Thursday, 25 April 2013


Here is the link to a video of Thanet Council's Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 23 April.

I was the Chairman of the meeting. At the meeting Councillors decide to over-rule my decision to allow citizen journalists to make video recordings of the meeting.

So much for open and accountable government at Thanet.

I have now written to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles MP complaining about the undemocratic actions of Thanet Councillors and have asked him to investigate.

A copy of my letter is reproduced in the post below.

Here is a link to a letter from Bob Neal MP to all Council Leaders

The letter makes it perfectly clear that the Government wants Councils to allow the public to film its meetings. But what do Thanet Councillors do? The total opposite! Its time for a change!


  1. Cllr Driver, just because you want something to be doesn't mean it will be, that is the thought process of a dictator, not a democrat.

    As I've written elsewhere on the Thanet blogs if you wish changes to be made you need to raise the motion, get a consensus and have the rules changed via a democratic process.

    Unfortunately as Christine Tongue seems to be the person who is more associated to you than anyone else with a camera, blog and newsletter she is tainted and cannot be considered impartial, and it is impartiality that is lacking in today's coverage of political matters.

  2. Mr One O' Clock. It not a question of what I want. It's the Government, political commentators and thousands of campaigners, bloggers and citizens journalists who want secretive council meetings to be thrown open to public scrutiny by allowing filming. Its the moral corruption and backward looking, anti-democratic attitude of Thanet District Councillors which prevent the Council from entering the 21 century and embracing these changes. I've said it before and I'll say it again, a council that fails to embrace openness and accountability is a council which runs high a risk of becoming financially corrupt and being mismanaged. Whatever you or I, or Thanet Councillors might say filming is coming to TDC so chill out and go with the flow

  3. Cllr Driver,

    Your last few words are puerile. If you and Ms Tongue are indicative of the flow then what I need is a dam. But I'm taking you too seriously for your remark was nothing more than example of a middle aged man trying to sound hip.

  4. This issue is not just about a few people getting their own way. The real problem here is that an issue was made of it at all. Since 2008 local authorities have been told they must do more to encourage people to engage with the local democratic process. It's time the old guard just admit that they need to change.

    1. Whilst more open governance may be desirable, surely good governance must be the first priority. The shambles revealed by the film hardly supports that.

      Then there is the question of who should be allowed to film. I am a freelance writer who researches and has published articles, mainly historical, in a range of specialist magazines and journals, but I would never describe myself as a journalist, citizen or otherwise. I am not a member of the NUJ nor do I work for any accredited newspaper. Neither does Mrs. Tongue.

      If the filming of meetings is to take place let it be by proper journalists capable of reporting facts without political or other bias so that the electorate can draw their own conclusions.