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Councillor dubs "Cycling Taliban" tweets "banter"

Cllr Graham Down had also joked about putting tacks on the road ahead of the Velothon Wales event in Monmouthshire

A councillor who dubbed sportive riders as “cycling Taliban” and joked about putting tacks on the road has dismissed his own comments as “a bit of banter”.

Independent Cllr Graham Down, of Monmouthshire County Council, made the comments about the Velothon Wales sportive, in which 12,000 people took part.

He asked on Twitter how to rid Monmouthshire of “pesky cyclists” before calling them the “cycling Taliban” and joking about throwing tacks on the road.

Video: Fixie rider crashes hard at Velothon Wales

In response to a warning about tacks being left on the road by “Velothon protestors” the day before the event, Cllr Down said “Nothing to do with me. Honestly! My bag of tacks is for 2mrw”.

During the 2015 Velothon Wales event one cyclist suffered cuts and bruises after tacks were sprinkled on the road. One person said Cllr Down’s comment was “threatening” and inappropriate for a councillor, while another responded by asking for his resignation.

In response to outrage on Twitter Cllr Down said: “Should I be surprised at the childish vitriol and bile from the Cycling Taliban? Probably not. Just proves I was right about them all along.” He then went on to list cycling misdemeanours he claims to see on a daily basis.

Cllr Graham Down tweet

 

Cllr Down told the South Wales Argus: “I had a concern about the fact that the world is supposed to stand still for these cyclists,” he said.

“When I’ve been walking I’ve nearly been run over and on the roads cyclists in general don’t show a lot of consideration.

“As many of my councillors know I’m thick skinned and I will happily enter debate with anyone. It was just a bit of banter, a bit of fun that some people took the wrong way.”

However, cyclists felt differently, some are concerned the comments will stir up anti-cycling sentiment, while others say they are filing a complaint against the councillor.  

Jason Dodd wrote: “Not only is it sad, but it deeply worries me that you have a position of authority. Your comments have been a disgrace.”

Monmouthshire County Council’s social media guidance advises employees to “show respect for all”. 

It states: “You should be respectful of the authority and your fellow employees. Derogatory comments are always wrong.”

“You must make sure that what you say is factual and avoid unnecessary or unproductive arguments,” it adds.

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25 comments

Avatar
L.Willo | 8 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:
L.Willo wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Given that attacking a Goth for no apparent reason has been treated by one British police force as a hate crime (according to the Grauniad), can someone *please* start treating all of the purveyors of anti-cyclist rhetoric like this  in the same way? Please?!?

I am sorry to say it but I find this comparison to be offensive and trivialises the assault on the innocent goth lad:

I obviously didn't make myself clear, fair enough. 

We (cyclists) are always being told that "hate crime" is "only" against someone because of their ethnicity or their religion or their gender definition, and nothing else counts.

And yet this kid gets assaulted because he chooses to wear black clothing and listen to a particular musical genre and this *can* be treated as a hate crime? So, if his musical and fashion taste can qualify, why doesn't someone's choice of transport or anything else? Last time I checked, listening to the Sisters of Mercy wasn't a religious devotion...

So, not intending to trivialise the incident but to raise a valid question.

 

@Brooksby

Fair enough. The law remains clear about what are protected characteristics and being a goth is not one of them. This does not prevent Police forces from investigating any offences as if they were hate crimes thereby giving victims access to guidance, counselling and appropriate support services. Depressingly, these sorts of attacks are by no means rare and so many Police forces have chosen to regard goth as a sub-culture and afford victims the extra support.

This however has no impact on the charges that may or might not be brought or the sentencing.

Where I find the comparison offensive is that you seem to be comparing a brutal assault with the big mouthed activity of a stupid councillor who has not committed any crime whatsoever. It is not a crime to dislike cyclists, compare us to the Taliban, nor is it a crime to fantasise out loud about placing tacks to disrupt a sportive.

His isn’t a hate crime. It isn’t even a dislike crime. It is a no crime at all.

 

@Username

That is a whole new level of nonsense that I absolutely refuse to engage with.

@Bikebikebike

If you cannot tell the difference between a prank and a hate-motivated brutal assault resulting in the hospitalization of a young man …. I cannot help you.

Avatar
brooksby replied to L.Willo | 8 years ago
0 likes
L.Willo wrote:

@Brooksby

Depressingly, these sorts of attacks are by no means rare and so many Police forces have chosen to regard goth as a sub-culture and afford victims the extra support.

Because, as we all know, attacks or threats against cyclists or people riding bikes or whatever the f you want to call them hardly ever happen.

Quote:

Where I find the comparison offensive is that you seem to be comparing a brutal assault with the big mouthed activity of a stupid councillor who has not committed any crime whatsoever. It is not a crime to dislike cyclists, compare us to the Taliban, nor is it a crime to fantasise out loud about placing tacks to disrupt a sportive.

His isn’t a hate crime. It isn’t even a dislike crime. It is a no crime at all.

Placing tacks to disrupt a sportive can lead to serious injury or death, you know, so it actually is pretty f-ing serious.

Anyway...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter_Joke_Trial

That guy got his day in court (actually, several) because of some 'banter', just a joke he'd made on twitter.

The authorities took him to court on grounds of "sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character contrary to the Communications Act 2003".

And yet he was just having a laugh, and making a complaint, and venting generally, and really those airports just need to develop a thicker skin (after all, saying something or threatening something isn't a crime at all, is it?).

(I appreciate that he finally (after appeals) did walk away, but that's not really the point).

Quote:

@Bikebikebike

If you cannot tell the difference between a prank and a hate-motivated brutal assault resulting in the hospitalization of a young man …. I cannot help you.

You say potato, I say potato:  I bet the blokes who hospitalised the goth just thought that they were having a laugh, too.

Avatar
L.Willo replied to brooksby | 8 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:
L.Willo wrote:

@Brooksby

Depressingly, these sorts of attacks are by no means rare and so many Police forces have chosen to regard goth as a sub-culture and afford victims the extra support.

Because, as we all know, attacks or threats against cyclists or people riding bikes or whatever the f you want to call them hardly ever happen.

I am sorry. Altercations happen after arguments on the road etc but I am not aware of cyclists en masse just being randomly punched in the face, having bones broken and needing to be hospitalised for surgery merely for wearing lycra in public or sitting on a Brompton. Correct me if I am wrong. Similar altercations happen between drivers too, this isn't evidence that either driver in such a case hates all motorists.

Quote:
Quote:

Where I find the comparison offensive is that you seem to be comparing a brutal assault with the big mouthed activity of a stupid councillor who has not committed any crime whatsoever. It is not a crime to dislike cyclists, compare us to the Taliban, nor is it a crime to fantasise out loud about placing tacks to disrupt a sportive.

His isn’t a hate crime. It isn’t even a dislike crime. It is a no crime at all.

Placing tacks to disrupt a sportive can lead to serious injury or death, you know, so it actually is pretty f-ing serious.

Yes there is a difference between placing tacks and joking about placing tacks. You get that, yes?

Quote:

Anyway...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter_Joke_Trial

That guy got his day in court (actually, several) because of some 'banter', just a joke he'd made on twitter.

The authorities took him to court on grounds of "sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character contrary to the Communications Act 2003".

And yet he was just having a laugh, and making a complaint, and venting generally, and really those airports just need to develop a thicker skin (after all, saying something or threatening something isn't a crime at all, is it?).

(I appreciate that he finally (after appeals) did walk away, but that's not really the point).

I agree that was a total over reaction and a complete waste of CPS time and public money ... so you want to so the same thing again with this nitwit councillor? You perceive him to be a serious threat to the health and safety of cyclists in Wales? Or just a nut job with a big mouth who we should file under ignore?

Quote:
Quote:

@Bikebikebike

If you cannot tell the difference between a prank and a hate-motivated brutal assault resulting in the hospitalization of a young man …. I cannot help you.

You say potato, I say potato:  I bet the blokes who hospitalised the goth just thought that they were having a laugh, too.

What they thought is not the issue. What they did and why they did it, is.

Avatar
vonhelmet replied to L.Willo | 8 years ago
2 likes
L.Willo wrote:
brooksby wrote:
L.Willo wrote:

@Brooksby

Depressingly, these sorts of attacks are by no means rare and so many Police forces have chosen to regard goth as a sub-culture and afford victims the extra support.

Because, as we all know, attacks or threats against cyclists or people riding bikes or whatever the f you want to call them hardly ever happen.

I am sorry. Altercations happen after arguments on the road etc but I am not aware of cyclists en masse just being randomly punched in the face, having bones broken and needing to be hospitalised for surgery merely for wearing lycra in public or sitting on a Brompton. Correct me if I am wrong. Similar altercations happen between drivers too, this isn't evidence that either driver in such a case hates all motorists.

Quote:
Quote:

Where I find the comparison offensive is that you seem to be comparing a brutal assault with the big mouthed activity of a stupid councillor who has not committed any crime whatsoever. It is not a crime to dislike cyclists, compare us to the Taliban, nor is it a crime to fantasise out loud about placing tacks to disrupt a sportive.

His isn’t a hate crime. It isn’t even a dislike crime. It is a no crime at all.

Placing tacks to disrupt a sportive can lead to serious injury or death, you know, so it actually is pretty f-ing serious.

Yes there is a difference between placing tacks and joking about placing tacks. You get that, yes?

Quote:

Anyway...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter_Joke_Trial

That guy got his day in court (actually, several) because of some 'banter', just a joke he'd made on twitter.

The authorities took him to court on grounds of "sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character contrary to the Communications Act 2003".

And yet he was just having a laugh, and making a complaint, and venting generally, and really those airports just need to develop a thicker skin (after all, saying something or threatening something isn't a crime at all, is it?).

(I appreciate that he finally (after appeals) did walk away, but that's not really the point).

I agree that was a total over reaction and a complete waste of CPS time and public money ... so you want to so the same thing again with this nitwit councillor? You perceive him to be a serious threat to the health and safety of cyclists in Wales? Or just a nut job with a big mouth who we should file under ignore?

Quote:
Quote:

@Bikebikebike

If you cannot tell the difference between a prank and a hate-motivated brutal assault resulting in the hospitalization of a young man …. I cannot help you.

You say potato, I say potato:  I bet the blokes who hospitalised the goth just thought that they were having a laugh, too.

What they thought is not the issue. What they did and why they did it, is.

The thought and the why are usually fairly closely linked...

Avatar
vonhelmet | 8 years ago
4 likes

Someone should find out where he lives and leave a load of roofing nails around the tyres of his parked car(s).

Hey, it's just banter!

Avatar
burtthebike replied to vonhelmet | 8 years ago
4 likes
vonhelmet wrote:

Someone should find out where he lives and leave a load of roofing nails around the tyres of his parked car(s).

Hey, it's just banter!

Talibanter!

Avatar
HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
1 like
Avatar
brakesmadly | 8 years ago
3 likes

If you correct “When I’ve been walking I’ve nearly been run over..." (I'm assuming he means by a cyclist) to "A cyclist didn't run me over" it becomes a lot less exciting.

Avatar
Housecathst | 8 years ago
1 like

I didn't ride it last year, but I was in the area on holiday (the mumbles, it was lovely) there were tacks on the road last year, which were removed during the event. 

But returned to where they were found afterwards, just in case the owner was looking for them. 

(I made that up, but would like to think it was true) 

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/13331317.Cars__punctured_by_Veloth...

Avatar
wycombewheeler | 8 years ago
7 likes

throwing tacks on the road ahead of a sportive as a means of action to deter future rides is using violence for political ends. The definition of terrorism, no?

Incitement to terrorism?

Or if I disagree with what the council is doing would it be banter to joke about shooting councillors?

If he objects to the closed roads event then he should attend the due process and oppose it through legitimate means.

How many marathons each year are able to close roads with no objections? why is it the velothon and the pru 100 are seen differently?

Obviously the authorities in south Wales see the velothon as a means of drawing tourist revenue to the region. It seems he has lost the argument. Perhaps the councillor should relocate to New South Wales. it might be more to his liking.

Avatar
ianrobo replied to wycombewheeler | 8 years ago
1 like
wycombewheeler wrote:

throwing tacks on the road ahead of a sportive as a means of action to deter future rides is using violence for political ends. The definition of terrorism, no?

well on a sharp down slope say off Carephilly Mtn it would be classed as attempted murder ?

Avatar
maldin | 8 years ago
9 likes

"I hope he dies an agonising death". No offence meant, it's just a bit of banter, a bit of fun, I'm sure with his thick skin he won't take it the wrong way. 

 

What the heck has gone wrong with our democratic society that people with such attitudes can get elected to public office!? 

(And no, I don't wish him to die that way. Unlike him, I have a moral and rational filter between my thoughts, words and actions). 

Avatar
ianrobo replied to maldin | 8 years ago
2 likes
maldin wrote:

What the heck has gone wrong with our democratic society that people with such attitudes can get elected to public office!? 

because in the UK and it seems a lot of countries since the collapse of 2007 intolerance has become more and more widespread be it cyclists, immigrants etc ?

All fueled by an out of control press who think free speech as a right means they can denegrate sections of soceity.

Avatar
1961BikiE | 8 years ago
2 likes

Will all cyclists reading this who fall in the area covered by this "persons" jurisdiction please take the time to complain to the ombudsman. As long as all we do is moan on social media about these people nothing will ever change. He needs ejecting asap.

Avatar
Gus T | 8 years ago
11 likes

Ah!!!!! banter, the catch all for bigotry in all forms as in "only joking, my racism / sexism was only a bit of banter" which then goes on to victim blame. No wonder he's an independent, no  mainstream party would have him.

Avatar
ianrobo replied to Gus T | 8 years ago
6 likes
Gus T wrote:

Ah!!!!! banter, the catch all for bigotry in all forms as in "only joking, my racism / sexism was only a bit of banter" which then goes on to victim blame. No wonder he's an independent, no  mainstream party would have him.

 

sounds like he would fit in quite well with Ukip and their views. Love how he says how we block the roads, I guess he never been on the M4 then ?

Avatar
Gus T replied to ianrobo | 8 years ago
3 likes
ianrobo wrote:
Gus T wrote:

Ah!!!!! banter, the catch all for bigotry in all forms as in "only joking, my racism / sexism was only a bit of banter" which then goes on to victim blame. No wonder he's an independent, no  mainstream party would have him.

 

sounds like he would fit in quite well with Ukip and their views. Love how he says how we block the roads, I guess he never been on the M4 then ?

 

Like I said, mainstream party, UKIP a one trick pony based around a compulsive attention seeker

Avatar
ianrobo replied to Gus T | 8 years ago
2 likes
Gus T wrote:
ianrobo wrote:
Gus T wrote:

Ah!!!!! banter, the catch all for bigotry in all forms as in "only joking, my racism / sexism was only a bit of banter" which then goes on to victim blame. No wonder he's an independent, no  mainstream party would have him.

 

sounds like he would fit in quite well with Ukip and their views. Love how he says how we block the roads, I guess he never been on the M4 then ?

 

Like I said, mainstream party, UKIP a one trick pony based around a compulsive attention seeker

unfortunately with over 10% of the vote in the last GE and much higehr than that in some regions they are mainstream.

Avatar
brooksby | 8 years ago
9 likes

Given that attacking a Goth for no apparent reason has been treated by one British police force as a hate crime (according to the Grauniad), can someone *please* start treating all of the purveyors of anti-cyclist rhetoric like this  in the same way? Please?!?

This councillor says it's all just banter, but does he honestly think that if someone reads his "banter" and goes ahead and does it then it's nothing to do with him?

Avatar
burtthebike replied to brooksby | 8 years ago
3 likes
brooksby wrote:

Given that attacking a Goth for no apparent reason has been treated by one British police force as a hate crime (according to the Grauniad), can someone *please* start treating all of the purveyors of anti-cyclist rhetoric like this  in the same way? Please?!?

If only they would!  Trouble is, given the prevalence of cycle hating morons, the police would have little time for anything else.  Mind you, a few public floggings would probably reduce the incidence of this particularly pervasive hate crime.

Avatar
L.Willo replied to brooksby | 8 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

Given that attacking a Goth for no apparent reason has been treated by one British police force as a hate crime (according to the Grauniad), can someone *please* start treating all of the purveyors of anti-cyclist rhetoric like this  in the same way? Please?!?

I am sorry to say it but I find this comparison to be offensive and trivialises the assault on the innocent goth lad:

Quote:

Police are treating an unprovoked attack on a teenage goth, who was left with a shattered jaw and broken nose, as a hate crime.

Ryan Winnals, 19, needed surgery after he was repeatedly punched and knocked unconscious by a gang of youths.

No comparison. 

Cyclists collectively need to grow a set instead of perpetually getting our knickers in a twist like complete pussies, over harmless nonsense like this from a villiage idiot no-mark councillor.

 

 

Avatar
brooksby replied to L.Willo | 8 years ago
5 likes
L.Willo wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Given that attacking a Goth for no apparent reason has been treated by one British police force as a hate crime (according to the Grauniad), can someone *please* start treating all of the purveyors of anti-cyclist rhetoric like this  in the same way? Please?!?

I am sorry to say it but I find this comparison to be offensive and trivialises the assault on the innocent goth lad:

I obviously didn't make myself clear, fair enough. 

We (cyclists) are always being told that "hate crime" is "only" against someone because of their ethnicity or their religion or their gender definition, and nothing else counts.

And yet this kid gets assaulted because he chooses to wear black clothing and listen to a particular musical genre and this *can* be treated as a hate crime? So, if his musical and fashion taste can qualify, why doesn't someone's choice of transport or anything else? Last time I checked, listening to the Sisters of Mercy wasn't a religious devotion...

So, not intending to trivialise the incident but to raise a valid question.

Avatar
Username replied to L.Willo | 8 years ago
2 likes
L.Willo wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Ryan Winnals, 19, needed surgery after he was repeatedly punched and knocked unconscious by a gang of youths.

No comparison. 

Cyclists collectively need to grow a set instead of perpetually getting our knickers in a twist like complete pussies, over harmless nonsense like this from a villiage idiot no-mark councillor.

 

There are plenty of cyclists who need serious surgery, or burying, after they are deliberately knocked-off by drivers who are thinking "ah sure it's only a cylist", a type of thinking brought about by people like this councillor.

Avatar
Bikebikebike replied to L.Willo | 8 years ago
1 like
L.Willo wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Given that attacking a Goth for no apparent reason has been treated by one British police force as a hate crime (according to the Grauniad), can someone *please* start treating all of the purveyors of anti-cyclist rhetoric like this  in the same way? Please?!?

I am sorry to say it but I find this comparison to be offensive and trivialises the assault on the innocent goth lad:

Quote:

Police are treating an unprovoked attack on a teenage goth, who was left with a shattered jaw and broken nose, as a hate crime.

Ryan Winnals, 19, needed surgery after he was repeatedly punched and knocked unconscious by a gang of youths.

No comparison. 

Cyclists collectively need to grow a set instead of perpetually getting our knickers in a twist like complete pussies, over harmless nonsense like this from a villiage idiot no-mark councillor.

 

 

 

Wire strung up across cycle paths.

People being pushed off by passengers.

Reasonably close comparison.

 

Avatar
oldstrath replied to L.Willo | 8 years ago
1 like
L.Willo wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Given that attacking a Goth for no apparent reason has been treated by one British police force as a hate crime (according to the Grauniad), can someone *please* start treating all of the purveyors of anti-cyclist rhetoric like this  in the same way? Please?!?

I am sorry to say it but I find this comparison to be offensive and trivialises the assault on the innocent goth lad:

Quote:

Police are treating an unprovoked attack on a teenage goth, who was left with a shattered jaw and broken nose, as a hate crime.

Ryan Winnals, 19, needed surgery after he was repeatedly punched and knocked unconscious by a gang of youths.

No comparison. 

Cyclists collectively need to grow a set instead of perpetually getting our knickers in a twist like complete pussies, over harmless nonsense like this from a villiage idiot no-mark councillor.

 

 

Look, we know you hate cyclists, so why don't you go away and do something constructive?Maybe you could take over presenting Idiot Gear from Chris Evans?

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