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News and Comment March 2011

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9 March (Part 5) - “At odds with the fundamentals of democracy”

Pantomime, farce, disgrace, shameful; however you describe it, this evening’s council meeting will take quite some time to turn into a comprehensive blog; it may well take most of tomorrow and is likely to appear in three parts. Until then I leave you with these words written by Bob Neill, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government which he sent to Bexley Council’s Leader only two weeks ago.

“Council meetings have long been open to interested members of the public and recognised journalists, and with the growth of online film, social media and hyper-local online news they should equally be open to ‘Citizen Journalists’ and filming by mainstream media. Bloggers, tweeters, residents with their own websites and users of Facebook and Youtube are increasingly a part of the modern world, blurring the lines between professional journalists and the public.

There are recent stories about people being ejected from council meetings for blogging, tweeting or filming. This potentially is at odds with the fundamentals of democracy and I want to encourage all councils to take a welcoming approach to those who want to bring local news stories to a wider audience.’

Pretty plain speaking eh? Direct and to the point. So what did Mr. Moneybags Tuckley, the Mayor and the Leader do in Bexley tonight? Assembled 18 police in front of the Civic Centre with more behind plus a hired-in collection of tattooed skin-headed heavies and banned anyone with a camera from entering. It was a magnificently staged show of Bexley’s Stalinist approach to democracy and I am deeply grateful to them for providing so much material to assist in bringing their own downfall closer. I’ve heard about people shooting themselves in the foot but never before of it being done with heavy artillery, but when headless chickens are in full panic mode over the truth about the ruling elite being drip-fed daily, it is perhaps a natural, if idiotic, reaction.


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