If you live in the town, then you are bound to encounter George and like many others, I make a point saying hello when I see him reading his morning copy of The Sun on the bench in Station Road while he waits for the cafe to open. He is always cheerful and chatty and I'm reminded of Peter Sellers in the movie, 'Being There.' If you ever watched it then perhaps you'll recognise the character.
Changing the subject now to a more serious note, yesterday, I received the decision notice (TDCSC/113/14) from Thanet District Council in regard to the complaint made against me - and two other councillors - a year ago.
This process had been delayed because the complainant., Margate landlady, Ms Louise Oldfield had also made a criminal complaint of harrasment; one which demanded a lengthy police investigation and which I'm sure you have read about by now, if not here, then in the national press or even on the BBC.
So what has all this achieved? Unfortunately, under Freedom of Information rules, the Council is unable to share the on-going costs of satisfying Ms Oldfield's many different inquiries, this one included and I'm afraid that Kent Police, are equally reluctant to reveal how much it cost the taxpayer to have two officers of inspector rank, investigating such serious allegations over a period in excess of six months.
|Arlington under Construction|
And what did we do? In fact absolutely nothing and certainly nothing that might be regarded as either criminal of malicious. At worst, we tacitly disagreed with Ms Oldfield's position on the proposed Tesco development on Margate seafront and nothing more.
As Simon Davies of Privacy International described it:
"The move signals a bizarre twist in British policing from extending criminal evidence from content to context. This has the potential to create a serious chilling effect on free expression.........The most disquieting aspect of the police action is that the unnamed councillor faces criminal charges for doing no more than “liking” a Facebook post of the former mayor of Margate, pointing out that an objector’s artist’s impression of the proposed Tesco development is in the wrong place and of the wrong size. The development’s opponent claims this was “offensive” to her and complained she was the subject of criminal harassment by the three prominent local councillors."
Is this, I wonder what readers expect from Thanet's politics; that the police should become involved, over a disagreement on whether a Tesco store should be built on Margate's seafront and then should come knocking on the doors of councillors homes to interview three of them under caution, because someone holding an opposite opinion, is offended by what the Thanet Council Standards Committee describes as "No more than freedom of speech?"
I leave the final judgement to my readers, after all, both the police and the Council have now arrived at similar conclusions and perhaps the public sees things differently? Now, at last we have seen an end of it and if the local, rather than national press make any mention of it, I will be very surprised.