Ethics versus Expediency @ NYCC



Ethics versus Expediency @ NYCC

  • an ‘In My View’ article by Nigel Ward, reporting on the balancing act – between Ethics and Expediency; between what is morally right and what is merely convenient – performed by Monitoring Officers in attempting to establish acceptable stands of conduct on the part of elected members and paid public servants. Nigel first addressed this issue in only his second article for Real Whitby, “Who’s Complaining?”, back in March 2012.

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IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Background

For the benefit of our many new readers, I should perhaps begin by explaining that I have been, for some years now, attempting to persuade our local Councils – Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) – to address a series of apparent breaches of their respective Councillors’ Codes of Conduct. These Codes have been amended (with effect from 1st July 2012) in accordance with the terms of the Localism Act 2011, based (in theory) on the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life (which have been amended, earlier this year). Under these revised terms, some breaches constitute criminal offences, addressable by the courts. The Nolan Principles are entirely reasonable in their aims:

Revised_Nolan_Principles

The ‘Dry Bones’

(Readers who are familiar with the details of following recent examples of alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct may wish to proceed directly to the next section – Comparisons are Odious).

In a recent article of mine (”4,000 Hole In Blackburn Cover-Up” – 21/07/2013), I had occasion to mention in passing that, in the past five years, a grand total of thirty-five Formal Complaints against elected members of North Yorkshire County Councillor (NYCC) in respect alleged breaches of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct have come under the purview of the Council’s Standards regime. This information was provided to me by NYCC in a response to a FOIA request (FOIA).

The response also indicated that, of these thirty-five, only two were fully upheld – a ‘hit rate’ of only 5.7%.

I was not able, at that time, to furnish details of those two ‘successful’ Complaints, but thanks to NYCC Senior Lawyer (Governance) Moira BEIGHTON, I am now able to provide further details. I had asked her for clarification, thus:

  1. In the case of the single formal complaint that was fully upheld in 2009/10, what sanction was imposed upon the offender?
  1. In the case of the single formal complaint that was fully upheld in 2012/13, what sanction was imposed upon the offender?
  1. Could you please provide URL links to the Decision Notices in respect of all of the formal complaints that were either partially or fully upheld.

Moira BEIGHTON has responded with the following:

  1. In the 2009/10 case, in which a member of the public (in fact, a Parish Councillor – name redacted) had complained that a County Councillor (name redacted) had made a “disparaging comment” about the Complainant, in an email to a third party. The Complaint was upheld (being a breach of Article 3(1) of the Code – “failing to treat others with respect” (hardly a capital offence, in the greater scheme of things) – and the sanction was That the subject member should write a letter of apology to the complainant and attend a training session with the Monitoring Officer.”

Keep in mind that the Complainant was himself an elected member of a Parish Council.

  1. In the 2010/11 case, was against former County Councillor Richard WELCH (one of the 37 Double-Dippers), under two Articles of the Code – namely, 3. (1) You must treat others with respect, and 3. (2) (b) You must not bully any person – in respect of events in December 2009. County Councillor Richard WELCH was similarly found to have breached only the first of the above-mentioned Articles, and the sanction was the same as in the first case: apologise and have a chat with the Monitoring Officer . . .

Of particular interest in this second case is that the Investigating Officer was NYCC Deputy Monitoring Officer Stephen KNIGHT. Remember the name. We shall be returning to Stephen KNIGHT when we have dealt with the present matters.

  1. In the 2012/13 case, the link provided by Moira BEIGHTON to the Tribunal Decision Notice (ref APE 0549) of only one case leads to a MSWord.doc that, unfortunately, references a Parish Council in Cornwall that has nothing whatsoever to do with my request. How ‘transparent’ is that?

I would be curious to know exactly how much of the taxpayers’ money has been squandered in pursuit of these 35 Formal Complaints that have boiled down to just 2 apologies and a chat. Perhaps I should ask?

Comparisons are Odious

It may be true that comparisons are odious; nevertheless, they can be instructive.

The cases outlined above concern relatively low-level breaches of the Code – ill-considered remarks, in emails or in person, that gave a degree of offence to the recipients. In comparison to some of the issues raised by the Real Whitby Magazine (and other publications) recently, involving the receipt of inappropriate payments from the public purse and use of privilege of position for personal gain, it is surprising (to say the least) that the two above complaints have actually been successful at all – and yet have resulted in such minimal and ineffectual sanctions.

But even on the topic of ill-chosen words, the above cases do not begin to approach the seriousness of (then) County Councillor Bill CHATT’s offensive email to Real Whitby investigative-journalist Tim HICKS:

From: Cllr.Bill.Chatt

Sent: Friday 21st September 2012 13:36

To: Tim Hicks

Cc: Cllr.Tom Fox and all elected members of  Scarborough Borough Council

Subject: Re: Double dipping scandal. Former police officer alleges fraud

If you feel right is on your side,and I am sure I have not claimed twice for any thing why don’t you and your troll friends do it ,or that’s right the Internet is you only medium,and real life is something you will never understand, if you all worked to support the wonderfully town of whitby in what they do for the people then I am sure things would get better for everybody , I am being judged by standards and when that is over I will stand by their decision,

WILL YOU LOT 

I do no wish you to make contact with myself anymore and I this continues I will consider this harassment and will have no option but to seek advice from the police ,

Please stay with your troll friends and leave decent people who work for the better of the borough alone,

I have waited to responded to somebody for a long time I would ask was it breast feeding that was the problem when you were a child?

Was it that you was the kid with glasses on at school who every body picked on,

Did you not have a Lego set 

I hate bully’s who pick, and pick. in my life in my circles people don’t make life difficult because they can, life is hard enough with out Internet trolls 

Private eye they never get it wrong they have never been sued for the wrong story

So what do you say shall we be adult about this or will you need breast feeding soon

Kindest regard 

A very pissed of and sick of it 

William Chatt

This email is my own personal views and not the views of Scarborough borough council

William Chatt

In my view, those remarks go far beyond the “disparaging comment” attributed to the defendants in the cases outlined above. They are deeply insulting and ominously threatening. Coming from an elected member of (at that time) two Councils, they were incontrovertibly unacceptable in trhe extreme.

And yet NYCC refused even to address County Councillor Bill CHATT’s conduct (the language, the personal references to Tim’s mother, the threats of Police action) based on the untenable grounds provided by NYCC Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN – that his email was not sent from his NYCC email client and, therefore outside of NYCC’s area of concern. By that reckoning, County Councillor Bill CHATT could send similarly offensive emails to the Her Majesty the Queen from a Hotmail account, or similar, with total impunity as far as his position as a County Councillor was concerned. How does that sit with the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life?

The case of the Formal Complaints against County Councillor John BLACKBURN is of a far more serious complexion. Initially, two independent witnesses maintained that County Councillor John BLACKBURN had claimed that he had subverted his Stamp Allowances over a period of several years, apparently in part to cover his electoral campaigns at the taxpayers’ expense – a criminal offence. He was exonerated by NYCC on the sole ground that he could not recall any such circumstance and maintained that he would anyway never have done such a thing. To make matters worse, NYCC Chief Exec Richard FLINTON appears to have wittingly prevented two further witnesses from being considered at all during Investigating Officer Catriona GATTRELL’s superficial investigation. And since then, another witness has come to light. How does all that sit with the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life?

And then we have the on-going case against County Councillor Carl LES, Chair of the North Yorkshire Police & Crime Panel (and formerly Vice Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, of which [then] County Councillor Jane KENYON was Chair), whose signed Mileage Claim Forms include claims for “impossible journeys”. This seemingly straightforward allegation, amounting to an offence under the terms of the Fraud Act 2006 (and therefore a Police matter), is apparently being “investigated” internally by NYCC’s own auditors Veritau Ltd (on whose Board of Directors we also find SBC’s Director of Business Support and s.151 Officer Nick Edwards – of Open Air Theatre fame). County Councillor Carl LES is himself a Director of Veritau Ltd. And so is NYCC CEO Richard FLINTON. But Richard FLINTON asserts that there is no conflict of interests here. How does that sit with the Seven Nolan Principles?

And speaking of Mileage Claims, County Councillor David JEFFELS who, having fraudulently claimed for travelling expenses to Conservative “Away Day” junkets, has now been obliged to repay his overclaim – thanks to Real Whitby’s Tim THORNE. No sanctions. No prosecution. And County Councillor David JEFFELS is just one of 45 Conservative County Councillors who, for all we are allowed to know (the data having been withheld, despite an FOIA request to NYCC), may well have done the same. How does that sit with the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life?

In my second ever ‘In My View’ article for Real Whitby (10th March 2012), I wrote:

  • “Let us imagine, say, that you have grounds to believe that a certain Councillor has acted improperly, perhaps by ‘leaking’ commercially sensitive information to a close friend or family member, with a view to granting him or her a financial advantage. You probably feel that this would be rather like ‘insider trading’.”

In fairness, my remark was directed towards some purely hypothetical scenario more akin to the “Me Too!” scandal. But the principle remains the same.

And how prophetic that article turned out to be, at least in the case of Councillor Tim LAWN – currently under investigation by the North Yorkshire Police (NYP), following information provided by Corruption Buster Tim THORNE (again) to SBC and NYMNPA Monitoring Officer Lisa DIXON, ever “economical with the truth”, who, without Tim THORNE’s timely intervention, had previously contrived to take no action. How does that sit with the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life?

According to a source intimately connected with York Potash Ltd, three additional referrals have since been made to the NYP, although no confirmation has been forthcoming from them, and NYMNPA Monitoring Officer Lisa DIXON has yet to respond to a request for confirmation. How does such conduct sit with the Seven Nolan Principles?

The Bottom Line

The conclusion to be drawn from the foregoing résumé is that ‘Expediency’ would appear to have all but eliminated ‘Ethics’ from the equation in North Yorkshire. The Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life, though admirable in intent, form no practical part of the ethical framework under which our Local Authorities actually operate – though they are, of course, required by law to do so. But the North Yorkshire Police assert that they will intervene only at the request of the Council.

So the ‘policing’ is left to the Monitoring Officers – all too ready to interpret the regulations in favour of elected members, with whom a symbiotic relationship appears to have evolved, thus establishing a sense of invulnerability in elected members amounting to an almost impenetrable carapace of secrecy and cover-up. They are confident that, if challenged on their conduct, they will be vigorously defended by the Council legal staff whose true duty is to police them. And even when ‘convicted’ (only two out of every thirty-five times, remember), they face nothing more daunting in the way of sanctions than having to write an apology (of questionable sincerity) and receive a few words of ‘guidance’ from the Monitoring Officer. Then they are free to go back out into the world and behave like feudal barons all over again.

The truth is that public servants, paid or elected, are apparently above the law in this country.

Surely, Lord NOLAN would turn in his grave . . .

But let us not despair; the scrutiny continues.

I now notice that I have forgotten to return to NYCC Deputy Monitoring Officer Stephen KNIGHT. My apologies; I will address that topic in another article. Soon.

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EXPEDIENCY

13 Responses to "Ethics versus Expediency @ NYCC"

  1. James Miller  September 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Of course, it is just possible, though not very likely, that our local bureaucracies actually believe that it is not their job to investigate or enforce any breaches of ethical, moral or legal behaviour by our elected representatives. After all they have been turning a blind eye to such breaches for at least 50 years in my personal experience and it is very, very difficult for a private individual to complain about any ‘misbehaviour’ at all in the democratic system.

    If it is darned nigh impossible for an individual to have a complaint against a representative properly investigated then it is totally impossible to have that failure by a member of the bureaucratic hierarchy investigated.

    We, the ‘chavs’ of society have therefore only one method of reprimanding elected representatives. The ballot box. Once in a while the less ethical reps. are nobbled by enough of the voters getting round to realising what is going. Take the NYCC 2013 elections in Northstead (Peter Popple), Woodlands (Bill Chatt), and Eastfield (Brian Simpson), Divisions.

    This, unfortunately, only restricts these people’s future activities where troughing is concerned and it is very difficult to convince enough people that these so called representatives do not deserve to continue in office; just look at other wards and divisions in the borough and county. The other problem is that, if they are really devious and the political structure permits it, they can use other tiers of local government to continue feathering their own nests. A good example is Eastfield where Brian Simpson, seeing his impending demise at County level, and his predicted loss of his Borough status in that body’s next election, simply had his cohorts at parish level to declare Eastfield to be a town and made himself mayor. Only one person stands openly against him on the parish council and another was a bit slow but was brainy enough to see what he was doing, having previously gone along with it, and resigned from the council. But where are you going to find half a dozen people determined enough to stand for parish (town?)council. Very difficult.

    Thus the democratic system and its accompanying bureaucracy are so difficult to shake up that they sadly produce that most distasteful of political groups, the self-perpetuating oligarchy.

    For evil to succeed it is only necessary for honest men and women to stand by and do nothing.

    So all the wronged can do is to be branded, by those who are troughing, as ‘nutters’ and to keep complaining. Eventually some are sussed by enough voters.

    Reply
  2. Richard Ineson  September 2, 2013 at 6:12 am

    This is a good example of how local government is manipulated in this area.

    The PARK AND (GET TAKEN FOR A) RIDE, stitch up.

    I attended the park and ride consultation/exhibition at the Tourist Information Centre, on Friday 9th and Monday 12th August.

    Will the views of the residents, particularly of the east side of Whitby, be taken into account, this time?

    Or, will any comments/objections, be merely listed in the agenda of the Area Committee meeting which I understand is to take place on the 19th of September, and not discussed or considered, at all, as was the case at the meeting of the Area Committee which was held on the 3rd Ocober,2012?

    In upholding my complaints against North Yorkshire County Council earlier this year, in relation to another Highways matter, one of the points, which the Ombudsman mentioned in particular, was the abuse of the STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUP system, which she said could lead to allegations of bias, against NYCC.

    I would like to remind your readers of how this iniquitous system was used in relation to the allocation of car parking spaces in connection with the park and ride scheme :-

    I have already, in previous correspondence, to the Whitby Gazette, pointed out the secrecy surrounding the meetings of the Whitby Traffic Partnership, (Chaired by Miss Kenyon, an Executive member of the Whitby and District Tourism Association) the members of which were heavily involved in the discussions relating to the P&R scheme, then we have the three STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS, the meetings of which were held in secret, the minutes/very sketchy notes of their meetings were only made available after repeated requests and then only in a redacted form.

    The details of the car parking scheme, zone boundaries, number of car parking spaces allocated etc. were decided by three STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS, the members of which were unelected, unmandated, supposedly anonymous, and are unaccountable.

    The identities of the members of these SSGs were supposed to be kept secret – the DATA PROTECTION ACT was quoted to me when I asked about this matter, fortunately, a public spirited person who had access to this information and who could see no credible reason for it to be kept secret, released the information.

    The memberships of the three STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS were as follows:-
    One entire Stakeholder Steering Group was selected by Cllr Kenyon – an Executive member of the Whitby and District Tourism Association, she also selected the Chairs of the other two groups, there was at least one member of the various tourist associations on each group.
    Incidentally, the membership of these groups was supposed to remain confidential.
    The minutes/notes of the proceedings of the meetings of these groups are only available in a redacted form and are very sketchy, in any case.
    Many people, including myself, say that the tourist associations were over-represented on these groups.
    Two of the SSGs had a specific, designated, representative of the views of the residents in the particular area covered by those particular SSGs. The east side of Whitby had no designated, specific, resident representation.
    The supposedly secret memberships of the three STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS were as follows:-
    The Chair of the secret Whitby Traffic Partnership, Conservative Cllr. Jane Kenyon, (also an Executive member of the Whitby and District Tourist Association) in conjunction with Conservative Cllr. Joe Plant, recommended the make up, including choosing the Chairs of the other two groups, of the three SSGs.
    The individual Chairs selected the residents’ representatives (please note that the East Side SSG, Chaired by Cllr. D.Clegg) did not have a residents’ representative).
    Whitby Town (Parish) Council nominated the Town Council representatives on SSGs 2&3.
    Please note that Dalton Peake (Whitby Chamber of Commerce) and Tony Charlton (Whitby Hospitality Association) were appointed to all three STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS.
    SSG 1. Sandsend.
    Chair, Conservative Cllr. Jane Kenyon (also an Executive member of the Whitby and District Tourist Association), Dalton Peake (Whitby Chamber of Commerce), Tony Charlton (Whitby Hospitality Association) Christine Kroebel (Chair, Lythe PC), David Pybus (Residents’ Representative).
    SSG 2. West Cliff and Town Centre.
    Chair, Conservative Cllr. Joe Plant, Dalton Peake (Whitby Chamber of Commerce) Tony Charlton (Whitby Hospitality Association) Cllr. Mike Ward (SBC and Whitby Town Council) Cllr. Dickenson (Whitby Town Council) Barry Brown/Dr.Dunn (Residents’ Representatives).
    [Please note that I am informed that Barry Brown was never invited to any of the meetings of this group, neither did he receive any documents or help to make any decisions relating to this group].
    SSG 3. Church Street/East Side.
    Chair, Conservative Cllr. D.Clegg (Chair of Capt. Cook Tourist Association), Dalton Peake (Whitby Chamber of Commerce), Tony Charlton (Whitby Hospitality Association), Conservative Cllr. Sandra Turner (SBC), Cllr. Steve Smith/Cllr. Pitts (WTC).
    [Please note that, unlike the other two groups, there was no residents' representation on this group. The residents of the East Side of Whitby had no representative on the SSG which supposedly represented their views].

    Then there are other aspects of the so called ‘public consultation’ which give cause for concern.

    The County Council’s Residents’ Parking Policy which requires that, at the consultation stage, over 50% of all premises (not just 50% of those replying) should be in favour to enable the necessary Traffic Regulation Order to be proceeded with, was not observed/just ignored/suspended.

    Objection/comments sent by letter or email, relating to the P&R parking scheme, which were sent to the Whitby area office, were, for some inexplicable reason, excluded from the consultation document prepared for members (Councillors).

    This means that only the views of those members of the public, responding to the consultation document on the official form – the space allowed for comment on this form incidentally, measures 2.5cms x 15.5 cms, were taken into account.

    I wrote personally to every member of the Area Committee about the 63 parking space allocation, despite having just come out of hospital having had a triple heart bypass, and was in unspeakable pain whilst doing so, only to have Ruth Gladstone, the committee clerk, tell me that she didn’t realise that I expected a reply. Amazing.

    I was unable to actually attend the meeting of the Area Committee held in Gt.Ayton, because of my weak and painful post operative condition, a matter for which I did send my apologies, this episode, in particular I found/find extremely distasteful.

    I have looked at the agenda and minutes of all of the meetings at which NYCC claim that the various concerns of the public, in relation to the P&R were discussed and can find no evidence that the 63 parking space allocation for the east side of Whitby was ever discussed.

    NYCC have consulted with the public, but they have not paid any attention to any comments/criticisms/suggestions from residents, which do not accord with the ‘set in stone’ plans of the NYCC Highways Department and the requirements of the commercial sector.

    After the Parking Management ‘public consultation’ and exhibition at the Coliseum, in June, 2010, the comments received during the ‘consultation’ were supposed to be considered by the Coast and Moors Area Committee, this has never been done.
    Highways Supremo, Nick West, sent me a list of various associations/ individuals who had been consulted about the proposed parking arrangements, included in this list was ‘ Residents Associations (various)’ when I asked for specific details of these associations he was unable to provide any details other than to say that one individual, a resident, of the Fishburn Park area of Whitby had attended a meeting, but had died during the lengthy consultations.
    I enquired of Cllr. Ian Havelock, who is a well respected Town Councillor, and long time resident of Whitby and Fishburn Park if he had any knowledge of this person who supposedly had, until his death, been the representative of the residents of Fishburn Park. He had none.

    I was at the Area Committee meeting on the 3/10/2012, where the many comments/objections were supposedly discussed; about five minutes was spent on the P&R scheme, the comments/objections, were not discussed, I have looked at the minutes – the comments/objections, were not discussed.

    Nick West was asked by a member (Councillor) (names not include in the minutes) how much the new application to NYMNPA, for planning permission was going to cost, he ignored the question and went on to say that there would be no problem in getting the planning permission. Nick West also said that ‘the design remained largely unchanged since the original application’ which raises the question of why, if this is so, the planning permission was not merely renewed at a cost of £500.00 instead of submitting a new application which cost £25,000?

    The ‘public consultation’ which is now taking place, was supposed to happen in the Spring of this year, I wrote to the Highways Department on the 13th May, and the 28th May, asking when the consultation was going to take place.

    When David Bowe replied to me, he told me that the consultation was to take place in mid August (Spring came a little late this year).,

    “As you will however be aware from previous correspondence this consultation / advertisement is about the details of the parking controls with the Area Committee having already agreed to the general principle of the proposed on-street parking measures to improve traffic management and encourage the use of Park and Ride at their meeting on 3 October 2012.

    At this meeting the Area Committee agreed specifically to look at the issues raised as part of the June 2010 consultation and this included the flexibility to allow resident’s permits to be used in appropriate adjacent zones.”

    Despite Mr.Bowe’s assertions, I can assure your readers that these matters were not discussed at this meeting, I was there, in the company of Cllr. Ian Havelock, who can verify this statement.

    As to Mr.Bowe’s statement, ” the flexibility to allow resident’s permits to be used in appropriate adjacent zones.”

    When I enquired, at the consultation, where these adjacent zones were situated, I was told, that the residents of the east side, would also be able to use Zone A. this is situated near the cricket ground and centres around Upgang Lane.

    In my dictionary, ‘Adjacent’ means, lying near, contiguous. ‘ Contiguous’ means, touching, adjoining, neighbouring. ‘Neighbouring’ means, person or thing next to one another.

    Zone A is not ‘adjacent’ to the east side of Whitby, and can hardly be considered convenient for the citizens of Whitby, who reside on the east side, especially the elderly and infirm; but they are only residents, and will only be responsible for paying, via the parking permits and the Council Tax, for this ill considered scheme, which will only be of benefit to the commercial sector in Whitby.

    The hoteliers and B&B owners will have the lion’s share of the car parking, in the town, as was intended, and decided upon, by the obviously partisan and supposedly secret, STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS, and the secret Whitby Traffic Partnership.

    The officers of the NYCC have colluded, and continue to collude, with the perpetrators of this outrage/manipulation of the democratic process, and it is a disgrace.

    Reply
  3. Daryl Smiler  September 2, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Clearly Mr Ineson you don’t understand the democratic process or else you would realise that Members, once elected are able to make up their own minds irrespectoive of public involvement exercises. If this was not the case you would have community groups deciding the colours of the lavatory doors and the type of toilet paper in the offices.

    Reply
  4. Mike North  September 2, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Im sorry, but I for one am finding this regurgitation of these long winded monologues quite tedious.
    What started out as an informative blog with some worthy items has rapidly become a repetitive bone chewing exercise by the authors, please give it a rest for all our sakes

    Reply
    • Frank Chalmers  September 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Mike,

      The “chewing of the bones”, as you suggest, is the repeated and constant discovery of the fact that “local authorities” are up to no good.

      You’re sick of it? Then solve it. Sort these people out and stop them burying the bones.

      They are supposed to work for us, and if they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.

      Reply
    • Bob Roberts  September 4, 2013 at 9:49 am

      So what would you suggest then Mr North; Give up?
      Is this the way you meander through life; when you get to a fight that is proving to be difficult, simply give up? The balance is recognising when a fight is unwinnable, in this case when right is on your side, then anything is winnable and anything is possible.
      Consequently if you are bored then I suggest you log onto the SBC website and download some of the fairy stories that abound on there? Otherwise simply don’t bother participating at all!

      Reply
    • James Miller  September 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Hi Mike, I (as no doubt you will realise) am totally in agreement with Frank and Bob. One tactic used by people (usually but not always Conservative Party sympathisers) who don’t want to ‘rock the boat, is to say ‘ We’ve heard it all before so shut up’. I love rocking the boat, when the boat needs rocking. And believe me, where corruption is concerned, whether I agree with the individual’s professed politics or not, I will continue to shout even if only a few people understand what I am complaining about. I describe my politics as ‘left of centre’, and I used to be a Labour Party activist until I discovered corruption in Scarborough and Whitby Labour Party. I prefer an honest Conservative or UKIPist to a corrupt Labour politician. I might even like the Lib-Dems if I knew what they stood for.

      Reply
      • James Miller  September 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        Sorry. Forgot to close the italics (straight after the one word ‘love’). HTML was never my forte. LOL.

        Reply
  5. Rupert Ferguson  September 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

    With this lot ethics went out of the window a long time ago, and expediency is and always has been the order of the day among many Councils for quite some time now!

    Reply
  6. Frank Chalmers  September 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Just a point… the trolls of this site (Mike North included), never refute the articles, point for point.

    How curious.

    Just my two cents.

    Reply
  7. Peter Hofschröer  September 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    @ Frank Chalmers.

    Well, if Mike North finds this “tedious”, then the simple solution is not to read it, let alone waste more time commenting.

    Reply
  8. lea perin  September 6, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Mr Chalmers be careful about agrandising people by calling them ‘Trolls’. A conclusion drawn from an article on the Guardian web site a few weeks ago refuted the notion that many of these people were Trolls. It asserted, instead, that they may merely be ‘Nasty wee shites’.

    I think in the case of more than a few contributors to this site in the past we have discovered the truth.

    Reply
  9. GH  September 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    What with Bill Chatt’s references to breast feeding and Members milking the expenses teat, matters are becoming positively Freudian.

    Reply

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