What it’s like to be a REAL independent councillor

Newton (Abbot) Says No won council seats in Teignbridge with its concerns about over-development of the town. This is what it has been like for them since May:

“Ever since NSN started we’ve been lied about, misinformed against and threatened with the Police. When we started the website emails started arriving from those we’d featured on the ’rogues gallery’ page threatening police action. The Police didn’t take any. When that didn’t work, Christophers and co went to the Mid Devon Advertiser and got a front-page story about how awful we are. It won us the election.

In the run-up to that election, the then College Ward Councillor Ann Jones posted comments on the NSN Facebook page saying what she thought of us. I replied that she could say what she liked but she’d soon be out of office. She wrote “Is that a threat?” I wasn’t sure what sort of threat she thought it was. The threat of democracy? Anyway she called the police. The Police ignored her.

Throughout our election campaign we had the Police attaché to the election calling us up, sounding increasingly weary, because he had to. We couldn’t put up a single poster without someone claiming that it broke the rules of the electoral commission. Was any action against us ever taken? Of course not.

So here we are again. A shadowy cabal of Liberal Democrat councillors are putting together a committee to investigate Newton Says No and its ‘online activities’ (apparently). And they’re involving (scary organ music) … the Police! Yes! More of your taxpayer-funded police man hours will be drawn away from preventing burglary, stabbings and suicide and devoted to staring uncomprehendingly at our Facebook page, sipping tea and shrugging.

So what are these threatening missives, that curdle the blood and damn us as the gang of terrorists we are? They are two comments on my Facebook page, made by people I’ve never met. The first was in response to a satirical piece I wrote about a meeting on how to develop Wolborough Hill, at which I commented that there, awful as it was, there was a lot of nice cake. I took a picture of the cake. someone called Edith said that she hoped they choke on their cake.

The second, which I REALLY had to search for, was made by someone called Emily and says “Whoever came up with this effing plan should be shot”.

Notice how Emily even took care to write the word ‘effing’, so concerned was she about causing any offence to anyone who might read it. She then goes on to say that she would rather we do a march than withhold council tax because, not unreasonably, she doesn’t want to get into too much trouble.
That’s the class of thuggishness and villainy we’re dealing with here.These are two of the people we’re apparently working up into a pitchfork mob.

Captain Hook says it’s nothing to do with him. We believe him because, as much as he may dislike us, Gordon is a man of some principle and would not have the discourtesy to go to the press without telling us. According to Ross at the MDA it is ‘a group of Lib Dems, possibly on behalf of council officers’.

Now I know what a threatening comment is, and if I saw one it wouldn’t last two seconds on my page. But these are just people calmly expressing anger and frustration. Frustration with the people who sit in offices planning the ruination of their environment and of this corner of a despoiled, burning planet. Why shouldn’t they? The inability of these people to deal maturely with the fact that somebody, somewhere, doesn’t like them is I suppose part of this age of professional victimhood. But there’s a darker side to all this.

They want the police to make us take down any criticism, no matter how minor. Not just our own words but comments by anyone who contributes to our pages. They will want us to delete anything that expresses anger at the council and its officers, for fear of getting in trouble. They want us cut off from the caucus of people who voted for us and for whom we promised to work.

They want to make it impossible for us to criticise this council, because that will be SO much easier than actually listening to people. So much easier than steering the bulldozers away from a site of special scientific interest with an ancient water course and critically endangered species. And as ever, nobody wants to feel threatened by consensus. So they pretend it’s a different kind of threat; a threat that will win some sympathy. They pretend its a threat against the person, which they implicate us in. It’s diabolical.

We imagine that this complaint will be fobbed off like all the other attempts to use the police to intimidate us. It would be nice if someone could be arrested for wasting police time. But maybe – depending on who is ‘friendly’ with who, and who might be in the Masons – we will get the machinery of the State cracking down on us like a sledgehammer on a piece of very nice, clingfilmed cake.

Whatever happens, we’ll carry on. And we’ll tell you exactly what we’re doing, and what we’ve said, as we always have – rather than sneak around in the shadows feeding nothing-stories to the press. You know, like people with something to hide might do.”

Source: Say No to Newton Facebook page