I suspect most of you with a bit of interweb nous will have been monitoring the Mr Monkey proceedings recently. If not a quick run down is that Mr Monkey is the man (or men) behind a blog (and subsequent twitter feeds) that basically revealed interesting tidbits about South Tyneside Council and the councillors on said council. Seemingly other members of the council weren’t too keen on some of the things he/they wrote and promptly decided to sue the people behind the blog and twitter feeds.
That is all fine and dandy. However…
Instead of doing it in their private time as this is clearly a civil matter the Labour run council have decided that it is council business and therefore both time and public money deserve to be spent on this case. Are you freakin’ kidding me? So far estimates are that they have spent between £75,000 and £100,000 of public money on the lawsuit which had gone through the Californian courts because that is where twitter is based. Also an insane amount of hours have been spent discussing the situation at council level.
Now I don’t know about you but if my councillors were using public time and money on private law suits then I’d be fuming and ready to campaign vigorously to get them out of office. What is more important to the people who live in South Tyneside, the fact that their councillors aren’t libeled or defamed or maybe bin pick-up, fixing pavements, ensuring the public areas look nice, keeping open Sure Start centres, libraries, leisure centres etc…
Just to clarify a point that whilst it is a Labour run council the action was first initiated by the previous Conservative Chief Executive.
A spokesman for the council told the BBC, “The council has a duty of care to protect its employees and as this blog contains damaging claims about council officers, legal action is being taken to identify those responsible.” Interesting position but totally whack. In a civil suit then the damaged need to decide whether to pursue the individual themselves. This is not a matter for the council to be spending money on and I’m sure the people living there would agree fully with that. Will the council stand up and say for example that bin pick-ups will now be fortnightly but that the defamed people working for the council are all right now so vote for us again and expect to get in?
The former Conservative Chief Executive goes even further in his rant to the BBC:
“This is a deeply tawdry, perverted and seedy little blog that has been in existence for quite a while.
“It’s no longer active, as I understand, but the information is still on the internet for all to see.
“This was a blog that didn’t just affect councillors; it also affected council officers.
“We have a duty of care, as any employer does whether public or private, to defend not only our commercial interests, but also the interests of our employees.
“That’s why we took the action, that’s why we’re pursuing it so aggressively, and I have no doubt that we will get there, and we will win.
“There have been many, many disgusting claims, which I won’t repeat in order to protect my family and friends – allegations of corruption, sexual deviancy, of drug use.”
Do you ever get the feeling that he isn’t a fan of the blog?
Just in the interest of fairness here in the Mr Monkey Blog and it is certainly shall we say ‘interesting’ reading…
Look I have no problems with the law suit. That is fair and the courts will decide on what the outcome is. You’d hope that the blogger has some pretty nifty evidence on the shelf for when that happens otherwise he’ll be crucified. However I do have an almighty issue that public money is being spent on this. That is the biggest disgrace of all. This is a civil matter and all those who believe they have been defamed by the blogger need to get together and pursue in through the courts themselves. Wasting public time and money on it only goes to show the average voter that politicians are only in for themselves and will use public time and money for their own means instead of spending it doing what they were elected to do – manage the local finances and services.
The quotes were taken from this BBC News piece
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