‘Bang out of order’ Batten’s jibe prompts McCartney exit

Burnfoot Community Council treasurer Jamie Batten was branded “bang out of order” after his comments prompted the resignation of a fellow member.

Mr Batten told Tuesday night’s meeting in Burnfoot school that Kenny McCartney was a “useless provost” following a heated exchange between the pair over the potential safety implications to pedestrians arising from delivery lorries reversing up to the Co-op store in Kenilworth Avenue.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” asserted Mr McCartney.

Mr Batten disagreed and said that the Co-op [lorry] drivers reversed “superbly well”, before adding: “So you’re [still] telling me it’s an accident waiting to happen?”

Mr McCartney: “Well what about the Hillsborough disaster? Was there an accident before Hillsborough? No. [Up until then] there had been thousands of football matches a week, but it only takes one, Jamie.”

“Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh,” replied Mr Batten, who added: “Useless provost.”

Mr McCartney: “I’m finished” and he left the room. Mr Batten: “ Good . . . bye bye.”

Scottish Borders councillor Stuart Marshall turned to Mr Batten and said: “Jamie, you’re bang out of order.”

Chairman Michael Grieve then asked Mr Batten to go and apologise to Mr McCartney.

During Mr Batten’s absence from absence, Mr Marshall said: “Mr chairman, he didn’t have to say Kenny was a useless provost. It was a personal attack on someone who committed two years to Hawick as provost, free of charge.”

Echoing these sentiments, Mr Grieve said: “Kenny has done a power of work for Hawick and still does as part of this community council.”

On his return, Mr Batten told the chairman: “I didn’t catch [up with] Mr McCartney, I’m afraid. But I will write to him tomorrow and sincerely apologise to him.

“Also, I would say to everybody in here that I apologise unreservedly. I am, as everyone knows in here, prone to outbursts. And sometimes I do get a bit hot under the collar.”

Mr Grieve said after the meeting: “I’m very sad to see Kenny go. Jamie’s outburst was out of order and I’ll never excuse that sort of behaviour.”

editorial, page 16