Monday 28 February 2011

Mr Reasonable - Not Respectable?

In today's Barnet Times online edition there is a quote from Cllr Hillan concerning bloggers and citizens filming at council meetings. As part of the article there is a delightful quote from Cllr Hillan which say, “I do not think we would consider a request from bloggers . Only respectable media would be considered.” What a blinking insult! I am a perfectly respectable law abiding citizen of this borough, I pay my council tax and I contribute to my community. I go along to numerous council meetings where there is no press present (sadly often no members of the public either). I have reported back on meetings. Probably one of the best blogger reporters is Mrs Angry. Her depth of coverage, detail and accuracy puts the rest of the "repectable" press to shame.

Cllr Hillan, I would respectfully suggest that you think again. Your own Government Minister, Bob Neill has clearly stated "There are recent stories about people being ejected from council meetings for blogging, tweeting or filming. This potentially is at odds with the fundamentals of democracy and I want to encourage all councils to take a welcoming approach to those who want to bring local news stories to a wider audience".

Cllr Hillan, you are out of step with the people and you are out of step with your own government. Keep going and you will be out of office.


  1. It raises an interesting question though doesn't it?

    Is it the medium, blogging, which is not respectable - including for example, blogs by respected journalists like Jon Snow or Paul Mason, or is it the fact that you do not hold NUJ membership, in which case how would you describe ConHome, Leader Listens etc?

    If it is a judgement on the bloggers in Barnet specifically, then that is a personal judgement and can only be described as an attempt to stifle free speech and potentially unlawful.

    I am intrigued by the reference to the constitution. If the constitution is silent then arguably there is no power to ban filming or recording.

  2. Mr R: you are the epitome of respectability and decency and I am appalled at the lack of self knowledge that can induce someone like Hillan to make such a remark. I'm afraid I feel she is entirely unsuited to making such judgements of respectability and has yet again shown herself and her leadership to be totally alienated from the values and policies of the modern Conservative party.

  3. I would challenge your comment above: “Your own Government Minister Bob Neil….”. Bob Neil is Conservative. Lynne Hillan isn’t. Her predecessor Mike Freer was gratuitously offensive to bloggers and she is equally contemptible of the public and her sidekick Brian Coleman is well known for his respect of the blogging and non blogging community alike. Hillan’s conduct is more akin the African and Middle Eastern dictators who are, one by one, starting to fall.