Misconceptions about the Independents

Profile image for TonyDomaille

By TonyDomaille | Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 08:59

Almost two weeks after three independents were elected to Thornbury town council there is still much being said about the new councillors' motives that is just untrue.

One User on this site posted, "do you not think that it is a little bit irresponsible though for three people to take the seats just so that they can try to block a development in Thornbury that is right up their street?"

A comment not unlike those made by a number of people who have never taken the trouble to read the independents' manifesto.

Bigmandave suggests the new councillors get their message out by local radio and press. Well, attempts to get a slot on Gloss FM were not successful as their schedule is full for May. The Thornbury Gazette has frankly ignored information it was given and just prints what the Lib Dems say, so it is really only sites like this where their message can be heard at present.

The three independents are not single issue people. They have already promised ward surgeries, engagement with groups like Arts and Community in Thornbury, the Chamber of Commerce and others. they have taken seats on committees other than town development and have already demonstrated real concern on a whole range of issues affecting the town.

Bigmandave suggests the independents are irresponsible, but I wonder how responsible is it to print claims that could drive a wedge between people when they have no foundation in truth?



  • Profile image for Bland_Media

    One thing I inadvertently omitted, was that South Gloucestershire Council has been a major funder of our community radio station, and that funding has come from the Severn Vale Area Forum. I won't say which political party dominates at the forum (I think you can guess), and if you click on the following link, you will find mugshots of the members (who include two former town councillors, hehe). http://tinyurl.com/6x4b2fx

    By Bland_Media at 22:59 on 17/05/11

  • Profile image for TonyDomaille

    Thank you, Bland_Media. As mentioned I am new to all this and your knowledge is very valuable. Naturally I felt that Gloss FM were missing an opportunity and depriving councillors of a platform and local people of access to their messages, but I did not have sufficient background knowledge to robustly question their decision. I have found all the media are comfortable with the known and less inclined to accommodate the unknown. It's something we will have to learn to manage.

    By TonyDomaille at 22:53 on 17/05/11

  • Profile image for Bland_Media

    I'll make clearer what I meant. 1. PLANNING The dates of both the local elections and Gloss FM's Spring 2011 broadcast were known months in advance, so the station management could have thought ahead and scheduled a special programme (or series of programmes) to discuss the election results, with space for a selection of winning (and maybe even losing) candidates, both for South Gloucestershire Council and Thornbury Town Council. Considering that it claims to be "South Gloucestershire's premier radio station", it seems remiss of Gloss FM not to have some significant reporting on the outcome of elections which were for the whole of the unitary authority. 2. FLEXIBILITY The idea that all 476 hours of daytime transmission have been set in stone, prior to the commencement of the broadcast, is not valid. Even Connery's 40 airtime hours have plenty of flexibility, during the course of the 4-week broadcast; and his weekday slot, from noon till 2pm, would have been the most appropriate setting for interviews of local politicians. 3. FAVOURITISM I believe that the station is sticking to its traditional bias, which has been LibDem, although Connery usually had one of his cronies as a regular guest, and that person ousted a respected LibDem, when he grabbed a single member seat (outside Thornbury) for the Tories. Gloss FM broadcasts in May to coincide with the Thornbury Arts Festival, and there is some back-scratching (i.e. mutual publicising) by the two organisations. I am sure that both parties would not wish to upset the cosy support system that they have developed. Now if you delve deep enough, you will find that certain members of the festival management supported South Gloucestershire Council's Core Strategy, with regard to the proposed Park Farm development [the evidence is online]. So giving space to the independents might cause some friction. Well-researched investigation or bizarre conspiracy theory - you can decide.

    By Bland_Media at 22:44 on 17/05/11

  • Profile image for TonyDomaille

    Let me be clear, bigmandave. It was I who asked Gloss FM for time on their station on the councillors' behalf. It was I who accepted the the answer was no for May but a possible for November. If you have some suggestions on how this 'push' you advise should be exercised, do let me know.

    The councillors are new to council business. I am certainly new to trying to help people in that situation. No doubt we shall learn and improve on finding platforms and delivering messages as we go. In the meantime may I point you to the website I mentioned earlier so that you do discover why they stood, what they have promised and what they hope to achieve.

    By TonyDomaille at 22:40 on 17/05/11

  • Profile image for bigmandave

    mmm. I think the word DECLINE also means no, to refuse politely, so another words they said NO! Correct me if I am wrong but they asked to go on radio and the station said sorry we do not have any space. Other words they said err. NO! Does not matter how you dress it up it comes back to the words that the station said NO to them. As from Bland_Media I think all Bland_Media was trying to state is that the station should have been on the ball and planned time for an important local election slot. Maybe the councillors should have tried to push harder for such backing rather than just accepting a NO.

    By bigmandave at 21:11 on 17/05/11

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