Friday, 15 November 2013

Tell Us A Joke Councillor...

While the Beddington Incinerator is not a Worcester Park specific issue, it is a London Borough of Sutton issue and councillors from all over the borough are involved in the decision making process of whether to allow such things within the borough boundaries. Worcester Park Councillor Stephen Fenwick (Lib Dem) was one of these for this particular decision. During the Development Control Committee meeting which voted to allow this incinerator, Cllr Fenwick made a speech about why he had voted against it the previous time but was now choosing to support it.

Dave Pettener from the ‘Stop The Incinerator’ group has made a slightly mocking video of Cllr Fenwick, using his actual speech from that public meeting. It is too humorous not to share, especially if you are interested in who it is currently representing Worcester Park on the council.

For those interested, Cllr Fenwick lived in Beddington until very recently. Also, for those even more interested, all Liberal Democrats on the committee voted for the waste incinerator. Local Conservatives voted against it but being that there is currently a 4:1 ratio of Liberal Democrats to Conservatives on the council (and therefore on this committee), the permission was effectively waved through by the Lib Dems.

Update (17th November)

The 'Stop The Incinerator' group have sent me a very nice email thanking me for highlighting this issue and asking me to include a link to their petition which is

Update (Feb)

One or two people have expressed disappointment that I have posted this video parody of a Sutton Councillor elected to represent Worcester Park. For the sake of those people I would like to let you know the following:

I have spoken to Cllr Fenwick twice since this posting to offer him a full right of reply. His response was that he did not want to do this as he did not want to rise to the bait. He said:
“Sometimes with things like this you just have to take it on the chin, especially when you are a publicly elected representative.” 
I should point out (again) that the video was made by the 'Stop the Incinerator' group and had been in the public domain for some time before I posted it here. If you just play the audio without the humourour visuals you are only hearing exactly what Cllr Fenwick said at that meeting. I suspect they made this into a video because they knew that few people would be bothered to just listen to the audio recording of the incinerator planning meeting by itself.

Anyone elected to public office should expect this level of scrutiny and these meetings are recorded and publicly available to ensure that the voting public can make themselves aware of who they are voting for and how those people are representing them. Decisions made by these people on our behalf affect all of us and such scrutiny, and even a level of parody are part of any healthy democracy.

People should not put themselves forward for such a position unless they are prepared to accept that. To his credit Cllr Fenwick recognizes that and has at no stage asked me to remove this video.

I did not personally produce, commission or ask for this video to be made. I have not personally disparaged Cllr Fenwick. I have made available something that was already in the public domain that many people have appreciated seeing, and more to the point - hearing. If you don't like it - go whinge to someone else.