Friday 14th December 2018,
North Yorks Enquirer

New Mayor’s Double-Standards Debut

New Mayor’s Double-Standards Debut

A paper-trail by Guest Author ALI WILKINS.

~~~~~

After the Scarborough Borough Council meeting this month (on 02.07.18), I was compelled to write to the new Mayor, Cllr Joseph Plant.

My email below is self-explanatory.

From: Ali wilkins
Sent: 03 July 2018 14:25
To: Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk
Cc: cllr.derek.bastiman@scarborough.gov.uk; cllr.vanda.inman@scarborough.gov.uk; Cllr.Andrew.Jenkinson@scarborough.gov.uk; jim.dillon@scarborough.gov.uk
Subject: Full Council Meeting 2.7.18.

Hi Joseph,

I write to you in your capacity as Mayor. 

I could not help but notice that during the meeting at 33:12 Cllr Vanda Inman used the word ‘claptrap’ which means – according to the Collins English Dictionary:

  • If you describe something that someone says as ‘claptrap’, you mean that it is stupid or foolish although it may sound important.’

Cllr Inman was pulled up sharply by yourself at 33:25 for using the word and was told to use ‘proper words’.  I am sure that ‘claptrap’ is a proper word as it is in Collins.  However, I would take the liberty of assuming that you meant that ‘claptrap’ was an inappropriate word to be used during a council meeting.

This said, I do not understand why, at 2.09.53 when Cllr Andrew Jenkinson said the word ‘chuffing’ he was not brought to task at all.

According to Collins:

  • ‘Chuffing’ is a euphemism for the taboo word f***.

Now the use of this offensive word may have escaped yours and Jim Dillon’s notice because you can be heard talking on your mike during Cllr Jenkinson’s oration. In the past, we have often heard the Mayor talking to Jim Dillon during members presentations. This in itself is rude – particularly when you expect quiet from members. Or you may have just let it go. I suspect it was the former.

I appreciate this was your first meeting as Mayor but I am sure you will agree that if you found ‘claptrap’ offensive then ‘chuffing’ is totally unacceptable from a Council member and Portfolio Holder. I find it inappropriate.

I would be pleased if you could address this.

Regards,

Ali Wilkins.

PS: I am delighted that the dire toilet situation in Scarborough is to be looked at again by Council.

Only an hour and twenty-five minutes later, I received this acknowledgement:

From: Cllr.Joseph Plant <Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk>
Sent: 03 July 2018 15:50
To: Ali wilkins
Cc: cllr.derek.bastiman@scarborough.gov.uk; cllr.vanda.inman@scarborough.gov.uk; Cllr.Andrew.Jenkinson@scarborough.gov.uk; jim.dillon@scarborough.gov.uk
Subject: Re: Full Council Meeting 2.7.18.

Dear Ali Wilkins.

Your email is noted and will receive the appropriate attention. 

Kind regards.  Joe

A couple of weeks passed and, hoping that ‘appropriate attention’ did not mean ‘filing it in the bin’, I politely inquired:

From: Ali wilkins
Sent: 16 July 2018 09:36
To: Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk
Cc: cllr.derek.bastiman@scarborough.gov.uk; cllr.vanda.inman@scarborough.gov.uk; Cllr.Andrew.Jenkinson@scarborough.gov.uk; jim.dillon@scarborough.gov.uk
Subject: Re: Full Council Meeting 2.7.18.

Hi Joseph,

I have not yet received a response to my email to you of 3rd other than an acknowledgement. 

I would be pleased if you could find the time to respond.

Regards,

Ali Wilkins.

The very next day, I received the following response and noticed that now Lisa Dixon (Monitoring Officer) was copied in:

From: Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk
Sent: 17 July 2018 12:53
To: Ali wilkins
Cc: cllr.derek.bastiman@scarborough.gov.uk; cllr.vanda.inman@scarborough.gov.uk; Cllr.Andrew.Jenkinson@scarborough.gov.ukLisa.Dixon@scarborough.gov.uk, jim.dillon@scarborough.gov.uk,
Subject: Re: Full Council Meeting 2.7.18.

Dear Ali Wilkins

Thank you for your emails dated 3 July and 16 July.

Further to my initial response, I would like to add that I share your view on the importance of councillors’ language in the Council Chamber and to reassure you that as Chair of the Council meeting, I will do my best to remain vigilant over the use of language and other aspects of Members’ conduct at the remaining Council meetings in my Mayoral year.’

Regards

Mayor
Cllr Joe Plant
Whitby West Cliff
mob: +44 7864 965479
https://www.scarborough.gov.uk
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/scarboroughboroughmayor

Naturally I replied:

From: Ali wilkins
Sent: 19 July 2018 08:33
To: Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk
Cc: cllr.derek.bastiman@scarborough.gov.uk; cllr.vanda.inman@scarborough.gov.uk; Cllr.Andrew.Jenkinson@scarborough.gov.uk; jim.dillon@scarborough.gov.uk, Lisa.Dixon@scarborough.gov.uk
Subject: Re: Full Council Meeting 2.7.18.

Hi Joseph,

Thank you for your response. 

And thank you for sharing my view on the use of unacceptable language by a councillor during a council meeting.

I take it that your statement to do your best to remain vigilant during meetings throughout the rest of your term as Mayor is by way of an explanation for missing Cllr Jenkinson’s expletive.

However these statements and your assurances are not an apology or acknowledgement for what is clearly a case double standards.

I would like you to address this please.

Regards,

Ali Wilkins

A few days later I received the following response:

From: Cllr.Joseph Plant <Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk>
Sent: 25 July 2018 13:09
To: Ali wilkins
Cc: cllr.derek.bastiman@scarborough.gov.uk; cllr.vanda.inman@scarborough.gov.uk; Cllr.Andrew.Jenkinson@scarborough.gov.ukLisa.Dixon@scarborough.gov.uk, jim.dillon@scarborough.gov.uk,
Subject: Re: Full Council Meeting 2.7.18.

Dear Ali Wilkins.

Further to your email dated 19 July 2018, I have nothing further to add, and as far as I am concerned, the matter is closed.

Regards

Mayor
Cllr Joe Plant
Whitby West Cliff
mob: +44 7864 965479
https://www.scarborough.gov.uk
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/scarboroughboroughmayor

Since my initial email, for whatever reason, the perpetrator of the expletive – Cllr Jenkinson – has resigned from the Cabinet.

And as you can see, the Mayor, Cllr Plant, has said he will do his best to be vigilant for language in future meetings he will chair.

However, this does not detract from the fact that this is clearly a case of double standards, for which the Mayor, Cllr Joe Plant, flatly refuses to even acknowledge – never mind address. We deserve much more than this! But honestly, with this Council leadership would we, Joe Public, expect anything more?

Let’s hope in future meetings that the only ‘oaths’ will be to uphold the Codes of Conduct.

But, sadly, until those Codes are upheld and policed properly by a Mayor adhering to his own Code of Conduct during meetings, I think it may be too optimistic to hope for fairer meetings – allowing proper debate.

Comments are closed.