Friday, 9 July 2010

What don't they want us to know?

When those who have a little power seek to retain that power and widen its remit, then nasty things happen.  Fellow blogger and all-round nice-guy Jason Weyman, is the subject of a complaint after members of Towyn and Kinmel Bay Town Council voted to send a complaint to the Ombudsman for Wales after he posted comments on his blog.

The comments, which came in the wake of the suspension of Kinmel Bay county councillor Geoff Corry for failing to declare personal interests and concerned a proposed town council audit, were removed two days after being posted.

At the meeting, Cllr John Bevan described the information contained in the blog as being “defamatory to the council” which reveals a rather big hole in his comprehension of the English language and the law as defamation only applies to individuals. 

Cllr Peter Worswick proposed the matter be sent to the Ombudsman for Wales, who conducts independent investigations into complaints made about the behaviour of both town and county councillors.

The motion was carried with five of the eight councillors present voting in favour. The chairman and Mayor, Cllr Ken Stone, abstained from the vote, with two voting against, so good on them.

It was also alleged Cllr Weyman had broken a section of the county council Code of Conduct, stating members of the council should “not make vexatious, malicious or frivolous complaints about anyone who works for, or on behalf of, your authority”.  Now, this is very important and we need to be clear on what its purpose is. 

This regulation is there to protect council employees and fellow councillors from nutters who say daft things without foundation to cause trouble. That's what the word "vexatious" means, while "frivolous" means lacking in seriousness, and "malicious" means their motive was simply nasty.

Jason has shown none of these qualities in his blogs.  On the contrary, he simply reports what is happening but we know that Conwy doesn't like that at all.

But hang on;  there's another interesting fact.  The last councillor reported in this way was one John Oddy - another blogger. Besides the fact that thy both run blogs, they're also both independents. Curious?

Councils thrive in the dark recesses of secrecy and delight in cloaking their activities in the shroud of 'confidentiality' but we should be asking what exactly is it that they don't want us - their paymasters - to know? What scares them so much that they feel the need to classify most of their committee meetings as 'not open'? 

We should celebrate people like Jason Weyman and  John Oddy, and we shold demand that more of these people start their own blogs and expose the goings-on for us - their paymasters - to see.  If we don't as Burke said "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

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