Yes, two Liberal Democrats on Burnley council chose to support a leading light of the fascist party for a representative appointment. But rather than run away and hide in the hope that the electorate might forget their treachery, Cllr Jones comes out fighting and finds an excuse - they were only trying to stop Labour over-representation on Padiham Life (which is a non-political organisation). As it goes, the BNP councillor was defeated by other members present, but that's merely good fortune.
DURING a meeting of the full council on December 13th, councillors had to elect a representative of the council to the board of Padiham Life. Previously the council representative was a Lib-Dem member, who resigned on the basis of a possible conflict of interest with their position on the council Executive. A totally valid reason supported by all members of the council.
Surprisingly, the Lib-Dems did not put forward a non-Executive member as an alternative for the position and the council was asked to choose between Cllr Gauton (Labour) and Cllr Wilkinson (BNP).
Despite repeated public statements that the Lib-Dems would never work with the BNP, or support BNP representatives gaining senior positions on decision-making bodies, two Lib-Dem members of the council voted for the BNP candidate to become a board member of Padiham Life. The Lib-Dem members who voted for Cllr Wilkinson being Cllrs Jones and Sumner.
The Lib Dems are, by their very name, liberal-minded and democratic. We vote how we think the needs of the people are best-served.
At the full council meeting on December 13th, a position came up for renewal.. on the board of Padiham Life, which comes under the Small Towns Initiative and backed by the North West Regional Development Association to the tune of £1m. When it came to the vote, there was a choice of only two candidates – Sharon Wilkinson, BNP... and Linda Gauton, Labour. Cllr Wilkinson is quite passionate about her ward members and was indeed shown in the Express recently supporting old people who had received threatening notices from the town council for not recycling properly. As the spokesman for her party she speaks up regularly for what she feels is right. To my mind, she is actively doing her job for the people who voted for her. Cllr Gauton, on the other hand, is a person who I have yet to hear speak up at full council this year.
Given these facts and that Padiham Life is over represented by Labour, this would have helped to restore a balance and would have given Padiham people the best person for the post.
For a 'liberal-minded' party, that's a disgrace and to then attempt to dress it up as an attempt to redress Labour over-representation is shallow politics of the worst kind. Remember that the BNP hold on to their thin veneer of democratic involvement when their quietly-held aim is position themselves ready to take over when society crashes following an economic depression. I fully expect most LDs to be equally concerned that two of their elected members considered a fascist worth supporting.
Hat tip to Simon, one of my regular visitors. Actually, I'd already spotted this late last night and didn't have the energy or time to add it.