Councillor is suspended
ACOUNCILLOR has been suspended by her party after being accused of posting anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook.
An official complaint was lodged with the Labour party against Whitewell councillor Pam Bromley over a post on her Facebook page, as reported in last week’s Free Press.
We reported that she was one of 150 Labour members reported by the Labour Against AntiSemitism [ LAAS] group, over Facebook comments they believe to be antiSemitic.
A regional spokesperson for the Labour party confirmed that Coun Bromley had been suspended on Thursday, April 12.
In a statement Coun Bromley defended herself against the complaint.
She said: “The allegation that I am antiSemitic, based on a tiny sample of Facebook posts taken out of context and dating back up to 12 months, is absolutely ridiculous.
“The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAS) more interested in trolling through the social media of Labour Party members and particularly of elected Labour Party members, searching for little snippets or the incorrect use of a word. They then present [this] out of context, skewing the meaning to make it appear that the Labour Party is riddled with anti-Semitism.
“They somehow overlooked the extensive posting I did in January 2017 when I visited Auschwitz and attended subsequent Holocaust Day memorial commemorations.”
Her statement continued: “I have been a member of the Labour Party on and off since my teens and have never, ever, encountered any form of racism therein.
“Quite correctly, an investigation will be conducted and I am confident that I will be exonerated. In the meantime I continue as a councillor in support of the Labour council and available to constituents.
“I am more than happy to discuss with anybody any issues on this subject.”
The LAAS group said it complained to the Labour compliance unit over a post which they say appeared on Coun Brom- ley’s Facebook page in April 2016 which they claim said: “[The] Rothschilds are a powerful financial family (like the Medicis) and represent capitalism — even if the Nazis DID use the activities of Rothschilds in their anti-Semitic propaganda. We must not obscure the truth with the need to be tactful.”
In the same month, the group say she posted a link to the Rothschild & Co website and commented, saying: “Right I am fed up of this shush don’t mention the Rothchilds stuff [sic]. They are not the only international bankers and financiers but are amongst those who, Jewish and non-Jewish, hold tremendous wealth and power.”
The LAAS has accused Coun Bromley of ‘making mendacious, dehumaniz- ing, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews’ and ‘the power of Jews as collective’, ‘drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis’ and ‘using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism’.
Alyson Barnes, Rossendale’s Labour group leader, confirmed that Coun Bromley would continue to undertake her ●● Councillor Bromley council responsibilities as an independent member during her suspension.
AM I alone in Rossendale wondering why on earth we are all agreeing to pay the ridiculous amounts of council tax we are being asked for?
Are residents aware of the huge disparity in charges between London and this area?
My son lives in Tooting where a band D property, according to a calculator I have seen on the internet, is £700 per year. The same band in Rossendale is £1,700.
This year my son will see no increase.
Apparently that is also true of Westminister and other London boroughs, despite the fact that the property values far exceed comparable property in this area.
What are we actually receiving for these huge monthly amounts?
The roads are a shambles and have been patched up for years to the point that avoiding potholes in order not to damage one’s car is an everyday occurrence in Rossendale at the risk of causing an accident.
Those of us with gardens have also been asked for a further £35 per year for the privilege of having our brown bins emptied.
How much has this raised for the coffers I wonder?
I cannot remember when I last saw a policeman actually walking around Rawtenstall and as far as I am aware, there is no public counter in the police station in Waterfoot anymore and yet we are being asked to pay increases for police services.
Were it not for the sterling job of Civic Pride I shudder to think what Rossendale would become.
They may receive a grant from the council but these volunteers must have saved an awful lot of money by their tireless efforts and indeed have improved the green spaces far more than the council ever did.
I would like to see everyone refuse to pay this increase and cancel their direct debits instead of just meekly accepting the fact that Rossendale has one of the highest rates of tax in Lancashire and we residents have only the choice of paying up or moving on. Mrs Eluned Trickett Burnley Road Crawshawbooth
TOWN CENTRES GETTING BETTER
THIS is an open letter to the Scribbler, and is in response to a column he wrote a couple of weeks ago.
In the column he called for political parties to work together in the best interests of Rossendale residents and asked why the planning proposal for phase two of Rawtenstall redevelopment was not being more positively received.
I agree absolutely with both points – local politics should principally be about our local area, and yes the planning application should have been welcomed across the board, so why wasn’t it?
For those who do not remember, back in 2011 when Labour first took up the leadership of the council we inherited a fairly bleak set of challenges. In Rawtenstall we had a very poor 40-year-old bus station that had been put up temporarily.
There was the promise of a new bus station from the county council, if we could find a site to build it – the existing site was not acceptable to LCC, and they had been looking for many years. There was also a derelict, boarded up shopping centre and a empty, disused town hall.
The town hall had been empty for at least six years and the council were still paying rates on the building.
Our other town centres were also in a poor state. Our election campaign promise was a simple one, if elected we would do something about our neglected, once proud town centres, and despite central government cuts amounting to over £4m a year we have stuck to that promise.
Bacup is benefiting from Town Heritage Initiative funding of over £2m; the redevelopment in Rawtenstall will amount to at least £15m by the time we have finished, and we are waiting to hear about another heritage lottery bid of £2m for Haslingden.
I think even our biggest critics would agree that we are beginning to see our town centres lift as a consequence of some of this work. We are not, however, complacent. We know there is still a lot to do and we are determined to keep on drawing investment into the valley.
So why are we not celebrating this? I think the answer lies in the lack of leadership by local Tories on the council, and a belief that their job is purely to criticise everything we do and everything we say. I think many of your readers will be surprised to hear that they are actually in favour of the Spinning Point development but you wouldn’t think so from their actions.
In preparation for last week’s planning meeting I looked at the 2007 planning permission that was granted for the site but never acted upon. Looking back, the proposal was awful – 116 flats, and several storeys of shops, and high rise parking facilities. It compares very poorly to the scheme that has just been approved. Despite this I spoke in favour of the application at the time, as leader of the opposition. I did this because on the whole I thought the development would be good for the town. Sadly no such support from the opposition this time – despite the fact that they support the scheme. In fact their members on the planning committee voted against it.
The problem is that they are such a disparate group who in the main struggle to agree with each other, let alone have the maturity and sense of purpose to work effectively with others.
I say this as someone who works well with council leaders from all parties across Lancashire.
They also lack any real ideas of their own, preferring instead to hitch their wagons to the latest campaign being run by social media groups. Groups often run by ex-Tory councillors, who are so keen to discredit the Labour Group generally and me in particular that they regularly risk throwing to baby out with the bath water.
When I was first elected to the council in 1999, all I remember hearing about was the cobbles on Bank Street and how terrible they were. I am put in mind of this now as we try to improve facilities for local residents and traders alike. I would urge all those interested in our town centres to embrace the opportunities that are being presented and to work for the benefit of the borough, and not to fight against perfectly reasonable proposals just to make a political point. Alyson Barnes Rossendale’s Labour council leader
SPEED HUMPS REDUNDANT
COULD I just make a comment on your article regarding the lack of speed cameras in Rawtenstall.
I would like to say that these are NOT needed any longer, as the state of the roads determine the speed of all road users.
This is becoming a complete joke, we spend more time looking at the roads to avoid pot holes than we actually do at our speedometers.
We have speed humps on Hall Carr...NO NEED, as the potholes keep everyone on their toes.
Although some improvements have been completed, I am referring to the pedestrian/disabled ramps installed on the Hall Carr Estate, I am unsure how we have managed without these over the last 50 plus years...some are that steep to access, you would think that they are a secondary addition to the Ski Slope!
I personally would have thought that the time, effort and money would have possibly been better used in fixing the state of the local roads. In some cases it can only be described as possibly trying to drive a vehicle over a battlefield.
Maybe in time and through new technological breakthroughs, satellite navigation may highlight these craters, as yet not visible from space.
This is obviously my opinion, others may not agree. Mr A. Thornton via email
GRATEFUL FOR FALL HELP
MAY I through your newspaper thank the various helpers who came to my aid when I had a fall in Kay Street, Rawtenstall, on Tuesday, April 3.
First, the gentleman who rang for medical help, then the paramedic who came along to make sure I was alright. The postmaster and his staff who helped me to draw my pension and the gentleman who gave me a lift home in his car.
I am most grateful to all of these. There are still a lot of people who care. Mr D. Donovan via email
DONATIONS SO GENEROUS
ON behalf of the fundraising committee of RNLI Rawtenstall we would like to thank the management and staff of Tesco, Asda and B&M retail in the town for allowing us to take collections in their stores over the course of the last year. We are delighted with the result of these collections, having raised the sum of £2,722.
This would not be possible without the generosity of the Rossendale public and the willingness of our friends in helping us collect those donations. Marjorie Walsh Treasurer RNLI