Monday, 23 October 2006

Coatham abuse has to stop

Posted by Glynis:

On Saturday I was helping to deliver a letter to residents of Coatham on behalf of Josie Crawford, our friend and fellow Lib Dem Councillor. Josie, like us, has had a dreadful time putting up with abuse from certain protestors who do not want a superb leisure and housing development at Coatham. Josie has suffered more than most because she lives close to the site and by helping deliver the letter I was showing my support for her.

These protesters have gone way beyond what is considered to be reasonable and have mounted a campaign of abuse, allegations and scare mongering against members and Council officials that has caused great distress and has wasted so much time. It has got to stop.

None of the allegations and the 1001 conspiracy theories have stood up to scrutiny. They have all proved to be exaggerated nonsense.

As soon as I started to deliver the letter in High Street West out came the lead protester who started bellowing at me in the street: "We don't want this through our letterboxes." "She's a liar." "Your husband's a liar." I simply carried on and ignored the man. They can give it out in spades but if anyone dares to answer back they can't take it.

I post Josie's letter below:

A personal message from Councillor Josie Crawford

Ward Councillor for Coatham

20th October 2006

Dear Coatham Resident.

I have lived in Coatham for 37 years and I have been privileged to serve as its Ward Councillor since 2003. Where I live, the people know me. They know how passionate I am about Coatham.

They, also, know I don’t lie and I am always open and honest about what’s on my mind. This is an open letter and personal message from me. It has not been instigated by anyone other than myself.

As your Ward Councillor, I have to represent the views of all local residents. I work very, very hard to get all of these views and concerns listened to in a constructive and influential way.

There are people who are worried about the proposed development at Coatham. They are worried about the housing, about the change and what might be lost.

As the proposal began to take shape, I openly shared my own views and my own concerns. I have, also, worked hard to fulfil my duties as a Councillor and put forward all views to represent all Coatham residents, and still continue to do so.

I could never have stopped the application from happening. The ball was set rolling long before I was elected, but, believe it or not, Coatham residents have actually influenced what has gone into the final application.

With your support, Irene Curr and I have fought for better pool facilities, the height of the flats on the front to be lowered, the retention of a dance floor, more seafront parking, better footpaths to the seafront and better viewpoints for the homes on High Street West. We were successful in achieving these.

I, have also, offered to meet Coatham Ward protesters to hear their views and concerns at a time and place convenient to them when there was still the opportunity to influence the planning process. My offer was ignored and I never received a reply.

Finally, I went to a massive effort to bring together a Council Scrutiny meeting to scrutinise openly the development proposals for Coatham. This was a crucial meeting that could have significantly influenced the final master plan. It came to nothing, because it was wrecked by loud and unrelenting verbal disruption by a protestor. This meant that many members of the public who, also, wanted to ask questions were unable to do so during the meeting.

This meeting was so important. It was wrecked. I was so angry, because it had taken so much time and effort to actually get the meeting together.

It was at this point I decided the spokesman for the protestors was actually sabotaging any real efforts to influence the planning application and I became increasingly concerned by the method of protest. I openly decided I would not stand by the protestor any longer. This decision saddened me, as I had hoped, together, through reasonable debate, we could influence changes to the final plan.

I cannot support those who think that spitting at me in the street, shouting at me in public, making abusive and aggressive telephone calls to my home, and sending me unpleasant e-mails and letters, is, an effective method of protest.

Many residents who are angry and worried about the development have approached me. They have been reassured once I have explained what is really happening, explained what work has been done to influence the planning application and what still can be done to represent their views on Coatham and on other issues.

I’ve been called ‘spineless’ and ‘an absolute disgrace’ as a Councillor. I am not spineless. I am angry and disappointed. I will not associate with those who cannot conduct themselves in a rational manner and enter into proper debate to be heard. To earn respect you have to show respect.

I have been disgusted at the way that certain protestors have used the proposed Coatham development to attack personally, individual Council officers. The officers are simply getting on with their job. They are responsible and professional persons. I write for them as much as myself. They are hard working and committed.

The Protest has now gone far beyond the Coatham Enclosure issue. It is now also an attack on the Council and its Officers. This is another reason why I cannot show my full support for the protest group even though I share a personal common viewpoint.

Unfortunately, the most vocal protestors won’t be able to fulfil any of the promises they make to anyone, because they have ignored the real opportunities offered to them to influence the development through discussion and debate.

Because I have been so unsettled about the direction and manner of the protest and the consequent pressure imposed upon me, I had considered resigning from my post as your Ward Councillor. This is however not a path I now choose to follow.

I am extremely proud to be representing yourselves and working on your behalf and shall endeavour to continue to act as your representative to the very best of my abilities.

Yours sincerely

Josie Crawford


Rachel Woolley said...

Just had a look on the abbott's blogsite
Apparently, Glynis was unhappy and felt abused when delivering Josie's letter along High St West.

"As soon as I started to deliver the letter in High Street West out came the lead protester who started bellowing at me in the street: "We don't want this through our letterboxes." "She's a liar." "Your husband's a liar." I simply carried on and ignored the man. They can give it out in spades but if anyone dares to answer back they can't take it."

Considering the content of the letter that she had just posted through Chris' door (one full page dedicated to insulting and denigrating his character), I think he was more than justified in stating that he did not want it. I think he was more than justified in calling Cllr Crawford a liar owing to accusations made within that letter and also to calling Chris Abbott a liar bearing in mind he took the man to the standards board over a rumour started by him that Chris was a member of the BNP party. A fact backed up with documentation on this site and also by serving councillors. A fact that the standards board considered 'political banter' and a fact that Chris Abbott has never denied.

Bearing in mind the content of the letter that Glynis Abbott had just antagonistically posted through Chris' letterbox, knowing perfectly well where he lives, I personally think he had every right to bellow. I hope she made a note of the fact that he did not swear, threaten or spit at her - given the provocational circumstances, I don't see her problem, I would have said that Chris behaved impeccably. Perhaps that was her problem - she was disappointed that, under what she thought were guaranteed circumstances, she didn't get the reaction she had hoped for.

Just thought I would remind you Glynis that when Chris delivered the 12th Friends of Coatham Common letter to your house, in front of witnesses, your daughter came out of the house, confrontationally tore the letter up and called Chris a 'pervert'. Good job he has a sense of humour eh?

Chris & Glynis Abbott said...

Posted by Chris:

The comment above has been published, in spite of the fact that the same courtesy is not provided on the blog fronted by Mr McGlade.

Glynis and our daughter Kelly will reply themselves to the main accusations.

With regard to the nonsense about me claiming that Mr McGlade was a member of the BNP. This is simply not true. Mr McGlade and his fellow objectors have made numerous complaints to the Standards Board about a number of members. Every single one has been rejected.

Mr McGlade receives titbits of misinformation from our political opponents, he then adds his own interpretation to it and then repeats it over and over again in the hope that it will become true.

The nonsense about the BNP originated at the Scrutiny Commission, that Mr McGlade sabotaged. It was pointed out to me that two of the protesters looked very much like two known BNP activists. As the Cabinet member for Community Cohesion and chair of the Community Cohesion Partnership I reported this fact, as is normal practice, to the Partnership and also to members of the Council.

I have said and will continue to do so, that the tactics used by Mr McGlade are more akin to facism than democracy but I have never said he was a member of the BNP. How would I know that for heaven's sake. I do not have access to the BNP's membership list.

If his girlfriend, Rachel Wolley, would like me to give examples of why I suggest this then I shall be happy to do so.

Chris & Glynis Abbott said...

Posted by Glynis:

Ms Wolley, what makes you think that I was unhappy about the abuse I suffered whilst delivering Josie's letter?

Could it be that I did not respond to Mr McGlade shouting at me, just ignoring him and getting on with what I was doing?

Why is it OK for Mr McGlade to put letters through my door and not OK for me to put them through his? I do wonder what his response would have been, had one not gone through his door or if it had been posted by a man.

You seek to make a conspiracy out of everything.

You expect a bully to scream when his victim hits back and that is what he has done. The central point in Josie Crawford's letter is that she has won concessions. What has Mr McGlade won? Nothing and he never will. He needs to be exposed as the ranting wind bag he is.

Kelly Abbott said...

The incident you are referring to Ms Wooley took place more than a year ago. I think you should try to be more accurate when describing it.

I came out of my own house, not my parents house, and I said to Mr McGlade that I don’t want this take it back. He refused to take it so I tore it up in front of him. Like all the rest the letter was rambling crap full of stupid remarks about people that I know.

His response was to call me a “stupid bitch.” I refuse to take that from your boyfriend or any other man that acts like he is a bully.

As for witnesses they were all in my home and they were disgusted that he can say something like that in response to a refusal to take in his scurrilous rubbish.

I didn’t call him a pervert. I said something very rude, which my dad will refuse to publish, but it was not pervert.