Sunday, 26 July 2009

HOW COUNCILLORS BLOGGING SAVES THOUSANDS OF POUNDS


Fellow Thanet Councillor Simon Moores has launched a personal attack on me on his website.
First he quotes from yesterday's blog by myself:

"Cllr. Moores has confirmed there is a proposed policy on local blogs. I think he should publish his draft at the earliest opportunity. This will allow for the widest possible consultation. By keeping the plans secret for as long as possible, he is limiting debate on a matter of legitimate public interest."

He rebuts my statement:

"This is, I'm afraid the usual left wing rhetoric I have come to expect from Cllr Nottingham's weblog, straying from the facts and reflecting the political style of the Labour Party nationally.

First there's no tangible policy on a Blogs protocol that I'm aware of at present, even a draft. It's the same discussion that I'm sure he has shared,like me, with the monitoring officer on several occasions."

I have made the point to Simon previously that I try to reference everything I put on this blog, and make it clear when it is my opinion and when it is a fact. So what's the source of my statement that Simon Moores has confirmed the policy paper on blogs? Unsurprisingly, it is Simon Moores himself.

Have a look at the comments on my blog 2 weeks ago on 14th July, Simon Moores says:


"Let's be clear Mark. The Blogs protocol discussion comes from the Cheif Executive at TDC and is not some kind of conspiracy to "Close Down" Labour Blogs.

You know as well as I do that the council has been dismayed by some of the inflamatory and insulting language used freely on Blogs published by several individuals. If you were party to the same discussions as me, you'll also know that it's a matter of responsible self expression in an adult manner which treats others with respect; quite the opposite of Derek Draper's example.

I signed-up to that principle, adding on occasions the occasional 'tongue in cheek' remark in good humour. I would encourage you and your colleagues to do the same."

Simon Moores today says:
First there's no tangible policy on a Blogs protocol that I'm aware of at present, even a draft.

Simon Moores 2 weeks ago says 3 things:

1. That he is involved in a blog protocol discussion.

2. He is in discussions about the protocol that exclude Labour representatives.

3. That he has signed up to the protocol and made an amendment.

So there is a written protocol on councillors blogging, Simon Moores has seen it and amended it.

Now I am placed in a quandry. Was Simon Moores telling the truth on 14th July? Or is he telling the truth today?

Thankfully I have further sources who confirm that Simon was telling the truth on 14th July, and not today.

Now if I was a Conservative Thanet District Councillor I would await that documentation, and issue to the Standards Committee on several counts against Simon Moores. However, I'm not a Thanet Conservative, I'm Thanet Labour so I am just going to write a blog and not spend several thousand pounds of taxpayers money to make the same point. Another great benefit of councillors blogging that Simon wants to stop. Quick rebuttal.

What I would like from Simon Moores is a written apology. This is not the first time he has misrepresented me. I have let it go in the past, but it is becoming a habit. I hope he will do the honourable thing promptly without any quibbling.

He should also withdraw from any further discussions on the blogging protocol as he has demonstrated the biased approach he will take to secure Conservative Party advantage.

7 comments:

  1. Mark

    This is unmitigated drivel of the cheapest kind I'm afraid.

    I repeat and for the record, this is a discussion prompted by concerned council officers. There is no tangible policy that I am aware of. There is no written protocol that I have seen, discussed or otherwise. There has never been at any time, any sugegstion of Labour members being excluded from such discussions. In fact, I raised the very same concerns in conversation with both your Whip and Deputy Leader over a week ago. A matter you are clearly unaware of.

    I politely suggest that you reconsider your rather hysterical outburst in view of the facts and cease bringing your party into more disrepute than it is already suffering on a national and almost daily basis!

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  2. Simon you fail to address the point entirely. You have seen the protocol, amended it and signed up to it. You said that on 14th July trying to deny it now is dishonest.

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  3. So, councillors, I didn't read in the Isle of Thanet Gazette that Councillor Moores is working with Richard Samuel, Chief Executive of TDC, on a blogs' 'code of conduct'?

    So, the reporter got it wrong and there isn't/going to be a protocol for councillors' blogs?

    Mind you, if there were Councillor Moores couldn't post an attack on a Labour councillor like the one he has currently on his blog.

    This whole protocol business seems to me to be an attempt by the Tories in power to stifle valid criticism of them by the Opposition and smacks more of what happens in Zimbabwe or China than what we expect in Britain.

    We have libel laws so if anyone feels they've been unjustly attacked in print that's the way forward but let's remember that politics is a rough old game and you must expect knocks/bruises/criticism. Running to Standards because someone's written something you don't like is childish. Councillors who represent me I expect to be fairly robust and to have a sense of humour and be willing to take criticism in their stride. If not, get out and let someone else represent me. They couldn't do worse than the two Tories who do.

    If this protocol, Oh, I forgot, there isn't one...

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  4. Anon 07:58 is spot on. I would like to add that the chief exec and countless other council staff are wasting tax payers money by spending time on this issue. Cllr/Dr Moores can spend all the time he likes on it but at the end of the day he cannot complain that he spends excessive time on council business and I am sure if he has time to spare there are many more pressing issues that need his time.

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  5. From where I stand with no political axe to grind this is a waste of time and the fact the council are employing someone and that someone will I expect be on a salary far larger than I have to live on, and they are being paid out of tax payers money to achieve what? to me this is all cobblers and a complete waste of money I saw David Cameron on the television yesterday saying he wants to cut out the waste and remove some polititians lets hope he starts with some of the overpaid useless ones in Thanet the more I read these blogs the more I realise you should all be in short trousers and have someone to check behind your ears so the wet thats there wont turn into a cold and keep you off school.

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  6. It never ceases to amaze me how whenever we point out any Tory shortcomings we are accused of being 'political' but when they start on us they are being, according to them being 'reasonable and moderate'.

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  7. I can well understand why so many commentators believe that this is simply a (rather misguided) attempt by the Tory Administration to stifle opposing argument and criticism.

    Tory Councillor Moores has, over time and through his blog, mounted strong attacks on a significant number of local bloggers. Invariably these have been bloggers expressing opinions contrary to his and trying to call him and those who are now his colleagues to account. These attacks have often been very personal and offensive. He has allowed others posting on his site to be even “wider of the mark” in their offerings.

    About 18 months ago, he claimed that, because of blog exchanges and comments, he and his family had been exposed to direct (face-to-face) hostility. He offered no evidence for this, however, and many believed his claims to be “utter rubbish”, to use one of his own pet phrases. This did not stop him whining in the press over subsequent weeks and bandying threats of legal action around against other bloggers, which significantly disrupted and damaged the local blogging scene.

    Of course, advancing claims, complaints and charges is his forte. Advancing them without ever producing the supporting evidence is also a strength. After all, spin – of which he is a master – is so much easier than supported, reasoned argument – and facts. It extends to his bad-mouthing reports as “non-stories” without ever returning to explain why and offer, again, the facts.

    At the time of his local threats last year, he revealed that, with his crony Roger Gale, he was trying to get “the powers that be” to revisit the extension of the Laws on libel, defamation etc to include blogging. It would seem that he is trying, through Thanet Council, to achieve something locally that looks a very little like what he would like to achieve nationally. Given that what he really seeks to “cure” and stifle is criticism and opposition, that is quite worrying.

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