At the Standards Committee meeting on 20th July, there was some baffling praise for Councillors.
Toward the end of the meeting, one of the participants said: “As the Independent Person for your Standards Committee and an Independent Person for some other Standards Committees, Blackburn with Darwen has the utmost integrity and their Members are exemplar as far as I can see in upholding standards in public life”.
Was such praise really warranted or appropriate?
A councillor for Blackburn South East has been expelled from the Labour Party for antisemitism, having authored a Facebook post saying that “Jewish leaders are worse than the Nazis”.
Another councillor for Billinge & Beardwood is currently suspended from the Labour Party after allegedly uploading a video to Facebook. The video is allegedly of himself shouting “Murderers” at a group of Jewish people.
We are not sure what standards in public life the Independent Person regards as acceptable, but in our opinion these examples fall far short of that.
A few bad councillors give the many good ones a bad name, but an Independent Person should think carefully before making such a sweeping (and flawed) generalisation. Otherwise his independence could be called into question.
Perhaps this helps explain why the Council has not seen fit to take any action against either councillor.