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Letter: Since When Did Cllr Spooner Speak for ‘The Establishment’?

Published on: 28 Jul, 2016
Updated on: 28 Jul, 2016

CriticismFrom Ben Paton

Who is Cllr Spooner to presume that he speaks for the “Establishment” – in Guildford or anywhere else? Or to disdain free enterprise? Or to disparage the Dragon’s readers and contributors?

Monopolies on the supply of labour – trades union restrictive practices – were last in favour in the 1970s. But similar monopolies on the expression of opinion seem to be in vogue today with Mr Spooner. Those old-fashioned trades union bosses confused a majority with moral right to dictate.

Far from being “anti-establishment” The Dragon has a far better claim to upholding the British values of pluralism, openness, transparency and fair play than the so-called “Conservative” leadership of the council.

Perhaps it would prefer to “manage” its communications with the public through “product placement” in the Estates Gazette and a Surrey University student’s magazine?

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Responses to Letter: Since When Did Cllr Spooner Speak for ‘The Establishment’?

  1. George Dokimakis Reply

    July 28, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I never thought I would do this but Cllr Spooner is quite good at engaging with the public via this online newspaper or via twitter. This is a lot more than others are doing and hiding behind their fingers.

    Granted, he seems to have a thin skin and more importantly a flawed vision for Guildford (if any actually).

    He does stand up to defend his opinions and those of his party and he does accept feedback. He would make a really good, even excellent manager. It is just so unfortunate he has placed himself in a leadership position that he doesn’t seem to be well equipped for.

    For good or bad, he is an elected councillor and he is the leader of the GBC’S Executive. As such he does represent the establishment. I find that he represents quite well the values of his party.

    George Dokimakis is the vice chair of Guildford Labour.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    July 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    “Engagement via Twitter” is an oxymoron. Twitter panders to the immediate sensation at the expense of lasting analysis.

    There is a distinction between the respect owed to an office and that earned by a person.

    A public office is the construct of an organisation and of law. If it is the product of good law then good citizens should respect it. The trust owed to the particular holder of an office is earned over time by their conduct rather bestowed automatically by their office.

    The few emails I have had from Mr Spooner have been extremely derogatory, utterly disdainful and completely dismissive.

    Good management is a function of many things. One of them is following due process and establishing the facts rather than acting on presuppositions.

    The management of public organisations is especially concerned with upholding the law. The NPPF sets out a clear process which can be followed as a set of logically sequential coherent steps. The council has not followed those steps. It failed to scrutinise the SHMA, and failed to complete properly transport, environment and heritage assessments. Several aspects of it can only be described as a fudge and the buck stops with Mr Spooner.

    As a fellow member of the Conservative Party, I disown Mr Spooner’s values as expressed in his comments about The Dragon. His statement that it is “anti-Establishment” or “gutter press”, or words to that effect, is no more acceptable than Cllr Moseley’s dismissal of the public at a planning meeting as “bloody rabble”.

    Attacking the press is not a substitute for reasoned argument and evidence – unless you are in Turkey or Russia.

    But perhaps Mr Spooner will be heartened that there may be management openings in the Labour Party?

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