Tag: democracy

Tory councillors demand retribution after I expose their options for Ludlow Assembly Rooms

It was always going to happen. The Tories that dominate Shropshire Council can’t take a word of criticism. Now, Councillors Steven Charmley, Peter Nutting and Lezley Picton have lodged a formal complaint against me for having “published information which had been obtained from a report to Cabinet that was exempt from publication”. This shows just how far Shropshire Council fails to understand that an open and challenging democracy is fundamental to way our country works. But in Shropshire, criticise the leadership and you are threatened with retraining, suspension or worse. The council leadership want to silence me. They want me to delete articles from my blog. No way. Never. Never. We are an open and challenging democracy. That is never easy. It is more often difficult. But it is the way our country works.

It was a slip in wording but it killed off a public question on climate change because Shropshire won’t confront the subject

Shropshire Council refused a public question on climate change at Thursday’s meeting. Why? The questioner had made a minor mistake. He had asked for the answer “before” not “at” the meeting in his email, though not in the question itself. The question was ruled out of order minutes before the meeting, even though the question had been submitted two weeks before. That stinks of political interference in the democratic rights of electors in Shropshire. When Councillor Julian Dean, the only Green Party member, raised the matter as a point of order, the Speaker ruled the point of order out of order. That stinks of political interference. Nothing shows more clearly Shropshire Council’s progressive disengagement from electors and its disinterest in climate change than this. This article is based on information from Green Party Councillor Julian Dean.

An oddball 2019 for Shropshire Council (1) – call for vegan adverts to be banned from Shropshire buses threatens freedom of speech

This is the first of two articles about the way that Shropshire Council has begun the New Year in a remarkably oddball way. Steve Charmley, deputy leader of the council has got a bee in his bonnet about vegan adverts on Arriva buses. He wants them banned because Shropshire is “a great County built on Agriculture!” I would have hoped we are first and foremost a great county based on human rights and freedom of speech. Councillor Charmley is calling for a meeting with Arriva buses, a company the council subsidises to the tune of £2 million a year. That meeting would be wrong just at the point the council is planning to cut £405,000 from its £2.5 million bus budget.

Communities minister Greg Clark visited Shirehall yesterday and council leaders were engaged in an extensive lobbying exercise to get a fairer funding deal for our county. I have no doubt that the meeting was a useful briefing for Mr Clark, and he will have heard how different Shropshire is from his own constituency of Tunbridge Wells in Kent.[1]  Nevertheless, he promised council leaders absolutely no more money. Nothing. Zilch. Sweet Fanny Adams. I wonder if Mr Clark was shown the agenda for next Thursday’s council meeting. Because he might have been shocked that a council lobbying for greater recognition in the scheme of things has absolutely nothing on its agenda. Nothing. Zilch. Sweet Fanny Adams. It is a complete political vacuum.

The new council leader has backed down on plans to prevent members of the public asking oral questions at full council meetings. He had proposed that members of the public would be allowed to ask questions in writing only, without the option of asking a supplementary question arising from the answer. Last week, I published a plan by Shropshire Council’s new leader to ban the public from asking questions at council meetings. There is some dispute within the council as to whether the committee paper I cited is confidential. I got instructions to withdraw the post. That censorship made headlines.

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