Monday, 20 June 2011

'I don't recognise council ban'

The founder of Wecsam’s St Davids Day march says he does not recognise the ban imposed by Wrecsam council to stop him speaking at future events.

Mr Adam Philips states the council have no authority to ban him from the march as it is not their event. The ban along with the actions of Strategic Director Phil Walton in implementing it were previously called into question at Wrecsam councils Executive Board by Cllr Carrie Harper.

Mr Philips said: “As the founder of the event I don’t recognise the councils ban and fully intend to be speaking at the St David’s Day parade next year. That said, I do feel the heavy handed actions of Phil Walton in attempting to implement this restriction on freedom of speech do need investigating. He made false claims to the Executive Board in stating I did not reply to his original letter banning me from the event, I did in fact reply asking for a meeting and have a copy of that letter. Council staff responded to tell me Mr Walton was unwilling to meet with me.”

“I will be outlining all my concerns, including refuting the false accusations made against me to the Chief Executive of Wrecsam council. I hope they will take appropriate action and will now be concentrating my efforts on making next years event even bigger and better”.

Cllr Carrie Harper added “ I am concerned about the nature of the ‘complaint’ against Mr Philips given that we were told it was actually submitted by a Wrecsam county councillor. The complaint which was read out at a recent Executive Board meeting only referred to comments about the referendum on further law making powers for Wales. The original letter lists other issues such as Mr Philips comments on city status and a clenched fist salute during the national anthem. It was not explained to councillors who these other comments have come from. Mr Philips has made every effort to try and resolve this issue with the council for the benefit of the event but at the moment it seems they are unwilling to back down. "

“ I fully support Mr Philips statement that he doesn’t recognise the ban and intends to fully participate in the event he established next year. I’m confident the people of Wrecsam will also give him their support”.


Jac o' the North said...

Yet it's patriots like Adam Phillips who are always condemned for being 'intolerant', 'bigoted', 'devious' even. This Wales of ours is a world turned upside down where truth is lies and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

How can you ban somebody if they haven't broken any laws?

WST said...

Why should this guy get treated any different to any other Welshman?

I hear many Councillors are actually backing Phil Walton's actions. The interim Chief Executive is quite right to ban this person from speaking. He used it to push his own political viewpoint.

This guy will just ruin it for everyone if he carries on digging a hole for himself.

Plaid Whitegate said...

@WST - care to name those councillors who support the ban? Phil Walton wasn't willing to reveal the name of the complainant. Or could it be that the complainant is "WST"?
"This guy" as you call him is the person who initiated the march and has helped make it a success.

Anonymous said...

Is WST Cllr Wynn in disguise?

geraint said...

Whoever he is he shouldn't try and associate the Wrecsam supporters trust with this action by the Council. He doesn't speak for WFC fans. Yma O Hyd.

Plaid Queensway said...

As far as I know, the ban was initiated by Phil Walton, not heard any mention of this topic from the interim/new chief exec or her views on it. As for 'the many' Cllrs backing it, I've not heard from one of them and I'm in the guildhall often enough... maybe they're shy.

DermotK said...

@WST "This guy will just ruin it for everyone if he carries on digging a hole for himself."

Careful now WST, that would seem to be an opinion. Opinions can get you banned from Wrecsam, unless of course your opinion is backed by Phil Walton.
Adam Philip's is 100% right to ignore this illegal and stupid ban.
Even in Phil Walton’s world freedom of speech and opinion must be recognised.

Bachgen Drwg said...

I hope that the public will see this for what it actually is, and not what the council of Wrecsam will make it up to be. Mr Phillips, you have my support and I am willing to bet that many others will support you too. Just want to add that if the UK government are not letting us express our freedom of speech, maybe we are better off not following their endless bureaucracy and ridiculous impositions. Just putting it out there. After all, this is Plaid; the party of Welsh freedom and independence!

Hugh Jordan, Dyffryn Ceiriog said...

In response to a letter of complaint from me, Walton has written: "I was asked by the Council’s then Chief Executive, Mrs Isobel Garner, to investigate a formal complaint received by the Authority about Mr. Philips’ actions and statements he allegedly made in addressing Members of the public from the civic balcony at The Guildhall on the 1 March 2011. Mrs Garner was about to leave the authority in March and in her preparations before leaving had allocated certain functions to me, one of which was dealing with Complaints.

There were three strands to the complaint:-

1) Mr Philips had referred to the coming AV Referendum which was to take place on the 3rd March 2011 and appeared to be encouraging people to vote ‘Yes’.
2) Mr Philips’ had made a clenched-fist gesture
3) Mr Philips had made reference to the ‘City Bid’ and that Wrexham was a ‘Town’

The main cause for concern was (1) above. The event was a public family event, and Mr Philips was addressing the crowd from the balcony of the Guildhall. The Council i.e. Wrexham County Borough Council, must comply with statutory requirements that it displays total neutrality in what is called the “Pre-Election Period” from the time of announcement of the election/referendum until the process is concluded. It was considered that Mr Phillips had used the event to promote a partisan political opinion from Council premises thereby compromising the Council’s neutrality only two days before the referendum in this case was due to take place. After consulting other relevant Officers of the Council I dealt with the matter in line with Council Policy and under my delegated powers as Acting Chief Executive."

The two most important things I read here is that Walton took the action on his own initiative in response to "statements he ALLEGEDLY made" "APPEARING to encourage a 'Yes' vote."

Not a position I would be happy defending.