing the Daily View, it is indeed Thursday and not Tuesday! In celebration of yesterday’s Budget, there’s riproaring inflation of the number of posts featured in today’s Daily View. Don’t tell Vince! Is it sustainable? I doubt it, so enjoy while you can..

Thirty years ago, the British Olympic Association (BOA) voted by a large majority to defy the government and send athletes to the Olympic Games in Moscow.  The Conservative government has pressed the BOA to boycott the event in a protest at the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan the previous year. Sir Denis Follows, the chairman of the BOA, said that whilst he was sympathetic to the government’s stance, “We believe sport should be a bridge, and not a destroyer”. 

On this day in 1655 Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan, the largest natural satellite of the planet Saturn.  During their 1969 honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

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Daily View 2×2: 18 March 2010

How to sign "Thank you" in BSLOf all the days in history I’ve had to write about so far, March 18th seems about the dullest. Nothing particularly interesting has ever happened today, so that’s a bit of a challenge for the day just leaving the starters blocks.

About the best the wikipedia page for today can offer up is that John Updike was born today and the Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced to transportation. Terry Schiavo’s feeding tube was disconnected and BSL was first recognised as an official British language.

2 Big Stories

Ashcroft’s lawyers silence ‘Panorama’

The Independent reports:

The BBC has shelved a Panorama documentary about the business affairs of the Tory billionaire Lord Ashcroft, because of a threat of legal action.

The Corporation has received what one insider described as “several very heavy letters” from Lord Ashcroft’s lawyers. There is now little or no prospect of the investigation being broadcast before the general election, if it goes out at all.

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Cornwall Conservatives veto Clegg visit

Local councillors and campaigners are flabbergasted after Conservative-run Cornwall Council decided to prevent Nick Clegg from visiting a key regeneration site in the county.

The Lib Dem leader had been due to visit the Heartlands Project, part of a rundown old mining area which is due to be transformed using a multi-million pound Lottery grant.

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Congrats to Alex Folkes

Last night, newly elected councillor Alex Folkes broke the news on his blog that he’d won the New Councillor award in the LGIU c’llr awards.

Obviously I’m very very chuffed at the news and want to thank the LGIU very much indeed.

LDV often share facilities with Cllr Folkes at conference when he’s working as a photographer – indeed much of his work is available for use, if correctly credited, at the Lib Dem Flickr group.

The criteria for the award were:

  • election for the first time in June 2009
  • visible positive impact on the political group and/or community
  • they will have pioneered

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Daily View 2×2: 28 January 2010

Smoke trails against a black skyGood morning, and welcome to Daily View this morning. 24 years ago, 28 January saw the NASA Challenger disaster.

It’s the date of the death of Henry VIII and the beginning of the Diet of Worms. (If they went to that sort of effort, I hope they lost a lot of weight!)

197 years ago today saw the first publication of Pride and Prejudice and in 1958, Lego bricks were first patented. Today’s bricks still mesh with the original 1958 system.

Birthday bunny hops today go to novelist David Lodge and hobbit-actor Elijah Wood.

2 Big Stories

Boris Johnson to stand down as chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority

Over to the Guardian for today’s first story.

In direct contradiction to his manifesto, Boris Johnson has decided he doesn’t have time to be a writer, a mayor, and a Police Authority chair, and so something had to give.

Tory Troll has a bunch of handy quotes and links on the story.

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Wonderful news for Matthew Taylor and his family

Six months ago, Lib Dem Voice reported the sad news that Arthur Taylor, – the two year-old son of Lib Dem MP Matthew Taylor and his wife, Vicky – had been admitted to hospital after doctors found a tumour on his spine.

So it was wonderful to read on Alex Lanson Folkes’s blog that Arthur has been given the provisional all-clear by doctors. Here’s an excerpt from the Taylors’ statement:

The last eight months have seemed an eternity of worry, and especially the last two weeks. The operation brought a real risk of disabling Arthur, and we could not

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Daily View 2×2: 1 December 2009

Welcome to December (political pinch-punch and no returns?)

Today is World Aids Day and also 90 years since the first female MP, Nancy Astor, took her seat in the Commons.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

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Daily View 2×2: 13 November 2009

The obvious big news this morning is the Glasgow North East Parliamentary by-election – and discussion is already underway here at Iain’s post.

2 Big Stories

My own two stories this morning have a transport/travel/systems-related bent:
East Coast Mainline back under government control

National Express will hand back East Coast Mainline services between London and Edinburgh and the rest of the East Coast franchise just before midnight.

Falling revenue and rising costs left it unable to meet a commitment to pay £1.4bn for the franchise until 2015.

A government company, Directly Operated Railways, will run the franchise for at least 18 months. Ministers say staff and services will be unaffected.

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Daily View 2×2: 12 November 2009

Good morning. Today in 1990, Tim Berners Lee published a formal proposal for the world wide web. Today nearly twenty years later, here we all are. And isn’t it frightening that 1990 is nearly twenty years ago?!

2 Big Stories

Labour’s plan for ‘John Lewis’ public services

The Guardian is reporting that the Labour party are proposing mutualising public bodies – and the Guardian thinks the concept of mutualisation will be so alien to its readers that the only way of explaining it is by analogy to John Lewis.

Hospitals and schools would be transformed into John Lewis-style partnerships under radical plans that could form a central plank of Labour’s general election manifesto.

Public sector bodies, which would also include leisure centres, housing organisations and social care providers, would be allowed to take control of their own affairs if staff and users voted in favour.

Quite an amazing change of fortune from the party that has spent the last dozen years increasing Whitehall control over – well, pretty much everything.

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