Friday, July 14, 2017

Let's talk? - only if Labour say we can

The disaster at Hillsborough has struck us all as a nation. The families of those who died and were affected are a proven testament to how to behave with dignity and poise when faced with great adversity and in the face of some of the worst injustices in living memory. We all feel for their loss and support them in their battles to get their story heard correctly and definitively. To have to read false and untrue stories in the press while dealing with lives torn apart by tragedy is also something we can all hope we never have to deal with as did those grieving families, some of which come from our borough.

That we should not make political capital out of such a tragedy should be a given, there is no need and it stoops us to the level of those we detest most. 

As a CWaC Councillor, I received the latest Agenda for the full council meeting of July 20th 2017 and cast my eye through the items, stopping at the following:-

Agenda Item 8  NOTICE OF MOTION - Hillsborough and Support for Residents
To consider the following Notice of Motion, proposed by Councillor Paul Donovan and seconded by Councillor Richard Beacham. On April 15th 1989 crowd control mismanagement at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield led to the deaths of 96 innocent football fans. Men, women and children whose ages ranged from 10 to 67 including James Delaney (19) Jimmy Hennessy (29) Chris Edwards (29) Jonathon Owens (18) and Henry Rodgers (17) from our Borough. 4 This Council has supported the families of the 96 victims in their tireless campaign for justice. On April 26th 2016 a jury returned verdicts of unlawful killing in relation to each victim. Cheshire West and Chester Council praises the dignity and courage displayed by families and deplores the behaviour of some in positions of responsibility and public trust. This Council recognises and will not forget the hurt and distress caused to the families and friends of the 96 during this period, not least in part due to lies and slurs published in a British national newspaper.

As such, Cheshire West and Chester Council;-

Will support all local vendors who choose to stop selling The S*n newspaper.

Ensure that elected Members and staff do not advertise or give interviews to The S*n newspaper.

Supports any reasonable and lawful campaign that raises awareness of proven injustice and/or lies in regard to the events at Hillsborough or elsewhere

For the record, I fully support the first paragraph of the Notice of Motion (NOM) and have nothing further to add to it.

The second part, the action part, simply took my breath away.

Now I do not buy The S*n, I do not read it and I have never been interviewed by it. For reference, I also don't buy the Socialist W*rker or the M*rror.

So if a particular shopkeeper wanted to stop selling The S*n newspaper then I cannot stop them, neither could you or anyone else. 

But if a shop keeper wanted to keep selling The S*n and this NOM was passed, what would "not supporting" shopkeepers look like? Would it mean a little visit from some friendly momentum members reminding them of their civic duties? 

Ok - maybe that isn't going to happen but how will CWaC "Ensure elected not...give interviews to The S*n newspaper". 

As an elected member (a Councillor in layman's terms) who stands for freedom of speech and freedom of choice, I am justifiably concerned by this statement. 

Red states all over the world have histories full of incidents where speech is controlled and directives dictated. That a Labour run Council has the audacity to attempt to stifle free speech in this manner should tell us all about who is really in charge and what their ultimate end game is. 

This is a political game for Labour, driven by the tit-for-tat nasty politics of the left. Corbyn was blasted by The S*n so now he gets his army to give them a kick but in doing so, crosses a line of decency and respect. Now CWaC Labour want us to be silent.

So, for those of you who have Labour Councillors in your area - please write to them asking not to support this. I suspect they wont listen, because if they don't tow the party line they will likely be deselected in the Labour new world order of things.

I for one wont be silenced - after all, what will they be able to do? whatever it will be, it'll be no hardship compared to some.

*updated to reflect that I do not wish to cause offence (Intentional or otherwise) to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. 

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