Eastleigh News contributor Matthew Myatt was shocked to discover that his name – along with the names of other local political and eco activists – appears on a secret council list of ‘undesirables’ which is circulated to councillors, council staff and private contractors.
The amiable dad-of-five has now hit the headlines himself and a clearly upset Matthew was interviewed by BBC political correspondent Peter Henley on South Today today.
The Lib Dem run council say the leaked list is needed to protect those in its employment from ‘potentially aggressive clients’ through the use of confidential profiling.
However Matthew said:
“There appears to be a total lack of transparency regarding the process –who is it who decides if someone has been potentially aggressive or has stated views in a robust manner?
I have no criminal convictions yet find myself labelled as potentially violent and subject to prejudice presumably as a result of a spat with a council official a couple of years ago.
Regulations state the council should notify people if they are blacklisted -an action which should be subject to appeal or review – but this doesn’t appear to happen in Eastleigh.
My name has been circulated to private contractors who could decline to offer me goods or services because some faceless council official has taken exception to me or my views.
I have been completely unaware that my reputation was being maligned in this way”
Stephen Slominski the Admin for Eastleigh News said:
“I am amazed to learn that in addition to Matthew the name of another contributor to Eastleigh News also appears on the list.
The way in which the data is being managed and the purposes to which it is being used ,which appears to include political purposes ,raises big questions about civil liberties in Eastleigh. It is chilling to think that the council – which we revealed has refused to install cameras in the council chamber on the grounds of cost – has spent over £800,000 in three years on CCTV in order to spy on people and keeps secret lists on residents it does not approve of.”
The council has written to Matthew asking for their list back but has not issued an apology.
Photo: ©Matthew Myatt