I've received an accusation by a commentator who has called themselves "Fed up with Fib Dems" who states:
"I am very disappointed that the operator of this blog allowed an anonymous post to be written which was so blatantly from a Lib Dem. The LGBT business forum meeting was a disgrace - the organiser, who is on Lib Dem leaflets, deliberately told Mark the wrong time."
The commentator is referring to this post here. I did make clear on the guest post that was posted that I would be happy to receive guest responses from other commentators at the LGBT hustings. Nobody has emailed me with an alternative version of events, so I have no other material to offer. The commentator made no mention of their own political affiliation within the guest post and I can't quite see what marks the guest out as a Lib Dem (rather than Tory, English Democrat, Green or non-affiliated).
I will be conducting investigations into the allegations that a "wrong time" was sent deliberately to Mark Harrison. That is a serious allegation. The poster which was sent to me and other local blogs stated the time quite clearly here. However, I will need to investigate what private correspondence was sent to the speakers from the organiser, so it would be useful to see any emails or letters sent to Mark Harrison (and to confirm that he thinks he was misled).
In addition the commentator states:
"And the idea that Lambeth Council can ignore a bid from a church group is ridiculous - imagine the uproar if they refused to deal with Muslims, or the Catholic Church, both of which have aborrent views on gay people."
Obviously, I think this discussion should stay on the post upon which it started. There are a whole variety of different viewpoints on the matter of the former Lilian Baylis site and I've covered the topic in the past myself. I understand that the whole point of hustings is to hear the views of various candidates, so I will leave all commentators here to argue about the points of the debate. My only remark is that it might be more straightforward if people were to use established login names, rather than continue to refer to themselves as "anonymous".
The commentator also states:
"As for the last post, that is just pathetic. Mark has been attending Penwith Manor TRA meetings for months, not just during the byelection campaign - as he has for all estates. Unlike John Roberts, who only rediscovered his 'passion' for the area after being selected as the Lib Dem candidate...
Spare me future Lib Dem bleatings please 3 wheeled one."
In an attempt to demonstrate that this blog really attempts to be non-partisan, I've turned this comment into a post of its own. Personally, I have no idea how one could objectively compare Mark Harrison and John Robert's commitments in the area since they've both good good track records locally, but I did try by requesting answers from the candidates on a set of questions. Both Labour and Lib Dem candidates have done a considerable amount of work on different committees. However, if you remember, I did address all 5 candidates on the matter of their previous work in the area on question 2, here. Here are the two answers that the political candidates provided:
What, if any, organisation(s) have you been involved with which demonstrate your commitment to the area, and how long have you lived/worked locally?
* I've lived on the Ethelred Estate for nearly five years.
* I serve on the Ethelred TMO Board; The Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum Board; and The Friends of Vauxhall Spring Gardens Board.
* I am a member of the Kennington Association and attend Safer Neighbouhood Team meetings.
* I attend other residents meetings like those of the Vauxhall Five, Vauxhall Gardens and Penwith Manor.
* With neighbours I am working to investigate setting up a community garden on Lambeth Walk.
*As Labour Action Team Member for the past two years I have helped arrange several community events, including a meeting on guns and gangs with the SE1 United Youth Group, and community coffee mornings for people to meet their neighbours and councillors.
* I have lived locally on the Ethelred Estate (just off Black Prince Road) for over 15 years and have been involved with a wide range of local organisations, including:
- Vauxhall City Farm – I chaired the Trustees body for 7 years and helped save it from closure 2 years ago.
- Friends of Spring Gardens – I am a member and helped the campaign to save the open space when there were plans to build on it.
- Ethelred Estate Tenant Management Organisation – I have been a resident member of this right from the start in 1999.
* I have been a member of KOV forum since the start and a member of Kennington Association.
* I regularly support the local fetes in the area and you can generally see me in the kitchen making the tea and sandwiches.
* Last year I volunteered for the Ethiopian millennium celebrations at Kennington Park and spent the day in the children’s lost and found tent. It was a great day - and fortunately only a few children were lost.
* As a first aider I also help out and volunteer to support other fun days and art events including the Vauxhall festival where you could see me wearing my first aid tabard.
* Friends of Durning Library – I supported the fight to keep this open when the Labour run council wanted to close it down.
* As a former member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, for four and half years I channelled 200k worth of funding through the community police fund to numerous local projects, to help support people make a difference to their local community. We funded SE1 united, a local youth group, to develop the leadership programme, black and lgbt history month as well as inter faith football and other sports activities. I was the person that secured funding for cctv at the LGBT clubs in and around spring gardens and at Vauxhall city farm. My tackling crime track record is well known through out the council and police. I also worked with local police to get funding for extra police officers here in Princes ward, after a strong of violent attacks and rise in crime. I also got funding for a mobile police station after a rise in attacks in the Spring Gardens area..
* My team and I have already reported dozens of local cases of graffiti, dumped rubbish and vandalism to the council – if they are not tackled, it all adds up to making the area feel neglected and unloved.
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