Category Archives: liberal democrats

Southwark Liberal Democrat Watch

Lambeth Liberal Democrats say one thing in opposition and do something very different when in power. You only have to look at their record in Southwark to see what they would do in Lambeth if they ever got the keys to Lambeth town hall again.

* Southwark Liberal Democrats are planning to cut social services by £3m.

* Southwark Liberal Democrats are closing day care centres (just like the Liberal Democrats did previously in Lambeth!)

* Southwark Liberal Democrats have stopped listening to the public and banned deputations from Council meetings

* Southwark Liberal Democrats closed the Livesey Museum and tried to sell off the building

* Southwark Liberal Democrats closed Nunhead Community Centre

* Southwark Liberal Democrats left Camberwell leisure centre to rot

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Lambeth Liberal Democrats To Promote Brothels

Who would have thought that Ashley Lumsden, the disaster area that Lambeth Liberal Democrats call leader, would last night seek to deny his support for kerb-crawlers and instead call for licensed brothels in Lambeth in the same breath.

Lumsden apparently called for laws on kerb-crawling to be relaxed in 2004. 

Councillor Mark Bennett, one of Labour’s councillors, asked on 28 February 2007:

“The minutes of the November 2004 Leaders’ meeting of the Association of Local Government record the following “Councillor Ashley Lumsden (Liberal Democrat, Lambeth) pointed out that there was a long history of prostitutes operating in Lambeth and argued that criminalising users should be removed from the recommendations.” Given that kerb crawling provides the demand which keeps vulnerable women on the streets, and feeds prostitution that blights so many communities, will Councillor Lumsden accept that he is wrong to back the de-criminalisation of kerbcrawling?

To which Lumsden gave a long rambling ‘not-me-guv’ response which included this telling line:


“I put forward the view that genuine help for working women and men would be hindered by blanket criminalisation.”


Oops. But Lumsden’s mention of men does not make clear whether he meant the kerb crawlers, rent boys or pimps. 


I was sitting in the public gallery at last night’s full council when Cllr Donatus Anyanwu, another Labour councillor, asked Lumsden whether his party’s position in relation to kerb-crawling was to legalise it or to license brothels and whether his own position was in line with his party’s policy.


A quivering Lumsden gave a long, self-righteous sermon to the effect that he did not support legalising kerb crawling. (Remember, the Liberal Democrats turn round their policy positions like a weather vane.) 


He then shot himself in the foot by saying, and I quote: “I am in support of the Lib Dem policy of licensing small brothels.”


So a cloud of mystery remains over Lumsden’s real views on kerb-crawling, though we now know he is keen to see brothels flourishing on every street corner. 
 

Soft on crime or just soft in the head?

One thing everyone knows about the Liberal Democrats is they’re soft on crime.  Give them a choice between the victim and the criminal, and you’ll find the Liberal Democrats making excuses for the criminals every time. 

But the Liberal Democrats have been doing some homework.  They’ve hired pollsters who have told them the public don’t like parties that are soft on crime.  So they’re out to convince you they’ve changed their ways!  Only – they haven’t. 

The Liberal Democrats grabbed control of Lambeth Council shortly after the Government introduced anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs).  ASBOs are tools that can be used to hit criminals hard and get them locked up if they break its conditions.  So, of course, the Liberal Democrats refused to use them.  For three years the Liberal Democrats failed to issue a single ASBO against those responsible for crime and anti-social behaviour across Lambeth.

Worse, they tolerated crime in their own ranks.  When one of their own councillors was found out fiddling thousands of pounds in a housing benefit scam – they protected him.   When his guilt became so obvious even they couldn’t conceal it, they span out an investigation that ran to the end of their period in office nearly two years later without ever reaching a conclusion.   The courts eventually convicted him of public theft.   And who can forget how they hired a known fraudster and let him run off with £3 million of public money, ignoring residents who came to warn them what was going on.

Back in opposition, the Liberal Democrats are showing how little they’ve learnt from their election defeat.  When the Council came up with proposals to expand the neighbourhood police teams with extra uniformed officers, the Liberal Democrats campaigned against it.   Their own leader is on public record demanding the decriminalisation of kerb crawling. 

But they’ve just found out the public don’t like parties that are soft on crime so* they’ve decided to attack the Police with fake stories about local police stations being closed down.  You can see what they’re trying to do – but they’ve got it wrong again.  They don’t seem to understand that if you want to look tough on crime, you attack the criminals, not the police!  It’s easy to laugh at Liberal Democrats, only it’s not so funny when you wake up and find these clowns are running your local council.  

Just how diverse are Lambeth’s Lib Dems?

I have heard that Lambeth town hall is buzzing with rumours that a current Liberal Democrat councillor once regularly performed on stage as a black and white minstrel.  The Liberal Democrat have not denied the stories.  The councillor, who cannot yet be named publicly, is believed to have a theatrical background.  The black and white minstrels (pictured) were a troupe of white singers and dancers who covered their faces and hands with black make-up and sang songs in mock black accents.  They also acted out scenes depicting black people as lazy and ignorant and in awe of their former white slave-owning ‘masters’.  Unsurprisingly, the act was heavily criticised as a racist parody.  
 
Questions have been raised in recent years about Lambeth Liberal Democrats’ commitment to diversity and equality.  Despite being in power for four years between 2002 and 2006, they only nominated councillors from their own ranks who were white and male to sit on the council’s ruling Executive Committee. Shortly before the 2006 elections they were slammed by black groups for refusing to register voters missing from the electoral register despite having the worst voter registration rate in inner London.  Most of the missing voters were black, and concerns were raised that the Liberal Democrats didn’t want to include them in case they voted against Liberal Democrat candidates in marginal wards.  
 
Residents are asking whether it is appropriate for a councillor in one of the most diverse boroughs in the UK to have blacked up his face to sing songs like ‘Mammy’ in a stage act widely considered offensive to black people.  
 
Lambeth Council recently planned an exhibition featuring pictures of all the black councillors who have been elected onto the council during its history.  There was controversy when a white Liberal Democrat councillor insisted on being included.  Her request was denied.  
 
Equalities groups in the borough are expected to ask the Liberal Democrat leader to confirm whether one of his current councillors was a black and white minstrel. 

Great idea, Clegg. Shame Lambeth had it first!

The Liberal Democrats’ lacklustre national leader,  Nick ‘Invisible Man’ Clegg, has accidentally dumped Lambeth’s Liberal Democrats in the mud.  He’s just announced the Liberal Democrats are in favour of cutting taxes.  Oops, let’s not mention how his fellow Liberal Democrats in Lambeth whacked council tax up 40% last time they got the chance – the biggest council tax hike in Lambeth’s history! 

One thing they do agree on, though, is cutting services.  Clegg’s just announced his party wants to slash £20 billion off public services – inevitably cutting services used by people right across Lambeth.  That, at least, is in line with his local councillors.  The Liberal Democrats slashed services in Lambeth while they were making us all pay more in council tax.  Good to see they agree on something.

Clegg also announced a great new idea: he’s setting up a Credit Crunch Task Force!  What a good idea.  And what a shame he didn’t think of it first.  Lambeth Council announced it was setting up a Credit Crunch Task Force at a public meeting of the Council’s Cabinet last week.  Those Liberal Democrats sitting in the audience must have been straight onto their blackberries afterwards telling their leader to steal Lambeth’s idea and pretend it was his own.  After all, it wouldn’t be the first time the Liberal Democrats had tried to take the credit for other people’s ideas, would it?  

It’s all in the stars for spaced-out Liberal democrats

Like wizened palm-readers sitting in gaudy tents by the seaside, Lambeth’s Liberal democrats like to claim they can predict the future.  The problem is, they’re about as good at it as the fakers who ask you to cross their palms with silver to find out what the future holds. 

Here’s a small selection of the predictions made by “Mystic” Ashley Lumsden and his Liberal democrat fortune-tellers that haven’t quite come to pass.

In the run-up to the council elections in 2006, the Liberal democrats predicted they would be re-elected.  In fact, the Lambeth’s Liberal democrats went down to their party’s biggest defeat in the country as Labour won by a landslide.

Embittered Liberal democrat leader Councillor Ashley Lumsden forecast that the newly elected Labour Council Leader, Steve Reed, would be out of office by the time Tony Blair quit as Prime Minister.  Blair went last year – Steve Reed’s still going strong. 

They predicted there was no way Labour could rip up the profiteering Liberal democrat parking-fines contract because it still had two years to run.  Six months later Labour had replaced the contract and removed the financial incentives that lay behind overzealous ticketing.

Liberal democrat Roger Geiss foretold that there was no way Labour could build a new school in Brixton’s Shakespeare Road if they dropped Liberal democrat plans to sell off a popular community sports centre at the Old Lilian Baylis School site in Kennington.  The Brixton school’s now being built and the sports hub was removed from the auction list. 

Liberal democrats predicted that tenants would vote ‘no’ in a ballot on putting the council’s underperforming housing service under resident control.   Tenants voted ‘yes’.

They forecast there was no way the council would improve on the one-star performance rating Labour inherited from the Liberal democrats.  The council’s just gone up from one star to three stars in one go.

Oh dear, it looks like the Liberal democrats are as good at predicting the future as they were at making the council’s finances add up.  It’s back to the tea-leaves for Lambeth’s Liberal democrat fortune fakers!   

Welcome to Streatham! (Or is it Wandsworth?)

 

The super-rich Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Streatham seems to be having trouble working out where Streatham is. Perhaps current Labour MP Keith Hill would be kind enough to send him a map?

Liberal Democrat Chris Nicholson was previously leader of the council in leafy Surbiton.  He also works as a highly-paid consultant to companies selling weapons of war and destruction.  He doesn’t seem to have had much to do with Streatham before deciding it would be a good place to foist himself to further his personal ambitions to become an MP. 

In order to make up some local credentials, Nicholson – who lives in an enormous house in Chessington – decided to buy a second home in Streatham.  That way he hoped to fool his future electorate into believing that he’s a local man.  Unconcerned by the cost, he went along to the estate agents and found a pleasant terraced house for sale in Eardley Road.  Unfortunately for Nicholson, he hadn’t done his homework properly.  Since he doesn’t know Streatham very well, he didn’t realise the house he was buying was in Tooting  – the wrong side of the border from Streatham!  

It’s lucky he’s so wealthy, because Nicholson’s house-buying bungle meant he now had to buy ANOTHER house inside the constituency he so desperately wants to represent.  And that’s what he did.  Although first he bought himself an office in Brixton Hill.  A further visit to the estate agents (who must have been very pleased with all the business the Liberal Democrat candidate’s giving them!) turned up a place in Clapham that seemed to fit the bill.  This time Nicholson – showing he’s one to learn – asked around and found out that the property was, in fact, in the right constituency.  

And so at last, the proud owner of four properties and three homes, Chris Nicholson can write out to all the lucky residents of Streatham and claim that he lives here just like they do.  We doubt he’ll be mentioning that his family still lives in Chessington, though.  Or that he didn’t quite know where Streatham was the first time he tried to pull that particular stunt.