Spineless Lib Dems and Cllr Rogers’ inconsistency

20 01 2011

Former Green Cllr. Charlie Bolton informs us that the Bristol Lib Dems are hiding behind a legal requirement of 6 weeks notice in order to ban the planned Bristol and District Anti Cuts Alliance Demonstration on Saturday 19th February.

This is a shabby attempt to stifle free speech. Not very Liberal and not very Democratic.

I will be at Castle Gardens on the 19th February and I’d encourage readers to be there as well. The Avon and Somerset police seem to be aware of this planned event and to my knowledge have raised no objection.

Amusingly this comes after Cllr. Jon Rogers appeared on Sunday’s Politics Show West (34 mins in) saying he wasn’t one to allow litigation or lawyers to get in the way of people holding a street party.

So genteel tea party: they are happy. Exercising your human rights to freedom of speech and assembly in order to save your jobs and services: No no no. It’s NOT SAFE!

Uber ambitious Rogers, who it is whispered covets either Leader Barbara Janke or Stephen Williams MP’s job, is fast becoming the laughing stock of this administration. Demoted in a reshuffle last year and losing his grip on his beloved cycling agenda he now looks increasingly vulnerable as Cllr for Ashley as both the Labour Party’s excellent Thangam Debbonaire or the Green party’s pleasant Gus Hoyt seem more and more likely to take a seat in Ashley that formerly belonged to racial slurring Lib Dem Shirley Brown.

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7 responses

20 01 2011
turningbristolred

I’m now informed by the @Bristol_Citizen (who has his finger on the pulse better than anyone) that happily the Cabinet has now reversed the ban.

20 01 2011
Cllr Mark Wright

What an absolutely pathetic post – fabrication from start to finish. There was never a “ban” on this march and the Lib Dems in Bristol would never engage in that kind of nonsense. We have just spent the last 13 years trying to prevent the previous Labour government from using such tactics – it is the reason many of us got involved in politics in the first place. And your obvious attempts at smearing Jon Rogers are shameful as well.

20 01 2011
Alex Woodman

Once again, more Labour half-truths and misrepresentation. There was never any ‘ban’, and indeed this whole issue has been dealt with by officers, with no involvement from councillors. However, Barbara Janke did issue a standing instruction that the 6 week rule should be relaxed for political rallies/marches.

The e-mail sent by the head of the events team yesterday reads:

“I am writing to apologise for any confusion caused to you regarding your plans to hold an anti cuts demonstration in Bristol on Saturday 19th February 2011. The council have no desire to stop your rally and procession nor that of any other group wishing to organise a peaceful demonstration.

My events licencing officers understand that they cannot refuse any march or procession to take place in Bristol, however they do have to advise all organisers to liaise with the police as a matter of course as there is a procession protocol that needs to be adhered to. I understand that you were advised to this effect and spoke to xxx from the police and as I understand it the police have given their go ahead to your demonstration.

I can only assume that the confusion has arisen regarding the six week lead-in and notification prior to an event. Whilst we do have a deadline for applications for events your demonstration falls outside of this and we appreciate the nature of protest is usually more spontaneous than this would allow. However we would ask that you do give us as much notice as possible especially in the summer as it helps staff manage diary clashes with other events.

On this occasion as you have been advised there is another procession organised by the University scheduled to take place on the same day and we will liaise with the organisers to see if they can delay their start by an hour.

I hope that this clarifies the situation and helps to clear up any misunderstanding that has been caused. If you have any further questions or need further assistance with regards this matter please do not hesitate to contact myself or the licencing officer.

We hope you have a good, well attended event
Regards”

20 01 2011
turningbristolred

I’m used to Lib Dems calling anyone who disagrees with them dishonest but you really must get your line straight. It can’t be both a complete fabrication AND a half truth. I am an honest person in my private life and remain so in public.

Both your arguments that there was no “ban” is technical in nature and at best sophistry which means nothing to the public

If you deny people permission to assemble at the start location of a march and finish at the planned end location then the march is banned. Unless you suppose protestors magically appear and then vanish at some unknown mid point.

It’s a bit odd that Alex seems to know more about this than Mark who is a cabinet minister but thanks to Cllr. Woodman we know a bit more about what happened.

It seems the Officers denied permission without running a matter as serious as a public protest passed the politicians.

The question then is; who is in charge in Bristol City Council? The officers or the Lib Dem politicians?

If officers are under such pressure and making mistakes then perhaps the Lib Dems shouldn’t be making so many people redundant as more mistakes would be bound to follow.

As for my criticism of Jon it’s a side by side comparison of how easy the Council is making it to hold a street party and how difficult it seems to be to run a protest. That’s not a smear. It’s a valid criticism

I discuss Jon’s prospects because of course when a politician is inconsistent or doing a bad job this is something the public can and should consider when casting their vote.

Best wishes

D

20 01 2011
Alex Woodman

Darren asks: “The question then is; who is in charge in Bristol City Council? The officers or the Lib Dem politicians?” The answer is of course the politicians. But the fact is that councillors aren’t involved in the day-to-day running of the council – that’s why we have officers.

As made clear in the e-mail I quoted above, the event was not ‘banned’ – officers in the events team just pointed out that a) the organisers should liaise with the police, and b) there is another event planned for the same day/time. As the e-mail says, “The council have no desire to stop your rally and procession nor that of any other group wishing to organise a peaceful demonstration.”

20 01 2011
turningbristolred

The letter is written after the initial refusal. I understand the refusal was in relation to permission to use Castle Gardens and College Green.

Cllrs don’t have day to day input save for where matters are important. Cllr. Rogers appears to have intervened (or has implied that he had) to make street parties easier but organising a protest is met with so much difficulty.

Where matters turn on people’s right to protest democratic oversight is not optional it is essential. A Cllr being involved in the decision is what the public expect.

20 01 2011
turningbristolred

In concession to the clarification I’ll change the title to inconsistency

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