Friday, December 02, 2011

Am I a victim of 'Double Standards'?

Regular readers of this Blog will be aware of my most recent run-in with the Standards Board - the body who believe in principled local politics, which was set up at your expense to champion and promote high standards of conduct amongst our local politicians - but when is a politician a politician?

After a lengthy and protracted investigation by a highly paid consultant- for which you the taxpayer have to pick up the tab, I was cleared of all of the plethora of spurious and salacious allegations made by the complainant, Mr Mike Whitley, apart from one point for which I received the most insignificant sanction possible, a ‘censure’.

The points at issue appear to be that my blog is somehow considered an ‘official blog’ (as detailed in the Committee’s determination) and through it I conduct ‘the business of the council’ - and whether the Councillors code of conduct can be applied to those of you who comment on posts that I publish. It is clear and obvious that the answer is no in each case with some serious implications for free speech and the rule of law arising from the judgement.

You might have thought that the decision would be the end of it, but no. The details of the case have to be published in a local newspaper. So yesterday, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Monitoring Officer published a notice detailing the findings. This included all the discredited allegations made against me.

In making his complaints Mr Whitley attempted to hide behind anonymity but was not allowed to do so – given that ruling, it is inconsistent that the complainant’s name was withheld from the notice. This means that the details of the unfounded accusations are laid bare for everyone to see but not the name of the person making them.

In many situations this would be perfectly acceptable but one of the reasons Mr Whitley was not allowed to hide his involvement is his habitual use of the Standards Board. He has made two other unsubstantiated and thoroughly discredited allegations against me and many separate complaints against other members of Gilberdyke Parish Council – all of which had to be investigated at taxpayer’s cost before being thrown out. He also made complaints about me to the Police which were without foundation and also dismissed. Not forgetting a complaint to the Police against the contractors installing the new culvert in Gilberdyke - they were accused of fly tipping the excavated soil at the side of the dyke! The motives for all this I cannot comment on.

Readers will be aware that Mr Whitley is a failed political opponent of mine, and the complaint was made in the run up to the May 2011 elections. Are these the actions of a concerned citizen or a political campaign using the taxpayer to fund a cynical attempt to gain some sort of electoral advantage? It’s not for me to decide.

These facts could not be tested as a part of my defence. Political exchanges between Councillors are considered to be ‘Rough and Tumble’- all part of the process. However this does not apply to candidates who are treated as any other member of the public. There are no standards applied to those would-be politicians seeking office.

So in a nutshell I cannot allow you as my blog readers to express your moderate opinions - but an unelected candidate can make wild, unsubstantiated accusations against me, and my fellow Parish Councillors including such things as embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, hiding money and siphoning off money, and make so many vexatious complaints to the Standards Committee and the Police. All of which are time consuming and costly to investigate – but when these accusations are found to be untrue the complainants name is kept out of the public domain – DOUBLE STANDARDS perhaps?


Anonymous said...

Note to you watch your Blog comments and delete as appropriate (or not if you like the comment and relish the fight) LIR

W. O'Niel said...

I have read the coverage of your case with interest. I have to say I still can not understand what it is you are supposed to have done and how come you are responsible for what someone else said. It seems to me the guy making all the fuss is operating on the principal that if you throw enough excreta some of it will stick. It has but to him not you.
The word play substituting, wit for twit was simply a humorous way to make a serious point The gentleman concerned has through his own actions and comment shown himself up to the description.
Witless - (of especially persons) lacking sense or understanding or judgement
Twit may refer to: A person of lesser intelligence, it is normally used in a humorous way.
It is debatable if fair comment is disrespectful but I take the view that respect is earned and those who are not respected can not expect to be treated with it.

Where is the respect to the residents of Gilberdyke, to you Paul or to the other Parish Councillors? If you all are expected to show higher standards because you are elected then yes this is double standards and the only thing bringing the Council into disrepute is it’s own ludicrous standards process.

Paul Ablett said...

Yes.. These must be members of the 'Double Standards Board' unless of course they were to take you up on a request to take civil action for slander, libel etc. etc. against the person involved in the lengthy and one sided slur campaign against you. I think that they have to protect your name and interests if they wish to be able to sit in judgement against you on receipt of what must be judged as marginal problem, arguably outside your control and also arguably a freedom of speech issue.. I would ask them the question...will they back and pay for legal action against Mr ........ of Gilberdyke on your behalf for his indiscretion??

Roy said...

Double standards abound Paul. In the recently published core strategy document that decides where the bulk of new houses will be built in the East Riding in future, they say of Rawcliffe that because they are in a flood risk area they have decided to decrease substantially the number of houses that would otherwise be built there - good decision and logical. But, when it comes to Gilberyke, also in a flood risk area, they will roughly double the number of houses that would otherwise be built there to "manage the scale of development against the risk of flooding". And, for Newport, also in a flood risk are they will roughly quadruple it for the same reason.Please someone explain that one.

Observer of village life said...

Why did the police not prosecute Mr Whitley for wasting police time when he made his ridiculous allegation of fly tipping? I am told two officers rolled up in a car to look at the offending soil so at least two man-hours plus no end of administration and filing time wasted at public cost.

Anonymous said...

Still mike whitley continues his campaign. It would appear that 10 of his family, neighbours and friends signed a request for an election following the resignation from the parish council of one member on health grounds. Consequence of this is another election for the parishioners to pay - at a ball park cost of £3,000 according to today's Goole Times.

That's democracy for you but its a real pity these ten are not required to pay for it instead of the parishioners. They might then have been reluctant to throw their money away.