On Sunday, Zelo Street related an instance of less than totally professional behaviour by Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, and long-time friend of the town’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk. Farnell had parked his Jaguar - no slumming it in something bleedin’ common for him - in what appeared to be an illegal manner. Moreover, his action had been caught on camera.
So did he break the law? And if he did, will he get fined, just like any other member of the public? It turns out that the answer, in true Vicky Pollard style, is yes and no. Like all those politicians and slebs who get caught by snappers using disabled bays, the people who do the enforcement have to catch them in the act. Sending in a photo, as the Sun tried to do with its “Lord Coke” sting, is not sufficient to obtain a prosecution.
This is what Rochdale Council’s media operation has said: “A spokesperson for Rochdale Borough Council said: ‘It is not permitted to park in a “no loading” area, indicated by double yellow lines on the road and two yellow lines on the curb. However, it is not possible to issue parking fines retrospectively or from photographic evidence, as they must be issued at the time by a civil enforcement officer from an approved device’”.
And that may be to his detriment. There has already been disquiet over the apparent support shown by the local Labour leadership to Danczuk without any consultation with the wider membership (Zelo Street covered the saga of the letter and its delayed circulation to the local party HERE). Further revelations about Richard Farnell and his immediate circle are believed to be imminent - watch this space.
As for Simon Danczuk, rumours are already beginning to circulate regarding a most unfortunate sequence of events that took place last weekend, and in front of a significant number of potential witnesses. It seems his relationship with large quantities of the falling over water has reached a new level. What it also shows is that the last thing he and his friends need is a clown like Farnell shooting his mouth off.
That just makes people more aware of their presence. They never learn, do they?