Wi-fi — whose approach was it?

Throughout the entirety of Swindon’s wifi fiasco, Mr Bluh has been adamant that no tendering exercise was necessary nor appropriate, because it was not the council’s proposition, it was a proposal put to them by Mr Hunt. In the council chamber Mr Bluh has repeatedly been very clear, Mr Hunt approached the council, not the other way round. As long ago as December 2009 Mr Bluh said

[I]t is only recently we have been approached by Digital City UK who had a technical partnership with aQovia. They came to us because they wanted to set up services to sell in Swindon and we invested in them, so we have not disadvantaged any other businesses in Swindon.

Now Mr Hunt has given a version of events that differs somewhat. If Mr Hunt is to be believed, it was the council leadership that approached him.

What people do not appreciate is that I was talking for a long time about the concept, and the executive of the council approached me. We all looked at the risks and rewards and decided it was worth doing.

Given their track records — and that Mr Hunt believes his wifi proposal “was a good idea and it still is” — it’s impossible to guess whether Mr Hunt has had a lapse of memory, or Mr Bluh was lying. Of course, if the decision to fund this project had been done in a more open way, we wouldn’t be left to guess. But despite all the questions asked, Mr Bluh and colleagues continue to maintain excessive secrecy about the project, and honesty is in short supply.

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