Bullying in the Conservative Party - just a National problem?

For a start, with 51 out of 54 Councillors Tories, you would have to be a brave soul to rebel on anything, and risk de-selection (the typical pattern by which Councillors become Independents!)

And when you look at a specific subject - about which Anne Filer has asked not to be bothered again - there is no evidence of any backbone. I refer to the past relationship between disgraced (and convicted) planning consultant Tony Ramsden and Council Leader John Beesley.

Mr Beesley chaired a Planning Meeting (before he became Leader) at which Ramsden presented the case for the applicant - the application was granted. Mr Beesley just declared that he had known Ramsden as a former Councillor when in fact - as he himself admits - they had a very close relationship. I have taken the trouble to obtain
written statements to this effect from third parties.

An enquiry was held at which,
as the Echo reported, Mr Beesley found a last minute 'get out of jail' card in the form of advice he had received from a Council Officer. In other words, a technicality, which brought the hearing to a quick close with no other witnesses heard. But that does not change the underlying facts - should Mr Beasley have chaired the planning meeting at all?

I have been following this matter for years - and banging my head against a brick wall. Have I become obsessed with a matter that is of no consequence? - please decide for yourself.

This is the sort of thing you elect Councillors to monitor and Control. If that were not enough the Council has to, by Law, have a 'Section 151 Officer'. We don't know the full detail of why Bournemouth has lost 5 of these statutory whistle-blowers in 5 years and we are waiting for the result of the Employment Tribunal brought by Liz Wilkinson. We do know from the published evidence in that case that the higher level of Bournemouth management sounds like a poisonous place to work.

At the seat of these problems is an inadequate Constitution, and rule behind closed doors, with Communist-style caucus meetings making the real decisions. Why else do full Council meetings take less than an hour?

For evidence that Independents are needed, look at the way I was 'punished' for making waves about these things;

• thrown off the monitoring committee by chairman Ben Grower;
• had my Council email account withdrawn - an astonishing attack on my role as an elected official.

I think there is no doubt that Bournemouth Council needs more non-Tories to create debate and scrutiny. Kinson South voters have a chance to make an impact on 10 December.