COUNCILLORS are elected representatives of the local community. They act on behalf of the electorate and their role is to represent the views of those who voted for them which, by definition, should be the majority view.
Why, then, would any elected councillor believe that the conversations they hold on behalf of their constituents should be carried out behind closed doors?
Certainly, there are a few matters of a particularly sensitive nature involving individuals or commercial contract tenders which should be discussed in private to avoid legal difficulties. But the vast majority of what is discussed in a meeting of a parish, town or district council should be fully open to those people who are being represented.
In this digital age, councils must move with the times and it is completely reasonable and proper that digital devices – be they cameras, computers, camcorders or smartphones – should be able to be used in conveying the content of meetings to the widest possible audience providing, of course, that those using them do not disrupt proceedings.
So the reluctance of Keighley Town councillors to allow it to happen –which led to an outcry last year when parishioners were prevented from doing so – was wholly against the spirit of local democracy.
Attempts to justify the decision by claiming people would be "deterred from standing for the Council" simply sound arrogant and beg the question "What have they got to hide?"
Thankfully, the Government has now taken steps to prevent such nonsense occurring again – and local people can make their own minds up about how well they, and their views, are being represented.