Next month brings a round of elections - which in England means, mainly, that some council seats will be up for grabs, along with directly elected Mayors. Also on the ballot will be Police and Crime Commissioners, and in Cheshire, Reform UK are fielding one Nick Goulding, who stood unsuccessfully for the Brexit Party in Weaver Vale in 2019.
One look at Goulding’s Twitter feed shows he is a fan of the Free Speech Union, domain of the loathsome Toby Young, which seeks to defend freedom of speech, but manages to miss that there is no such thing as freedom from the consequences of that speech. He suggests that Cheshire Police may not be acting politically impartially.
But what has caused some disquiet is his attitude to the Black Lives Matter campaign. As with all other parts of the UK, Cheshire has a significant BAME population. And as Cheshire Live has told readers, “Black Lives Matter movement 'not relevant in Cheshire', claims police and crime commissioner candidate”. Whatever does that mean?
“Nick Goulding, a Reform UK candidate, made the claim in a comment on his candidate Facebook page on April 14, 2021 … Mr Goulding was responding to a comment by a member of the public on a post outlining his election statement on April 10 … The member of public claimed Mr Goulding had a 'personal obsession' with BLM and that he thought 'minorities get preferential treatment.’” So what say the Reform UK hopeful in response?
“Mr Goulding claimed … ‘I'm not sure where you get the idea I am obsessed with BLM, just that it has nothing to do with actually addressing genuine grievance and is not relevant to Cheshire … Such activity is symptomatic of the diversion [of] big focus from genuine local concerns and yes, I am determined to address that balance if elected”.
Let’s just test his claim of relevance. This from the Guardian only last August: “Organisers of Black Lives Matter protests in Sandbach, Cheshire, have been threatened and ‘doxxed’ (had private information maliciously published online) in a Facebook group for which one of the town’s councillors was an administrator”. And there was more.
“Katie Unnithan, 20, has held three socially distanced BLM protests in Sandbach, where she grew up. The first took place near the cenotaph in the town centre … ‘People came up to us shouting that segregation was a good thing, that “All lives matter”, and one guy said he’d come back with a shotgun if we touched the cenotaph,’ she said. ‘It was the most bizarre and horrible experience’”. A complaint was made to Cheshire Police.
Looks all too relevant on the basis of that, doesn’t it? Racist abuse, doxxing, threats - and here is a candidate for Cheshire PCC who appears to suggest it’s not relevant.
The (former) Farage Falange Fringe offends but does not surprise. No change there, then.
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