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Standards Board Rides Again

I have difficulty understanding what the Standards Board for England is about.

An individual in Moseley called Safdar Zaman owns a building on the Moseley Road. This building has been subject to a large number of planning disputes over time and is currently the subject of a retrospective planning application.

Two Councillors (Mullaney and Hendricks) produced a video of the state of the building as part of campaigning to maintain the state of the building. At the end of the recording Mr Zaman assaulted the Councillors in an attempt to steal their camera.

The standards machinery has sprung into action and after a long drawn out process called upon the councillors to apologise to Mr Zaman for disrespecting him or be suspended for a month each.

This is a ludicrous thing for the Standards Board to Prosecute. There is a particular so called "Ethical Standards Officer" a mr Steven Kingston who seems to like having a go at ridiculous cases. He managed to almost bring to a halt London's system of government because Ken Livingstone was rude to a journalist. He has also now managed to disrupt Birmingham's system of government when councillors were doing something with local support.

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Standards Board and Ken Livingstone

The link is to the case where Ken Livingstone appealed the decision of the Adjudication Panel for England. The Standards Board and associated Adjudication Panel have done a lot of damage to democracy in the UK. The courts are, however, bringing them into more sanity. The point about Ken Livingstone's case is that it was high profile and he also could afford to appeal. The Standard Board has a problem in that those subject to its enquiries face substantial costs that they cannot claim back. This is an issue that needs further work. In essence the Judge found that what he said brought him into disrepute, but not the office of Mayor. We do need the machinery of the SBE and APE to concentrate on things that matter rather than people being rude to each other.