Jason Kitcat should be applauded for his actions not suspended from office by a non-elected panel

The decision on the “standards committee” of Brighton and Hove City Council to suspend Councillor Jason Kitcat is shameful.  The panel found that Cllr Kitcat’s use of a video from a Council meeting was “political” and improper, particularly in regard to one “highly edited” clip of an exchange between Councillor  Geoffrey Theobald and the then mayor, Councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn.

I for one am disgusted that a non-elected panel can suspend a councillor who has been democratically elected.  There is such limited media coverage of the debates of councillors on the City Council that any democrat would welcome wider coverage, no matter how “political” it is.  If Cllr Kitcat has ‘spun’ the item, then confront him politically.  Don’t hide behind an undemocratic panel.  This is politics, councillors are all adults. 

If Cllr Kitcat has done wrong, the way to deal with him is next May in the Council elections. I suspect that Cllr Kitcat will be re-elected with a massive majority in Regency Ward.  He is one of the finest and most hard-working councillors in Brighton and Hove.  His reputation is enhanced by his opponents actions.

I imagine Geoffrey Theobald, who can mix it with the best of them, must be terribly embarrassed that his colleague, Councillor Ted Kemble, made the original complaint.  Geoffrey doesn’t need the protection of this undemocratic panel to hide his policies.

What amazes me is that the Council is about to deliberate about what cuts they are to make, cuts on an unprecedented level.  The Coalition Government wants public input.  How can we participate if we don’t have information and the widest diversity of views.

Jason Kitcat should be applauded for what he has done.  He shouldn’t apologise.  He should be encouraged to carry on tweeting from Council meetings and posting videos, views and information on whatever media is available.

The person who can resolve this is Geoffrey Theobald who, I know, is sufficiently experienced in politics not to allow himself to be diminished by the complaint of Cllr Kemble and the ruling of the panel.  He should say that an apology is not wanted nor called for.

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9 Responses

  1. Thanks for your support BPB.

    In fact, in an interview with the standards investigating officer, Cllr Theobald has already said he doesn’t feel personally bothered by the clips. He understands how politics works and is ready to take the ups with the downs, as do I. Yet Cllr Kemble, backed by Cllrs Mears and Oxley have decided to pursue this complaint regardless – involving a huge amount of officer time in the process.

    Personally I think councillor and officers have more important issues to tackle at the moment.

    The interview transcripts are online at http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=21917

  2. I too am very surprised that this decision has been made by the panel, and am glad to see that in fact Cllr Theobald was not bothered by the dissemination of some of his lively Council perfomances.

    I sat outside a Patcham polling station early in the morning beside Cllr Theobald, and there was much good-natured banter and, indeed, discussion. I think he gives good value, doesn’t appear to take offence, and has wide experience to draw upon, in local government and elsewhere.

    He is obviously wiser than his colleagues Mears and Oxley, who lack the ability to step back and see how this can only cause the Tories special damage. Look how everybody keeps mentioning Cllr David Smith’s bizarre challenge to a duel when, er, music libraries were the subject one had hoped was under discussion.

  3. lol @ local politics. I bloody well hope I’m not paying for this “standards committee”.

  4. brightonpoliticsblogger: “I for one am disgusted that a non-elected panel can suspend a councillor who has been democratically elected.”

    And I, for one, am disgusted that a democratically elected councillor has surely flouted the rules of the Council by filming a meeting and posting it on to the internet.

    Cllr Jason Kitcat: “Personally I think councillor and officers have more important issues to tackle at the moment.”

    Indeed, sir!

    Still, at least you can have a break now, eh?

    • Jason Kitkat did not film a meeting. The Council did, and made it available, as with any other document. Perhaps the Council does not like the further airing of material that is more detailed than the parallel minutes?

    • I am amazed that this piece of misinformation is still circulating in relation to this. Kitcat DID NOT FILM THE MEETING, ok? Try reading reports properly!

  5. I know Jason, as he works with me on problems with evoting and ecounting at the Open Rights Group, but haven’t discussed this with him recently. Is Jason being accused of copyright infringement? If so, this is pretty despicable. Copyright is not meant to be a means to constrain free speech.

    Or is it – I don’t really understand – that the complaint that the use of a clip was “political”? In which case, are Councillors supposed to be free of political opinions, or what? Or is the use of the Council website’s material meant to be “non-political”?

    It would be good to see how this complaint has been framed, on the face of it seems quite shocking.

  6. I applaude the desicion on the “standards committee”. Cllr Kitcat does not act in fairness to all the Regency ward voters, the very people who voted him. I do not reprecent any political party, but I have wittnessed Cllr Kitcat on various occassion as being unfair to all. He takes sides, as an elected Cllr he needs to act for all the people and their concern in the area, but instead he does the opposite! I am glad that this kind of Cllr are suspended. We are a democracy, a Cllr needs to act for all and above all needs to be fair. Cllr Kitcat naturally isn’t that. He has a long way to go in being a public servent.

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