Yesterday evening I was at a local meeting concerning the development of a field in the area. For years this field has been the subject of residential development by a variety of developers, but now it seems the current developer intends to go ahead and quickly.
Several meetings have been held over the years because, as it usual with large developments, people have particular concerns. Those meetings have been semi-informal, led by a small group of neighbours/organisers and invited guests sitting at a top table. A few have included local councillors, the occasional council official and our MSP on one occasion. No minutes have been taken so there are no official records. The only records are the copious personal notes of attendees.
Last night three local councillors were invited to attend and each gave a brief speech which conveyed little information other than how hard they work and how important they are to these local issues.
Towards the end of the meeting one councillor suggested the developer should be invited to the next meeting to discuss certain issues and he offered to arrange his attendance.
Because of the lack of formal records, I suggested the next meeting could be recorded on video by placing one on a tripod at the back of the room. The response to the suggestion was amazing. Immediately the three councillors, in unison, protested. Their reasons for objecting were:
a) Everyone attending would have to give their permission. Easy I said. Everyone could sign in on arrival giving permission.
b) If one person withheld their permission what then I was asked. Before I could reply up popped another objection.
c) The developer may not attend. Of course that is nonsense as the developer has no reason to object to the meeting being videoed. If he did object then it would show he had something to hide and developers are honest, communicative people aren't they.
By now I was bemused. The people who are happy to vote for more CCTV cameras, vote for by-laws which curtail our freedoms, vote for databases which record every aspect of our daily lives didn't want to be on camera themselves. I had thought the biggest protest would be from those who are of an age when modern technology is of little interest and may not have realised the benefit of having an accurate record now the planning proposals are to be assessed within a few months, but it was our elected representatives, paid by us to support us, who were desperately anxious to knock the idea on the head. It's clear they don't like even the suggestion of a dose of their own medicine.