Last night Mr Reasonable attended the Special Committee (Constitution) at Hendon Town Hall. This is where councillors discuss amendments to the constitution. There were a number of proposed amendments to the way motions are dealt with in council meetings and it seemed to be proposing significant restrictions on who could speak. I was surprised there wasn't much more of a discussion about what seems to be an ever increasing restriction of councillors rights to speak. If I was a councillor I would have been kicking up merry hell but obviously I do not understand the subtleties of what was being proposed.
I was there to ask about the role of public participation in the overview and scrutiny process. One councillor did ask why I had put forward such a modest proposal on public participation. I made the point that I would love to see a root and branch review of the way the council involves the public but that the current restrictions in the constitution meant that I could only address what was on the agenda i.e. the overview and scrutiny process. There followed much debate about the issue of public particpation, but the impression I was left with was that the ruling group really don't want the public involved. Part of me wonders why I bother going all the way over to Hendon just to be ignored, but my view is that if we don't keep reminding the councillors that they are supposed to be there to represent us, the residents, they will take our non attendance as a signal that what they are doing is ok - and it isn't!