Recently, I went to my first meeting of Derbyshire County Council, as there was a question about education in which I was interested.
I sat in the public gallery at the back and observed the councillors coming in and settling in their seats. The session began with questions from the public. An usher brought them down to the front and the chairman introduced them. It was all very polite and orderly.
A question was read out and a councillor rose to respond. He, and it was exclusively men who responded to the questions, read from notes. Courteous, but dry as dust, with no passion or spontaneity. This continued for a bit, and then a petition was presented. The council leader rose to start the discussion and rambled on until all the allotted time was used up, sending half the room to sleep.
As he finished, there was a cry of ‘Filibuster!’ I have heard this term, but was fascinated to see how it was used to stifle any discussion. The vote to reject the petition was a foregone conclusion. This was a case of procedure overruling democracy in my view and, I suggest, tactics like this are causing disenchantment with the democratic process, and I consider this is a dangerous path to follow. If people are disengaged from politics, then extremism and bullying get an easy ride.
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