Dear Beagle Editor,
I had no idea of the existence of your online paper until a friend drew my attention to it the other day. In what turns out to be my considerable ignorance, I thought all was well in the shire and that our councillors are doing a fine job. The sky hasn’t fallen in, the roads are generally in good shape, reasonable quality water still comes out of the tap and the rubbish is collected. But on reading through the pages of the Beagle – and going back a little way – I see that my self-focused view has excluded a multitude of serious wrongs committed by what appears to be a dysfunctional, disengaged, secretive and defensive council.
And in reading a recent letter to you I clicked on the hyperlink provided, that took me to a video of last Tuesday’s meeting. What an experience that turned out to be. The most interesting part of the meeting – and it could be argued, the most important part, where the public gets to have its say – showed up some extraordinarily contemptuous behaviour by certain councillors, towards the presenters. Most councillors showed the courtesy of looking at the presenter – and at least appearing to listen – but there were two councillors, one glued to a computer as if watching a movie and the other fidgeting and absorbed with his mobile phone, throughout the presentations; both of whom were clearly determined to (actively) ignore their constituents. And for a while, the mayor and the woman next to her were chatting with one another while a presenter was speaking, as though there was no one else in the chamber. As well as the rudeness, with but one exception, there was essentially no wish by councillors to engage with the presenters – and certainly not in a positive way. Presentations seemed to have been endured rather than appreciated.
Surely, the mayor is obliged to ensure that presenters are treated courteously and with respect, by both herself and her fellow councillors. It is appalling that councillors can and do behave like this - with impunity. They are a disgrace to the important office they hold and clearly have no sense of shame. They should simply not be there. When are the next council elections?