Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Council meetings are public. Full stop.

I wrote this letter to the Cambridge News in response to a strange outburst objecting to private recordings of public council meetings.
Dear Sir,

The letter from Lil Speed, 7 October, misses the point about council area committees. They are public meetings on the public record to determine public policy, not police surgeries. It is questionable whether the city council even has a right to restrict recording; it certainly should not.

Any confidential matters should be taken up directly with the police.

It is a shame that the Liberal Democrats (whom Mrs Speed endorsed at the recent by-election in East Chesterton) are so cagey about the recording of public meetings. It would be better if they lived up to their party name and encouraged this enhancement to local democracy.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Bower
Argyle Street
I fully support the right of anyone to record council meetings, which are public. I am glad that the city council relented in allowing any recording to happen at all and welcome the fact that they are considering doing it routinely. If it can be afforded then it would be a very welcome enhancement to local democracy.

Meanwhile I do not buy their justifications for making it difficult to record the meetings - the recording of meetings makes it much easier to hold representatives to account than is currently possible based solely on the necessarily-terse official minutes.

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