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Aston cum Aughton – spin at work?

Those who cannot get through Friday without their weekly fix of the letters pages in the Rotherham Advertiser, will not have missed Jim Fletcher’s letter of Friday 24th June.

In this weeks issue of Friday July 8th, a full two weeks after Jim Fletcher published his excoriating letter on matters appertaining to Aston cum Aughton Parish council, Gerald Smith and the Clerk to the Parish council, the Clerk’s response appeared.

The clerk’s letter is a spin doctors delight! Whilst being a disaster in PR terms at the same time. It in fact admits the substance of Jim Fletcher’s points, reference the way the Parish is run and the over cosy relationship of the Clerk to the Parish Labour Group and Gerald Smith in particular.

Familiarity breeds contempt, in this case it seems to have blinded them to the fact that the way this Parish Council is being run does not fit well with the appropriate codes of conduct, standing orders seem to be flouted and utmost secrecy surrounding the detail of financial matters raises the most serious of issues and would benefit from detailed investigation, by the police perhaps.

Why does Alan Hodkin start his letter by denying something, of which he was never accused?

To whit, attending meetings of Holderness Labour Party!

A quite ridiculous denial designed to confuse or divert the reader, who likely will not still have the edition from which he quoted.

This is a very old spin doctors trick to gain some moral authority before making his points. In this instance it just leaves him looking rather foolish! We are not so easily bamboozled.

The Clerk goes on to inform readers that he essentially confirmed the substance of Jim Fletcher’s letter, I précis:

‘At Aston cum Aughton, the Parish Labour Group meet prior to the full Parish meeting with the Clerk in attendance advising them. Those Labour councillors present, transact the business, then force these decisions through the full Parish meeting using weight of Labour numbers to get their way’!

Nothing new there then! But it gives us a wonderful insight to the attitudes prevalent at Parish councils in Rotherham. They are apt to be run as ‘fiefdoms’ by those powerful politically and Aston cum Aughton Parish council is no exception.

Perhaps he should not have listened to Gerald Smith after all? Or is he just unfit to hold his position?

If this is all too familiar to you at your Parish or Town council, please get in touch and share it with us, see RikiLeaks.

Read comment from Jim Fletcher.