A Letter to the Editor from Rob BARNETT, SBC Labour Councillor for Streonshalh ward, responding to recent Meetings of Full Council at at Scarborough Town Hall.
In the interests of democracy, openness, and transparency in Government, I would like to make the ensuing points to your readers and followers.
In the past two weeks, we have witnessed concerted efforts in SBC to shut down debate, to negate the opportunity to express opinion and to reduce the Council Chamber to the status of being not fit for democratic purpose.
Of course, that purpose should be to allow the people (all of us) access to debate, no matter what political persuasion. Voltaire is famously attributed with saying words to the effect, “I disapprove of what you say, but defend to the death your right to say it.”
Please look at the last two webcasts of the SBC Council meetings.
Please tell me if they came even close to allowing us a reasoned, adult, sensible and informative debate?
For me, this charade defies logic.
As an elected representative, I have a duty to present the views of people in my ward (Streonshalh, Whitby). On the previous two occasions, I have been denied this opportunity. Furthermore, I am then tarred with the same brush – “Yes, you are all the same”.
Hence, understandably, people are disengaging; e.g. 13% turn out in local by-elections.
Democratic freedoms, openness, transparency, etc, are vital to a functioning democracy, where people feel they are heard. Surely, they no longer feel that this is the case.
Only if we stand up to this tyranny can we be assured that every voice will be heard. As far as SBC is concerned, Voltaire would be turning in his grave!
For your readers, here is the statement I was planning to read before I was undemocratically denied the opportunity:
You will recall that Whitby Town Council passed a resolution of No Confidence – dubbed WHEXIT.
Alas, in response, the Council received a derisory note from Scarborough Borough Council, which said, ‘What do YOU propose to do about it?’
Shouldn’t the onus be on Scarborough Borough Council?
The question is, why is my town (and Filey) so fed up with the Borough Council? The issues revolve around:
My constituents in Whitby feel their voices have been ignored on issues such as:
- Failure to manage the pier restoration over many years
- Failure to deal with the housing problem
- Failure to manage the harbour properly
- Failure to allocate monies for infrastructure projects
- Failure to communicate effectively and listen
It is hardly surprising that the Town Council has expressed a lack of confidence.
That was the intended thrust of my address. Not much to ask, is it?
Cllr Rob Barnett
Councillor Rob BARNETT, Whitby. 10th July, 2017.