9th December 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Too grand to answer?

Since when were elected councillors too grand and important to answer reasonable questions from their local print newspaper (The Shetland Times, 5th January)? Did their outrageously expensive “media training” advise them to keep schtumm, I wonder?

I don’t agree with all the points made by the two councillors who did reply but all credit to them.

Cllr. Ryan Thomson has certainly been busy lately, on behalf of us all, so has a good excuse for not responding, but the rest of them perhaps need to remember who sent them to the town hall and maybe make a new year resolution to be more forthcoming.

Jonathan Wills
Sundside
Bressay

4 comments

  1. Norm Hartman

    As a veteran in media training (I’ve been doing it for about 40 years and have worked in every US State and 17 foreign countries) I can tell you that the first thing people — particularly officials who represent others — are — or should be — taught to to is to respond quickly to local media. After all, the readers are the people who elected them, and to whom they owe an explanation or clarification. To do otherwise simply encourages people to write messages just as you did and we wonder if the the elected official has something to hide.

    Reply
  2. John Tulloch

    I can’t remember a council from whom so little information has been forthcoming about issues of public concern. Now that everything is cut and dried at pre-meetings before the council/committees meet there is no public debate and rarely a question or – perish the thought – a demurral, by a councillor.

    I hope and am sure it’s not the case but it comes across as though councillors fear some sanction will be imposed if they differ from council policy or from what has already been decided at a pre-meeting.

    A danger with having all purportedly “independent” councillors, as opposed to party representation, is that it can become a kind of consensual elective dictatorship with no opposition. I’m not advocating party representation but there is a clear argument that a governing administration with an opposition would lead to much more public reporting and discussion of issues under debate.

    Reply
  3. Johan Adamson

    It does come across as as if they are operating as a cabal sometimes. They know everything, we know nothing – and they want to keep it that way. This is dangerous in the case of Emperors new clothes moments – you never know, someone else just might spot the obvious flaw in the plan. I also wonder about equal opportunities – there are not enough women and minorities amongst the councillors, so they need to make sure they have had their equal ops training. And they might need to remember that this is a free country – it is ok to have a different view to the trendy one. Are they so scared of criticism? Some can be constructive and helpful. They should worry more when the electorate are not talking as they must not be feeling inclined to be helpful.

    Reply
  4. Shuard Manson

    The (former) Wir Shetlanders have made a real difference. Shakkin things up…….

    Reply

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