Gun control

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A tiny Welsh local authority decided merely to “censure” a nationalist council member after he posted a picture of himself brandishing a gun on a beach declaring that he was keeping out English people which made headlines across the UK, with the action coming more than a YEAR AND A HALF after The Eye first revealed the controversial incident.

Following the story a complaint followed, which prompted an inquiry by the police.

In a “NOTICE OF DETERMINATION OF THE STANDARDS COMMITTEE” by “CAERPHILLY COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL” from February 23 this year, it was publicised that it had been decided to “censure” Councillor Jon Scriven over the controversial post, although it had been published in early AUGUST 2022.

Lindsay Whittle ‘loved’ the post of a fellow Plaid Cymru politician holding a gun to keep out the English

Cllr Scriven formally apologised, but was still suspended by his party Plaid Cymru (PC), after he showed the picture on Facebook (FB), which portrayed him holding a rifle, proclaiming: “Ogmore-by-Sea tonight for a quick swim and make sure there wasn’t any English people trying to cross the channel”.

A senior figure in PC publicly approved of the photograph and FB message.

The group leader and former member of what is now the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC), PC’s Lindsay Whittle, showed his ‘love’ of the contentious social media post with a ‘heart’ emoji (one up from a ‘thumbs-up’ ‘like’).

In a “NOTICE OF DETERMINATION OF THE STANDARDS COMMITTEE” by “CAERPHILLY COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL” officials took action, more than a year and a half after a controversy broke

The judgement of the council (area population 176,000) in February, was: “That Councillor Scriven be censured for his breach of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the codes of conduct for members of Caerphilly County Borough Council and Penyrheol, Trecenydd & Energlyn Community Council.”.

The 2022 post by Cllr Scriven of him with a gun, which was first uncovered by The Eye, caused an enormous storm, in the media, legally, and in the political world.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats (WLD) said: “There is a clear implication of violence and xenophobia”, and the leader of the Welsh Conservatives (WC) in the WP/SC (Andrew RT Davies) stated that he was “Speechless”.

As well as noting implied violence, the WLD also announced on FB: “Whether or not it was intended as a joke or not, it is entirely inappropriate for an elected official to make such comments, when they should know better

Hefin David was a worried man

“Plaid Cymru must now do the right thing and suspend the councillor in question”.

Labour member of the WP/SC for Caerphilly, Hefin David, described the post as “…incredibly concerningWe should be seeking to unite people and address real concerns like the cost of living, not post disturbing images that are calculated to divide us”.

Police officers looked into an alleged ‘malicious communication’

PC said only that the post was ‘inappropriate’, and Cllr Scriven was indeed suspended pending an ‘investigation’. South Wales Police (SWP), meanwhile,  confirmed that an allegation of “malicious communications” had been lodged. Officers said they were “aware of a post on social media featuring a man brandishing what looks like a rifle at Ogmore-by-Sea”.

I’m so sorry…

Cllr Scriven said sorry for what he had done, and stated online: “I would like to apologise for my now deleted Facebook post”, yet despite this apology, the story about his postwas already being followed up in the mainstream media.

In the hours which came afterwards, the website WalesOnline (WO), published: “A social media post surfaced online which showed Jon Scriven posing with a gun”. Other ‘stories’, though, were deemed more important and given greater prominence on the site, such as one headlined: “Three-year-old egged in face by yobs leaving her bruised and sobbing”.

The BBC said: “Police are investigating a social media post which appeared to show a Plaid Cymru councillor posing with a gun to make sure there weren’t “any English people trying to cross the channel”.

The Guardian reported that: “Police are investigating a social media post from a Plaid Cymru councillor apparently posing with a rifle near a Welsh beach and commenting that he was checking “there wasn’t any English people trying to cross.

The Daily Telegraph wrote: “A Welsh nationalist councillor is being investigated by police after posing with what looked like a gun and saying he was stopping “any English people trying to cross” the Bristol Channel”.

LBC (Leading Britain’s Conversation), The Independent, Sky, Mail and the Express carried the story, with the latter’s opening paragraph being: “Officers at South Wales Police are investigating a report of malicious communications after a post appeared on Plaid Cymru councillor Jon Scriven’s Facebook page”. Even The Bolton News covered details of the extraordinary saga.

Mr Davies leader of the Welsh Conservative group in the WP/SC, was incensed, and re-posted the photograph, proclaiming that he had become: Speechless. This is a @Plaid_Cymru councillor. @Adamprice (then leader of PC) cannot let another scandal rage on without decisive action. This sort of xenophobic attitude is beneath us.”.

Perhaps it is also ‘beneath us’ that a small Welsh local authority following a story broken by us, have decided only to ‘censure’ a councillor who published a picture of himself with a gun, which prompted a police examination as well as a huge number of headlines, more than a year and a half after it was first uncovered…

 

 

The memories of our Editor Welshman Phil Parry’s astonishing 40-year award-winning career in journalism (including important stories which are embarrassing for politicians), as he was gripped by the rare neurological condition , Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

Tomorrow – more political controversies, as we show how a prominent politician has attacked two of Labour’s Deputy Leaders for causing them problems, including the one in Wales.