GCC chief executive Margaret Coats censors my election manifesto

May 7, 2007
By

coats-on-sun In the Election for the GCC each of the ten candidates were allowed only 500 words to present their manifesto to the chiropractic profession. The election is performed by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) who earn a tidy sum from it. They get the commision from the chief executive and registrar who also acts as Election Returning Officer. Not surprisingly when Margaret Coats decided to remove chuncks of my 500 word manifesto and Kevin Grants the ERS were not keen to investigate. I got the second higest number of votes in the election and would probably have toped the poll but for Coats shenanigans which put Christina Cunliffe top. 

"Half of the chiropractic professional registration fees are spent on Fitness to Practice. The Annual Retention Income is listed as £2,729,600. Regulatory Costs are listed as £1,249,453. 46% and not 50% as stated by Kevin, so the whole statement was deleted.
I put a lot of thought into my Manifesto, it was exactly 500 words. My mention of the vote of confidence in Michael Copeland Griffiths is "confidential" and was deleted. The first statement from my manifesto was not factually correct because I stated that 77.1% of the profession had no confidence in the GCC, I should have said estimated or 77.1% ofthose surveyed. The old adage “Lies, dammed lies and statistics, so she deleted that.
On the cover of the Candidates’ Election Statements The Returning officer has stated “statements deemed offensive or defamatory by the Returning officer have been removed” I have written today to know which of us made “offensive or defamatory” statements which had to be removed. Coats insisted that they were??

I complained to Peter Dixon the chairman of the GCC, he said as he had participated in the election he felt it was not appropriate for him to investigate the complaint. So Coats does her Robert Mugabee and no one does anything. I would get used to this when it came to complaints about Coats.

Last week I asked Margaret Coats to tell me what had been deleted from my election statement that was “defamatory or offensive”.Margaret Coats obviously believes that 78% of the chiropractic profession has confidence in her.  Miss Coats states it was factually incorrect for me to state in my election statement that "In 2006 a survey found that 77.1% of the profession had no confidence in the GCC".
Coats explained “Based on information published by Bankside Law Limited, the survey to which you refer was not circulated to the whole of the profession. Those who responded represented 41 % of the profession at the time of the survey. 77.1% of that 41% replied `No’ to the question "Do you have confidence in the General Chiropractic Council to regulate the chiropractic profession?". This represented, therefore, approximately 32% of the profession at the time of the survey.
Its also worth remembering BCA members were advised not to respond to the survey and reading BCA candidates statements you would have to conclude that they are happy with the status quo.
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Miss Coats also points out, I censored the first sentence of your election statement ("In 2005 the Chairman of the GCC did not win a vote of confidence’) on the grounds that it was factually incorrect and consequently offensive and defamatory. The facts are that in December 2005 a motion of no confidence in the Chairman was proposed. The motion was not carried. I trust the above information is helpful” The motion of “no confidence” was not passed because the vote was tied ten votes to ten. Michael Copeland Grifiths did not loose a vote of no confidence, neither did he win a vote of confidence, he resigned as chairman soon after the vote. While my wording was not strictly accurate (only allowed 500 words in the statement) the meaning is perfectly clear and not even by a stretch of Margarets imagination, is it defamatory. If only I could say I was surprised ( unfortunately there are far too many chiropractors who can bare witness to her beligerence) that she would claim to have deleted the text on the grounds of “defamation”. My election statement had been on the home page of this site since mid March and was only moved to the forums last week. Every time she logged on to this site she would have seen it since March 14. On May 8th I received a letter from Peter Dixon regarding postings made between April 2nd and May 4th. He described them as “defamatory of Margaret Coats” and asked me to remove them. He went on to say “you appear to have published these defamatory statements with the direct intention of harming Miss Coats professional and personal reputation and also the GCC’s reputation”. Are we to believe then that Coats after noticing these “defamatory” postings on the forums failed to notice the Election Statement on the home page, that in her opinion was “defaming” the chairman? Are we to believe that Coats did not recognise the Election Statement on the home page, even after she had received a copy from the Election Reform Service and censored it, at least two weeks before Peter Dixon’s wrote to me? Are we really to believe her claim that my statement is “offensive and defamatory” towards the GCC chairman, or is this simply a ploy to get her off the hook for making a false statement on the cover of the “Candidates Election Statements”, clearly demonstrating that she was not suitable to act as the Returning Officer in this election. If Margaret Coats truly believes I have “defamed” Michael Copeland Griffiths, then she believes I am in breech of paragraph F1 of the GCC Code of practice;” Chiropractors must not discriminate against, or unjustly criticise, a colleague” and she has a statutory duty to make a complaint against me. If she does believe that I “defamed” the chairman, for her not to have noticed the statement on the home page after two months surfing the forums, if not, dereliction of duty, was incompetence of the highest order.

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