Freedom to speak must be protected

York Press: Freedom to speak must be protected Freedom to speak must be protected

YOUR report of December 13 regarding City of York Council attempting to block the freedom of speech at council meetings is worrying. I must ask how this was allowed to happen.

This proposed move seems to be a process of blocking the democratic voice. Every individual has a right to express their views.

According to your coverage, the report into this matter was requested with the view that members of the public should not criticise the authority’s officials, should avoid “party politics” and “frivolous” points and should be “factually correct”.

While agreeing that debate should be, as near as possible, “factually correct”, surely it should be up to the chair of the meeting to decide the process of debate.

I sincerely hope that the reason the report was requested was not to suppress public debate.

Howard Perry, Ex Labour York city councillor, St James’s Place, Dringhouses, York.

Comments (6)

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11:08am Mon 23 Dec 13

CaroleBaines says...

I think this needs investigating all round. Is democracy being blocked by the current Council, but also are there those who are deliberately trying to make a sham of the democratic process? Party political point scoring, abuse and so forth does not help the wheels of government to turn either. For once let us get to the facts - what has been going on and by whom?
I think this needs investigating all round. Is democracy being blocked by the current Council, but also are there those who are deliberately trying to make a sham of the democratic process? Party political point scoring, abuse and so forth does not help the wheels of government to turn either. For once let us get to the facts - what has been going on and by whom? CaroleBaines

1:02pm Mon 23 Dec 13

perplexed says...

What is it about politicians ? What they cannot control they try to shut up. Take the '“Transparency of Lobbying, NonParty Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill” for example which the Government are trying to bulldoze through Parliament. This Bill contains measures to regulate lobbyists and measures relating to trade unions. However it also contains
an element in Part 2, on “nonparty campaigning”.

By “nonparty campaigning” the government means campaigning carried out by groups that aren’t political parties – like a charity or a community group.What the law will in effect seek to do is stop charities or communtiy groups campaigning on the issues of the day in the year of an election which will severely limit the freedom of non-political parties to have a voice.

The new rules would mean that anything a Charity or Community Group did that could enhance or diminish the standing of a party or candidate, within a year of an election, would be prohibited whether or not it was the intention to influence the result of the election. So, if a campaigning organisation draws attention to a bad government policy, or criticises an MP, or raises money to pay for adverts opposing plans to privatise the NHS (for example), then that could be legally defined as electioneering and hence be prohibited.

Where our politicians today are weak in their exercise of democracy they excel in their practise of hypocrisy. How sad!
What is it about politicians ? What they cannot control they try to shut up. Take the '“Transparency of Lobbying, NonParty Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill” for example which the Government are trying to bulldoze through Parliament. This Bill contains measures to regulate lobbyists and measures relating to trade unions. However it also contains an element in Part 2, on “nonparty campaigning”. By “nonparty campaigning” the government means campaigning carried out by groups that aren’t political parties – like a charity or a community group.What the law will in effect seek to do is stop charities or communtiy groups campaigning on the issues of the day in the year of an election which will severely limit the freedom of non-political parties to have a voice. The new rules would mean that anything a Charity or Community Group did that could enhance or diminish the standing of a party or candidate, within a year of an election, would be prohibited whether or not it was the intention to influence the result of the election. So, if a campaigning organisation draws attention to a bad government policy, or criticises an MP, or raises money to pay for adverts opposing plans to privatise the NHS (for example), then that could be legally defined as electioneering and hence be prohibited. Where our politicians today are weak in their exercise of democracy they excel in their practise of hypocrisy. How sad! perplexed

1:36pm Mon 23 Dec 13

George Appleby says...

They don't give much hope of fair representation for the "hard working majority" politicians continually pretend to speak for. This whilst some clobber them at every turn and dig the trenches between us, them and their ACTUAL support ever deeper. To add insult to injury, some blame the unemployed, unfortunate, sick and poor for their own misfortunes portraying them as worthless passengers of society, getting no more than they deserve. (Should look closer to home). These are invariably respected honest family members of hard working people, who will not be silenced !

I hope the transition to a MEANINGFUL DEMOCRACY will be reasonably peaceful for the sake of my wider family, 3children, 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. I would like to take part but I've done my bit, and at 85 my wife and I look after each other, having worked and raised a family likewise.

Now, they are taking what we have worked for to feather the nests of their shameless sponsors and, through them, their own. It can't last ! It's not too late to change ! They're on a loser !
They don't give much hope of fair representation for the "hard working majority" politicians continually pretend to speak for. This whilst some clobber them at every turn and dig the trenches between us, them and their ACTUAL support ever deeper. To add insult to injury, some blame the unemployed, unfortunate, sick and poor for their own misfortunes portraying them as worthless passengers of society, getting no more than they deserve. (Should look closer to home). These are invariably respected honest family members of hard working people, who will not be silenced ! I hope the transition to a MEANINGFUL DEMOCRACY will be reasonably peaceful for the sake of my wider family, 3children, 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. I would like to take part but I've done my bit, and at 85 my wife and I look after each other, having worked and raised a family likewise. Now, they are taking what we have worked for to feather the nests of their shameless sponsors and, through them, their own. It can't last ! It's not too late to change ! They're on a loser ! George Appleby

2:27pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Jonthan says...

I have commented before that I think speakers could kept in line with efficient chairing, and I oppose restrictions on speakers in Council.

However the restrictions are mostly common sense.
eg. No criticising people who are not present to defend themselves. No raising topics which are outside the ambit of york City Council. No making factually incorrect statements etc. No making party political statements

Mostly it is about not wasting time and not making deliberately misleading statements.
Once again, I ask critics of the proposals to be specific about what exactly they oppose. I strongly suspect that most of the gripers have not read the proposals, but can't pass up a chance to have a swipe at the council.

Also can I suggest that the if letter writer Howard Perry wants to continue signing himself "ex Labour councillor" he should also add that he has not been a councillor for over 25 years, so can hardly claim to be up to speed with recent developments
I have commented before that I think speakers could kept in line with efficient chairing, and I oppose restrictions on speakers in Council. However the restrictions are mostly common sense. eg. No criticising people who are not present to defend themselves. No raising topics which are outside the ambit of york City Council. No making factually incorrect statements etc. No making party political statements Mostly it is about not wasting time and not making deliberately misleading statements. Once again, I ask critics of the proposals to be specific about what exactly they oppose. I strongly suspect that most of the gripers have not read the proposals, but can't pass up a chance to have a swipe at the council. Also can I suggest that the if letter writer Howard Perry wants to continue signing himself "ex Labour councillor" he should also add that he has not been a councillor for over 25 years, so can hardly claim to be up to speed with recent developments Jonthan

2:14am Tue 24 Dec 13

Magicman! says...

perplexed wrote:
What is it about politicians ? What they cannot control they try to shut up. Take the '“Transparency of Lobbying, NonParty Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill” for example which the Government are trying to bulldoze through Parliament. This Bill contains measures to regulate lobbyists and measures relating to trade unions. However it also contains
an element in Part 2, on “nonparty campaigning”.

By “nonparty campaigning” the government means campaigning carried out by groups that aren’t political parties – like a charity or a community group.What the law will in effect seek to do is stop charities or communtiy groups campaigning on the issues of the day in the year of an election which will severely limit the freedom of non-political parties to have a voice.

The new rules would mean that anything a Charity or Community Group did that could enhance or diminish the standing of a party or candidate, within a year of an election, would be prohibited whether or not it was the intention to influence the result of the election. So, if a campaigning organisation draws attention to a bad government policy, or criticises an MP, or raises money to pay for adverts opposing plans to privatise the NHS (for example), then that could be legally defined as electioneering and hence be prohibited.

Where our politicians today are weak in their exercise of democracy they excel in their practise of hypocrisy. How sad!
There is one simple explanation for what the government are trying to push through:- they know they are a bunch of inept inefficient incompetant cretins who are intent on making the majority of society poorer to help out their own rich friends, and they don't want anybody trying to call them on their actions and saying what they're doing is morally objectionable and possibly against several treaties that have been passed over the decades. Cameron and his blue crooks are essentially children having a tantrum" waaaahhh I wanna make money from people's health but these nasty people are stopping me, waaahhhh.... waaaahhh I wanna have more money to buy nice things for me and my friends by taking money away from poor people, but some nasty people are trying to stop me, waaahhh"....
[quote][p][bold]perplexed[/bold] wrote: What is it about politicians ? What they cannot control they try to shut up. Take the '“Transparency of Lobbying, NonParty Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill” for example which the Government are trying to bulldoze through Parliament. This Bill contains measures to regulate lobbyists and measures relating to trade unions. However it also contains an element in Part 2, on “nonparty campaigning”. By “nonparty campaigning” the government means campaigning carried out by groups that aren’t political parties – like a charity or a community group.What the law will in effect seek to do is stop charities or communtiy groups campaigning on the issues of the day in the year of an election which will severely limit the freedom of non-political parties to have a voice. The new rules would mean that anything a Charity or Community Group did that could enhance or diminish the standing of a party or candidate, within a year of an election, would be prohibited whether or not it was the intention to influence the result of the election. So, if a campaigning organisation draws attention to a bad government policy, or criticises an MP, or raises money to pay for adverts opposing plans to privatise the NHS (for example), then that could be legally defined as electioneering and hence be prohibited. Where our politicians today are weak in their exercise of democracy they excel in their practise of hypocrisy. How sad![/p][/quote]There is one simple explanation for what the government are trying to push through:- they know they are a bunch of inept inefficient incompetant cretins who are intent on making the majority of society poorer to help out their own rich friends, and they don't want anybody trying to call them on their actions and saying what they're doing is morally objectionable and possibly against several treaties that have been passed over the decades. Cameron and his blue crooks are essentially children having a tantrum" waaaahhh I wanna make money from people's health but these nasty people are stopping me, waaahhhh.... waaaahhh I wanna have more money to buy nice things for me and my friends by taking money away from poor people, but some nasty people are trying to stop me, waaahhh".... Magicman!

2:18am Tue 24 Dec 13

Magicman! says...

George Appleby wrote:
They don't give much hope of fair representation for the "hard working majority" politicians continually pretend to speak for. This whilst some clobber them at every turn and dig the trenches between us, them and their ACTUAL support ever deeper. To add insult to injury, some blame the unemployed, unfortunate, sick and poor for their own misfortunes portraying them as worthless passengers of society, getting no more than they deserve. (Should look closer to home). These are invariably respected honest family members of hard working people, who will not be silenced !

I hope the transition to a MEANINGFUL DEMOCRACY will be reasonably peaceful for the sake of my wider family, 3children, 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. I would like to take part but I've done my bit, and at 85 my wife and I look after each other, having worked and raised a family likewise.

Now, they are taking what we have worked for to feather the nests of their shameless sponsors and, through them, their own. It can't last ! It's not too late to change ! They're on a loser !
Too true. This curent government is essentially committing fraud with the pensions fiasco - if an insurance company did this exact same thing they'd be hauled over the coals for it, yet because the Tories currently make the rules they are getting away with it... and their welfare cuts, particularly the ATOS disability assesments, have resulted in some people dying because they've been declared 'fit to work', haven't been able to find work (because they're disabled), haven't fulfilled jobseeking criteria and so had no money and no support and so died - and yet the government are carrying on; if anybody can think of a better situation that fits the phrase "getting away with murder" then I'd love to hear it....
[quote][p][bold]George Appleby[/bold] wrote: They don't give much hope of fair representation for the "hard working majority" politicians continually pretend to speak for. This whilst some clobber them at every turn and dig the trenches between us, them and their ACTUAL support ever deeper. To add insult to injury, some blame the unemployed, unfortunate, sick and poor for their own misfortunes portraying them as worthless passengers of society, getting no more than they deserve. (Should look closer to home). These are invariably respected honest family members of hard working people, who will not be silenced ! I hope the transition to a MEANINGFUL DEMOCRACY will be reasonably peaceful for the sake of my wider family, 3children, 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. I would like to take part but I've done my bit, and at 85 my wife and I look after each other, having worked and raised a family likewise. Now, they are taking what we have worked for to feather the nests of their shameless sponsors and, through them, their own. It can't last ! It's not too late to change ! They're on a loser ![/p][/quote]Too true. This curent government is essentially committing fraud with the pensions fiasco - if an insurance company did this exact same thing they'd be hauled over the coals for it, yet because the Tories currently make the rules they are getting away with it... and their welfare cuts, particularly the ATOS disability assesments, have resulted in some people dying because they've been declared 'fit to work', haven't been able to find work (because they're disabled), haven't fulfilled jobseeking criteria and so had no money and no support and so died - and yet the government are carrying on; if anybody can think of a better situation that fits the phrase "getting away with murder" then I'd love to hear it.... Magicman!

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