Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dumb Politics.

My opposite number in neighbouring Totnes, Liberal Democrat PPC and councillor Julian Brazil, has found himself 'in trouble' following allegations that he bullied a council officer and breached a national code of conduct.

He faces a potential six-month ban from representing the people who freely elected him if he is found 'guilty' by the non-elected Standards Board, a situation I think is grossly undemocratic regardless of the political allegiance of the councillor concerned.

At best the very expensive Standards Board has become little more than a way to slur opponents and at worst it risks crushing democratic accountability which is why the Conservatives have pledged to do away with it.

Liberal Democrats will surely agree with my view that it should be for voters to decide if the behaviour of their elected representatives is to an acceptable standard or not. The Leader of the Lib Dems in Local Government Cllr Richard Kemp (pictured) certainly does.

He called for the closure of the Standards Board for England in February this year, saying "The standard of decisions that are made by officers inside and outside councils relating to standards issues is diabolically low ....Officers make arbitrary decisions based on a whim about what action to take in what circumstances."

So it was really dumb politics for Liberal Democrats here in Torbay to seize on a Torbay Conservative councillors recent one-month ban (for doing exactly the same thing as Mr Brazil is accused of) and plaster lurid headlines about it across their leaflets.

Either dumb, or shockingly Hypocritical.

At the request of the person who made them, I have removed some comments from the comment section.


Mr T said...

I'll go with 'shockingly hypocritical' and would add: 'as usual'.

Mr T said...

I have also heard 'mixed' reviews concerning Mr Brazil - and from some prominent Lib Dems - but I agree with Marcus Wood that the people who should judge a councillor or any elected representative are their electorate and certainly not a kangaroo court of council officers.

Anonymous said...

Marcus is quite right to campaign for the abolition of the standards board and I admire his NOT using the Brazil case to score petty points againts his Lib Dem Opponents. Grown up debate is what we need amd, at last, in Torbay we are getting it!

Anonymous said...

"The boys from Brazil" - surely weren't they a mercenary lot?!

Anonymous said...

Are you saying the standards committee are not elected most are in one way or another and the chairman is independant Councillors who break the code of conduct should answer to someone!