A few years ago I used to enjoy visiting the excellent BBC blog of Betsan Powys until it was overrun by Unionist bigots. To the point where Ms Powys couldn’t write about the illegal trade in ivory, or EU plum quotas, without these loonies blaming it all on the Welsh language, or devolution. No matter what the subject, their only response was to spout the same robotic messages of hate towards all things Welsh. Among these bigots was one signing as ‘mapexx’. Some of mapexx’ contributions can be found on this page from the blog, scroll down to comments 8, 18, 24, 27, 35, 44, 45, 54.
Pay particular attention to number 35. Here, presumably providing evidence for his / her anti-Welsh language views, mapexx says: “Before you say I am wrong, keep one thing in mind, I WAS a Census enumerator in the 2001 census, and am already signed to be one again in the next census. I was also engaged to do a follow up series of interviews with many across the south east Wales area. I found very very little, in the way of fluency to any level, beyond a few simple words.” (A fuller extract can be found right. Click to enlarge.) The only conclusion to be drawn is that mapexx was an enumerator in the 2001 census, and was to be one again in 2011. Whatever he or she might have been, it was also clear from these and countless other comments that mappex belonged to the rabidly anti-Welsh wing of the Labour Party, all dressed up as opposition to devolution, ‘extremism’, and unspeakable things being forced down the throats of innocents.
Now after reading this very indiscreet and worrying comment I wrote to the Office for National Statistics. For quite obviously enumerators are sworn to a code of secrecy. Regretably I can’t find my letter to the ONS, but I do have a copy of the reply. It can be found here. Soon after the exchange of letters with the ONS mapexx stopped making his / her odious contributions and disappeared. I may even have tipped off mapexx that I was going to write to the ONS. I can’t recall. Maybe someone can find such a comment. Certainly, another regular contributor to the blog drew attention to the indiscretion. Finally, note that the ONS says it has not yet started recruiting enumerators for 2011. Yet mappex already knows he / she will be working on the next census. How can that be? (A suggestion will be found below.) Anyway, time passed, and I almost forgot about mapexx.
Then, today, a letter appeared in the Wasting Mule, and it was as if the gates of memory swung ajar. (That’s poetic, that is.) The letter can be seen left. (Click to enlarge.) It is from Labour councillor Gez Kirby of Caerffili. Let me explain that at the same time mapexx flourished and gained notoriety Kirby was also appearing on blogs and elsewhere saying . . . well . . . very much the same things as mapexx. Kirby and mapexx were almost kindred spirits. Both didactic and pedantic, ‘I’m smarter than you’ types. Coming out with the sort of comments you get from a clever boy who’s been to university and believes this allows him to talk down to people. Or am I being unfair on Kirby? Does the man in the photo look the kind of cocky bastard I’m describing?
The letter in today’s Mule prompted me to visit Caerfilli council’s website and, in particular, Kirby’s information. Where I found, in his Declaration of Member’s Interests, the interesting fact that he works for the Office for National Statistics. (Click here and scroll down.) Following a lead on the council website I did some more Googling and came up with this. Which tells us that Kirby is an ONS representative for the Public and Commercial Services Union. (See panel below left.) Incidentally, something else I learnt from the Caerffili website is that Kirby was elected to the council last year with just 18.74% of the vote, making him the least popular – by some distance – of the three successful Labour candidates in Pontllanfraith ward.
A little more digging told me that Kirby had also belonged (in 2004) to the Population and Migration Theme Working Group of National Statistics. Though these minutes suggest that Kirby was not a great success, for they begin with him apologising for incomplete minutes of the previous meeting! This group seems to deal with population movements, such as the influx we are experiencing into Wales. I can’t help wondering if an anti-Welsh bigot like Kirby isn’t ideally suited for this group, especially if it does more than merely study and report. I’d appreciate more information on this group.
I am not for one minute – heaven forfend! – suggesting that Councillor Gez KIrby is mapexx. In fact we can prove it. All we need to do is find another reasonably articulate, anti-Welsh bigot, based in the south east, who likes to spout his odious views on blogs and in newspapers, is a staunch supporter of Israel, and has strong connections with the Office for National Statistics. There must be hundreds satisfying those criteria . . . Well, dozens, surely? Some? Any?
And even though I’m sure there is no connection between the real-life anti-Welsh bigot, Gez Kirby, and the anti-Welsh troll, mapexx, I would still expect the Office for National Statistics to investigate the possibility – remote though it may be – that someone working for them used a widely-read blog to disseminate confidential information gained carrying out his duties for the ONS. (Of course, the more likely possibility is that mapexx lied about the findings in order to give his / her bigotry some credibility. So which is worse from an ONS perspective?) And if I was Kirby’s employer I’d wonder how much work he does for the ONS . . . when he’s not doing union work, council work, tweeting, networking on Facebook and Linkedin, and posting God knows how many comments in God knows how many names, to God knows how many blogs. (No wonder he can’t get the minutes ready.) Hang on! he works for a government department, I am his employer!
I would also expect the Public and Commercial Services Union to make enquiries, so as to establish beyond any shadow of doubt that their representive, councillor Gez Kirby, is / was not mapexx.
Normally I would also be asking the Caerffili Labour Party to do something, but I feel that shower has more than enough problems to worry about at the moment. I’m not a complete bastard!
Ok, all joking aside, and to leave no one in any doubt as to what I am saying. I believe that there are enough grounds to suspect that Councillor Gez Kirby, an employee of the Office for National Statistics, abused his position to post comments on a BBC blog, under a spurious name, claiming to be using confidential information gained through his employment. That being so, his employer and others, such as Caerffilli council, have no alternative but to establish – through the BBC, internet servers and other channels – whether Councillor Gez Kirby was ‘mapexx’. If so, then disciplinary action must be taken.