Upsetting sight in town today.
How do things become so bad to end up like this?
Clear for all to see
I’m the Green Party candidate for the by-election that surely has to happen soon if people living in Sheffield are to have an MP actively representing and working for them.
I have been involved in the campaign to protect healthy street trees since 2015. I note the pre Xmas Lib Dem candidate interview, (Star December 12), and agree it is now about more than the trees. The focus is now on the detail of the £2.2 billion contract signed with Amey in 2012. It was negotiated by the Lib Dems between 2008 and 2011; Labour completed and signed the contract when they took control after the 2011 elections.
Both Labour and the Lib Dems knew about the lack of accountability written into the deal that has led us to the council’s current unacceptable actions on our streets. We will work with the Lib Dems and many other groups to protest against the felling of healthy street trees and to oppose a dictatorial Labour council. But we do so having actively opposed the Streets Ahead contract from the start. A key public service is now run by a private company driven by profit and the downsides of that decision are clear for all to see.
Green Party Candidate for Sheffield Hallam Constituency
For the good of the city
I wanted to express my support to the two residents who wrote in about the trees, who are now being slaughtered and belittled on the STAG facebook page.
I too have been on the receiving end of this abuse outside my property in S6 where I expressed my thanks for the removal of a damaging tree, allowing me to pass safely with my elderly family member.
The campaigners are on the whole bullies and completely blinkered, a quick look on their Facebook page shows how unkind and dismissive they are of anyone who doesn’t agree or anyone who dares to have a different set of priorities.
People can love the beautiful trees whilst understanding that on occasion tough decisions have to be made for the good of the city, thank goodness there will be more trees at the end of the contract making this now an issue to let lie.
Voters, take action
2017 saw the inner workings of a dysfunctional Labour run council exposed, linked to an unwillingness to come clean on their failings. And offering “fake news” about the Streets Ahead contract in response to tree campaigners.
Throughout the year Bryan Lodge trotted out the same discredited information. “Trees are only replaced as a last resort”, “the only trees being replaced are those causing real problems for people on our streets” and more.
Thousands have challenged these claims in letters to councillors and MP’s and their responses consistently lack the evidence to back them up.
In these circumstances people feel they have no choice but to engage in non-violent direct action to save trees where there is no credible evidence they are diseased, dangerous or dying.
Or that engineering solutions available within the contract cannot be used to cover damaging or discriminatory situations.
Sheffield is a city with a great tradition of peaceful protest. From suffragettes and the Kinder Trespasses through to Orgreave, poll tax, the Iraq war, tuition fees and austerity.
When police are used in dawn raids and anti-trade union legislation is used to arrest peaceful tree protesters you have to question what this council represents.
Labour took back power in 2011, have a big majority and will run Sheffield for the immediate future unless voters take action.
On May 3 residents can elect more opposition councillors to hold a dictatorial council to account.
Or more Labour councillors whose ability to act on your behalf will be restrained by their leader and Cabinet.
Sheffield Green Party
In the January 1, 2018, Sheffield Star you published a two page article of Chief Constable Stephen Watson reviewing the challenges faced by the South Yorkshire Police force in 2017.
Featured in the article was news that “in June 2017 another historic issue involving South Yorkshire Police - the Hillsborough Disaster - resulted in the Crown Prosecution Service announcing that criminal proceedings would follow.” Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield who was the Match Commander when fans died in a crush at Hillsborough football stadium in April 1089, is facing prosecution for the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 men, women and children.
Readers were then informed that “He can only be charged if a stay of prosecution put in place by a now-retired judge at the end of a private prosecution in 2000 is lifted.”
We were then told that Graham Mackrell, who was Sheffield Wednesday’s company secretary and safety officer at the time, former South Yorkshire Police solicitor Peter Metcalf and former South Yorkshire police officers Donald Denton, Alan Foster and Norman Bettison have been charged with offences relating to the disaster and its aftermath.
Chief Constable Watson quite rightly acknowledges that Hillsborough is part of the police legacy, that the past must be respected and lessons learned from it. He “does not want the force to be imprisoned by it.”
I fully agree with his sentiments, but respectfully advise him that he and the force under his command have a duty of care to the people of and visitors to Sheffield.
The football disaster and aftermath continue to cause considerable pain and sorrow to relatives and loved ones of those who lost their lives in 1989.
They and the Sheffield community are entitled to ask that justice be done and is seen to be done in this case.
For the Chief Constable to review that Mr Duckenfield “can only be charged if a ruling in 2000 by a now-retired judge is lifted” makes a mockery of their expectation.
Surely, in the interest of fair justice, we should not have to wait 17 years for this ruling to be lifted.
It is reported that Mr Duckenfield has now been granted State Legal Aid in his latest request for his legal costs in connection with his criminal charges, possibly including this injunction.
As an example of justice seen to be done, could the Chief Constable and/or someone in legal authority, via the Sheffield Star, enlighten your readers as to whether the 2000 injunction has now been lifted, and also the alleged offences and any proposed trial dates for all the defendants named. The Star will be doing a service to your many readers by publishing any latest news of these proceedings.
Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5