A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece for the local paper, asking that we remember borough councillors are our fellow citizens, and should be treated decently. I am now in the rather contrary position of needing to remind borough councillors to treat each other decently.
I don’t want to see any of our fellow citizens – especially borough councillors – attempting to shout down and bully fellow citizens on a public stage. I most definitely don’t want to see male councillors pawing at female ones, trying to get hold of a microphone.
I am not going to make an official complaint, as last time I thought a borough councillor had behaved unacceptably on a public stage, the main effect the council had was to bind those who complained to silence for the best part of a year, while the council ‘standards’ wheels cranked around.
As we watched the misinformation from that incident boil around the town for months, I conclude we don’t really have a mechanism for dealing with unacceptable behaviour by councillors in a timely manner, so this time I’ll settle for telling you this, and showing you a video…
In an era when our Home Secretary has more or less criminalised ‘nuisance’ protests, how can it be okay for councillors to bring the council into disrepute by publicly barracking, bullying and handling fellow councillors? If this person, who I understand is a local Conservative Party councillor, is your own borough representative – well, over to you – you could put in an official complaint for bullying a fellow councillor and/or bringing the council into disrepute or you could perhaps have a chat with your councillor about what you consider to be acceptable behaviour by people holding civic positions.
I will finish by saying this is nothing to do with my personal stance on either of the issues I mention. I maintain that the majority of our councillors *do* know how to behave, and that we all need to continue our work to make local politics more town, environment and people’s needs-centred, and make absolutely sure issues are publicly debated in a decent manner – not only do citizens have a right to express their views, but gatherings such as these have a right to *hear* those views expressed without distraction and interruption.
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