A potential conflict developed due to my becoming a Parish Councillor. This web-site was well known as being funded (albeit expenses only) by the Council. When I express an opinion (mine or anybody else’s) on a web-site financed by the Council it has been pointed out that it can be construed as the opinion of the Council or at least endorsed by it. The Parish Council’s actual position however is very clearly spelled out in it’s published minutes. I will henceforth separate opinions from those of the Council by stating whose opinion they are. If I ever slip-up however and conflict still arises then the Parish Council minutes shall always be definitive. The Parish Council’s minutes are reproduced in the site in two forms, the “Archived” original in Word format is completely untouched. The fast loading page version (current month only) is a pasted text version stripped of its original formatting. The archived original shall be deemed to be the Council’s published formal stance in any dispute as any degree of editorial manipulation carries a risk of human error.
This web-site is committed to even-handedly supporting all the various interest groupings within the Community, it was set up to be and still is a Village web-site. At present in addition to being a Parish Councillor, I am very active for the Elsenham Community Association and I am a trustee for the Elsenham Village Hall Charity. While not directly involved I enjoy the facilities of the Elsenham Bowls Club and you will find a page here also for the Village Church with links into their network. If you look to the various page menus you will find a great many Clubs, Groups and Event Committees plus when the need arises the web-site can and has, mounted campaigns on issues such as the school bus and the level crossing. Large issues such as the Airport Expansion and massive proposed Housing Developments are ongoing and will soon get very serious.
Open debate is absolutely essential and I was concerned at the outset that joining the Council would constrain me, however I declared my interest up front and was elected with that understanding in place. While I fully intend to contribute to and support all Parish Council decisions as a democratic process, the Council will not dictate how I think and if I think a decision is wrong I reserve the right to free speech and I will say so. I also recognise the same rights in others and will publish their views in the same way when requested. Note that I can also be expected to comment on those views too should I agree or take exception to them!
The reader will now understand that the views of one sector of the community cannot be allowed to dominate the web-site and so I have dropped the Parish Council subsidy in case it is ever construed as leading to a political bias. (Not too likely at present but forthcoming changes to the structure of local government could change that!) I do not wish to appear churlish or ungrateful however, this web-site would not have been possible without the initial support of the Council. For now therefore my own business will cover all the costs but any other local businesses willing to contribute will be most welcome. A list of sponsors can be prominently placed and pages with links can be constructed to carry agreed advertising. To preserve complete editorial control however no advertising space is being offered for sale as such.