Tuesday 23rd July 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

WTC: “Animal Farm”

September 30, 2023 Whitby Town

WTC: “Animal Farm”

  • – an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, responding to reader-feedback on the Enquirer’s coverage of Whitby Town Council’s Extraordinary Meeting on Tuesday 26th September 2023, where, despite a packed public gallery, members proceeded to verbally abuse each other and members of the public, without restraint – clearly having forgotten their legally-binding commitment to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and the NALC Civility & Respect Pledge. All in all, a PR catastrophe of spectacular proportions.

~~~~~

Readers unable to attend the meeting have requested sight of the widely-applauded speech given by former Councillor Amanda SMITH. Her resonant dismissal of Councillor Noreen “You can shove your camera up your arse!” WILSON’s absurd ‘non-Motion’, seconded by former Mayor, Councillor Linda “Don’t you know who I am?” WILD, and carried by the present Mayor’s spurious casting vote, is one to remember – though it flew way over the heads of those in most need of its message.

But first, a reminder of that ‘non-Motion’ which, in the hands of an unbiased and diligent Clerk, should never have seen the light of day, much less made it onto the Agenda of a government institution Meeting – unless, of course, its purpose was to exacerbate the present toxicity:

In the hands of a seemingly biased (or incompetent) Chair, a formal meeting of a local government body was thus transmogrified into a travesty of democratic representation:
Were it not for the manifest unfairness of the entire ‘debate’, those who attended might have deemed it a laughing-stock. Sadly, Amanda SMITH’s eloquence went unheeded. Perhaps, on deeper consideration, it will not be too late for the refractory members to wake up, wise up – and resign.

AMANDA SMITH’S STATEMENT
Whitby Town Council is the bedrock from which our democracy is built. Its current Councillors carry the burden of guiding it through unprecedented times. As this Motion says, the residents of Whitby expect our Councillors to act in the best interests of our town, but we also require you to hold this Council to the highest democratic standards.
The  Oxford Dictionary defines democracy as:

“A political system that allows the citizens to participate in political decision‐making, or to elect representatives to government bodies.”

And yet here you are suggesting that to consult the voters of Whitby be it through a Motion, a Town Meeting or even a Town Poll is disruptive to the business of a Council.

Without consultation there can be no Council business; without consultation there is no democracy; without democracy, WTC is an irrelevancy.
Voting for this Motion would be to sign the death warrant of the Council you are claiming  to support.

We should be applauding those Councillors who are going the extra mile to support debate – thanking those members who are actively seeking the opinions of the electorate. Instead, you appear to be asking them to resign. This surely is the first step to the demise of democracy.

Not only does this Motion endanger our democratic governance, it also endangers our Human Rights.

Article 10.1 of the Human Rights Act states that:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

For example, it may be that, as a Councillor, you consider that placing a three- possibly four-storey building in the heart of this historic town is a triviality – and, thanks to Article 10, you have the right to express that controversial view.
What you don’t have is the right to silence others who express an alternate opinion.
I applaud the Code of Conduct which requires you to lead by example – an example that requires you to listen to alternative points of view.
A Code of Conduct that demands you don’t belittle, ridicule or silence those who express alternative ideas.

That anyone thought this a suitable motion for an Extraordinary Meeting of Council astounds me!
I hope it was an aberration and not a chilling forecast of a dystopian future.

Once again, please support Democracy. Please support Freedom of Expression.
Vote against this Motion – or better still withdraw it.

Amanda Smith


Also of interest is the following social media comment from a member of the public present at the meeting:


PARISH POLL

North Yorkshire Council Electoral Services has kindly provided the following street-by-street guide to Polling Stations for the forthcoming Parish Poll, to be held on:

Friday 6th October 2023, 4:00pm – 9:00pm.

No postal votes. No proxy votes. Don’t forget to bring your Photo ID.

Download the PDF file XXX.

Or DOWNLOAD the list here.

A Map of the Catchment Areas of each of the 8 Polling Stations can be found here.


Comments are closed.