Monday, 23 September 2013

Kent County Council And Two Illiberal Things

The first potentially illiberal thing is a worrying move by the Kent on Sunday to invite the leaders of Kent County Council and Medway Council to join an editorial advisory board. Others on this board include the Bishop of Dover and Anne Barnes, Police and Crime Commissioner.

Whilst it might be a wonderfully inclusive decision to get ideas and feedback from some of Kent's most important people, it is deeply concerning given one would hope Kent on Sunday has, like most newspapers, a wish to hold "the great and the good" of this wonderful county to account. If they are helping advise on editorial issues surely this is one huge conflict of interest?

Deeply worrying.

Meanwhile... KCC itself is thinking of restricting advertising by payday loans. Whilst this itself might be considered acceptable, they are also considering blocking access to payday loan websites from Kent libraries. This is all very worthy, but it restricting access to web pages (and services) for people's "own good" is generally a good way of forcing them to seek even less reputable sources. In this case loan sharks or other dodgy set-ups. The BBC has today a little insight into the operations of a payday lender.

Unfortunately the above proposals came from the Lib Dem group leader, Trudy Dean.

What would perhaps be better is if KCC did more for local credit unions and publicised the benefits of saving with them and having access to their other services. Rather than restrict choice, help increase awareness of a "better" choice. We aren't here to tell people what they shouldn't do, but if we can help promote worthy organisations than I'm totally behind that.

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