Lets stop the abuse in the election campaign

Hello

This is a brief post on an issue that I really wish I didn’t have to address but feel I must.

As many will be aware Kimberley Town Council have over the past 4 years lurched from one controversy to another. Nine of the 15   elected councillors in 2011 have resigned over the past 4 years plus co-opted councillors  leaving Labour as the only political party represented on the council.

Last year Cllr Andy Cooper was embroiled in a controversy over his use of ‘Eva Braun’ when referring to German born Green party Cllr Kat Boettge. He was told to apologise by Broxtowe Labour Grouping lead Milan Radulovic and attend training.

Kat and I resigned from the council after receiving little by way of financial accounting for the council (despite even submitting a freedom of information request!) and when we did receive  some information,  by the admission of the council chair himself it was not fit for purpose.

More recently Kat has rejoined the council and has been active in opposing the plans to transform the cemetery chapel  to a social hub with a kitchen installed in the ‘alter’ area and the pews removed. The campaign to save the chapel has gained over 50o signatures via a petition and this was presented By Kat last week to the council.

The petition was presented  to the council and despite having support of 500 local people not one Kimberley councillor supported Kat in her bid to either scrap the plans for the chapel or at least wait until we hear if the building has been listed or not. The council plan to go ahead with spending tens of thousands of pounds on a plan that has little community support just 3 months before an election after debating the issue for years! Would the sensible option not be at this stage as we are so close to an election to allow the electorate to either endorse the plans at the election in May by re-electing the current council or to require a change of plan by electing an alternative council ?

During the meeting Kat was subjected to constant interruptions and poor behaviour despite another Councillor being allowed to make a nine page speech opposing her proposal.

Since the meeting Kimberley town councillors including  those already having had to apologise previously to Kat have indulged in email and social media attacks. This is not the way for councillors elected or co-opted to conduct themselves. We are in an election campaign both nationally and locally and tensions are running high and candidates are passionate but please lets act with decorum and understanding.

The criticism that Kat has received has also touched on the current situation regarding Borough councillor for Kimberley Richard Robinson. One town councillor and Labour member described the situation as a ‘witch hunt’.

I would like to make clear my stance on the issue, Richard is someone I have known for a number of years and has been a hard working councillor in that time. However his recent condoning and encouraging of the use of aliases on social media to promote the Kimberley tram extension was a grave error of judgement. I do believe that he should stand down whilst the investigation into the situation is held . He can then concentrate on his campaign for May and if re-elected will have the endorsement of his electorate. Politicians like everyone can make mistakes but its the way they conduct themselves once the mistake has been made that is important. This isn’t a witch-hunt it is simply an investigation into a councillors actions which councillors sign up to when they are elected.

The behaviour of Labour councillors recently with abusive some may say racist language, use of expletives to constituents and communications that are neither professional or in any way polite are not the way we should be conducting local politics.

We are in an election campaign but I call on all candidates to act with dignity and not indulge in inappropriate language or communications of any kind.

David Kirwan

Green Party Prospective Parliamentary candidate – Broxtowe

@davegaz    david.kirwan@greenparty.org.uk

07454 771271

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