Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hear All Sides?

A sure sign that the opposition are rattled is when they try to shut you down.

This blog has played a modest part in highlighting just a few of the serious flaws of the elected Mayor system. Cue the letter in yesterday's Echo from Jean Jones, Chair of the Darlington Tory's Women's section, questioning whether I should have the audacity to post on the Referendum Campaign from a Council-owned PC.

This blog does not rely on support from officers, and is clearly a collection of my own opinions. I will be taking advice nonetheless as to what machines I can use to alter the blog - fortunately I have access to at least two other computers, so the clumsy attempt by Referendum supporters to gag me on the subject of the elected Mayor is doomed to failure.

11 comments:

miketually said...

Hear All Sides - Elected Mayor

I think she's referring to the running costs of the site, of which there won't be any as it's a BlogSpot-hosted site.

Using a council-funded PC to post here wouldn't be any different to using one to write an email to the Echo, would it?

ian holme said...

Nick,
Can i take it that you have taken responsibility for leading a No campaign, formally or informally on behalf of the labour group?

Only asking as the total silence on this matter from all your colleagues(other than a couple of generic answers from JW) makes this the obvious conclusion.

Otherwise, I would have expected at least a couple of "personal responses" on a proposal to remove much of their power and influence.

Personally, dont think the letter from Jean Jones was particularly helpful. This subject is too important to the future of Darlington to be sidetracked into petty squabbles.

We need an open and positive debate on all of the pros and cons of the various systems available, and let the people give an informed decision.
We all know the rules that DBC have to follow and i am very sure they/you will be very carefully watched. But this must not be allowed to detract from the debate.

ian holme said...

Nick,
following is an extract from Harvey Smith. This refers to comments he says were made by Bill Dixon at the Constituency Labour Party AGM, at the Dolphin Centre on Saturday. Were you there? Did Dixon make these comments? what is your position on this?

Surely if true, Dixons position is untenable?




"Nor do I want to hear a repeat of democratically elected Mayors, in the Northeast, being described respectively as “a bent cop, an animal impersonator and a paedophile” by Councillor Bill Dixon. This is as disgusting as it is unfair and disgraceful. I applaud Alan Milburn, Member of Parliament, for his instantaneous reaction in disassociating himself from these remarks."

Anonymous said...

Also, Nick, it is reported that you objected to the presence at your AGM of a Labour Party member who supported your Party's policy on elected mayors (this is, after all, a Blairite/Miliband policy). Is it not you who was out of line here, not the member you wished to exclude from the meeting?

Anonymous said...

Also, Nick, it is reported that you objected to the presence at your AGM of a Labour Party member who supported your Party's policy on elected mayors (this is, after all, a Blairite/Miliband policy). Is it not you who was out of line here, not the member you wished to exclude from the meeting?

Mike Barker said...

Previous comment left by me, not "anonymous"!

Darlington Councillor said...

Firstly, I am not "leading" a no campaign on behalf of the Labour Group either formally or informally. This happens to be an issue about which I feel very strongly (as you will have gathered) and I think it's probably because of my blog comments that I have somehow been catapulted into the position as some kind of spokesperson against the elected mayor scheme. No doubt as other people come forward to voice their objections and concerns, I will recede into the background.

Secondly, in my 19 years as a Labour Party member, I have never known one colleague repeat a version of what took place at meeting to the press and elsewhere in order to denigrate fellow Party members or their point of view.

I completely agree with Ian when he hoped that this would be a battle of ideas and not personal mudslinging, and therefore I have desisted from commenting on the personal agendas of those fronting the Referendum campaign, including Stuart Hill. I will maintain radio silence on that point, and neither will I comment on the twisted version of my words Mr Hill has been spinning (although you can gather what I think of them and him). Unless agreed at their outset, Labour Party meetings are private and I will make no further comment about Saturday's AGM.

There - I feel better now!

Darlington Councillor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mike barker said...

Please don't recede into the background! Darlington politicos need you!

The Darlington Tory said...

Nick, Nick, Nick you really do want your cake and to eat it don't you, how can you claim privacy of a meeting when plenty of New Labour cllrs had something to say about the recent Conservative leadership "private Meeting" and the reasons for change.

" in my 19 years as a Labour Party member, I have never known one colleague repeat a version of what took place at meeting to the press and elsewhere in order to denigrate fellow Party members or their point of view".

Perhaps if the comments made by Dixon were not so despicable, it may never have reached the paper, but like Vasey-Smith I am sure Dixon will be protected in stead of being dropped like a lead balloon.

Dave.

Darlington Councillor said...

Dave, Dave, Dave, it wasn't hard for Labour Councillors to comment on the Tory Group meeting which knifed Tony Richmond when the Tory Group itself was leaking like a sieve. Stuart Hill knows perfectly well that all decent Labour Party members wouldn't dream of commenting on the details of a meeting without the agreement of the people at that meeting, so he feels able to peddle whatever self-serving twaddle about me he chooses.

Me and Stuart - we're not bezzie mates!

Thanks for your input Mike. I've checked the legal position now - in general there is no problem with me blogging from a Council-owned machine, although I will use other machines to post on the elected Mayor issue (as I'm doing now). Crazy, isn't it - still it should keep Jean Jones and her lay-dees happy (I have a recurring Little Britain image of them).

Me and Jean go way back of course, or at least her husband Peter Jones. In the early 90's Peter drunkenly assaulted me at the entrance to the Town Hall whilst I was being interviewed by Radio Cleveland, but that's another story...