Mr Ayling often makes very useful points in your letters column, but his criticism of the Civic Society is unjustified because his recollection of our Tetra meeting is incorrect.
A large number of the public attended and were invited to state their views, as is usual in our meetings.
Because of this, it was necessary to limit the length of each person’s comment, since a long speech simply restricts other people’s ability to have their say. A red light was installed to show when the time limit had been reached, and this rule applied to everybody.
Mr Ayling chose to leave his seat, move to the front of the auditorium, turn his back on the stage, and the red light, and address the audience at some considerable length, ignoring the light and the time limit. He was allowed a great deal of leeway in this, but eventually it was necessary, in the interests of allowing others the opportunity
to speak, to bring his contribution to a close.
Even this was not easy, hence his complaint of being ‘shouted down,’ and it had nothing to do with the nature of his views, which are as valid as anybody else’s.
We are pleased to say such occasions are extremely rare at our meetings.
We felt Mr Ayling’s behaviour at that meeting was discourteous to the Civic Society and the public who attended, and for him to publish his incorrect remarks further compounds that discourtesy.
We go to considerable trouble
to provide the only open forum in the town at which local issues can
be debated by everybody, but for
that to function satisfactorily requires co-operation with very simple and reasonable rules as referred to above.
We find nearly everybody is comfortable with this, and it is a shame Mr Ayling is not.
Bognor Regis Civic Society