Response to Lydney Town Council’s press pack detailing complaints against me | Zac Arnold

This morning (Thursday 21 February 2019) Lydney Town Council released a
press pack in response to recent events regarding the Clerk to the Council, Jayne Smailes, likening myself; another member of the public and an elected member of the council to the far-right terrorist responsible for the tragic murder of Jo Cox MP in an email to Gloucestershire Constabulary in November 2018.

In this statement, Lydney Town Council state the following: “At no time has
any individual or group been described in this way by Lydney Town Council”
this point is entirely accurate and nobody ever claimed that it was. Instead I
asserted that the Town Clerk made these comments by means of a
“comparison” not a “description” which is an entirely accurate assertion to make as can be seen in the email which is attached to this statement.

Included in the pack released by the council there are a series of private and confidential emails as well as screenshots of my Facebook page in a desperate attempt to link this ongoing dispute with the Labour Party, of which I am a member. As a fundamental basis to determine the truth, it is important that you are aware of the simple fact that I have never attended a meeting of Lydney Town Council in my capacity as a member or officer of Forest of Dean Constituency Labour Party nor in a capacity with any other organisation with which I am affiliated or am a member.

My motivation prior to and during this farcical series of events has always and will always be a determination to fight for the community in Lydney and the surrounding areas and in doing so I have built a coalition of residents of a variety of political persuasions including several members of Forest of Dean District Council from opposing parties to where my political beliefs lie. This is not about me, this is not about politics, this is about the people of Lydney… this is about the community.

From exposing the council’s despicable attitude to young people which they
are determined to cover up with false promises and token gestures; to
highlighting the council’s apparent determination to chuck the hard-earned
money of tax payers down the drain at every possible opportunity that arises; to the culture of bullying and harassment that appears to have settled within their day to day operations both towards the electorate and their elected members.

These are just some of the reasons why this administration must be opposed and shown to be what it is. This is not party political despite their attempts to make it such.

The attempts by the council to connect my political views and affiliations to
my actions as an individual is a clear attempt to try and shut down criticism and their actions amount to discriminatory behaviour based on political opinion. It is entirely unacceptable for a council to do so in order to gag individuals and prevent them from lodging constructive and legitimate criticism via the appropriate channels.

In order to maintain their grip on our town they are willing to gag anyone that dares to criticise them in any way whether this be by calling the police,
discussing motions to ban their attendance or publicly berating them on social media and in the press. They have run riot over our town… our community, for far too long.

In the press pack, they have released a series of emails between themselves and Labour Party Headquarters in a pathetic attempt to shoot down the concerns of the people of Lydney by suggesting that there are political motives behind our questions. Once again, this is not the case. These emails are private and confidential and in releasing these communications they are in clear breach of privacy and data protection law. This issue has now been reported to and is being investigated by the Legal and Governance Unit at Labour HQ as a breach of confidentiality.

The people of Lydney have woken up to the attitude and actions of Lydney
Town Council. Enough is enough. Our questions remain unanswered and they continue to abuse and dismiss us at every turn. It’s time for change

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