Mr Prescott’s ethics police

September 5, 2006

Interesting report in the Telegraph this morning.

“Councillors have been banned from discussing local park-and-ride schemes if they own a car under an ethical watchdog (the Standards Board for England) created by John Prescott. The board is supported by a network of ethical standards officers, who are each paid £61,000 a year. Under these standards, councillors are not allowed to debate a subject if they have already made up their minds on the issue — the crime of “predetermination.”… “Councillors might be disqualified from discussing the siting of a mobile phone mast if they themselves used a mobile phone, for example”.
Sir Anthony Holland, the board’s chairman, has defended the rules on pre-determination. “It simply means that decisions shouldn’t be made if people are not willing to consider the alternatives, ie they must not have closed minds,” he said earlier this year.”
I understand that councillors who have been to school are prohibited from speaking on education and those who have been teenagers are banned from discussing any youth issues. The board has also identified a new crime of ‘thinking’. A spokesperson for Mr Prescott’s office said ‘We want people to follow the advice of the Prime Minister and trust their instincts. Thinking is not only unfair to the cognitively challenged members of society it also prejudices people against the Government’s policies.’

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