Firstly, let's be absolutely clear - Southwark Council never 'banned' Guy Fawkes night or Fireworks Night because of political correctness. In an attempt to replace the many events and festivals which the Council supports each year, but which we have had to significantly cut back this year because of the Government's cuts of £34 million to our budget (with another £50 million more cuts to come) our events team had tried to create something which was more than 'Guy Fawkes' night, and brought some fresh thinking and ideas to an event to be staged in the south of the borough in Dulwich Park.
The name chosen for the event 'The Colour Thief' was a mistake, but I believe that the idea for the event was a good one.
However, Dulwich Lib Dem councillors - in particular James Barber and Robin Crookshank Hilton, thought that the name of the event could be exploited for some political gain and ran off to the newspapers with their story. The ensuing coverage made the event impossible to stage. So Cllrs Barber and Crookshank Hilton have ensured that Dulwich Park does not get an event this Autumn. This must have been their intention - so to that extent they have had a great political success.
Instead, the Council will stage a fireworks display in Southwark Park, and I am sure that it will be a great success. I hope that residents or children disappointed by the decision to cancel the Dulwich Park event will be able to participate in the event in Southwark Park - there is no reason why they should miss out.
The Council will consult residents in the south of the borough on an event to be held there next year. I hope that a little more maturity can be brought to the discussion of what that event should be than has been evident in the past few weeks from Dulwich Lib Dem councillors.