How behind the times Barnet council shows itself to be. They act in a draconian manner to stop their own residents (to whom they are accountable) from using a piece of equipment that has become as everyday and routine as the pop-up toaster. Haven't they seen how people in the Middle East and North Africa are using social media to help them win their democracy?
I invite every resident coming to the council meeting at Hendon Town Hall next Tuesday 1 March to come with their cameraphones at the ready. Perhaps Brian Coleman will learn some manners if he knows that what he says will end up on YouTube for all the world to see before the night is out.
Oh, and who is this agreeing with the call for greater openness? This is a statement made today by none other than Eric Pickles, the Conservative Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:
"Many councils are internet-savvy and stream meetings online, but some don't seem to have caught up with the times and are refusing to let bloggers or hyper-local news sites in. With local authorities in the process of setting next year's budget this is more important than ever.
"Opening the door to new media costs nothing and will help improve public scrutiny. The greater powers and freedoms that we are giving local councils must be accompanied by stronger local accountability.
"We are in the digital age and [the] analogue interpretation of the press access rules is holding back a new wave of local scrutiny, accountability and armchair auditors."