Friday, February 04, 2005

Mobile Phonegate

Some naughty people have been using their mobiles indiscriminately during Council meetings & the Mayor is not happy.

Consequently, a discussion item appeared at Full Council on Wednesday about a possible change to Standing Orders forbidding use of mobiles in meetings and infractors to pay a fiver to the mayor's charity as punishment. Whilst supporting the principle, I felt that mandating a figure into Standing Orders was a bit extreme and argued that charity was a personal thing and could not be considered a donation if it was extracted as a fine. As it happened no-one seconded my position but it wasn't put forward to go into Standing Orders anyway so is effectively an informal guideline.

I also had plan b) up my sleeve, which was that anything proposed and seconded for standing orders should then be deferred without discussion. My view on that wasn't as a stalling tactic, just that if we have rules of procedure then we should actually follow them and Standing Orders are deliberately designed to be difficult to change so that there might be more of a chance of people thinking about the consequences, intended or otherwise.

The term "Mobile phonegate" was coined after a diatribe about the goings on at a planning meeting where I had sent my apologies due to being in London but managed to get to half an hour after the start. Not being there I missed out on comings & goings, vibrating pockets, unheard apologies & various states of Quorate/inquorate transition. I wasn't overly endeared to be given a bit part and described as having "rolled up" but was advised this is a Morley term and not a suggestion of being lackadaisical. I did arrive in a motor vehicle which is one of the definitions....

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