7 November 2010

Democracy and all that bunk.........

Recently I was clearing my 'virtual desktop' and came across an email written to me in the aftermath of the 'great resigning' of October 2009. It was written by a longtime Chair of Somerton's Town Council, Mr Pat Mountain and, with the imminent election, some of its contents make interesting reading. (The full text of the email is reproduced below, click or double click on the image to open a larger version.) Titled 'Democracy and all that bunk……' and referring to M&B, Mr Mountain writes:

You are fond of making a point that the councillors should represent the interests of the broad spectrum of the public. This is a popular conception and it is wrong! Councillors are elected solely on the basis of the views that they themselves hold and which they are able to promulgate before an election.

Read off the surface, it seems like a reasonable enough position were it not for the reality that most politicians, be they local or national, will lie in their teeth to get our vote then they proceed to do whatever occurs to them as a good idea or suits them in the moment. Mr Mountain then says:

If the voting public put into power those who are incapable of carrying out their duties efficiently, honestly and with spirit, and with whom they subsequently disagree on points of local concern, then that is their fault.

Speaking personally, I can't wait (and I'm sure that neither can you) for the External Auditor to publish their report and describe to us, the electorate, the misconduct of the old Somerton Town Council and its employees. Given the culture of secrecy and exclusion that dominated the old Town Council, its hard to see how the electorate could be held responsible for the activities of that Council but Mr Mountain saves the best for last where he says:

At the same time it is a crying shame that the good people of Somerton seem to have abandoned the Council to its own devices, take little interest in what happens in the council chamber and only surface when they feel that their toes are being trodden on. Shame on them all.

Having seen the way that the Keenan/Canvin regime treated anyone who dared to speak out against them I find Mr Mountain's sympathy for the old Town Council somewhat misplaced. When the old Town Council faced 100+ residents at two meetings, their only response was to throw a hissy-fit and resign. The fact is that the community of Somerton was abused by the old Town Council and for Mr Mountain to suggest that it was all the community's fault is nothing short of shameful.

But this email illustrates the gulf between my own position and that of Mr Mountain. When Mr Mountain blames everyone but the Council and its Councillors, he treads that well worn path trodden over decades by hack politicians when they blame us, the electorate, for their failings and excesses. If they were accountable and the electorate failed to hold them to account then I would agree but the fact is that our elected are only accountable in as much as we can vote for a different liar the next time around.

Remember that on the 11th.

Till next time, I'm still Niall Connolly.