Saturday, 17 November 2007

The Rising Sun etc

Those of you who are following this on Ruby's blog may wish to have the chance to read my response to some comments, which Ruby felt unable to publish - partly because of a misundertanding as to why subsequent comments she published impacted on me.

I hope you will allow the following comments Ruby, as, though often mentioned I have not said that much.

David - as one of the cleverest with words you do your best to show me in a bad light, and I am grateful to Amanda for coming to my rescue. Yes I did drop in before you arrived to say hello to any of my residents at the Ruin hearing, but I had actually briefly left a meeting with the Leader and Chief Executive in order to do so. Having said hello I returned to the meeting.

Ruby - you say some agreement should have been reached through dialogue. My reading of the situation is that agreement was sought by complainants and the council employees to turn down the volume. You have fun at the expense of the EHO doing her job (in very unsocial hours) but you only print the part that amuses. Did you read all of the papers? You mention three complaints, but actually letters were received from six households in Nelson Road.

Can I add that I am beginning to feel the fall-guy in all this. My only part was in giving informal advice to my electors who were complaining to me and sought help, via my monthly surgery, just as I have done in all the other hearings affecting my electors. The Licensing Act 2003 is complex and needs some explaining.

The Rising Sun is not in my ward, nor did I make any representation on my or anyone's behalf in connection with the hearing - which I did not even attend.


Colin said...

I am going to return to a theme.
I take exception to the comments that the EHO was working unsocial hours.

The EHO job involves such action and research, that is her or his job, their method of employment. The salary package is more than conmensary. If you as the budget holder paid more attention to salary expense and time allocated, and related this to commerce we may have a more effective use of public money, I have to assume you have worked in the past in the public sector, and not had continual employment with in the state supported sector.

As for your support for Amanda, her comments were very close to libel, and just may be Ruby was doing you a favour by NOT publishing your comments on her web site.

Paul F said...

Colin - are you familiar with an EHO's remuneration? Regardless of what it is, are not the hours still unsocial? What is the difference between the public and state sectors? How is thanking Amanda supporting her? Rather than doing me a favour wasn't Ruby denying me the opportunity to respond to her, David and Paul, whilst allowing the latter to continue?

Steve the mean guitar machine said...

Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear. I have no idea what any of this is about but can you all just stop bickering? I came along to this site hoping to hear some of Paul's music and all I read is this nonsense. Please please please brighten my day and play something by Wet Wet Wet.
ps. hope David won't correct my spelling or grammar. Lol:)))

Ruby in Bury said...


You accuse me falsely.

I had stated on my blog that comments on the Rising Sun post were closed and that I was no longer going to publish any now, unless they were well wishes to Bob and Jan of the Rising Sun, or if it was new information. This was so that we would hopefully get away from the bickering and continue the discussion more constructively, rather than destructively.

The two comments I have added to the post since calling a halt have been 1) a well wish and 2) news from Paul H about a printout of my post being taken to the Rising Sun with a comment from Bob.

When you submitted your own comment, I looked at it, saw that you were upset, and that your contribution consisted of 3 grievances. One was about DN for allegedly undermining you with clever words, one was about me for allegedly having fun at the expense of the EHO, and one was about Paul Hopfensperger's comments - and amazingly, his recent letter to the BFP about Shared Space.

Why did you feel it appropriate to open the subject of a highly contentious issue between yourself and Paul H on my blog, under a post on the Rising Sun? And when I'd just asked for comments of a specific kind as well? If I'd let you put that comment on, would it have been fair for me not to let Paul H respond? And then would you have needed a further right to reply him?

However, I replied your comment to me by email - albeit very briefly as I have limited time at the moment - and also copied in David N, so he could reply your comment too. I did not copy in Paul H, because I didn't want to be the "messenger" in your comment to him about Shared Space. It would have involved me, and that is the last thing I want.

On we get now to the post you have just made above.

You mention your disallowed comments as being comments "Ruby has chosen not to publish despite having continued to publish
other comments critical by implication, of me."

So basically, you are saying that I disallowed your comment, but I'm putting on comments that criticise you.

OK, now let us look at the ONLY TWO comments that I have published (at the time of writing) since disallowing your comment. Here they are:

Comment 1 from Grumpyoldwoman:
If Bob and Jan are reading this then I would like to say that I for one will really miss bumping and grinding my stuff to some good bands and joining in tunelessly with some terrible karaoke (thats the whole point of it surely). But most of all I will miss your good selves and your general bonhomie - what other pub do you leave at the end of the night and mine host holds the door for you and wishes you 'goodnight'?

Once again the (very) small minority triumphs against the very large majority. You will both be very sadly missed and I wish you joy in whatever you decide to do now.
PS: and mines a house double with ice please x

Paul, please could you explain what in here is critical by implication of you.

(For those who did't follow the debate, the obvious thing here is to assume the "small minority" refers to the 6 complainants against the Rising Sun, as opposed to the 800 who signed the petition in support)

Comment 2 from Paul Hopfensperger:
G.O.W. - I have printed off all of these comments and passed them onto Bob and Jan. I will add these final two to them. Bob told me something today, he said: "Someone might have won a couple of votes by doing this, but they have lost about 800" [The number of people who signed his petition to keep the pub open]. This statement is maybe something to give hope to the rest of the town?

Paul, please could you explain what in here is critical by implication, of you? (The person/s having won a couple of votes is clearly not you as The Rising Sun is not in your ward - the councillors involved were, I assume, the ones David N named in the discussion, so they must be the only people who could possibly have "won votes" ??)

If there is nothing actually in these 2 comments which is critical by implication of you, perhaps you might like to rescind what you have put about me in your post. Your post is in fact critical by implication of me, because it suggests I am deliberately letting others get at you while not letting you reply. Which would be pretty low - and which is very far from the truth. I do not deserve that accusation.



Ruby in Bury said...

Colin, thanks for your support. I will say that I also felt at the time I disallowed it, that I did Paul F a favour by not putting his comment on. IMO he appears in a favourable light in the Rising Sun discussion on my blog, as he doesn't rise to anything and the responses he did make in the discussion, to his credit, are measured.

Paul F, the issue was the content of the comments, not the people making them. Yes, I did you a favour by not putting your last comment on, not a disservice.

Ruby in Bury said...

Paul, I have just re-read the comments on my own blog and I have realised that Paul H brought up shared space earlier and not you. Many apologies for the oversight. This was due to stress and lack of time more than anything else, and I regret it.

To be honest I am a bit out of my depth and comfort zone trying to adjudicate between councillors' arguments. You are tough cookies, all of you, and you get extremely personal with one another, which I find hard to handle when it happens on my blog.

21st Century Mummy said...

Paul - I have been reading the comments on yours and Ruby's posts about the Rising Sun with interest and don't think you should see yourself as the "Fall Guy" as you suggest.

If you don't mind, I would like to pass a message through your blog to all councillors who comment on the public blogs of Bury.

Despite the fact that I enjoy a healthy debate, it is not a pleasant read when councillors are having a go at each other. This particular "ding-dong" has got out hand for a number of reasons, much of which results from the nature of politics itself as well as the history political relationships.

I respect Ruby's editorial stance regarding holding back your email as not to fuel any further blog-rage, and I believe she did the right thing. However, I recognise your frustration over not having the right of reply.

I am not sure that publishing it on your own blog was the best course of action, nor was the decision to publish Amanda's personal comments about an individual, no matter who it concerned.

I may not be a voter in the town centre wards, but as a member of the wider electorate it is not a pleasant experience seeing councillor spats on what is otherwise a forum to celebrate the beauty of Bury St Edmunds, laugh at the funny side of the town or mourn its losses. By the way, this is not a message for you in particular but one for all councillors to consider and indeed any members of the public, who decide to attempt a personal affront.

Ruby's blog works best when the comments are not moderated, as it opens up a healthy forum for discussion, which cannot be achieved elsewhere in Bury. So please guys don't ruin it.

And my advice to the council would be to instill a policy to guide its councillors over personal conduct on social networking sites, whether it be blogs or other forums.

Colin said...

I think Ruby has responded both on your blog, and quite possibly direct or via email. And yes she may have done you a favour.

By publishing Amanda's comments and thanking her you did or it could be deduced that you did agree with the comments. Your comments as a councillor are covered but your personal comments and others you publish carry a responsibility.

No I dont believe these to be unsocial hours based on the chosen employment, and requirements of the job. OTHER PROFESSIONALS WORK OUT SIDE 9 TO 5.

The telling comment is you don't see a difference between the private and state sector. There are VAST differences, and as a portfolio holder with a remit to spend public money it is a travesty you don't have the understanding of the difference and commercial reality.

21st Century Mummy said...

Paul - thanks for your reply...but this is an example of what I mean, the constant finger pointing and digs between councillors.

At this stage it doesn't matter who started it all. And please excuse my hands on hips demeanour when I can only sigh and suggest that you all call a truce on the matter. Otherwise it will all just get too out of hand. If councillors have a problem with each other, please sort it out in the chamber.

Besides, the season to be jolly is almost upon us and I don't think anyone wants to have personal pain and anxiety get in the way.

I am now hanging up my apron in the hope that you chaps can all sort it out between you. If anyone needs a mediator, I suggest Picklesmum and her travelling naughty step. (PM - sorry to drag you in on this, but your naughty step may just be needed).

Paul F said...

21st CM - I do not disagree, but look back to Ruby's fireworks post to see who started this exchange.

Colin - am I only to publish comments I disagree with? What gives you any indication that I do not appreciate the differences between the private and state sector? My portfolio is not about spending, but saving/income generating.

Paul F said...

(The last 2 comments are in the wrong order.)

david said...

21CM - SEBC already has a policy along the lines you suggest. I don't think Paul Farmer has breached it. The policy doesn't apply to Paul Hopfensperger but I doubt that he has trangressed either. I certainly haven't, so what is your complaint?

Both Paul's own blogs which deal mainly with local political issues. Occasionally, the sparks will fly, but then no-one should confuse politics with pattercake.

21st Century Mummy said...

David - thank you so much for the clarification and reassurance that there is a policy and nobody has breached it.

I have no specific complaint except that on this occasion it does seem as though people's feelings are being hurt,whether or not it is a case of politics or pattercake.

Like most I can be entertained by the pattercake banter that takes place (I rather enjoy the House of Commons debates too), but when personal digs are made it is another matter. Take P Hopfensburger's comment about the Fireworks being noisy...possibly gentle banter whos knows? However, Paul Farmer's allowing of Amanda's comment about Paul that looks like a personal dig. Not made by Paul, understood, but published all the same.

Please also take into account that even if this kind of activity is normal within the usual course of political discourse, when it continues into the public arena where others (like me) are quite ignorant of the protocols (whether informal or formal)it easily leads to a person's character becoming damaged.

It is interesting to see Richard Rout's comments on Ruby's blog regarding why he doesn't comment much. I admire his stance on that.

Perhaps the lessons to be learned are that there should be a Bury St Edmunds forum for public debate, which doesn't detract from the essence of personal blogs. After all, in a political context, it would be beneficial to the read everyone's input regarding certain decisions...what we don't need is the burden of editorial responsibility being enforced onto the shoulders of blog owners (who are not politicians or councillors) and being accused wrongly if these decisions are seen as wrong.

And on that note, I'm off for some more drama, but this time of the toddler variety (and believe me that can be 10 times as bad).

Ruby in Bury said...

Blogging and new media throws up its own particular issues as a medium of communication. It is a written form of communication where you are your own editor - there is no Barry Peters around to disallow something libellous. And there are many other issues that arise. As Richard Rout has said in his recent comment on my blog, it is easy for councillors to get sidelined in arguments, and this can spoil the debate.

I have been worried about the nature of councillors comments on my blog ever since you guys first appeared on it. Since you have been there, the nature of the discussions have changed, and your own snipes and digs at one another have led to a difference in the type of discussion that takes place. I know for a fact that other people are afraid to post when "a spat" is occurring, incase they get turned against. They email me to tell me. I have, as I say, been worried about it for a while, but have felt out of my comfort zone in having to discipline councillors (and it is always councillors who cause the problems. As my councillors I want to be able to respect you, not to witness the sort of behaviour you bring to the blogs.

I am in the process of establishing some terms and conditions for those posting comments on my own blog.

One will be acceptance of my comment adjudication on my own blog. Discussion will not be entered into. Posting a comment on my blog implies acceptance of this condition.

I will not hesitate to permanently ban anyone breaching this condition.

david said...

Ruby - it wasn't a councillor who accused me of being in the pay of Jan Rutherford ( in the form of free beer). I know it wasn't posted on your blog but most of the offensive comments are from non-councillors on all blogs. Amanda's recent comment on Paul Hopfensperger is one example and Paul Farmer suffers from regular inaccurate sniping.

Still, all of it is nothing compared to the treatment handed out to Kate McCann. There are a lot of sick people out there.