There were only three of us on the public benches at last month’s Whitby Town Council meeting.
Myself, a man from Scarborough and Mr Dixon, who wrote his version of the meeting in the Whitby Gazette (10 March).
My version differs greatly from his.
What I saw were 12 decent, hardworking volunteers (yes, completely unpaid and with no ‘allowances’ on this council), elected by Whitby to represent Whitby.
As the meeting progressed, one councillor (just one) became disrespectful and argued with the mayor.
He continued to be difficult and when he eventually found a Seconder for his Motion, the pair were soundly defeated by all of the other councillors.
This is exactly how democracy should work and I was very impressed.
More than halfway through the agenda, the man from Scarborough started shouting from the public benches at the mayor, long after the time for public participation was over.
The mayor, Cllr Noreen Wilson, asked him to be quiet, but this seemed to provoke him even further and he shouted and argued all the louder.
He ignored all requests to be quiet and allow the meeting to continue.
His constant interruptions made it impossible to proceed and so the mayor closed the meeting, silently and without drama, by simply withdrawing from the room.
Our town and our Town Council deserve better than this assumption that democracy includes shouting down a mayor.
More councillors are always required, but sadly they must still be brave enough to withstand occasional rude and undemocratic behaviour.
You can click here to read Ian Dixon’s letter.