I've always viewed it as very important to show respect for people in whatever position they are in, and this is as true for elected representatives as it is for anyone else, whatever party they represent. So I had hoped for the same degree of respect in return when I entered the council chamber on Wednesday night for my first full council meeting. Sadly, this was not entirely the case.
As I walked in I was heckled by one Tory Councillor who then started swearing and ranting at me. Now I know defeat in an election can be difficult to take, but I felt it showed a lack of decency and manners that this councillor could so publicly choose to act in such a way.
I think it is incumbant of all elected representatives to show each other respect and good manners both in the way they deal with issues, but also in the way questions are answered. For all our political differences, the Leader of the Council (Cllr Woodbridge) does this impeccably and also made a point of welcoming me. I have to thank Tory Councillors Mallett, Ward and Carswell for their politeness and warm welcome also.
One issue which seemed very odd from my previous experience on the Lib Dem run North Norfolk District Council was the way the Tories try to cut off debate by moving to go to the vote before all those people who had indicated to speak were given a chance to join the debate. This is something that did not happen in North Norfolk as the ruling Lib Dems would always allow the Tories to have their say. In my view it shows a hollowness to your arguments if you are not prepared to listen and joing in a debate but instead wish to stifle the opposition.
Overall, the meeting did not really discuss much except that the council seems to be adopting eminently sensible plans in the way that kennels, catteries and pet shops are expected to raise and maintain the high standards expected by the law. I actually wanted to make this point to council and give the council a pat on the back for a sensible approach. Sadly, because the Tories wanted to cut the debate short (remember my elections leaflets moaning about the lack of thorough consultation ? - It happens at council too !), I was not allowed to make this point.
Next for me is an official induction and a proper ID card and a new leaflet to my ward. All I need now is be proper PC to be fixed as it packed up on polling day of all days.