LETTER: Democracy and facts lacking

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I was granted the privilege (though this may not be the right word) of speaking from the floor at the start of HDC’s EGM on Wednesday 18th March.

As an exercise in local democracy, I found the process severely lacking. The way I saw it was that a narrow minority of councillors were unhappy at having to vote on matters on which they did not have the required information. Acknowledging this, council officers promised to provide full information within two to three weeks.

However, the majority of councillors seemed content to press ahead and assent to a deficient document in which (to take one example) crucial figures were represented by the symbol ‘xxx’.

Now, I would never have tried to get away with such during my working life. Had I attempted to do so, I would expect to have been severely censured. So it is beyond me why our local representatives should feel that a different standard of accountability applies to them.

However, since the complete council is subject to re-election in a few weeks’ time, we County Times readers will have the opportunity to offer our thoughts on the matter via the ballot box.

All I would say is that before voting out the whole council, voters may wish to find out which councillors stood up for their principles and voted for a slight delay until they had enough information to make a decision… as against those councillors who did not. Perhaps the County Times could publish a list to help us?

Sadly, it seems that we have not yet learned in this country that when presented with a ‘Dodgy Document’ and faced with a demand to approve it NOW, the answer ought to be ‘No!’

PETER HANDLEY

The Fieldings, Southwater