A council meeting descended into chaos last night when two members of the public began filming inside Middlesbrough Town Hall.
The meeting was halted just minutes after the new chairman was agreed as Cllr Bob Kerr.
Made aware of the filming taking place, he asked the men to cease filming.
When the men refused to put down the cameras and stop filming, two police officers entered the council chamber to speak to the men.
The chairman then suspended the meeting and left the chamber.
After several minutes he returned to ask everyone to evacuate the building and congregate in the quadrangle outside.
After a 30 minute delay, councillors, the media and members of the public – except the men with cameras who were prevented from re-entering the building by the police – returned and the meeting resumed.
Beechwood ward Cllr Joan McTigue said: “It is a public meeting and councillors themselves tweet away to people outside – what is being said and by whom etc. Therefore I see no problem with it being filmed and put into the public domain.”
Last June Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles published a guide which states councils should allow the public to film, blog and tweet council meetings.
But the chairman said: “According to 25.2 of the Constitution no photography or filming can take place. The chair has the authority according to the Constitution of asking and if necessary forcing anyone doing so to leave.”
When the meeting resumed, North Ormesby and Brambles Farm ward councillor Len Junier proposed an amendment regarding allowances that every councillor in the authority should take a 5% cut for the next two years.
Mayor Ray Mallon accused him of speaking to the press saying it was “narrow-minded”.
He said: “If I had my way I would give them a bit of a pay rise. A 5% cut would be minimal, it would not be a pin prick in relation to the savings.”
The majority voted against the amendment.
Middlesbrough Conservative leader Chris Hobson submitted a proposal to alter the new senior management structure which she said would save the local authority £363,000. Mr Mallon said he would meet with her to discuss it further. Six voted for it, 34 against.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 15 May 2014
Why are the mainstream media so keen to make you think falling inflation means your wages will rise?
There is absolutely no indication that this will happen.
If you are lucky, and the drop in inflation (to 1.7 per cent) affects things that make a difference to the pound in your pocket, like fuel prices, groceries and utility bills, then their prices are now outstripping your ability to pay for them at a slightly slower rate. Big deal.
The reports all say that private sector wages are on the way up – but this includes the salaries of fatcat company bosses along with the lowest-paid office cleaners.
FTSE-100 bosses all received more pay by January 8 than average workers earn in a year. Their…
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On 16 March this year, around 112,000 people marched in Melbourne, Australia, against the policies of its government that are clearly against any principles of decency, fairness, social justice or just plain humanity.
It was one of many marches across Australia that day for the same purpose – some of the largest in the country’s history – yet you probably never heard of it. No surprise – even the Australian media chose to almost completely ignore the protest, focusing instead on the St Patrick’s Day revelries that took place the following day.
All the while, state governments are pushing through laws against protesting with penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment.
In October 2012, I was one of hundreds of thousands of people marching through London in protest against our own (excuse for a) government’s policies of victimisation and demonisation of ordinary people to smooth the way for draconian penalisation…
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It is easy to get caught up in headlines and forget that the Coalition’s benefit reforms mean people you know will lose their homes.
You know what happens then? PEOPLE YOU KNOW START LOSING THEIR HOMES.
Vox Political was warning the world about this back in 2012 – nearly two years ago – saying the bedroom tax would put people on the streets while homes go empty and warning about the ‘Poll Tax revival plan to take away your home’. It gives me no pleasure at all to report that I was right.
This week I heard about two cases in my Mid Wales town. You may think that isn’t many, but this is a town with a population of less than 5,000 – and I haven’t heard about every case.
The first involves a family that has been living in the same council house for more than 30 years…
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A refreshing change seems to be sweeping through local news media here in the UK, with stories starting to appear about people who are fighting unjust behaviour by the government.
The rest of us should support this.
For example: Workington woman Jeanette Johnston, 29, had a job until recently but has been forced to give it up due to congenital health problems which mean she has already had a kidney removed and will need a heart and lung transplant in the future.
She had been receiving Disability Living Allowance but this was stopped last August after aids including bed ladders were fitted at her home, following recommendations from an occupational health expert.
DWP advisors told her that the benefits would stop until she was reassessed for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – and she has now spent half a year waiting for that appointment.
Jeanette’s tale raises several questions. Why does…
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Gay rights activists staged a protest in a bid to get one of the world’s biggest companies to speak out against Russia’s controversial laws on homosexuality.
About a dozen supporters took tohomosexuality in Sunderland to campaign outside McDonald’s as they called on its bosses to speak out about the country’s stance.
Last year, its Government banned the promotion of “non-traditional” sexuality, which has been seen as an attack on gay rights.
The country is holding this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, with the opening ceremony held yesterday.
People of all sexualities attended the protest, which also saw a letter handed to the restaurant’s management setting out why the event was held and how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people were being beaten and persecuted in Russian.
Sam Willey, 22, one of the organisers, said: “What we’re trying to do is push them to at least accept Russia is persecuting gay people.
“It’s not necessarily to say they should pull out of their sponsorship but to speak out.
“They are paying a lot of money for the Olympics, and the least they could do is a little bit more to call for action.
“A lot of us saw the Dispatches documentary, and that really shocked a lot of people to the core.”
Among those to join in the event was Ryan Houston, chairman of Sunderland Pride, who said: “I think this highlights what we take for granted in the North East, and we support the work they are doing.”
The protest backed an international campaign called All Out, which states no person should have to sacrifice their family or freedom, safety or dignity, because of who they are or who they love.
A spokesman for McDonald’s said: “We are aware that some activists are targeting Olympic sponsors to voice their concerns regarding the Russian LGBT legislation.
“McDonald’s supports human rights, the spirit of the Olympics and all the athletes who’ve worked so hard to compete in the Games.
“We believe the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and athletes.”
Source – Sunderland Echo 08 Feb 2014
It’s farewell to your centuries-old right to free speech today, after your Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs won their bid to get the Gagging Bill passed by the House of Lords. It won’t go back to the Commons because the Lords made no amendments.
While you, personally, will be allowed to continue complaining about anything you want, you will no longer have the ability to link up with others to protest government actions in any meaningful way as such action may breach Liberal Democrat and Tory government-imposed spending limits. Your personal complaints will be deemed unrepresentative of the people.
You will still be able to have your e-petition on the government’s website – if you win enough signatures to have it debated in Parliament – ignored by the Tories and Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons.
The Liberal Democrats and Tories have even managed to rub salt into the wound…
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