I was very disappointed to see that one of IBC councillors made the front page of the Star and that Labour have chosen to hang one of their own out to dry in a most dreadful way.
Now as a Tory councillor, I mght've had a little bit of satisfaction from the whole sorry episode if:
1) I'd thought it was just and fair
2) and that it was a Labour councillor that had deserved it.
I know councillor Kirby quite well. I am also on the licensing committee, which I enjoy and find very satisfying. Councillor Kirby is a decent man, who was probably speaking the truth anyway, using data he'd seen.
I also respect and like Councillor Fern - and I was shocked that he was behind the original complaint.
There is no doubt that immigration is causing a rise in under 5's at a rate that will affect this town and how we provide services for them.
Let me ask the residents this.
If we can't talk openly about these things in an Overview and Scrutiny committee, where the decisions of the council are reviewed and audited, then where can we?
If councillor Ellesmere was so outraged at such a passing remark, albeit slightly misplaced, then how are they going to plan for the provision of such things as school places, welfare, NHS, housing etc.
What else can we not talk about? It wasn't racist in any shape or form.
I can't help but wonder if there is an alternative motive to hanging out a decent councillor to dry, when there are other issues even more important, like Councillor T. Grant not declaring a prejudicial interest, at another O and S meeting, when questioning Tim Passmore, the Suffolk PCC, about jobs (when she is employed by him until 1st April and so was also looking after her own interests).
That would've at least fulfilled numbers 1 and 2 above.
I feel that councillor Kirby has been harshly treated. He did not need to give up his chairmanship from the licensing committee, an apology was enough - or perhaps someone else had their eye on that job. After all it does give you extra allowance.
I don't know. What I do know is that he has my support. Some things are worth more than the divide of a different party and fairness alongside justice are two of them.