Carmarthenshire County Council were responsible for two despicable actions today. Firstly the entirely undemocratic and shameful way they dealt with the 1500 name petition presented by the very elderly folk trying to save their Day Club and secondly, as you can see from the photo, their treatment of me as I was trying to film the proceedings. I will blog further later on tonight.
(As promised, a later blog post;http://carmarthenplanning.blogspot.com/2011/06/caebrwyn-arrested-part-two.html)
Any citizen who has ever suddenly found themselves arrested for simply standing up and trying to make a point that something is wrong, for exercising their right to protest about an issue,and suggesting that some people ought to be profoundly ashamed of how they are using their "powers" and throwing their weight around, will have sympathy for how you have been treated. Make no mistake.....being dragged off in handcuffs by the police is a brutal experience.
CCC have completely lost the plot here and are simply compounding what seems to be an amateurish inability to engage with their own citizens in a dignified and respectful manner. Sad bunch, what are they scared of?
Councillors tend to be sensitive about planning meetings because there is often a lot of money at stake.
1. Councils can't sue for libel, see Derbyshire CC v. Times Newspapers Limited
2. Councils can't fund libel action on behalf of their councillors, see Local Authorities (Indemnities For Members and Officers) Order 2004 (check applies in Wales).
3. Information Commissioner offered a formal opinion via Communities Secretary Bob Neil that the interests of democracy usually outweigh the privacy of councillors during formal council meetings: http://ejf.me/cC
4. Human rights lawyers issued opinion reinforcing this opinion RE a decision by Barnet council to ban filming: http://ejf.me/cK
Best of luck fighting this.
Well done for standing up for what you beleive in. I think you will get a lot of support to oppose this.
And the spotlight now firmly shines in your council
The two arresting officers look more like something from Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. When did these people start dressing up in black uniforms which are designed to intimidate?
Good luck with your struggle against these thugs.
perhaps you are unaware that there are many small, inconspicuous video cameras that can be fitted into a hat, a pen, a brooch.
of course, it might be inconvenient for you to carry such an item, but surely there are others who share our desire for openness and accountability.
It is interesting that when people do things you disagree with, they are being undemocratic, but when you disrupt a public meeting and break its rules, you are being democratic. If you want to film these meetings, then get the rules changed. It is not acceptable to simply do what you want. You were arrested for a very good reason, and I commend the police for having the moral courage to do what they did. Democracy is not a free-for-all: in order for everyone's voice to be heard, you have to have a rules and a disciplined forum. People like you are anti-democratic, as you are only interested in getting your opinion across by whatever means you can find. Have you ever thought that you might not be right? My tutor at university told me never to trust anyone with a Q in their christian name, and you prove that to be correct.
I agree with Mark. You were asked on numerous occasions to stop filming, which the chairman had the right to ask. You refused to stop filming, which led to the (inevitable) call to the police to remove you. You no doubt did not undertake to leave the premises when asked, so the police had no option but to arrest you.
If you were causing a disturbance in the middle of town and refused to move along, the same thing would happen. Just because you proclaim it to be your "democratic right" does not make it so.
As Mark said, if you don't like the rules, in a democratic society you try to get the majority to agree to change those rules. Note - majority!
I find it very worrying that people actually hold the opinions of 'Mark' and 'Anonymous'. Is it any wonder that we have autocratic councils and officers who as public servants are entirely unnaccountable for their draconian conduct.
Democracy is government by the people. Thank God for people like Jacquie who will try to open up debate and attempt to get this council to be more transparent. It needs to be. You clearly are either a part of this shower, or are ignorant to the way they conduct themselves. They need to be exposed. I suggest you both read the hundreds of letters of support for Mrs. Thompson which is indicative of the strength of feeling against this particular council under the rule of Mark James!!!
Democracy is not actually 'government by the people' but government by representatives whom the people elect. A council chamber is a private place even if it is owned by a public body, so you have no right to film therein without the council's permission. Your actions may have some public support (because everyone likes to have a bash at councils) but they are guaranteed to inflame and alienate rather than persuade. I suggest you grow up and engage with the democratic process rather than lock horns with it. That way you may have a real chance to be heard and to presuade. And to stay out of jail.
*but they are guaranteed to inflame and alienate rather than persuade. *
Not sure how filming the meeting so everyone can see what goes in is as above?
There are plenty of people who don't like having their photo taken, let alone filming, and especially when it's know that the photographer has every intention of plastering all over the world wide web. What's the point in filming it if it's going to cause upset - just take notes. Being provocative and annoying for the sake of it won't get you anywhere.
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