I was looking forward to the minutes of the TLB (That Lamentable Balls-up). I was really looking forward to the video. I was going to teach myself basic video editing, so that I could splice together Cllr Hayton’s interjections and set them to an amusing soundtrack. However…
One of the audience at the Thanet Local Board’s entry in The Worst-run Meeting of the Year awards agreed to being video-recorded on the understanding that a copy of the recording be made available. The recording proved elusive: first there was a brief diversion: “we need permission from the parents of the kids from the Kent Youth Council”. Then came the suggestion of a phone call, for a quiet word presumably. And now, in a dazzling masterstroke… it vanishes.
October 6 2010
Dear Councillor Carter,
I write to make you aware of the increasing disquiet and anger of a widespread and rapidly growing number of East Kent individuals and groups involved in examining the future of the proposed Kent International Airport development.
The two recent public meetings I have attended (KIACC 17/9 and Thanet Local Board 27/9) attracted a larger than expected number of members of the public. Discussion at both was less than useful, as was accurate information sought from those elected to represent them in response to the publics” questions.
The Thanet Local Board meeting (attended by yourself) was a travesty – shambolic, bullying and rude chairmanship by Cllr Bill Hayton; avoidance or refusal to respond to questions; another exercise in kicking the real issues into the long grass.
I now understand, surprise, surprise, that there is no record of this meeting. No accurate minutes were taken and the video document taken of the whole proceedings has disappeared. We”re told that the operator didn”t press the right button (despite members of the audience seeing the red record light was on!). How very convenient! If this farce continues a growing number of East Kent constituents will be seeking a quick exit for members of both Councils – and their highly paid executives.
I would like to know what action you intend to take to prevent any repetition of this kind of fiasco and allow your constituents to access factual and honest information about KIA developments. In the light of the impending consultation process through TDC now being mooted it is essential that the whole exercise is both democratic and transparently fair, and not, as many fear, a quasi-legal rubber stamping of matters already decided behind doors.
Here’s some of what would undoubtedly have been a viral video hit, as reported by yourthanet.co.uk:
A member of the public got up close and personal to remonstrate with Kent County Council leader Paul Carter on Monday night (September 27). Ramsgate resident Malcolm Kirkaldie mounted the stage at Chatham House Grammar School as the atmosphere at the KCC Thanet Local Board meeting soured.
He was annoyed at the way the meeting was being chaired by councillor Bill Hayton and said he felt that not all the people asking questions of the panel were not being allowed to ask supplementary questions. He was riled when a man asking questions before him was not allowed to ask a further question, and then when his own turn came to ask something immediately afterwards, a growing sense of disorganisation and clarity took its toll.
Just a few seconds into his question, Cllr Hayton tried to hurry Mr Kirkaldie into getting to his point before he was allowed to add some context to what he was saying. An irritated audience berated the chairman as Mr Kirkaldie got up from his seat to leave.
At first it looked like Mr Kirkaldie was going to storm out, but he turned on to the stage and, standing yards from the shocked-looking KCC leader, gave him a tongue-lashing – although exactly what he said was not clear. Cllr Hayton told Mr Kirkaldie to get off the stage several times before he obliged and left the meeting in the school hall, slamming the doors behind him.
He complained outside that the whole meeting was being carried out in an undemocratic fashion but later re-entered looking relaxed. Mr Kirkaldie was seen chatting amicably with Cllr Carter outside the hall after the event, and Yourthanet understands he was able to put his question to him in the end. Nevertheless, there was widespread dissatisfaction with the way the meeting had been conducted.
One member of the audience, who declined to be named, described the event as “probably the worst public meeting I have attended in my whole life”.