Tag Archives: Liberal Democrat

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. 
 

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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?