Cameras in the Council meetings?


I don’t often agree with much of what the Labour bloggers write and certainly Julian Ware Lane’s offerings since the election havent been up to his usual standard but I read this piece by Jack Monroe.

This is something that I have often felt to be the case having observed the Council chamber from people of all parties. Martin Terry could hardly hide his glee Thursday evening as he forecast that the evening would be fun and told us to watch whilst one of the groups walked out in disgust as they wouldnt get their way. As i say, over the year all the groups have been guilty of this though.

After reading Jack’s blog I sat and thought about it and put it down to the fact that maybe it was down to the press being present and so they wanted a positive write up to get their message to the electorate, I thought about it further and decided that it was hardly a shock that the council behaved this way after watching the weekly punch and Judy show that is PMQs. Cameron promised to end this when he was in opposition and it is to his great shame that he hasnt done so already, however entertaining it is to watch, it is not the purpose of either meetings.

I then, thought well is it the nature of the beast? Politicians need to get across their ideas and views but also need to highlight the shortcomings of others. Are sarcasm and insults the easiest way of getting your point of view noticed and therefore likely to be listened to? I hope not but it happens a lot in the chamber with some individuals.

So how do we stop this? Is this the reason some people are turning off politics, do they assume that politicians behave this way as they are only interested in themselves? Would having the meetings streamed onto a website help matters or would people play up for them even more? I dont know but I do agree with Jack and repeat her call that `it’s high time everyone put down their swords and catapults and stopped poking out their tongues, and got on with the bloody job.`

About delthomas

I was the Conservative Candidate for Victoria Ward in Southend. We have had 13 years in which Victoria Ward and the resident's interests have largely been ignored and I stood to help change that. Although ultimately i failed to get in, I led a number of successful campaigns to help the residents of Victoria including finally getting CCTV cameras into the lifts at the Queensway flats, something which the Block Voices, some residents and the Labour Party told me would never happen. Outside of the ward I have also been heavily involved in the campaign to make the Council more transparent by allowing council meetings to be filmed which has now been passed. Outside of politics, I take part in a lot of community voluntary work and you will see me regularly on a weekend as a Street Pastor and I am also involved on the local homeless scene. Please if you have an issue then get in contact with me.
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12 Responses to Cameras in the Council meetings?

  1. The trouble seems to be that politics is Media-driven, so PMQs are full of insults and soundbites, and this behaviour feeds down into the Council chamber where the press are present to pick it up, and thus the cycle continues. It’s almost as though there is a fear of being serious about politics; which in itself is disrespectful to the electorate who not only went out in the rain on polling day to vote, but are affected in the real world by decisions made off the back of jibes, insults, point-proving and oneupmanship. We deserve better than the behaviour displayed both in recent Council meetings, and behind closed doors. Del, you’re an inspiration with your positive campaign, and certainly food for thought as to how we should all be conducting ourselves.

  2. Who walked out in disgust? I do not recognise this as a description of the Labour group, so am curious as to who this is aimed at.

    • southendvictoriaward says:

      No one walked out in disgust. Martin Terry was saying before the meeting that he was looking forward to seeing the Lib Dem group walk out of the meeting in disgust

  3. Del, I am in favour of having council meetings streamed via the internet not only Full Council but all scrutiny committees as well. I believe it will enhance the democratic process as well. I have great respect for you and Jack but I do disagree with you both on one point. I do not believe members play to the press as what gets reported isn’t on occasions the whole picture nor is all of its proceedings reported either. Also attendance in the public gallery can on occasions be sparce.

    Where I think filming and recording of council meetings will help, it would, I believe, stop some saying and doing one thing in the council chamber and then saying another in public and maybe, just maybe it may open up the council to more residents of this town

    • southendvictoriaward says:

      I agree that is an issue.
      I feel that some people especially the Independents do play up to the press especially in scrutiny meetings and to a large extent, because negative stories sell more papers, they are successful.

    • Thankyou Tony.
      I agree that cameras in the Council chamber would make local politics more accessible to people who might not attend a Council meeting, and also a valid tool for accountability. The publics opinion of politicians are that they say anything to get elected in the weeks leading up to polling day and forget it all by the end of the count. The face of politics needs to change from a nasty, deceitful one, to an honest and open expression.

  4. Reblogged this on A Girl Called Jack and commented:
    Del Thomas, Conservative activist in Victoria Ward and candidate in this years elections, discusses cameras in the Council chamber and accountability. JM.

  5. Ok, I have re-read my recent posts and I see no discernible drop in standard: piss-poor today, piss-poor yesterday. Is it my subject matter that gives rise to your derision? Blame the daft voters in Milton who voted for this idiot.

    Now, explain how you can put ‘camera’ in the title of this post and then succeed in not mentioning them once!

    • southendvictoriaward says:

      Julian, I would never claim you were an idiot! I just feel that the level of your material has dropped maybe in correlation with the level of work as a councillor? I appreciate you have less time now.

      Without rereading my post I thought I had mentioned them when talking about streaming meetings to the internet. Maybe I havent, I will have to reread it!

  6. Pingback: Frivolous thoughts: video-streaming of council meetings in a time of austerity « Julian's musings

  7. Pingback: Southend Council in discussions to stream council meetings live on the internet

  8. Neil says:

    More than likely it’ll take forever, if at all, for any of them to agree on anything.
    It is, however, good entertainment and should perhaps replace some of the drivvle the BBC churn out, at our expense. Those involved at all levels, nationally and locally need to start listening to the professionals, local residents, local businesses etc, instead of promising things that can’t be delivered. People are turned off because they don’t believe the bullshit. The press, the negative press, are helping to destroy this country with the fuel provided by the sheer lies, deceit and fraud by both sides of the house. Cameron is so far removed from realty, he’s setting up home on the moon. And as for Ed and Ed…well… And who’s the other one…ohh yeah, Captain Clegg.
    Big society, what happened there…If I was as incompetent as any of them I’d be on me arse, black bagged and told to never darken these shores again… Feed em to the sharks. Last point…’O’ levels, isn’t that regression…

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