Yesterday, I noticed a tweet by our one remaining LibDem councillor in Levenshulme, trying to reinvigorate his "No More Takeaways" campaign. The article it linked to was pretty much a re-hash of a recent Manchester Evening News article, but this caught my eye:
“I was heavily involved in the first ever ‘Levenshulme Means Business’ Week aimed at promoting business in our area. Secretary of State for Business – Vince Cable MP even accepted my invitation to come and speak at an event – unfortunately ruined by Labour protestors including local Labour Councillors.”
Now, regular readers may remember that I blogged about this visit, and it occurred to me that Councillor Hennigan's version of events didn't quite accord with what I remembered of it. There was a small, if vocal, group of protestors outside the Hennigan-owned M19 Bar where the event was held - no more than one might expect a year into a deeply unpopular coalition government whose LibDem members had voted through savage cuts to local authorities which were having (and continue to have) a serious impact on local people.
There were very few "Labour protesters" there, and certainly no "local Labour councillors" that I recognised (it was 2011, when Leve still had 3 LibDem "local" - by their definition - councillors).
The event was briefly disrupted when a local man tried to gain access to the venue and a short scuffle ensued before things continued as normal. This was not a "Labour protestor", but a local resident who had recently been made redundant due to coalition cuts.
So, Councillor Hennigan's assertion that the event was "ruined by Labour" is at best disingenuous and and at worst simply untrue.
To make sure I hadn't entirely dreamt the whole thing, I went back to the press reports at the time and looked at the photographs that were taken. I could only spot one Labour Party member that I knew. There were a few people who are - or may have been then - members of other left-wing parties or organisations, and some really dangerous radicals like mums trying to protect their Sure Start Centre! It seems Councillor Hennigan, along with many UKIP politicians, cannot distinguish between "Labour Party" and "people who may hold left wing views."
This is, of course, just an attempt to smear Labour in the run-up to the election, but it seems pretty desperate. I'd be interested to hear from Councillor Hennigan which "local Labour councillors" were in attendance and what actions they took which "ruined" the event?