Let’s hear it for Jason Kitcat – the victim of a Labour, Lib Dem and Tory stitch-up

Anybody who takes a close interest in the politics within Brighton and Hove City Council (and we are few and far between) will continue to be appalled at the treatment of Cllr Jason Kitcat. He is facing a six month ban from public office unless he apologises for not showing Cllr Geoffrey Theobald “respect”.

His crime? Posting extracts from a Council meeting on You Tube and on his blog when giving Cllr Theobald a hard time over communal bins.  I kid you not.

A complaint was lodged by Tory Cllr Ted Kemble to the Council’s Standard’s Committee.  The Panel which heard the complaint was made up of an independent chair, and Labour councillor Jeane Lepper and Lib Dem councillor David Watkins.  Cllr Kitcat was found guilty and was asked to apologise to Cllr Theobald.  It is not clear whether both councillors voted against Cllr Kitcat.  If they did they should be ashamed of themselves.  In a democracy, the only people who should be able to prevent an elected councillor from representing his constituents are his or her constituents themselves, through the ballot box.

Geoffrey Theobald, to his credit, isn’t in the slightest bit fussed by any of this.  He has been around long enough and has been called worse (probably by me at some point!).

And Jason Kitcat is getting support from some unlikely quarters, not least from the Tory Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps.  You can read a full account of the whole sorry saga on Jason Kitcat’s blog.

Perhaps an appropriate outcome would be defeat at the polls next May for Cllr Kemble and a massive scare for Cllr Lepper (she is too popular in her ward and works too hard for her to lose her seat – and I personally wouldn’t want her to).  As for Cllr Watkins, if he stands again, he should in any case get beaten on the anti-Lib Dem backlash.

And what about Cllr Kitcat.  If he is suspended, there should be such a huge vote next May to re-elect him in Regency Ward.  Ordinary voters don’t like people being victimised, and Jason Kitcat is one of the hardest working councillors in my memory, one of the truly exceptional local ward councillors of our time.