No Excuse for Bad Manners
Those who attended the Borough Council meeting on Monday night cannot have missed the anger directed at the Conservative Leader of the Council, Cllr David Mackintosh when he tried to humiliate my colleague Cllr Gerrie Davies over her recent attendance record at Council meetings.
To her great credit she refused to be cowed by the cruel and callous attitude of Cllr Mackintosh and explained that because of personal difficulties she had as a mum prioritized her young children.
It is also clear to those who know her that she has continued to carry out case work and support of residents in the Delapre and Far Cotton Ward.
What would Cllr Mackintosh rather have, a councillor who works with and for the residents or one who attends Council meetings and neglects their residents?
What annoyed not only the opposition but also a number of Conservative Councillors who have today been in touch with me distancing themselves from their leaders comments is that Cllr Mackintosh was well aware of the problems being experienced by Cllr Davies.
He seems to have forgotten that we have had Councillors in the past that because of illness or personal issues have missed meetings.
Mostly it has to be said Conservatives of whom three are still Councillors.
No-one tried to humiliate or take advantage of their problems, and it speaks volumes that they are now happy to support their Leaders attitude and approach.
The difference is that the issue was dealt with by the Leaders of the political groups agreeing a way to provide support for the individuals concerned.
I am told that what really annoyed Cllr Mackintosh and caused his outburst was seeing Cllr Davies in the Council Chamber because he had prepared to stand up and call for her to be disqualified and for a by-election to be held in Delapre in order to support his bid for the Parliamentary seat in Northampton South.
His attempt to embarrass and humiliate Cllr Davies having failed he will now, if he runs true to form, try to squirm his way out of the position he now finds himself by attempting to divert attention from his comments.
What he won’t reveal is that this is not the first time he has been rude to and tried to humiliate and intimidate fellow Councillors.
I recall an incident when he told a Councillor to f*** off which reduced her to tears of frustration and anger.
What happened next revealed his true nature because he initially refused to apologise and only did so when he was ordered to.
To the credit of the Councillor he swore at she accepted the apology.
But when you have to be told to apologise is it a real apology?
He was then rude to and insulted another Councillor who whilst preparing to speak at a Cabinet meeting was told to “get on with it” and subsequently attempted to use the same intimidating tactics against another Councillor who to her credit gave as good as she got.
What they all have in common of course is that they are all women Councillors.
Cllr Mackintosh undoubtedly knew that Cllr Davies was working through a difficult time so why didn’t he simply meet with her and explain his position in private rather than choose a public forum?
What the Conservatives will claim is that this is all part of political life, and it may well now be to the current Northampton Conservatives.
But it isn’t for those of us who have seen people treated with respect over the years no matter what our political differences and cross party support for any Councillor who found themselves in a difficult situation.
I can’t help but wonder what the expectations of the opposition the Conservatives will have if one of them has to deal with a family or illness issue in the future.
Unlike Councillor Mackintosh’s ‘Wholly United’ Conservatives I’m certain we would take a kinder and more understanding approach.
I’ll probably end up being threatened with being reported to the standards board by saying that in my opinion Cllr Mackintosh has displayed all of attributes and attitudes of a misogynist.
It may of course be that his behaviour is acceptable to all of the Northampton Conservatives; I wouldn’t be so certain that the women would be so accepting.
There really is no excuse for bad manners.