Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fair deal for the "No" campaign

Huw Pudner, a prime mover of the campaign to get Neath Port Talbot tenants to vote "No" to transfer of the council's housing stock, asked for a list of tenants. His claim was that the council provided its officers with a list so that they could put the council's case.

The council rebuts the suggestion. Officers are neutral. Officers call only to check that tenants have received the official documenation. They say that officers never overstate the benefits of transfer. Nevertheless, Pudner demanded equal treatment.

He was given a list. It had no personal names on it. This was perhaps a sensible precaution. The Data Protection Act has things to say about release of personal data for purposes other than that for which they were gathered. Unfortunately, the list is in alphabetical order of names - not very useful for someone wishing to go door-to-door.

We hold no brief for Huw Pudner's militant socialism. Nor do we take a stand on how the tenants should vote. However, we do think the council should avoid any charges of partiality and provide the "No" campaign with the same format of list as officers have.

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