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Propaganda vs Facts

Right from “the off” (well earlier than that to be honest) I was concerned that the South Tyneside Independent Alliance was being just a little economical with the truth in its literature distributed around the borough, and were continuing to persuade the people of the Westoe ward in South Shields that they should take a chance on re-electing a man who has a track record of failing to turn up to council meetings to represent their interests. They carried on insisting that their candidate “resigned” on some point of principle to deliberately force a new election for the vacant seat on South Tyneside Council.

Yet all of their remaining councillors who turned up at the last full meeting of the council had the opportunity to publicly back this claim when the vacancy was formally declared, and they singularly failed to do so. Therefore I decided to email each and every one of them to seek their considered view on the matter.

Dear Councillor,

at the meeting of South Tyneside Borough Council on 30th. July 2009 a report was presented on the Agenda detailing the events leading to the current vacancy in the Westoe ward of South Shields. The report from the Head of Corporate Governance was comprehensive and included a detailed chronological timetable of events which included the representations and intercessions of Mr. Allen Branley, his wife Cllr. Jane Branley, and your Deputy Leader Cllr. Ahmed Khan.

No questions were asked of the report, no challenges were made to the report, and no councillor wished to speak to the report, consequently it was agreed nem con (by all).

This being the case, can I ask if you are all now in unified agreement that Mr. Branley was lawfully removed from South Tyneside Council as a result of his failure to attend any meetings within a consecutive six months period?

Further, will you publicly disassociate yourselves from the erroneous and false statements included on literature recently published on your behalf and distributed throughout South Shields and South Tyneside telling electors that Mr. Branley had resigned his seat?

I sent that back on the 8th. August to Cllrs. Ahmed Khan, Jane Branley, Geraldine White, George Waddle, Victor Thompson, Gordon Finch, and John Hodgson. I’ve posted on the issue consequently here and the best response that we got was some obscure argument about the meaning of nem com. I thought you’d be interested to know that in respect of this straight forward request for a comment or two from one of the larger groups of councillors in South Tyneside, not a single one of them has responded in the last sixteen days.

Should I now take it as read that they do not want to publicly disassociate themselves from the erroneous and false statements made on their behalf on their literature distributed amongst the populace? Do they now believe implicitly that false propaganda is far more important than facts?

Another important question that I have put to the Alliance through these pages in the past year that still remains unanswered is “why is the South Tyneside Independent Alliance not listed on the Register of Political Parties held by the Electoral Commission?”  The Conservative Party is, The Liberal- Democrats are, the Labour Party is, and even the South Tyneside Progressives are, and we can view their accounts to see how they are financed.

How is it that the party/group that makes the most noise about transparency and accountability in South Tyneside fails to live up to its own standards and continues to be secretive about its structure and financial footing (clearly they have a lot of money to expend on printers and distribution companies)?

I think we are owed an explanation.

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