Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tory councillors storm out of community meeting... again!

Yesterday Tory councillors Tony Janio and Dawn Barnett stormed out of a meeting of the Brighton and Hove Community Safety Forum (CSF) - in Tony's case, for the second time in three meetings. It means that neither councillor has attended a full meeting of the forum, on which they can raise issues of community safety affecting residents of their ward, for nine months now.

Why? Simples, innit. Cos I refused to apologise for earlier remarks  warning all councillors to take care not to use racist or inflammatory language when discussing Gypsies or Travellers.

Tony felt - although they clearly weren't - that my original comments were directed at him. Personally I can't really understand his behaviour - which has really got under the skin of several CSF attendees (one of whom repeatedly asked him to shut up during his pre-exit speech yesterday) - unless he really thinks the cap fits so well he just wants to wear it.

Perhaps what's going no is just a bullish face-saving thing, and he refuses to back down despite having edged himself into a corner.

Whatever the truth behind Tony and Dawn's behaviour it's the forum is the worse for the failure of two experienced councillors to ' take part - and it's residents of this city who, ultimately, pay the price. Especially those who, for some reason, think that Tory councillors will be able to represent the views at meetings like yesterday's. Clearly they can't represent anyone if they won't even take part!

Anyway my next step will be to write to Tory leader Geoffrey Theobald, asking him to reaffirm his party's commitment to working with communities and the police at the CSF by replacing Tony and dawn with two members who will.

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