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Wokingham Borough Council defend stance on Black Lives Matter

The leader of Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has issued a statement clarifying why the council will not be ‘stating support’ for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Cllr John Halsall (Con, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) said: “I wish to clarify my position on Black Lives Matter: I completely support the message, principles and all the aims of Black Lives Matter in the UK. I have always been opposed to discrimination in all its forms and understand the need today to have a clear focus of tackling racism wherever it is found.”

In the statement he added: “I was as shocked and disgusted at the killing of George Floyd as any other right thinking person and it is my sincere hope that the world can change for the better as a result of the outcry it has produced.

“Many of the aspirations of Black Lives Matter in the US are shared with those in the UK and I fully support those.

“But I must explain why, as an authority, we will not be committing to the gesture politics of stating support for the Black Lives Matter as it exists as a political movement in the USA.

“This is because it is a political movement over which we have no control and which is campaigning on some issues that are peculiar to the US (for example, the movement’s prominent campaign to ‘Defund the Police’).

“These are issues that it is not right for WBC to take a position on and I will not bow to the easy option of doing so.

“My focus is our residents, and our ongoing commitment to strive for equality and celebrate diversity.”

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  • chappie

    10:09, 28 June 2020

    Kudos to Cllr Halsall for refusing to climb on the bandwagon of gesture politics. In this country there is prejudice against all ethnic minorities and the council does not have enough hoardings or airtime or social media channels with which to campaign on all fronts. Nor can it be sure that any external ethnic campaign is free from commercial interests or news manipulation. The council fights on myriad local issues and it certainly conducts its own business as a principled equalitarian. It also mounts campaigns of its own, such as its initiative to protect the local environment, where it sets its own agenda without endorsing external or international campaigns which may have hidden agendas. It is anyway axiomatic that black lives matter. Women's lives matter. Children's lives matter. Life matters.

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