Along with the suggestion that Man never walked on the moon and little green men crashed their flying saucer at Roswell in New Mexico, we have:
"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."
This is, I'm afraid the usual left wing rhetoric I have come to expect from Clr 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.
Secondly, what I have said quite clearly and repeatedly is that I believe all councillors, Nottingham included, have a public duty to be both courteous and responsible and should not responsibly permit (through unmoderated blogs), defamatory and malicious personal comments to appear concerning other councillors.
Thirdly, there's no suggestion of censorship of any kind. - This is ironic coming from a Labour Party which does everything in its power to control the media. - This is simply a legitimate concern from the council officers, that a blogging code of conduct, in terms of common courtesy, respect and moderation, would be a step forward in improving the atmosphere of local politics.
Call me old-fashioned if you like but I consider grown-up, polite, intelligent and perhaps even a little humourous debate to be more productive than Blog headlines such as "Cllr 'N' Embarrasing Birchington", where you will now have that statement sitting on the internet forever, for no good reason other than cynical political malice.
Before I go, there's been some passing comment on the weblogs, Cllr Nottingham's included about 'sneaked-in' increased parking charges.
Readers and opposition politicians may have noticed a financial crisis in the economy which impacts local councils but that's besides the point.
I'm informed by council officers that short stay, on street parking charges were:
- 30 mins - 50p
- 1 hour - 90p
- 1.5 hours - £1.30
- 2 hours - £1.70
In consultation with leading members of the Thanet traders group the charges have been revised and are now:
- 10 mins - 20p (minimum charge)
- 13 mins - 25p
- 30 mins 45p
- 1 hour - 90p
- 1.5 hours - £1.35
- 2 hours - £1.80
You'll notice the important 30 minutes to 1 hour charges. This is actually 5p cheaper and there's now a minimum charge for a ten minute stay, so you don't have to pay 50p anymore.
All in all, this is what the traders were happy with and I'm happy to pay 20p rather than 50p when I drop into the bank. However, please note the levels of exaggeration about these charges elsewhere and draw your own conclusions when it comes to other stories and such 'facts' you may read from the same sources.