I HATE to say I told you so, but I told you so. How many times do people have to be reminded about the perils of social media and modern methods of communication before they actually start to take notice?

Nothing is private on social media. It can still get out into the wild even if you think you have the strongest privacy settings or if you believe you are only talking to ‘friends’.

What looks like harmless banter to you could well be libellous, criminal or deeply offensive to someone else. And maybe those ‘friends’ become enraged or upset enough to believe your comments should be made public so everyone can see just what you are really like. There are no security settings in the world that can combat that.

Take, for example, the goings-on at one of our parish councils. Because of Covid restrictions, the parish council was a virtual Zoom meeting and the first part was open to the public. It was streamed live and recorded.

Those of you familiar with the workings of such meetings know that ‘Part Two’ is closed to the public and is meant to be confidential to allow ‘delicate’ matters – those that are commercially sensitive or relate to personnel issues – to be discussed.

So it’s fair to say that everyone taking part in Part Two of a meeting has a reasonable expectation of privacy and confidentiality.

Nevertheless, it didn’t stop a video of the chairman, a member of the Labour group, using what can only be described as industrial language appearing on the websites of national newspapers a couple of months after the actual event.

Of course, much more serious is the worrying tale of Sharon Thomason who was due to stand as a Conservative candidate for Great Sankey North and Whittle Hall in May’s borough council elections.

Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols last year tweeted her congratulations to prime minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds when they announced Ms Symonds was expecting the couple’s first baby.

That prompted Ms Thomason to reply with a reference to keeping the Aryan race going. You don’t have to be a scholar of history to know the Nazis believed Aryans were the master race and that other groups were inferior. It was this ideology that brought about the Holocaust.

While Ms Thomason’s barbed tweet was offensive in itself, it needs to be put in the context that Ms Nichols is Jewish, having converted to the faith a couple of years ago.

There are other issues regarding distasteful ‘private’ WhatsApp messages about Ms Nichols sent between some of the town’s Tories that have made their way into the public domain as well. (I told you nothing is private on social media.)

In both of these cases, the political parties they belonged to stepped in and took action.

The parish council chairman had to answer to the Labour Party while a Conservative Party spokesman said of Ms Thomason: “Warrington Conservatives condemns all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, they have no place in our party."

All this prompted a thought. Given there seems to be a groundswell to elect more borough and parish councillors who don’t belong to a political at May’s elections, who will police them if they cross the line in the way both Labour and Conservatives dealt with their members?

On another topic, in my day job I often have to write about so called asset-backed finance. Yes, I know it sounds dull and by and large it is.

But it’s very pertinent for us here in Warrington as it’s the financial method the council has for some years. Basically, the council borrows money at a cheap rate and buys ‘assets’ with it that generate income

It’s a legitimate way to conduct business and there are lot of companies doing very nicely by financing projects on the basis it is backed by a tangible asset, say on office block, a build-to-rent residential tower or business park.

I think I might have said this before but at the moment the council’s asset-backed debt is £1.3 billion and is forecast to reach close to £2.3 billion in 2023.

That is truly an eye-watering amount. I’m keeping my fingers crossed there isn’t a sudden collapse in property prices. I suggest you do as well.