Sunday, 22 November 2015

Brave Members Reject Assault on Free Speech


“I’m bored!”, exclaimed a more equal member of the Blessed Authority, “These questions from the public are the same every single meeting, somebody do something before I fall asleep at my desk!”

“We could try and answer the questions properly and act on them accordingly”, offered a lesser amongst equals. “I'm fed up with this business of hearing the question and being told the answer before I've had a chance to say anything.”

“That’s just potty”, said a voice, “we simply need to change how we want the public to participate, that’s all!”

“I have the solution”, purred Dr. Pikeman, “leave it to me, I shall confer with the Great Brethren of Blessed Parks, they will surely give me guidance, so we can become more like them in every way.”

So, proposals to limit public participation at the Blessed Authority's meetings were firmly presented to Members this week - who, somewhat remarkably, sat on them just as firmly.

Never one to miss an opportunity to restrict free speech, Dr Pikeman saw the request as a mandate to prevent anyone from petitioning the Authority, restricting what sort of question could be asked - and even bypassing Members entirely when the questioner couldn't be at the meeting.

“Meetings are a place where Members conduct business of the Authority and really don’t need to be distracted by the public interfering with the carefully engineered decisions I need them to make. If Members notice there are alternatives to Option 1 (Save the Authority by charging more and delivering less), or Option 2 (Doom the Authority and all it holds dear to a fate worse than death by not choosing Option 1) then there’ll be a riot.”

Former senior member Dave Pond commented that the Authority is "not a democratic and accountable organisation in the first place" and that the proposal was "unnecessarily provocative".

In an unprecedented last minute rebellion, however, Members decided that enough was enough after all and the proposals were taking a ridiculous step too far, even by the Blessed Authority’s standards.

"It's the complete opposite of what we asked for" complained one new Member.

“Get used to it” whispered the fen raft spider which had fallen off the Divine Ecologist’s skirt earlier in the meeting.

“Of course, we accept the will of the Members” said an official spokesperson, with her fingers firmly crossed behind her back. “We didn't want to limit engagement, just improve efficiency.”

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