Monday, July 13, 2009

Freedom to Blog?

Those who read local Blogs, will be aware of some of the “players” in local politics, however most residents would be hard pressed to name the leader of the council (Cllr Ezekiel) and if you mentioned Cllr Mark Nottingham or Parish Cllr John Worrow and ask the average Thanitian who are they ? , a blank expression would, most likely be the reaction.

Myself I know that Mark Nottingham is a professional Labour politician and local councillor (TDC), I also know that I don’t always agree with him, Parish cllr John Worrow I have to say I’m fairly hazy on, although I vaguely recall he represented the “Grey Party?” and sometime after joined the Tories and currently serves on Birchington Parish council.

Now why should you give a toss, well it seems a little spat has developed between the two, apparently Parish cllr John Worrow is so incensed he has sent a communication to Cllrs Hart, Mc Castree and Ezekiel, refering to cyber bullying etc. I wont go into to many details myself other than to say that this line “Dressed in a very similar fashion to Roger Latchford, he appeared to some to be a "mini-me" of his mentor.” from Mark Nottingham’s blog (Click here) apparently this led Cllr John Worrow (a man of some stature and importance in the community ) to make a complaint to the Standards Board.

Now for the benefit of those who don’t know, the Standards Board (of England) is a creation of that great political thinker John Prescott, but basically it is supposed to improve on the ethically conduct of politicians, such as interpersonal skills or lack of them, myself however consider it as a waste of money, and more importantly often an insult to the freedom of speech.

Incidentally I was told by one wild eyed Tory, that the cost of the last investigation into Sandy Ezekiel and his colleague, was thirty grand plus for a firm of solicitors to examine the claim, not allowing for TDC’s officers adding their time, this same person, then told me that all bloggers were parasites, I would have reported this councillor to the standards board myself were it not for my own higher standards.

I’ve written often enough about the Standards Board and you can search earlier controversy in this blog, I just worry that some political parties just don’t like free speech, currently TDC are developing a “blogging policy” it will be interesting to see how far they’ll go to stifle debate, I for one am only to aware of just how far and how low, Conservatives local authorities will go to silence you.

To all politicians irrespective of who they are, who they think they are, there is only one response, to give them if there trying to stop you expressing yourself, BLOG OFF!

Anyway a copy of recent correspondence from Parrish Councillor John Worrow has been received by Bignews Margate earlier today and was apparently sent to Thanet’s political leaders and is displayed below, I think you will agree with me it shows a sense of maturity and proportion that is rarely seen in public life.

That correspondence below and Marks Blog here


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

Cc: Cllr John Garland, vice chairman of Birchington Parish Council

Cc: Cllr. Roger Latchford, Birchington North ward councillor

Cc: Cllr. Margaret Sheldrick, Birchington South ward councillor

Cc: Mr. Harvey Patterson, Thanet District Council

Cc: Mrs Colette Colman, Birchington Parish Clerk

PS as some of my more astute readers will know, I am neither a supporter of Labour or Conservative parties.


  1. It's a real shame it's come to this. I've met John a couple of times & I like him, & although I've never met Mark I'm sure he's a good person too, & he does a good job via his blog. It's a pity they can't just argue it out over a cuppa or a pint & then shake hands afterwards, I know we'd all admire them all the more for it.

  2. Has he been subjected to a damaging lie which is capable of belief by a reasonable person ?

    If he thinks so then he has a remedy at law.

    As for bloggers being all parasites.

    As a result of blogging in the last two years:

    (1) I have obtained expert evidence and evidence of fact concerning the falsification of factory test records for torpedoes and sonar equipment supplied to Royal Navy. The expert informant provided the names of the managers involved and I reported all this to the Chief constable whose Special Branch were tasked to investigate such matters.

    (2) I did FOI requests which revealed to Thanet, via blogs, the Thor and the Sericol contamination of aquifer.

    (3) I raised a Health Protection Agency inquiry into the health cobnsequences to Thanet of suffering decades of contaminated water supply.

    (4) I brought the £267,000 Butler legacy to East Kent Maritime Trust to the attention of investigators at the Charity Commission.

    (5) I gained information about RAF Provost and Army Physical Training Corps security concerns raised in the 80s about the later IRA bombed Deal Barracks. I reported this to Chief constable.

    (6) I found out about armed paramilitary training conducted (as bodyguard training for money) at a Thanet gun range and at a range at Dartford over many years. And reported this information to Chief constable.

    (7) A nurse from West Suffolk who recalled the sudden death of Matron McGill in 1972 on my former rural beat, got in touch with me with information I am now using in the case.

    (8) A former member of Home Service Force got in touch with information about attempts to recruit paramilitaries in other TA HSF units in the 80s. It seems that Thanet's unit featured enough gullible idiots (Thanet men) to actually believe they had been recruited as undercover operatives of the UDR. In other areas the men laughed off the approaches and reported to police.

    Has the EA produced a leaflet on the subject of Thanet watersupply ? Did the EA have to brief Thanet MPs (who had done diddly about the issues till the blogs forced the matter)

    The parasites are many of the public sector employees (including police) and we should not be surprised they don't like blogs.

  3. Peter good point, something I was going to mention was the distinction between the two one is clearly a professional politician (Nottingham) and the other a politician (Worrow) who still does what he does on a part time basis.

    One irony of all this is reference to the Standards Board a blunt heavy instrument,created by Mark Nottinghams Labour colleague John Prescott and unlike me its unlikely you'll see Mr Nottingham, come out and criticise his own party similarly David Green was also at the wrong end of Standards issues and I don't recall him complaining either odd really.

    For me, freedom of speech is non-negotiable but of two local politicians who've apparently felt impinge by the Standards Board there concerns seem to stop short at their own door.