Fringe Box



Opinion: Death Threats Have No Place in Guildford’s Politics

Published on: 16 Jun, 2015
Updated on: 22 Jun, 2015

Dragon Says 470You might feel extremely strongly that the green belt around Guildford needs protecting. You might feel very strongly that Guildford needs more houses and a fraction of the green belt is a price worth paying.

Both are legitimate points of view.

It is one of truly great aspects of truly democratic societies that we settle conflicts of views by debate and by voting, either directly in elections, or through our elected representatives.

Opinion Logo 2Of course this does not satisfy everyone. Local planning issues affect us and our day-to-day lives and the future character of our home town and borough directly. The issues have created strong feelings, that is understandable but some seem to have lost their sense of right and wrong about was is acceptable, what is proper, what is even legitimate.

Our council leader, Stephen Mansbridge, has, according to his testimony in court, been advised to have security devices fitted in his home and the leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) feels it unsafe to make her home address public knowledge. These are sad signs for all of us.

Both, it is reported, have received death threats. Death threats for goodness sake!

We are all entitled to have a view about about local issues, we are all entitled to feel very strongly but is this Guildford in Surrey or some part of the world where even local politicians need armed escorts?

Those who have made any such threats and anyone who has encouraged or even shrugged their shoulders and turned a blind eye should be thoroughly ashamed. Such behaviour needs to stop.

It is a cornerstone of our British culture that no one should be prevented or deterred by threats or bullying from holding a belief or stating a legitimate point of view. Long may it continue but it should never be taken for granted.

We must all stand up to, and show our clear contempt for, those who would have it otherwise, those who, in these cases, are too cowardly to even admit who they are.

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Responses to Opinion: Death Threats Have No Place in Guildford’s Politics

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    June 16, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I share The Guildford Dragon’s contempt for such behaviour. However, Mansbridge claimed under oath to have “a lever-arch file full of abusive and threatening communications towards him and Juneja”.

    He has been repeatedly challenged to release these communications, so those issuing threats may be exposed and identified. Until such time as he does, I, for one, will not believe it exists.

    Certainly, having seen a vast amount of communication, press reports etc. on the sorry affairs at GBC, I have not seen evidence of any threats, or abusive behaviour from members of the public.

    I have, however, seen abuse and threats of legal action, including accusations of racism, against concerned members of the public, by serving councillors, which is unconscionable.

  2. David Roberts Reply

    June 16, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I am among those who has received threats of legal action from a serving councillor. I carefully preserved the relevant email to prove it, and showed it to the police.

    I know of at least one lady who received similar threats from an even more senior councillor, who likewise told the police.

  3. Michael Bruton Reply

    June 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    I too would be interested to read the contents of Mr Mansbridge’s ‘lever arch file’. After all he claimed, reportedly under oath, that such a file existed. If he fails to make it available for the public to read – how can we believe it actually exists?

  4. Ben Paton Reply

    June 18, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Of course no one should receive death threats.

    And, of course, no evidence has been produced that anyone has in fact received a death threat.

    It is possible that the allegations of death threats have been made in order to traduce and defame those who disagree with the way the council has been managed.

    Just like the alleged racist motives of those who complained that the council’s Code of Conduct was breached – and who have been vindicated – the alleged death threats may be no more than a warped attempt to justify ignoring public opinion.

    One councillor has said: it may not be possible to please some of the people any of the time. The implication seems to be that the council should ignore some people all of the time. This rather presupposes that the council is always right and the minority who complain are always wrong.

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