Friday, April 17, 2009

How many cars should a Councillor own?

The latest bizarre effort from the "Silent Majority" in Lakenham; which most people have concluded is part of the UKIP effort in the ward; attacks the useless LibDems. However, in its regular politican / councillor bashing, the "Silent Majority" blast:

DID YOU KNOW SOME COUNCILLORS OWN MORE THAN ONE CAR - EVEN GREEN ONES.

Ok, Ok, own up - which of Ramsay's brigade owns 2 cars? We know which one uses short hop flights so we may as well know this too! This could be quite funny I suppose (and for the record I own one car but generally walk everywhere).

However, does anybody have the right to know this sort of information about their elected representatives? I suppose if there was hypocrisy involved (Prescott, Ming Campbell etc) then maybe but I don't see what the hypocrisy is here.

And something worse comes to mind; we already struggle to recruit for politics, especially at local government level. If you thought your personal and financial details, which are totally legal and above board, will be broadcast for ridicule by anybody with a photocopier, who would step forward for election? Won't this put people off standing for election? But, on the other hand, shouldn't we be totally open about this sort of thing - and then let the electors decide? Isn't this just People Power taken to the n-th degree? Would be interested in your views ...

3 comments:

TJUK2008 said...

Hi Antony, I like your post about the new Lord Mayor. Local journalism really does seem to be reducing at a staggering rate, we hardly get any 'local' news in Thetford now with there being no 'Thetford' reporter and soon to be a closed office for the newspaper too - 'Thetford and Brandon Times'.

On the issues of cars etc. No, I do not think info like that should be available, certainly not at Parish, Town, District and County level, when your role is more of a full-time politician, e.g. MP, MEP - then your lifestyle is entirely funded by taxpayers money and your wages, so there is more of a reasonable public interest. But I certainly think some information should be more widely available, e.g how much councillors do get paid, if they do, and highlight the fact that most do it voluntary, and have to cover their own expenses, and certainly attendance figures is a big thing for me, I bet half our district councillors across Norfolk have low attendances and that is information which should be shared more freely. Best wishes, Terry

Antony said...

Hi Terry,
Thanks for that - I couldn't agree more about Cllrs attendance at meetings; this should be widely shared (even more so when it is poor).

I wrote a post a while ago saying that poor attendance in the case of some ouf our rural Tories is the fault of the opposition. Hear me out ...

If a Norwich Cllr doesn't attend their rampant political opponents will have it all over a leaflet.

In rural Norfolk there is no such opposition (many Cllrs are elected unopposed, for example) so who is there to hold them to account?

And we're back to needing the local media!

Regards,
Antony

TJUK2008 said...

Thanks Antony, I take an interest in the issue of attendances because I owe my seat on the Town Council to the fact that someone resigned from the council for going to just 4 meetings out of 27 in a year and then resigned once this came to light - a Conservative I might add. Several months after my election, I requested an agenda item which basically called for the Town Council to publish annually the attendance details for town councillors, which was held 'below the line' and therefore, not supported by councillors. In our most recent Labour newsletter, we highlighted those councillors with poor attendances which were 12.5%, 40% and 50% for the worst 3 councillors, and it was not very well received! But as you say, this would be the norm elsewhere :) Terry