Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Email Received From Cllr Clive Hart Leader of Thanet Council Labour Group

I thought this text of an email sent to me by Cllr Clive Hart might add some balance to the concerns of Parish Councillor John Worrow.

Please note that I have enabled comment moderation, since it would appear there has been a concerted theme on some comments made earlier which I will remove should Mark Nottingham request, having already offered the same facility to John Worrow.

From my perspective this all seems a mountain of a molehill, it is the case as I understand that Mark Nottingham is not in a position to respond, until he receives official conformation that a Standards board complaint has been withdrawn.

It is also worth putting in context that some members of the conservative group, are apparently backing moves by council officers to curtail or constrain what councillors can and cannot say via the internet. Why they would wish to restrict or “bully”*, councillors in what they say is a matter of conjecture, but I have my theories.

*since that seems to be the buzz word this week



On your blog Cllr. Worrow has very selectively quoted just a very small part of an email I sent to him which I thought was a private matter.
However, as he has seen fit to quote from it, please feel free to print it in full for your readers.
Please be absolutely clear - I was certainly not commenting on any particular article or blog as Cllr. Worrow was not at all specific, I was simply responding to his earlier email of 12th July which I also paste below.
Cllr. Worrow
I respond to your email of 12th July, pasted at the end of this email.
Firstly, please be absolutely assured that in the Labour Group we will not tolerate bullying of any kind from anyone and I hope you will note that wherever and whenever necessary, Labour members have stood firm and fought strongly against such behaviour up to and at the very highest level within TDC.
I'm afraid I am not aware of the 'cyber bullying' to which you refer but the Labour Group has very strict checks and balances in place and every member is aware of their personal responsibility for their own blog sites. You will know as a politician yourself that we all have to accept some political knockabout and indeed in the run up to the last local and Parish elections I understand you spent a considerable amount of time attempting to work with other parties in an adverse way against your Conservative opponents in Birchington.
I do understand that some Conservative members at TDC may want to exert 'control' over internet blog sites but I can assure you, we in the Labour Group value freedom of speech.  I am also aware of statistics that clearly indicate there is a real issue with the number of Conservative members reporting other council members on standards issues.  If TDC MEMBERS decide these matters should be debated at full council, we in the Labour Group would be only too happy to do so - and robustly!
As for the tone of your email, I take exception to the arrogant manner in which you try to tell me what is, or is not, my moral responsibility in the first sentence, and I am offended by the sentence near the end written in red ink - you can expect what you like but I will do whatever is correct in any given circumstances after giving all matters, views and opinions my full consideration!
Cllr. Clive Hart - TDC Labour Group Leader.
Dear Cllrs Hart, Mc Castree and Ezekiel
As TDC group leaders, I am sure that each of you will acknowledge that you have a moral responsibility to ensure that your members do not engage in cyber bullying.
As local government representatives we all have a duty to set an example to young Internet users.
A number of  parish, town and district colleagues have expressed the view that new rules are needed relating to this subject; therefore I feel that it is necessary for TDC councillors to debate the anti-cyber bullying issue at full council, in particular the need to adopt new rules relating to councillors that run their own Internet blogs.

 Cyber bullying is insidious; bystanders can become accessories by passing on a humiliating message.

If a council member continues to engage in this destructive activity after being reported, I would expect the leader of the group concerned to take unilateral action against the member.
I look forward to hearing from you.


Yours sincerely

Cllr John Worrow

Birchington Parish Council member 


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  4. All of this illustrates that just like a number of MP's have brought disrupute to the whole lot at Westminster, the antics and emails from a few local councilors bringshame to the whole lot at local level. These local councilors should reflect that most local people regard them with the same contempt as scaliwags, scoundrels, cads, scroungers, etc. With few exceptions they are just too self important and only bloggers will ever know their names.