Monday 22nd May 2017,
North Yorks Enquirer

Another Citizen Journalist Under The Cosh

Another Citizen Journalist Under The Cosh

  • an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, reporting on another case of a beleaguered public servant reaching for the cover of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

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The web-site of citizen-journalist, campaigner, East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor and renowned wit Andy STRANGEWAY [Independent.] reports today that he has been telephoned this morning by the Humberside Police, seeking a meeting with him at which to serve a Police Information Notice (usually known as a “Harassment Warning”), pursuant to a complaint by a humourless fellow ERYC Councillor – a Conservative Councillor – who allegedly feels harassed (alarmed and distressed) by two satirical photoons featured on Councillor STRANGEWAY’s web-site. Diddums.

Readers who are unaware of what a ‘photoon’ is are invited to visit the North Yorks Enquirer Photoons Gallery, here. Alternatively, take a look at every front cover of Private Eye since 1963.

The identity of the complaining Councillor has not been released, but a glance at Andy STRANGWAY’s web-site shows that the only ERYC Councillors who have been the butts of Councillor STRANGEWAY’s acid wit on more than a single occasion (it takes a ‘course of conduct’ comprising at least two incidents to fall within the terms of the PfH Act) are:

ERYC Leader, Councillor Stephen PARNABY [Con.] – to whom I wrote an Open Letter on 26th June 2016.

ERYC Deputy Leader Councillor  Jonathan OWEN [Con.].

ERYC Councillor Dominic PEACOCK [Con.] – against whom I have lodged a Formal Complaint in respect of his contemptible remarks regarding murdered MP, Jo COX [Lab.].

ERYC Councillor Dee (Dorothea) SHARPE [Con.] – whose reputation I need not rehearse here.

Four Tories. Take your pick.

There is an irony inherent in the notion that however much a public servant may set her(him)self up as a laughing stock – never mind a criminal – there remains an innate and arrogant belief that any kind of criticism (even in fun) amounts to harassment.

It would seem to me that if anyone has been harassed here it is Councillor STRANGEWAY, who certainly has himself been bombarded with outright abuse by various Conservative immoderates and now has the bobbies on his back. For what? Giving focus to the derision that accompanies these people, behind their backs, wherever they go?

In one case with which I am familar, even reporting prima facie evidence of criminality and/or wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities was claimed to be harrassment.

Like a cocaine addict’s nose, this one will run and run.

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