Council clashes

The position where we are told not only that our HQ will move, but move to SkyPark, all on the basis of nodded through minutes from parts of cabinet meetings from which press and public were excluded. So, I was surprised when, at the close of the council meeting on February 26, a small group of us were approached by a senior Conservative councillor which gave rise to my email to him next morning as follows.

“After last night’s meeting you asked a few of us, in a rather pained way, why we booed ‘the Conservative group’. The fact that most of those booed etc were members of that particular political group is immaterial – most of us at national level are probably Conservative supporters. It was what individual councillors were saying – and in some cases the way they were saying it – that provoked that reaction. It does seem rather odd that all the members of that group who are there to represent the disparate interests of the seven urban areas and all the rural wards can find no reason to challenge any of the points made by their fellow Conservatives on last night’s key issue of relocation, but seize every opportunity to mount personal attacks on any other members who happen to disagree with what the majority party want to do. One even referred to “the opposition” as though having a different point of view on an issue was to be regretted!”

He replied thus:- “I expressed my concern on the night as I felt the public gallery as a whole were disruptive and due to my close proximity to the gallery it drowned out a lot of my hearing of events. I further added that whilst the Conservative members were the target of the jeering we should be afforded the courtesy to voice our opinion as indeed the public were allowed their opportunity to speak to express their opposing opinion. The truth of the matter is that such exchanges at council meetings are frankly destructive and therefore wasteful of valuable time.”

Which leads me to conclude that this reflects the total lack of understanding typical of councillors who have been there too long. They were ‘afforded the courtesy to voice their opinion’. It was the opinions they voiced and the personal attacks on non-Conservative councillors that provoked the reaction. Apparently showing disagreement equates to wasting councillors’ valuable time!

Peter Whitfield


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