Laws to silence bloggers…

29 Sep

This article is based on another written by me entitled: UK council member banned from blogging. In that article I reported how Thanet District Council had silenced councillor David Green for the simple act of blogging.

The power to do such a thing comes from something called the Standards Board for England. This will go some way to explaining the appearance of this post at the councillors blog:

The full text of The closure notice

This blog is closed for the time being.

The author is under threat by the administration at Thanet District Council of referal to the Standards Board for England over certain remarks made that were critical of the Council and its actions.
These were:

Remarks on this blogsite that criticized the proposals for Ramsgate and Margate Libraries.

The “tone” of an email that criticized the actions of the Chair of Council in refusing to allow questions to Cabinet members at Council meetings.

Remarks on another blogsite cricizing failure to publish the detailed reasons behind the collapse of Turner Offshore.

The author belives that these were nothing more than acceptable political comment, but is obtaining advice.

If you look to the wikipedia for any input it will tell you this (and a bit more no I’ve added a few edits).

The Standards Board for England was set up under the Local Government Act 2000. It enforces the code of conduct for English local authority councillors, which all local authorities are required to have. Members of the public can complain to the Board if they believe a councillor has breached the code.wikipedia

However, I think you will find this bloggers description just a little more enlightening.

what is the Standards Board of England, well this is a piece of nonsense ironically by that highly respected Labour figure, John Prescott, which to be honest I had never heard of, and is meant to police ethical standards in local government, outlawing as an example car owning councillors from discussing parking schemes.
Big News Margate

It boils down to a way to cripple local councils and to remove every elected representative who stood on a particular issue.

Effectively if I seek election on the issue of parking fines the one thing I can not vote on is parking fines.

This is indeed a fine way to remove all opposition by radical “independent candidates” and those with well established views.

The Deputy Prime Minister is accused today of undermining local democracy and stifling free speech by imposing “draconian” rules on thousands of councillors.

To abuse a quote: They take our votes and we fall back, they take or freedom and we fall back, they take our right to free speech and we “fall back”! No more! The line must be drawn here. This far and no further!

It is rumoured that Cllr Green directly accused the Council of corruption (something that I have been saying on my Thanet related blogs since 2004). So they invoke the Standards Board and silence him.

It seems while we were all napping the UK government has taken the same path as the US into anarchy but with an added form of paranoid dictatorship.

There is particular concern about the board’s belief that councillors should not be allowed to debate a subject if they have already made up their minds on the issue — the crime of “predetermination.”

Once it was the UK that was the leading example of democracy for half the world. Now we are an example of power gone mad.

In another example, John Pickersgill, a member of Derwentside council in Co Durham, organised a local referendum on plans to build more wind turbines in his ward. His survey found that four out of five local people opposed the proposals.

I have no shame in saying the UK government scares the **** out of me.

Fortunately I was able to announce at the return of Mr Green to blogging but without another word on the gagging. I wonder if his right to speech is not so free as it should be.

Further reading: here


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