Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Is democracy dead in Reading? #rdguk

Jamie Melanie Rob victoryI used to think that whilst Labour councillors would not always agree with what I said at least they would allow me to speak. No more.

Tonight at the Strategic Transport, Environment and Planning (SEPT) committee I went along as Councillor Whitham, the only Green councillor on the committee had been called away to work in Belgium at short notice.

It has been my experience previously, and the council constitution allows, any councillor to give notice that they would like to speak at a meeting and it is then at the discretion of the chair. I don't ever remember the chair ever saying no to a councillor before. So tonight I asked to speak on four items.

However on the first real item on the agenda, Bet Tickner the Labour councillor chairing this committee broke with this convention and would not allow me to represent my constituents and speak. She did not give a reason in the meeting, but before the meeting had talked about a "full agenda".

I spoke out against this injustice, but failed to get anywhere.

Surprisingly on the next agenda item despite one of the members of the public speaking and using up their allocated time Bet was happy, despite the "full agenda" to find time for another member of the public, from the same organisation, to speak.

Finally, to add insult to injury when I tried to get back into the Civic Centre to check my councillor emails at 9 PM, fully expecting the meeting which started at 6:30 PM to still be going because of its "full agenda", it was locked up as the meeting had finished early.

Full agenda or Labour being antidemocratic?

Do you believe in a functioning democracy locally? If so why not get involved with the Green Party to make this a reality: http://reading.greenparty.org.uk/get-involved/

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