Monday, May 14, 2007

Let's have sense over Southwark's Mayor

The LibDems have nominated Cllr Bob Skelly as their Mayoral candidate for the forthcoming year. This is what the Evening Standard said about Cllr Skelly in December 2004:

Schools chief quits over 'racist' remark
By Mira Bar-hillel And Oliver Finegold, Evening Standard 06.12.04

One of London's biggest local authorities was at the centre of a race row today after a senior councillor was forced to resign as its education chief.
Bob Skelly had said that Caribbean schoolboys needed "booster lessons in English" and attacked them for a "lack of commitment to education".
Mr Kelly, who was executive member for education at Southwark, claimed his words had been taken out of context.
But race campaigners said the remarks were "outrageous" and called for him to apologise. The council is already facing allegations of institutional racism from black businesses in the borough.
Mr Skelly had been asked by opposition councillors what he was doing to address the performance of Caribbean schoolboys. He replied: "Every evening I go out in a big van and kidnap some Caribbean boys. I berate them about their lack of commitment to education and give them a booster lesson in English."
A spokesman for the National Assembly Against Racism said: "Someone in his position should know better."
Mr Skelly said his remarks were "obviously tongue in cheek and said as a joke". Asked about his resignation, he added: "I'm going into territory that I don't want to talk about."
Council leader Nick Stanton said: "Mr Skelly's comments were crass and stupid. He has been suspended from the local Liberal Democrat group."
It comes after black business owners claimed they were being "ethnically cleansed" to allow the gentrification of parts of the borough. An independent inquiry is investigating.

Just over 2 years on those comments remain "crass and stupid" and I firmly believe that Cllr Skelly is simply not a suitable person to be the First Citizen of a borough as diverse as Southwark. In this year when we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in this country, it is monstrous that the Lib Dems have chosen as their candidate for mayor a councillor who has made such insensitive remarks. The Labour Group will be nominating Cllr Tayo Situ, and I hope that the LibDems realise their gross error and support his candidacy on Wednesday.

No comments: