It’s Carnival day, and in the spirit of multiculturalism I’ve decided to scrap the post I was writing about race. To be honest, I was having a hard time tying all the points together without asking “Why can’t we all just get along?”. It’s a hell of a complex subject, and I’m afraid I just can’t do it justice.
Instead, I’ll present you with a few of the points I wanted to raise, and ask you for a moment of quiet reflection to draw your own conclusions from them.
- On the 436 a few weeks ago, I saw a young Asian man attacked by a young Black man, for no obvious motive other than their colours.
- Camberwell has a large Somali community, and yet they are almost invisible in terms of presence in local businesses.
- When I watch football in the Cadeleigh Arms, about half of the punters are Black; yet the only insults that get thrown around are to do with club loyalty.
- Fear is often based on stereotypes; there’s a poster over at the SE5Forum who seems convinced that kids only go to the cinema to deal drugs, stab each other and get each other pregnant. I can only imagine he’s never been to the cinema.
- There’s a group of young Black kids who often hang around outside their house in the street where I live; they used to make me nervous, until one time I gave one of them a cigarette (back in my smoking days) and he was very polite, asked my name and addressed me by it from then on.
- Even as an advocate of the right to free speech, I recognise that limits need to be imposed; while I don’t think the Rasta/separatist rally in Lucas Gardens should have been outlawed, I don’t believe the Council should have provided resources for it.
- Love see no colour.
Make of that what you will.
On other matters, I dropped into the Dark Horse for a half of Addlestones this afternoon; the staff were very friendly, which I appreciated, but the place was pretty quiet; I don’t know how that compares to other local pubs.
Update: Forgot to mention, I found a pub that shows Premiership Plus games — thanks to everyone who gave me tips on that. Two problems with it:
- It’s in Peckham (the Albert on Bellenden Road)
- It’s full of Man Utd spoilers
I am cogitating and deliberating upon a response to this article about the ‘murderous Tower of Babel’ we live in, and the reports of a Rastafarian rally in Lucas Gardens which preached racial hatred.
In the meantime, here’s an article on life on the Aylesbury estate, and the news that the 176 bus has the most emergency code red calls of any route in London.
It’s all grim news at the moment, isn’t it? I blame the miserable August weather.
Everybody wins! More or less. Here are the results from last night:
- Lib Dems 28 — Same as last time
- Labour 28 — An increase of two
- Conservatives 6 — Same as last time
- Green 1 — An increase of one
Which means there are three councillors more than the last election, no party lost any seat, two parties gained seats, and the council continues to have no over-all control.
Update: What do you think is the leading story on Southwark Council’s website today? Of course, it’s Compost Awareness Week! We are promised ward-by-ward results later, however…
Update: Results by ward are now available.
A quick review of some of the literature posted through my door in the last week…
Nothing from the Green Party. Has anyone received anything? I realise they don’t have the funds of the other parties, but I have no idea what they’re proposing. A shame.
The Lib Dems have sent a big sheet with only a small section knocking Labour. Their three key promises are: Save Camberwell Leisure Centre; Introduce Alcohol control zone; and Keep council tax low. Very admirable, very easy to claim, but lacking in detail. They also claim that if you vote for anyone other than themselves or Labour, you’re wasting your vote.
The Lib Dems have also sent a couple of ‘personalised’ letters; one from Councillor Nick Stanton, the other from candidate Gemma O’Keeffe. Both try to position the local elections with the national parties by associating Labour strongly with Tony Blair.
The Conservatives have the most constructive literature, with clearly laid-out policy and only a small dig at the other parties. If only all parties campaigned like this.
Labour also sent a personalised letter, mixing some decent points with a load of attacks on the Lib Dems. They also sent perhaps the most revolting literature I’ve ever seen; a four-page glossy that has absolutely no positive points, and consists entirely of attacks on the Lib Dems. It’s the single most vindictive and unconstructive piece of political campaigning I’ve ever seen. Like Hannah, I’m going to send mine back to the local Labour group and complain strongly. If you’re looking for reasons why turnout at local elections is so low, look no further.
I still haven’t made my mind up about who will get my vote; based solely on the literature that came through my door, it would be the Conservatives. And that shocks me.
I hope everybody gets down to the polling station tomorrow, even if only to spoil their ballot; apathy is not the answer.
I’ll be back with a full post later today, but in the meantime I’ve managed to track down a copy of the Statement of Persons Nominated for the elections on May 4 (in PDF format) on the Southwark council site — rather than being clearly marked on the home page, it was about three levels down; and as for finding out which wards are represented, I ended up going to Wikipedia. When are Southwark going to sort that ridiculous site out?
In my ward (Brunswick Park) and the Camberwell Green ward, the Lib Dem ‘Focus Team’, Conservatives, Labour and Green parties are fielding three candidates each; there are no independents and, thankfully, no BNP or their hateful ilk. South Camberwell has a marginally more exciting time as they also have one independent candidate.
More later (circumstances permitting).
Update: So here I am at home, and I was all set to compare the many leaflets that have come through my door — unfortunately, they’re all from the Lib Dems, so there go my comparisons. Instead, I decided to try out the major parties’ local websites:
- The Greens haven’t updated theirs since the last election.
- Labour haven’t updated theirs since September 2005.
- The Lib Dems have a well-updated site with plenty of local issues.
- The Conservatives have an up-to-date site, although with little in the way of solid policy
None of them give much away in terms of concrete local policy.
Current incumbents are the Lib Dems with a majority of only two; of 63 seats on the council, the Lib Dems have 28, Labour 26, Conservatives 6 and the rest, 3. Lib Dem Southwark has had a recurring problem with accusations of racism (notably the Imperial Gardens fiasco), causing one councillor to quit recently. Their policy on street crime has been hailed as a success, however. Labour, who lost their majority in 2002, have a vision for the borough.
Well, this has been a pretty half-hearted political update. Local issues? Haven’t a clue. No-one’s knocked on my door, no-one’s stopped me in the street, the only leaflets I’ve had are from the Lib Dems (‘Save the Leisure Centre’ and ‘Parking on Shenley Road’).
In summary: make your own minds up.