Tempers continue to rise as social media storm ‘Kirsty’ hits Godalming.

Our recent post – we are posting more than one a day at present – has stirred up a bit of a media storm. No apologies from us here tucked up in our web – because anything that gets the voters out on Thursday has to be good news. Apathy worries us much more than angst.

Suffice to say – there was so much trouble at mill that the Godalming Community Board was forced to put out a health- warning due to a political storm.  Just in case you hadn’t heard rival community boards are now in evidence in Cranleigh too, due to censorship by its Supremo – Batty Bamford.  Here’s what prompted huge debate.

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It cannot be true – can it? Another Tory CHINO – who wants to join ‘Your Waverley.’ 

Below is an interesting attendance record of G Town Council meetings.  So Ms wannabe Waverley Cllr Walden hasn’t attended that many town council meetings. As you will see ‘Where’s Welly’ and Peter Martin don’t rock often either. Here’s his borough council record Where’s Welly?

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Here’s the message from the Godalming Admin Board to its  16,933 members.

Important Message from Group Admins
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Godalmingcommunity/permalink/2431648483788125/?__tn__=K-R
Dear 16,933 members of this community board. I would like us to cast our minds back to a couple of years ago as to why this community board was created.

The other community board was and I think still remains controlled by primarily conservative council supporters.

On that board, a huge number of people were banned that had made open and honest criticisms about some council decisions. Many people including a large number of conservatives supporters were also banned for the most menial of reasons.
This community board, managed by 11 administrators from a mix of political leanings, was set up in direct response to the harsh and unfair moderation and censorship on the other board.
Over the past few days, there has been a huge amount of criticism and piss-taking on this board of some very fragile conservative council members leading to the following letter.
Now if we have organised 17,000 trolls which in itself would be an impressive feat of social engineering, then so be it.
We do however feel that people on this board simply have more freedom to say what they want, and that is upsetting people in conservative HQ because it does not fit the desired narrative.
Certainly, two members of this board were muted for 48 hours for being abusive to Cllr Paul Follows by the board’s admins and subsequently unmuted again.
It was also stated by Tristan hopper that a conservative council member Kirsty Warden is banned from this group – I want to be clear that this is absolutely not the case, she is not banned, has never been banned and will not be banned unless she is a very naughty lady.
It has been stated that council members have been banned from this group – nobody in this group will be banned for any political opinion of any sort and never has been and never will be, left, right or centre.
We do have rules regarding organisations & businesses only posting once a week, repeat posts will get taken down.
There has obviously been a great deal of frustration regarding the last minute social media push of some political parties that have remained dormant joining local groups and excessively posting (some as late as this evening) when members of other parties have been involved in the community and the group and respected the rules.
Similarly, there has been a significant amount of pressure applied to some groups dishing out harsh criticism to Waverley council including the fire cuts and health cuts response groups, if you are a member of those groups including the whistleblowing group in the fire service now is the time to share.
If there is a council member that is banned from this group please let us know and we will immediately reinstate them as long as they adhere to the rules in terms of business promotion.
Finally – I would like to invite all of our conservative council friends again, for probably the fifth or sixth time, to go through the posts on this community board and one by one address all of the issues and concerns raised by the members of this community on every single thread, engage meaningfully and tell everyone what you are doing to resolve the many issues raised on this board.
It does seem that there is an anti-conservative feeling from public opinion at a local and national level, it would seem some voters now feel politically homeless.
On that basis, I would like to invite members of this online community (because it is your community) to publically comment on this letter from Ged Hall written to the local press and passed to us today.
Your opinion either way is welcomed because we do have freedom of speech, and we as all of the admins on this group, even the blue ones, are of the sincere opinion that the ability to express your views are incredibly important, no matter what they are. Some of the admins, including me, will personally respond in comments. Thank you.
Here is that letter –

 

Dear Sir,
The election of Waverley Councillors for the next term on Thursday has led to some healthy debate about local issues in all areas of the borough both online and in the written press. Usually, these debate (sic) are held in a frank manner with both sides getting their tuppenceworth in and often concluding with both sides agreeing to disagree, meanwhile onlookers can hear & see both sides of a debate and make up their own minds on the issues at hand. The ability to speak freely regarding local issues, to fact check, counter, retort, prove and disprove are very essence of local discourse.
The expansion of social media has led to an unwelcome threat to this honest and open approach upon which we have historically based public debate. Some community pages have implemented blanket blocks on all politics, which is of course fair to all sides – but on certain key community pages across the borough the administrators or “Admins” have removed posts, candidates and factual challenges to give unfair advantages to particular candidates and parties. When key election claims have been disputed, the comments are removed, when posts displaying evidence to the contrary are shared they are blocked and when somebody dare speak a point which does not concur with a particular party’s position they are aggressively trolled, a process by which 20+ people add such comments as “stick pins in your eyes” or “people like you are vermin”.
The combination of politically motivated “Admins” removing posts, aggressive organised trolling and the blocking of candidates from presenting alternative positions are in themselves bad enough but the implications of certain political parties arbitrarily removing the rights of Waverley residents to view balanced discussion online by acting as self-appointed gatekeepers of their own opinions is, in my view, ethically shameful.
Best Regards
Ged Hall
Conservative Deputy Leader – Waverley Borough Council

 

But-here’s what the Conservative Deputy Leader posted earlier.

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So someone inside ‘Your Waverley’ has cottoned on at last?

2 thoughts on “Tempers continue to rise as social media storm ‘Kirsty’ hits Godalming.

  1. A response from me – that I will also send to the press:

    ———–

    Dear Cllr Hall,

    I write in response to your recently letter discussing the use of social media in elections. As many (in Godalming especially where I am a councillor) will be aware – I have attempted to make use of social media to keep the electorate updated, involved and engaged with what is happening at Waverley. I have tried to do this in as politically neutral a way as possible in order to stimulate debate and to raise overall awareness of the issues and the decisions being taken in their name (and by who).

    As with all forms of discussion in public – there are always some who go too far and spoil it for everyone else. There are some who abuse their positions and there are some who are offensive. There are some councillors who are respectful to other councillors they disagree with and are polite to residents of all political affiliations (and none). There are some that are not. All of this applies to social media as much as it does to ‘the real world’.

    Social media is a great tool to debate and a great opportunity for candidates and councillors to ask questions and be asked questions. What we have seen during this local election though was a spike in posts from people who had never previously engaged – followed by their swift disappearance from the scene. This ‘post and run’ tactic has clearly angered many residents, who seeing the post asked questions that subsequently went entirely unanswered.

    Worse still we have seen appalling behaviour from sitting councillors (including senior councillors). They have been extremely rude to residents, offensive to almost everyone – lie, mislead or ignore totally (and you should see how they then talk to opposition councillors like me)!
    To write in a public statement condemning others for actions that your group were in fact the principal perpetrators of is what offends me most. Some Facebook group board admins have then temporarily banned some of these people for being offensive (a breach of the community rules). As there are often multiple admins, of all sorts of political persuasions – to assume a political bias is also incredibly misleading.

    But – why should I be surprised. The contempt and harsh treatment of other councillors, residents – basically anyone that disagrees with you are things you are all quite happy to do in person just as frequently as online. I have seen it in town meetings; I have seen it at Waverley meetings. I have seen it online. Use social media in a positive and constructive way and you will have a positive and constructive experience of it – as I am proud to say I have.

    Cllr (for at least one more day) Paul David Follows
    Godalming – Central and Ockford Ward.

  2. Thank you Cllr Follows – we hope for many more days – for telling it as it is. As we have said many times. TELL THE TRUTH OR SOMEONE WILL TELL IT FOR YOU.

    The Waverley Web didn’t just happen. It came into being for all the reasons you have given above.

    Some residents watched the decision-making process, and the way business was conducted; the cover-ups; the deceit; the bullying, of staff – and yes, we do have insiders within Waverey Towers – and the lack of openness; honesty; and basic good manners.

    They then decided to form the Waverley Web – ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave when once we practise to deceive.” Like Topsy it has grown. It is now followed from around the world by people who care about ‘Our Waverley.’ People who do not like what they see and hear. A Tory dominated administration that, like central Government, just CARRY ON REGARDLESS, of public concern. Votes of No Confidence have been ignored. Strong criticism from expensive independent consultants – ignored.

    If only the public had the time to watch the webcast – when it works – just another example of the contempt in which ‘YW’ holds the voting fodder? They could witness for themselves, the arrogance of some. For a non-political Mayor to engage in such abuse against residents on-line is something we never expected to experience and Farnham Hale & Heath End voters should demonstrate their anger through the ballot box on Thursday. Her deputy admits she only seeks re- election to go back as The Mayor. Let us hope Cranleigh’s Mary Foryszewski treats the honour with more respect.

    In times gone by, this administration would have come under the spotlight of the local press. But apart from the Haslemere and Farnham Herald – reporters are now few and far between. The Sorry Adveriser is a shadow of its former-self, which is why the WW tries to inform the eastern villages and Godalming.

    That is why social media is now so very necessary, and will become more so in the future.

    You have been criticised for engaging with the public – that is why you have upset so many of your colleagues Cllr Follows. Because you ENGAGE, listen to your constituents, and the constituents in the rest of the borough too. And, the TT’s hate you for it.

    There are many, getting fewer each day, Tories who we wish to see returned. They bring with them experience and sound judgement. Others – should have gone long ago – some who have served the borough well for 20 years, but should have quit long ago.

    We wish you every success in Thursdays poll. You deserve the support of the people you have represented so well. You were a breath of fresh air for the WW when you stepped into the Tory Den just a year ago. But we also witnessed the fear – that you have become a very real threat.

    If this complete Tory dominance continues – the TT’s can rest assured.

    The Waverley Web will disappear into a big black hole. Because none of us can bear to witnss another four years of the same.
    So good luck. WW

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