Collin Brewer Officially Resigns

Two days ago a local radio station rang to say that the Cornwall Council report into Councillor Collin Brewer (You know, the chap who said some disabled babies should be killed at birth and then went on to provide useful analogies with deformed lambs in a subsequent interview), was out along with the Monitoring Officer's recommendations.

In it, Cornwall Council (my local) had censured him to such an extent that he was: 

  • Forced to make a formal apology for the 'gross offensiveness of his comments and the significant distress they have caused'.
  • Told to recieve media training. (Presumably that would have consisted of 'keep your mouth shut Mr B and don't do any interviews ever.')
  • He was not to be allocated a seat on any Council Committee that might deal with any vulnerable members of the community. (I guess that would all of them.)
  • He was not to be nominated as a Council Representative for any business that supported vulnerable members of the community. (Again I don't think that would have left him much to do.)
  • He was also to be banned from any Council buildings were services to disabled children were provided, managed or commissioned. (don't leave home Collin.)

He resigned verbally at that point. I think one could safely say that he was pushed out.

This morning his official letter of resignation has been received and accepted by Cornwall County Council and the Monitoring Officer issued this statement. Thank you to Cllr A Wallis for confirming this morning. (I seem to recall CB resigning once before, but sincerely hope this is the point of no return now.)


Dear Members
I have today received the formal written confirmation from Councillor Brewer that he has resigned from Cornwall Council with immediate effect.
Members will be advised in due course of the timetable for the Wadebridge East by-election.

Ladies and gentlemen, Collin Brewer has gone.


We have yet to see his letter but I'm sure it will surface in good time.
I guess everyone who has been involved in, or followed this campaign will feel differently on hearing this news. 
My husband for one simply said, "Good. Twit." (I least I'm certain that's what I think I heard him say...) Many will feel a need to celebrate and quite rightly so.
I am, as ever, feeling a range of emotions at the moment. Not one to gloat, celebrating as such doesn't feel right for me. 
When I heard the official news this morning I actually shed a couple of tears. Not of joy as much as relief, but also pent up anger. I parked my car, bought a Chelsea Bun and indulged myself with a stroll along the sun-soaked sea front. I had a couple of errands to do, but all the while I could not feel like celebrating beyond my sugary treat.
I guess I feel sadness that people like Mr Brewer still exist, but worse still are able to cling to powers of office, however minor. For I know he is just one. Back in December we dealt with UKiP's Geoffery Clark. Who next?
I feel cross that he was so utterly arrogant and ignorant that he actually thought he could stay, that his family didn't encourage him to step down. How much simpler would life have been for them all if he had properly apologised after the first comment, and then made amends by working with disability groups. Or simply never making the comments, or having the deep-rooted thoughts that lead to it in the first place of course. And yes he is ill himself, strokes have changed his thinking, perhaps dementia is part of the problem. And in that case he needed protecting from himself. Either way, it should never have come to this and so many could have learnt from his behaviour if he had made the right amends.
I feel frustrated too, that as a member of the public my government have taken away the powers of my local Council to take the steps required to protect the interests of families like mine in these circumstances. It should never have taken all this upset, frustration and resources to reach this point. We now need to tighten up the loopholes in the Localism Act, so this saga is far from completely over. Now is the time to think more broadly.
Then I couldn't help thinking of all the hours that families, Councillors, lawyers and charities have spent, networking and figuring out how to remove this man. There were campaigns, petitions, demonstrations, letters written in the wee small hours, reading into Code of Conduct, interviews with media. It all takes time. I want to thank so many people who were instrumental in bringing about this outcome, the bloggers who wrote from the heart and joined our linky, Mencap for launching an official campaign, human rights contacts I have made along the way who advised and contacted the police, everyone who filled in the ePetition or online complaint form, everyone who organised or attended a gathering to show deep the feelings amongst parents were.
In my small way I have lost sleep, spent energy, emotional and physical, which could have been much more usefully deployed in so many ways. My weapon of choice was my keyboard, and writing was the way I enlisted help and voiced my concerns.
But most of all I shed a tear this morning for the children and their siblings who have a disability and who were old enough to understand all of this, to feel afraid, to feel second class. We cannot erase those feelings overnight, just because Mr Brewer has resigned. 
But, and here is the silver lining to this dark cloud, this shameful episode has brought so many wonderful, like-minded, courageous and selfless campaigners, families and groups together. Without Mr Brewer we would never have pooled our resources, ideas and efforts in quite the same way. So I am going to focus on that, and a future where Brewer's brand of outdated thinking ceases to be.

Let's just hope and pray he finds an ounce of integrity not to stand again in any future elections.
Onward and upward we go. 

Hayley Goleniowska
Downs Side Up


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4 comments:

  1. he no longer represents a part of the country that I love, and for that I am truly glad. Lets just hope that the awareness he unintentionally brought to the surface will ultimately overwhelm the harm he did.

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    1. Perfectly put Carie. I too was ashamed that he brought a dark cloud to our county. I'm sure it's silver lining will prevail.

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  2. Great news! Well done all of you! (:

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  3. The right result in the end. It's very sad that this happened and was allowed to go unchecked and your posts have made me aware of aspects of Localism Act I hadn't considered before. Perhaps saddest, as you say in your post, that vulnerable children were possibly/probably affected by this debate (if you can call it that). I'd like to think Brewer really does need protecting from himself, then the real shame is that it's taken this long and such an emotional toil on you and others for compassion and decency to prevail. Great result and clear message though, so lots to be positive about!

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