Tag Archives: Twit

The Dinnington and Anston Personality of the Year 2013 is…. Dominic Beck!

It’s at times like this you like to sit back and reflect on the year that was and remember the people who have shaped our lives over the last 12 months.

This has been our very first at LoveDinnington.com and we would like to thank the man who first inspired us to put digital pen to paper and start blogging about local events, Dominic Beck.

As leader (at the time) of Anston Parish Dominic was having a wee bit of trouble one meeting with a gobby pensioner who after refusing to be fobbed off stood up and gobbed off despite many warning from Dom that the Police would be called.

Dom went ahead and called the Police on said pensioner and instead of doing the dignified thing (closing the meeting and leaving) he actually had the whole Council sit there for an hour or so waiting for the Police to turn up.

That takes dedication, so we hereby award the first Dinnington and Anston Personality of the Year Award (2013) to Dominic in recognition of his services against pensioners.

Well done Dom, puts Barron’s knighthood into perspective in my opinion.

Roll on 2014, the local elections and more intrigue. A very happy new year to all.

Anston Parish Meeting 29 April 2013

Monday night and off we trot to the Parish Hall, but it’s NOT a Parish Council meeting as such. It is a public meeting called by Cllr Thornton and the room is split into two areas. Outsiders like me who don’t live in Anston must sit at the back, Residents sit round in a big circle. Any councillors attending tonight do so as members of the public, except the chairman Mr Beck and the clerk.

The local plan for house building in Rotherham was raised straight away  no house building planned in Anston says Mr Beck. Hmm not sure that’s right, after all once they have tarmacked their way across Dinno East to the Butterfly House they will be in Anston then, technically. Oh and were they to build a massive new trading estate over near Todwick some of that would be in Anston, still details, details, let’s move on.

Mr Beck was also criticised for reading out a statement before clearing it with fellow Cllrs, and also asked by a resident about what he would do should a conflict arise between his post here and the one at Wales where he is borough Cllr? Mr Beck pointed out that the meeting was not about him and to be fair he has a point.

He was also asked about times he may have dropped the ball, but picking the ball up Mr Beck moved the meeting onwards.

Questions also asked about the upkeep of the hall and grounds which costs thousands upon thousands per year, however it was pointed out that there are many bills to pay and much work to be done.

RMBC were slagged off for the rather poor standard of service that residents experience, cuts were blamed until one resident pointed out that the services were poor before the cuts. Move on!

A vote proposed by Stuart for the automatic exclusion of any non-Anston resident who interrupts a parish meeting by speaking.

Hmm, we’re in a personal bug bear type place here for me, I have no idea why it is seen as a good thing for Dinno residents to be forced to keep silent at Anston Parish and for the same to apply to Anstonians at Dinno Town Council.

Anyone who actually thinks that what happens in one village does not affect the other is frankly kidding themselves. The two places are joined at the hip, and this is one rule which really doesn’t need reinforcing.

But vote they did and yes surprise, surprise sanctions will now apply to anyone from over the border who dares to speak!

The greenbelt issues were raised once again, with Cllr Burton telling everyone greenbelt land will not be used straight away and not while there are empty houses in the area. Quite how she thinks this would happen is not clear, government planning inspectors have been allowing developers to ignore brownfield for a year or more now, but I’m guessing that wasn’t in her briefing from the borough.

One of the fan club members at that point asked Cllr Thornton why he was objecting to building on greenbelt. This would mean his children couldn’t afford houses in the area apparently, as building on brownfield is too expensive. This is the old myth that the new houses in the area will be affordable or social houses. They won’t, no developer is going to waste the lovely countryside locations in Dinno East and Throapham with affordable cardboard boxes when they can build 4 and 5 bed exec homes instead.

BUT people still peddle this old myth, even though the government is now telling developers that the old deals which meant a certain proportion in new developments had to be affordable is now off.

I have to say the fan club comments were a little better than usual, but this was in part due to Judy Dalton being perched on their shoulder throughout I’m guessing! She’s no fool when it comes to following the Labour party line from the borough.

Stuart Thornton did dare to ask if the fan club members heckling had anything to do with the contracts they had with the parish council. This provoked a threat of a solicitors letter from fan club member #2.

The vote in the end was headed off by Jo Burton, who I can only assume was being remote controlled by someone with a brain. In the end the public fell for it and voted to insert her amendment to urge Cllrs to oppose greenbelt development unless brownfield and all other sources of housing were exhausted. It’s actually impossible to do that, but details, details, move on!

The top secret land deal was raised once again, I say secret, but bacteria on the planet Mars have heard what and where it is by now, so let’s move on.

One resident said that the A57 divides Anston and Mr Beck agreed. Have they seen my cunning plan to divert the A57 and allow Anston to begin a glorious new age? No, and I’m not allowed to speak…

By now Cllr Burton had changed the meeting to love-in by inviting all present to tell her what they loved about Anston. It’s a long list and I love the place having spent the first three decades of my life there, but isn’t this just a distraction really?

It is and from this point on the meeting got very shouty, with poisonous comments being literally spat from one corner of the room to the other. Mr Beck had finally had enough when he closed the meeting and had gone so red as to resemble beetroot.

It was at this point that events went pear shaped in a major way, no doubt you will have read various versions on other sites and in the papers as well.

I do not intend to add to these comments, at least not yet.

Thank you and good night.

Using Twitter in Council Meetings

I’ve been wondering, as I do from time to time, what is the actual law regarding the use of Twitter at a Borough, Town or Parish council meeting?

Is there a law at all, and if someone insists on tweeting or facebooking during a meeting are they actually breaking the law?

The government certainly seem to think we are quite entitled, and they have published their take on the subject here.

Even courts are allowing tweeting, as we can see here.

After a spell of Googling and head scratching I decided to ask the people who will ultimately be enforcing the decision (whatever that may be) so I have asked the following of South Yorkshire Police:

“Dear Sirs, apologies for the unusual question, but I wonder if you could help me with the following:

If a member of the public uses Twitter or another form of social media during a Council meeting (principal, town or parish) are they breaking the law?

For example if such a person is asked by the chair during one of these meetings to desist and refuses which then results in the Police being summoned will the Police take any action against said person, such as insisting they leave the meeting?

This is assuming that the person in question is causing no disturbance or disruption to anybody, just using some form of electronic device to tweet or update a Facebook page, etc.

Again sorry for the unusual nature of the question but having read articles in the press where people in other areas of the UK were evicted from meeting for using social media, I would like to clarify the situation.”

As soon as I receive a reply I’ll let you know!

Anston Parish Council Meeting Feb 18 2013

My first attendance of Anston Parish Council was to be all about Rotherham Council’s local plan and the programme of housebuilding which could see our greenbelt swallowed up by hundreds, possibly thousands of houses over the next 15 years. I didn’t expect much satisfaction when we raised the question of whether Anston would follow Dinnington’s lead and object formally to the latest round of consultation. The chairman Mr Beck said it could be discussed at the next meeting, conveniently forgetting that it would be too late by then.

The few rational voices on the Council were drowned out as Mr Beck’s cronies fell over themselves to bury an issue which is proving to be a major embarrassment for the local Labour party.

What happened next really took me by surprise, however.

An elderly chap called Mr Lewis has asked a question earlier concerning a complaint he had with another Councillor who was not present today. Not placated by Mr Beck’s evasive and unhelpful answers Mr Lewis refused to sit down and doggedly insisted that his emailed complaint was read out in full.

Mr Beck didn’t like this challenge to his authority, and tried repeatedly to censure Mr Lewis by warning him that if he wasn’t quiet he would be asked to leave. Mr Lewis is made of sterner stuff and kept on insisting that he was entitled to a full answer and asked time and again for his complaint to be read out to the Council. Finally to try and assert his dubious authority Mr Beck ordered Mr Lewis from the room, Mr Lewis refused to go and so Mr Beck left the room saying he was going to fetch the Police. He returned some time later with the meeting adjourned and we all settled down to see what would happen.

It was actually quite pleasant as the room broke up into smaller groups which allowed those of us representing various issues to talk one on one with the Councillors and much constructive discussion took place. Without knowing it Mr Beck had transformed the meeting into a useful brainstorming session.

Time passed and then some more time passed, the Police were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps they were fighting crime, or perhaps they already knew what we were beginning to realise, that Mr Beck is a twit.

Finally with half the room remaining and people rubbing their eyes and yawning Mr Beck once again took his seat to declare the meeting closed. All of a sudden who should appear but two Police officers, up jumped Mr Beck, and started explaining to the officers why he wanted the vile disabled pensioner physically removed from the hall.

It should be said that whilst Mr Lewis was very determined and rather loud he never exhibited rude or offensive behaviour, he was never threatening or even overly disruptive, he simply would not be brow beaten by the local little Hitler.

I started to film the scene at this point as I genuinely thought I was going to witness an elderly fellow dragged away by the Police for standing up to the local bully.

It was left to others to point out to Mr Beck that as he had declared the meeting closed there wasn’t really a meeting for Mr Lewis to be ejected from. Faced with this logic the Police made a dignified exit and handled the situation superbly. My video footage won’t be ending up on YouTube. There are people on it who are innocent of Mr Beck’s brutal democracy and they may not appreciate it.

Comedy quote of the night must go to Mr Beck, however as the Police went to leave, “But officers, officers, this gentlemen is getting in the way of democracy!”

Oh, Mr Beck… How embarrassing… You really are a twit.