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Posted by: John Brace | 24th December 2010

Freedom of Speech and Censorship – Time Labour said sorry for cuts

I’ve just been reading the joint statement on Wikileaks released by the UN.

Section 4 really caught my eye with regards to the pressure put on yours truly about this story. As readers may be unaware a tax-payer funded body is threatening a lawsuit on a matter that is protected in UK law from libel lawsuits.

They also threaten to "write to" the company hosting this blog and to get it deleted. Thankfully being hosted in America there are stronger legal protections on freedom of speech.

As the UN put it "Such illegitimate interference includes politically motivated legal cases brought against journalists and independent media, and blocking of websites and web domains on political grounds."

I was ready to give Labour the benefit of the doubt in this matter as generally their councillors are honest (especially Cllr Foulkes) enough to declare a prejudicial interest. In fact I mentioned this in the article I wrote.

This whole "storm in a teacup episode" has overtones of the time last year that Cllr. Harry Smith moaned to the Lib Dems (in a letter he did have the decency to copy to myself along with a Wirral Council compliment slip with the box for immediate action ticked) that I’d stated in a Focus article (which was true) that while Vice-Chair he hadn’t gone to a Pensions Committee meeting at which it had been revealed the Fund had lost ~£700 million (which leads to extra costs to Wirral Council that can’t be used to fund frontline services).

Cllr. Harry Smith was annoyed that residents were going to his surgery and talking to him about pensions. However isn’t talking to local residents at your surgery about decisions you’ve made part of being a (well-paid) local councillor Harry? In your election literature (which I still have from 2007) your promise was Give me 15 minutes of your time and I’ll give you 4 years of mine.

How do you square choosing to go on holiday (instead of representing your residents) and being suspended as a councillor for a week with this promise? How about the person you put on your election literature under a headline like "We’re voting for Harry Smith" who didn’t even vote at all? As a local resident in Bidston & St. James I would hope that Labour’s leaflet is not misleading local residents to vote for them. Isn’t it time residents got an apology and the truth?

£48 million has recently had to be cut from this year’s budget (voted for by Labour in March) due to the Labour government’s mismanagement of the country’s finances and spiralling costs on bureaucracy. These are Labour’s cuts to services (whose Minister said there was "no money left") that will next year directly affect residents harshly here in Bidston & St. James. Cllr Foulkes (Labour’s leader) has already apologised publically to the people of Wirral for mistakes the earlier Labour administration made. Isn’t it time other Labour councillors said sorry to the residents of Wirral for the mistakes they’ve made that have led to these cuts?


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