Democracy in action?


Ref: Eastwood Town Council Meeting: Monday 13th February 2012.

I think we all understand, politics is a pretty rugged business: you have to be pretty hardy.

I take my hat off to our elected local councillors who willingly give up their precious time to sift through reams of boring minutes and amendments at regular meetings.

I attended the above-mentioned meeting (as a non-affiliated, public observer) hoping to witness local democracy in action, but left long before the end, as there were very few signs of democracy being observed.

It was not a pleasant experience! There was a lot of distasteful hectoring and acrimony and it seemed to be a travesty of good community service.

The mayor (Ken Woodhead) did his valiant best, banging his gavel and repeatedly calling for an end to cross-party bickering.

On one occasion I observed a leading councillor making a highly offensive and very public gesture towards a lady member of the opposite side, who’d just finished speaking.

This he did, by raising his right hand to his temple and twirling his index finger around, as if suggesting mental instability.

To my mind this was unacceptable behaviour. I fully expected the lady concerned, to leave the chamber: she was clearly upset.

Halfway through the meeting I left, having seen and heard enough to feel that certain councillors were letting themselves down, showing very little respect for themselves or the voters of Eastwood.

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