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« Out of Africa | Main | The day the people spoke »

Paul Bartlett: is this man a halfwit?

The Sunday Times has posted a video by Rod Liddle on its website.

It's behind the paywall (a single issue costs £1) but worth it for another glimpse of Paul Bartlett, the Stony Stratford councillor who wants to ban smoking throughout the town.


Liddle: "Do you realise there's not a single person in Stony Stratford who's in favour of your plan? We've trawled the streets. We've walked up and down. We haven't found a single person who doesn't think that it's a fatuous idea.

Bartlett: "Well, that's not the feedback that I'm getting. Obviously there are people who are very passionate about it and want to continue contaminating the environment and killing themselves through cancer ...

Liddle: "That's none of your business, is it, whether they kill themselves, really?"

Bartlett: "It is because I'm a councillor and I care about my local people."

Clearly Rod thinks Bartlett is a half wit. Cut to him asking a resident of Stony Stratford: "Do you think he is sectionable under the mental health act?" followed by this exchange:

Bartlett: "If you're walking in the street in Stony Stratford or anywhere else you have to walk through someone's smoke. You have to walk through their spit which they leave on the pavement through their cigarette butt, you need to get your clothes burnt and if you have a young child there's every chance that that child could get burnt and that's very, very important."

Liddle: "How many people in the last five years have been burnt in Stony Stratford as a consequence of walking past someone with a cigarette?"

Bartlett: "Well, I don't know the figure but I certainly know that ..."

Liddle: "None, probably, isn't it?"

Sadly, very few people will see this video, nor will they have heard Bartlett spout similar rubbish on Radio 2, TalkSport or the local evening news.

I just hope he repeats it at the council meeting on Tuesday and that his fellow councillors have the sense to challenge this transparent nonsense.

Meanwhile, in the print edition of today's Sunday Times, Liddle has this to say:

There’s an important vote coming up on Tuesday in the charming little town of Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire. The council is debating whether to ban smoking from all public places. This is the idea of a short, fat, strange-looking chap called Paul Bartlett, a Conservative councillor.

I walked around Stony Stratford and couldn’t find one person who supported Bartlett’s proposal — not one. When you talk to Bartlett he starts ranting about the streets being besmirched by the “filthy saliva” adhering to discarded cigarette butts. He is, I think, several gaspers short of the full packet. But, don’t forget, people said the same thing about Liam Donaldson when, as chief medical officer, he proposed a complete smoking ban in pubs. And at least Bartlett was elected.

Update: An outbreak of people power in Stony Stratford (Dick Puddlecote)

Further reading:
A grand day out (Frank Davis)
A day out in Stony Stratford (The Moose)

See previous post for links to more posts from those who attended yesterday's protest.

PS. All week I have been cautioning people to avoid personal insults. Sorry, listening to Bartlett it's hard to resist!

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Reader Comments (8)

It was wrong for you to call Paul Bartlett a half-wit - he's much less than that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 16:13 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Is Paul Bartlett a Conservative councillor? I had the impression that he was an Independent councillor. Daily Mail:

The man whom future historians will celebrate — or execrate, according to taste — is Paul Bartlett, 50, the independent town councillor and Milton Keynes alderman behind the proposed ban.

The only place that I've found him described as a Tory is in the Guardian.

Is everyone trying to distance themselves from him?

Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 16:36 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Davis

Councils throughout the country have their Bartletts. Some will have enough cunning to present themselves in a better light (couldn't be hard, could it?). I worry about Cameron's Localism.

Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 19:19 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Will the "Times" video of Rod Liddle not appear on You Tube sometime in the near future? I'd like to see it, but can't be arsed to go through the payment paraphernalia for a measly quid.

Monday, July 18, 2011 at 9:47 | Unregistered Commenternisakiman

I won't pay even £1 on principle as long as we have to buy an overpriced TV licence to cover computer use as well.

Monday, July 18, 2011 at 13:54 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Thanks for the link.
I just read "After all, they will ask themselves, how many anti-ban protests can there be? " in your latest post.

I get the imression that the people who turned up on Saturday will do it again and again, wherever necessary for as long as it takes. Probably in ever increasing numbers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 9:42 | Unregistered CommenterBucko

Is Paul Bartlett a Conservative councillor?

He used to be a conservative. But the party burst out laughing when he suggested himself as a possible mp, and he left in a huff.

Friday, July 22, 2011 at 15:56 | Unregistered CommenterJames


I am Paul Bartlett and I would like to let you all know is that I had an illness called Cushing's Syndrome that makes one look very fat.

I had no choice in this ilness unlike smokers who bring illness upon themselves.

Rod Liddle should spout facts and not slag people he does not know, off.

Friday, March 20, 2015 at 14:26 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Bartlett

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