THE EDITOR'S CHAIR: Voters deserve better than political walk outs

EXCHANGE OF VIEWS? The council chamber at Newport civic centre Voters deserve better than political walk outs

ENTERTAINING: Roy Noble

First published in News South Wales Argus: NEW EDITOR: Kevin Ward by

I’M not sure what Newport’s Conservative councillors thought they would achieve by walking out of this week’s full council meeting in protest at a change in the way the meetings are organised.

Questions to the Labour leader of the council now have to be provided in writing four days in advance of full council meetings, with question time limited to half an hour.

Tory councillors say the move stifles debate. Labour says it follows the model used in the Commons and the Senedd and prevents meetings dragging on for hours.

I don’t know who is correct on this issue. In all honesty, I don’t really care and I suspect that will be the case for much of Newport’s electorate.

Voters put their trust in local politicians to work hard for them, to help make their lives better, and to ensure services they pay for are delivered promptly and efficiently.

They don’t want to see the kind of adversarial, Punch and Judy party politicking that has dogged Newport and some other local councils for decades.

Turnouts at local council elections continue to fall and politicians have to accept they are largely to blame.

Voters want to see local councillors working to improve their city, not bogged down by political dogma and point-scoring.

This is not an attack on Newport’s Tories in particular – though my view is that walking out of a meeting is particularly childish and certainly not the way to represent constituents – but a plea for local politicians of all parties to prioritise what the electorate wants and not what the party line dictates.

Ask most people what they think of politicians and you’ll get some similar replies – they’re all the same, they’re on the gravy train, they’re only interested in themselves.

It may not be true but it is a generally- held perception.

The best way to challenge such perceptions is to show voters what you are doing to make good the promises you made at election time and to improve the lot of the electorate.

Hurling insults across the council chamber or stomping off in a huff is not the way to win hearts and minds.

We are in tough times. Our representatives need to grow up and show they are capable of doing the job they were elected to do.

Noble fell for first aid as a teen

I HAD the pleasure this week of attending a lunch laid on by St John Wales to thank some of their supporters.

Among the guests was Welsh broadcasting legend Roy Noble,pictured, who is an independent trustee of St John and an ambassador for the organisation.

Erudite and entertaining, Roy has a story for every occasion.

My favourite tale at this week’s event was of how he first became interested in the work done by St John. He fell off a roof as a teenager and, luckily for him, St John was running a first aid class nearby.

Members of the class “thought Christmas had come early” as they were able to put their new skills into practice – all except one first aider.

He was the local bobby and was more interested in what Roy and his pals had been doing on the roof than assessing the prone figure’s injuries.

Honouring our ‘unsung heroes’

WHAT a fantastic event Newport’s annual Night of Honour awards has become.

This year’s event, organised by King’s Church, recognised many of the city’s unsung heroes and it is brilliant to see their selflessness recognised.

As usual, your Argus was heavily involved in this year’s awards, receiving nominations and producing special ‘front page’ certificates for the winners.

It’s a great event to be associated with and long may it continue.

Comments (19)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:30pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Cantankerous says...

I have some sympathy with the group in opposition; when they were in control, albeit briefly, the then opposition group chose not to participate in local government.

I do however agree with your sentiments - they all ought to work together in the interest of our city & citizens.
I have some sympathy with the group in opposition; when they were in control, albeit briefly, the then opposition group chose not to participate in local government. I do however agree with your sentiments - they all ought to work together in the interest of our city & citizens. Cantankerous
  • Score: 0

3:32pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Cantankerous says...

I have some sympathy with the group in opposition; when they were in control, albeit briefly, the then opposition group chose not to participate in local government.

I do however agree with your sentiments - they all ought to work together in the interest of our city & citizens.
I have some sympathy with the group in opposition; when they were in control, albeit briefly, the then opposition group chose not to participate in local government. I do however agree with your sentiments - they all ought to work together in the interest of our city & citizens. Cantankerous
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Cantankerous says...

I have some sympathy with the group in opposition; when they were in control, albeit briefly, the then opposition group chose not to participate in local government.

I do however agree with your sentiments - they all ought to work together in the interest of our city & citizens.
I have some sympathy with the group in opposition; when they were in control, albeit briefly, the then opposition group chose not to participate in local government. I do however agree with your sentiments - they all ought to work together in the interest of our city & citizens. Cantankerous
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Thu 27 Sep 12

On the inside says...

It is not for the Argus to dictate who people vote for. Yet again your preference for independents and rejection of the roll of political parties demonstrates how biased you are. Perhaps if you spend less time dumbing down political debate and more time trying to get the public to engage in serious debate we would be in a better place. This 'they are all like children' approach is unfair and untrue. Politicians of any colour are rarely popular but I am sure they take some comfort from the public view of journalists.
It is not for the Argus to dictate who people vote for. Yet again your preference for independents and rejection of the roll of political parties demonstrates how biased you are. Perhaps if you spend less time dumbing down political debate and more time trying to get the public to engage in serious debate we would be in a better place. This 'they are all like children' approach is unfair and untrue. Politicians of any colour are rarely popular but I am sure they take some comfort from the public view of journalists. On the inside
  • Score: 0

8:34am Fri 28 Sep 12

Jones 707 says...

Shame on you Argus for supporting a political party, this is shoddy journalism, I would expect you to take a balanced approach, and cannot recall the last time the Editor of this newspaper took such a biased approach. Shame on you Kevin, bring back Gerry all is forgiven.
Shame on you Argus for supporting a political party, this is shoddy journalism, I would expect you to take a balanced approach, and cannot recall the last time the Editor of this newspaper took such a biased approach. Shame on you Kevin, bring back Gerry all is forgiven. Jones 707
  • Score: 0

9:12am Fri 28 Sep 12

pinpong says...

I agree it is clear that that Kevin Ward is supporting labour. If you read the article by Dave Deans you will see the reason why the tories walked out.
I think that labour have limited the democratic process and have stopped the opposition parties asking questions.
Would you sit through a meeting allowing someone to rip you apart and not be able to defend yourself.
Come on kevin look at the bigge picture and put your socialism to one side fo4r a change
I agree it is clear that that Kevin Ward is supporting labour. If you read the article by Dave Deans you will see the reason why the tories walked out. I think that labour have limited the democratic process and have stopped the opposition parties asking questions. Would you sit through a meeting allowing someone to rip you apart and not be able to defend yourself. Come on kevin look at the bigge picture and put your socialism to one side fo4r a change pinpong
  • Score: 0

10:24am Fri 28 Sep 12

Kevin Ward - Editor says...

Absolute nonsense from some of the posters above.
The Argus does not support any political party.
The fact we receive criticism for our work on a regular basis from both the main parties proves that.
The column above clearly does not support any political party, if you take the time to actually read it.
I suggest posters also look at the bigger picture, put aside their prejudices and read the entire article rather than just the bits they disagree with.
Better still, perhaps a couple of posters above should have the courage to reveal their true identities.
Absolute nonsense from some of the posters above. The Argus does not support any political party. The fact we receive criticism for our work on a regular basis from both the main parties proves that. The column above clearly does not support any political party, if you take the time to actually read it. I suggest posters also look at the bigger picture, put aside their prejudices and read the entire article rather than just the bits they disagree with. Better still, perhaps a couple of posters above should have the courage to reveal their true identities. Kevin Ward - Editor
  • Score: 0

11:01am Fri 28 Sep 12

pinpong says...

My name is Peter Kent. You can check my e-mail address. This has obviously hit a nerve Kevin.I read the report in the paper by David Deans and his explained things properly. You ahve just used your priveleged position as editor to hit the torys.
Dont you think the torys have a point
My name is Peter Kent. You can check my e-mail address. This has obviously hit a nerve Kevin.I read the report in the paper by David Deans and his explained things properly. You ahve just used your priveleged position as editor to hit the torys. Dont you think the torys have a point pinpong
  • Score: 0

11:12am Fri 28 Sep 12

Howie' says...

pinpong wrote:
My name is Peter Kent. You can check my e-mail address. This has obviously hit a nerve Kevin.I read the report in the paper by David Deans and his explained things properly. You ahve just used your priveleged position as editor to hit the torys.
Dont you think the torys have a point
I think you need to read and understand the article, I have not read anything that is either anti Tory or pro any other party and the article certainly does not tell anyone how to vote.

The Tory's walked out of a meeting without contributing anything, that's not what they were elected and paid by the tax payer to do. The Argus was right to report it and the Editor would have been remiss not to comment on it. I certainly do not see any political bias in the comments.
[quote][p][bold]pinpong[/bold] wrote: My name is Peter Kent. You can check my e-mail address. This has obviously hit a nerve Kevin.I read the report in the paper by David Deans and his explained things properly. You ahve just used your priveleged position as editor to hit the torys. Dont you think the torys have a point[/p][/quote]I think you need to read and understand the article, I have not read anything that is either anti Tory or pro any other party and the article certainly does not tell anyone how to vote. The Tory's walked out of a meeting without contributing anything, that's not what they were elected and paid by the tax payer to do. The Argus was right to report it and the Editor would have been remiss not to comment on it. I certainly do not see any political bias in the comments. Howie'
  • Score: 0

11:17am Fri 28 Sep 12

Kevin Ward - Editor says...

I haven't. The clue is in the words: This is not an attack on Newport's Tories.
If the walkout had been by the Labour group I would have written the same piece.
Again, if you read the piece as a whole you will see it is about party politicking by all parties in local government. My opinion (and this is an opinion column not a news story) is that voters do not want to see political point-scoring by any party - they want to see the people they elect (irrespective of political hue) getting on with the job of making their city and their lives better.
You haven't hit a nerve but when my integrity and independence,and that of the newspaper, is questioned then I am duty bound to respond.
I haven't. The clue is in the words: This is not an attack on Newport's Tories. If the walkout had been by the Labour group I would have written the same piece. Again, if you read the piece as a whole you will see it is about party politicking by all parties in local government. My opinion (and this is an opinion column not a news story) is that voters do not want to see political point-scoring by any party - they want to see the people they elect (irrespective of political hue) getting on with the job of making their city and their lives better. You haven't hit a nerve but when my integrity and independence,and that of the newspaper, is questioned then I am duty bound to respond. Kevin Ward - Editor
  • Score: 0

11:19am Fri 28 Sep 12

pinpong says...

Howie' wrote:
pinpong wrote: My name is Peter Kent. You can check my e-mail address. This has obviously hit a nerve Kevin.I read the report in the paper by David Deans and his explained things properly. You ahve just used your priveleged position as editor to hit the torys. Dont you think the torys have a point
I think you need to read and understand the article, I have not read anything that is either anti Tory or pro any other party and the article certainly does not tell anyone how to vote. The Tory's walked out of a meeting without contributing anything, that's not what they were elected and paid by the tax payer to do. The Argus was right to report it and the Editor would have been remiss not to comment on it. I certainly do not see any political bias in the comments.
Howie

Read the article by David Deans the torys did vote on a number of issues and take part in a debate about a fairness committee. I think this is about the fact that labour no longer allow them to defend themselves when questions are asked to Bobby Bright or any of his cabinet.
On the other matter i do believe the editor favours labour and looking at some other comments here others do too.
[quote][p][bold]Howie'[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pinpong[/bold] wrote: My name is Peter Kent. You can check my e-mail address. This has obviously hit a nerve Kevin.I read the report in the paper by David Deans and his explained things properly. You ahve just used your priveleged position as editor to hit the torys. Dont you think the torys have a point[/p][/quote]I think you need to read and understand the article, I have not read anything that is either anti Tory or pro any other party and the article certainly does not tell anyone how to vote. The Tory's walked out of a meeting without contributing anything, that's not what they were elected and paid by the tax payer to do. The Argus was right to report it and the Editor would have been remiss not to comment on it. I certainly do not see any political bias in the comments.[/p][/quote]Howie Read the article by David Deans the torys did vote on a number of issues and take part in a debate about a fairness committee. I think this is about the fact that labour no longer allow them to defend themselves when questions are asked to Bobby Bright or any of his cabinet. On the other matter i do believe the editor favours labour and looking at some other comments here others do too. pinpong
  • Score: 0

11:27am Fri 28 Sep 12

Kevin Ward - Editor says...

The reasons for the walkout were included in a number of our news stories and I recap them briefly at the beginning of my opinion piece.
At no point have I suggested Conservative councillors did not take part in other elements of the full council meeting.
I'm clearly not going to be able to change your mind Peter as you seem intent on seeing what you want to see rather than what I have actually written, so I'll leave it there.
The reasons for the walkout were included in a number of our news stories and I recap them briefly at the beginning of my opinion piece. At no point have I suggested Conservative councillors did not take part in other elements of the full council meeting. I'm clearly not going to be able to change your mind Peter as you seem intent on seeing what you want to see rather than what I have actually written, so I'll leave it there. Kevin Ward - Editor
  • Score: 0

11:46am Fri 28 Sep 12

On the inside says...

"but a plea for local politicians of all parties to prioritise what the electorate wants and not what the party line dictates.

Ask most people what they think of politicians and you’ll get some similar replies – they’re all the same, they’re on the gravy train, they’re only interested in themselves."

Kevin it is this setion that I object to. I agree it is not an attack on the Tories nor is it a plug for Labour, it is an attack on all politicians and is simply not fair. If a candidate stands in the name of a political party they are obligated to accept the whip of that party and rightly so. Any voter that fails to grasp this essential tenant of our style of democracy needs enlightening. Perhaps a job for the local media?

As for the names we post under I will make you a promise. It is YOUR website. If you change YOUR rules to compel ALL those who post to do so under their real name and broad location I will be very happy to comply. In fact, I would prefer it.
"but a plea for local politicians of all parties to prioritise what the electorate wants and not what the party line dictates. Ask most people what they think of politicians and you’ll get some similar replies – they’re all the same, they’re on the gravy train, they’re only interested in themselves." Kevin it is this setion that I object to. I agree it is not an attack on the Tories nor is it a plug for Labour, it is an attack on all politicians and is simply not fair. If a candidate stands in the name of a political party they are obligated to accept the whip of that party and rightly so. Any voter that fails to grasp this essential tenant of our style of democracy needs enlightening. Perhaps a job for the local media? As for the names we post under I will make you a promise. It is YOUR website. If you change YOUR rules to compel ALL those who post to do so under their real name and broad location I will be very happy to comply. In fact, I would prefer it. On the inside
  • Score: 0

1:29pm Fri 28 Sep 12

Kevin Ward - Editor says...

I think you've missed the point of the article by selectively quoting one paragraph.
The very next sentence says: It may not be true but it is a generally-held perception.
As for user names, I'm happy for people to remain anonymous but I get a little uneasy when people with vested interests post under assumed names.
In this instance, I don't mean you.
I think you've missed the point of the article by selectively quoting one paragraph. The very next sentence says: It may not be true but it is a generally-held perception. As for user names, I'm happy for people to remain anonymous but I get a little uneasy when people with vested interests post under assumed names. In this instance, I don't mean you. Kevin Ward - Editor
  • Score: 0

4:52pm Fri 28 Sep 12

Howie' says...

pinpong wrote:
Howie' wrote:
pinpong wrote: My name is Peter Kent. You can check my e-mail address. This has obviously hit a nerve Kevin.I read the report in the paper by David Deans and his explained things properly. You ahve just used your priveleged position as editor to hit the torys. Dont you think the torys have a point
I think you need to read and understand the article, I have not read anything that is either anti Tory or pro any other party and the article certainly does not tell anyone how to vote. The Tory's walked out of a meeting without contributing anything, that's not what they were elected and paid by the tax payer to do. The Argus was right to report it and the Editor would have been remiss not to comment on it. I certainly do not see any political bias in the comments.
Howie

Read the article by David Deans the torys did vote on a number of issues and take part in a debate about a fairness committee. I think this is about the fact that labour no longer allow them to defend themselves when questions are asked to Bobby Bright or any of his cabinet.
On the other matter i do believe the editor favours labour and looking at some other comments here others do too.
The David Deans story is not relevant. This is a discussion about whether the editorial is politically biased or not. I can not see any bias at all, you seem to have read a different editorial to me. Whether you think Bobby Bright or the Tory's are in the wrong is also irrelevant to this story, the fact is the Tory's DID walk out and that is what the editorial is all about.
I know the Tory's are having a bad week with the Chief Whip calling Police Officers who would take a bullet for him 'plebs', a Tory Councillor in Manchester making jokes about murdered Police women, Brian Coleman, a particularly insidious Conservative member of the London Assembly calling his constituent a 'Blackshirt' and going on to assault another of his constituents, David Cameron making a prat of his self on the Letterman show etc, etc. Even though it's been a bad week you really should not see journalistic criticism as political bias you'll be seeing 'reds under the beds' next.
[quote][p][bold]pinpong[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Howie'[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pinpong[/bold] wrote: My name is Peter Kent. You can check my e-mail address. This has obviously hit a nerve Kevin.I read the report in the paper by David Deans and his explained things properly. You ahve just used your priveleged position as editor to hit the torys. Dont you think the torys have a point[/p][/quote]I think you need to read and understand the article, I have not read anything that is either anti Tory or pro any other party and the article certainly does not tell anyone how to vote. The Tory's walked out of a meeting without contributing anything, that's not what they were elected and paid by the tax payer to do. The Argus was right to report it and the Editor would have been remiss not to comment on it. I certainly do not see any political bias in the comments.[/p][/quote]Howie Read the article by David Deans the torys did vote on a number of issues and take part in a debate about a fairness committee. I think this is about the fact that labour no longer allow them to defend themselves when questions are asked to Bobby Bright or any of his cabinet. On the other matter i do believe the editor favours labour and looking at some other comments here others do too.[/p][/quote]The David Deans story is not relevant. This is a discussion about whether the editorial is politically biased or not. I can not see any bias at all, you seem to have read a different editorial to me. Whether you think Bobby Bright or the Tory's are in the wrong is also irrelevant to this story, the fact is the Tory's DID walk out and that is what the editorial is all about. I know the Tory's are having a bad week with the Chief Whip calling Police Officers who would take a bullet for him 'plebs', a Tory Councillor in Manchester making jokes about murdered Police women, Brian Coleman, a particularly insidious Conservative member of the London Assembly calling his constituent a 'Blackshirt' and going on to assault another of his constituents, David Cameron making a prat of his self on the Letterman show etc, etc. Even though it's been a bad week you really should not see journalistic criticism as political bias you'll be seeing 'reds under the beds' next. Howie'
  • Score: 0

6:59am Sat 29 Sep 12

CM1 says...

ALL the above misses the point, including the article. Is it acceptable for the politicians in power not to have to face 'on the spot' questions?
ALL the above misses the point, including the article. Is it acceptable for the politicians in power not to have to face 'on the spot' questions? CM1
  • Score: 0

11:31am Sat 29 Sep 12

Howie' says...

CM1 wrote:
ALL the above misses the point, including the article. Is it acceptable for the politicians in power not to have to face 'on the spot' questions?
No, it most certainly is not.

The editorial acknowledged that question:

'Tory councillors say the move stifles debate. Labour says it follows the model used in the Commons and the Senedd and prevents meetings dragging on for hours.
I don’t know who is correct on this issue'.

So the article did address your question and gave a fairly balanced non biased response.
[quote][p][bold]CM1[/bold] wrote: ALL the above misses the point, including the article. Is it acceptable for the politicians in power not to have to face 'on the spot' questions?[/p][/quote]No, it most certainly is not. The editorial acknowledged that question: 'Tory councillors say the move stifles debate. Labour says it follows the model used in the Commons and the Senedd and prevents meetings dragging on for hours. I don’t know who is correct on this issue'. So the article did address your question and gave a fairly balanced non biased response. Howie'
  • Score: 0

11:31am Tue 2 Oct 12

Independentvoter says...

I have never found The Argus to be politically biased, in fact the opposite. They have helped us campaign for Disabled Rights and Access, Compensation for the Miners, regardless of who is in power I could go on and on. As a former Independent Candidate for Newport City I was always given the same publicity as my fellow Candidates from the mainstream parties. Thank you Team Argus !!!
I have never found The Argus to be politically biased, in fact the opposite. They have helped us campaign for Disabled Rights and Access, Compensation for the Miners, regardless of who is in power I could go on and on. As a former Independent Candidate for Newport City I was always given the same publicity as my fellow Candidates from the mainstream parties. Thank you Team Argus !!! Independentvoter
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Thu 4 Oct 12

cwmbran man says...

The only point i disagree with in the article is the statement, Ask most people what they think of politicians and you’ll get some similar replies – they’re all the same, they’re on the gravy train, they’re only interested in themselves.

It may not be true but it is a generally- held perception.
Its not a perception, its a fact.
The only point i disagree with in the article is the statement, Ask most people what they think of politicians and you’ll get some similar replies – they’re all the same, they’re on the gravy train, they’re only interested in themselves. It may not be true but it is a generally- held perception. Its not a perception, its a fact. cwmbran man
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree