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News and Comment August 2012

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20 August (Part 2) - The arrogant and dismissive Alan Downing

Councillor Alan DowningThis one could go on for days but it may need a recap each time it is resurrected. Mayor Alan Downing was found to have been disrespectful to a deaf man when he chaired a meeting but not dismissive and arrogant when he told him to go away while jabbing a pen in his face. On appeal Downing was exonerated of his disrespectfulness and suddenly it is the deaf man who is disrespectful.

There isn’t any dispute over what was said, the man rose a little from his seat, raised his hand slightly and politely addressed chairman Alan Downing.

I cannot see how it could have been done in a more civilised and gentlemanly fashion and as noted last week, Bexley council has said that all chairman should be mindful of the needs of the disabled. This is Bexley council’s account of the incident’s opening words - and its verdict on them.

The deaf man said…
There was no “situation” until the request for Craske to turn on his microphone, a request that councillor Alan Downing decided to inflame by at first ignoring the request and then refusing it. Only a cretin denies a deaf man the right to hear at a public meeting, and Downing is that cretin.

When at the end of the meeting the deaf man said he would be making a formal complaint, Downing said he “would look forward to that”. According to Bexley council that was OK because the deaf man was “hostile”. I saw no hostility but if there was any, who caused it?

The council and Downing claim to be not guilty of a failure to activate the loop, which obviously needs an active microphone if it is to work, because they had not been told in advance that a member of the public attending might be deaf.
Notice required
So in order to benefit from the microphone and loop system you have to give Bexley council advance notice. Remember that if you go to the Post Office or buy a train ticket in case it has become the norm elsewhere.

Councillor Val ClarkThe Appeal Committee, that's the utterly useless councillor Val Clark and the pathetic Sybil Camsey, ruled that “councillor Downing’s comment: You must have personal problems, could have been better” but “in the context” of the deaf man having the temerity to ask for the microphone to be switched on “was not in itself disrespectful”. They said that asking for the microphone to be switched on was “intended to promote a negative response from councillor Downing”. Ignoring the fact that that is another Bexley council lie, why did Downing not immediately defuse the situation he claims was hostile by asking councillor Craske to turn his microphone on? But a sensible response would require a decent and intelligent man to be chairing the meeting and in councillor Alan Downing we have neither of those things.

As usual, everything within quotation marks is taken directly from Bexley council’s excuse sheet. More another day…


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