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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

So Farewell Then Tom Barry

Flicking through a Twitter timeline of a morning is for the most part a thing of routine: most of what you read is already known, and is no more than opinions, or variations on opinions. But very, very rarely comes something to knock you sideways, to shock, to numb, to instil disbelief. That came today with the terrible news that Tom Barry, the presence behind Boris Watch, had died suddenly last week.
Tom was on Boris Johnson’s case from the word go. He was right to do so. And he didn’t just call out the appalling charlatan who managed to get himself installed as London Mayor, he ran the data, made the Freedom of Information requests, did the legwork, and remorselessly debunked every one of Bozza’s alleged achievements. He also got - literally - into Bozza’s face on occasion, just to let him know he was there.

The losses and overlarge subsidies of the cycle hire scheme, the ridiculous vanity cable car, and the fiasco of all those hundreds of buses that are definitely NOT Routemasters, all passed before Tom’s inspection and were duly found wanting. He demonstrated conclusively that all three were poor value for money, while the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance did diddly squat and kept schtum - because Bozza was a Tory.

There was more: the tendency of Bozza’s buses to be too heavy to carry their design load was exposed by Tom, who duly christened the vehicle the Lardbus. He was on the case when the inadequacy of the buses’ air cooling system came to light - warm summer days make the Boris Bus a no-go area - and kept up the attack on TfL when they dissembled in the face of the evidence. TfL have since admitted there is a problem.

Then, having two young sons, Tom turned his attention to the activities of Michael “Oiky” Gove at the Department for Education, the highly questionable claims made for the Free Schools programme, and especially Gove’s deeply unsavoury SpAd Dominic Cummings, believed to be the presence behind the frequently abusive @toryeducation Twitter feed. Cummings ultimately departed the DfE - thank Goodness.

But perhaps the most joyous calling-out Tom Barry did - and it was a service to us all - was to put the heat under the loathsome Toby Young and his West London Free School. Young, a deeply immodest man with much to be modest about, was nicknamed Captain Bellend, with his school acquiring the moniker of The Twatmadrassa. If there was one school Tom was not sending his kids, it was Tobes’.

What many of his fellow bloggers liked about Tom was that he was a sound bloke to know, whether you chatted to him over a beer, or whether you chatted to him over more than one beer. That’s one reason that so many on social media are remembering him generously today. Another is that he was just 41 years old, and leaves behind a young family.

I am proud and honoured to have been able to call him my friend. And I will miss him terribly, as will so many others. Farewell, Tom Barry.


Anonymous said...

This is dreadful news. (Inadequate) condolences to Tom's family and friends.

Remarkably coincidental how this kind of thing keeps happening to anybody who opposes or has information on the worst of far right people and actions.

You know....people like Robin Cook, John Smith, Eric Heffer, Paul Foot and David Kelly.

I bet Bozo de Piffle's relieved though. Nobody did him better than Tom.

AndyC said...

Very sad. I enjoyed, if that is the word, his tweeting. He will be sadly missed by those for whom, when it comes to Boris, the wool remains not over their eyes.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Fuck. Shit news.