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Ipswich Liberal Democrats

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Councillor Tim Lockington supports anti-racist motion

August 1, 2020 6:22 PM
By Tim Lockington

We quote below the speech by Councillor Tim Lockington at Wednesdays council meeting seconding Councillor Glen Chisholm's motion to amend the Localism Act to enable "suspension and barring from public office for major breaches of the councillors' code of conduct". This motion was a response to the racist postings made by Robin Vickery prior to his resignation from the Council and the Conservative Party.

"The term "new normal" is over-used and over-familiar. There are many new-normals that I would love to do without.

One of these is the normalisation of social media as a means for people of ill-will to distribute, from a distance, messages of hurt about people they do not know, whose only crime is to be different from who, or what, they think they are, and to use their messaging to encourage others to join them.

I have been an NHS doctor for 40 years. I have known the privilege of working with colleagues of all colours, beliefs and nationalities, serving the health needs of people living in this country.

Before I moved to Ipswich I worked as a geriatrician in the East End of London - a melting pot of people and nations - it has been for centuries. It is also a place where the National Front and similar political movements have been able to muster strength.

When I was there, the old and frail that we served were predominantly white and could be vocally racist, and yet they were often helped in their frailty and need by people of colour. Genuine care is colour-blind. The kindness of professional people in the face of unkindness was a daily experience.

When I was in Whitechapel, I worked with a young white female Latvian GP trainee. She got married. She changed her name to Dr.Chakrabarti, a personal choice but deeply inspiring!

The discipline of medicine requires that we put aside personal prejudices in the work we do. How else can the confidentiality and care that any patient should expect from us, be understood? This works both ways. Caring professionals need the security of knowing that they will be treated in the same way by those they serve.

To be elected to represent a community of people is an enormous privilege and carries with it enormous responsibility. We are all individuals. We have chosen different Parties to represent what we care about for ourselves, society and the natural world, and we represent individuals with backgrounds and values that we may not share, but this should be irrelevant to the service we provide, and the vision that we have for more humane, fair, supportive, caring, productive and peaceful communities.

We may differ in the way in which we believe that this can be achieved, but if we share, collectively, these values, we should be determined that when people look at us they can see these values in our actions and language.

At a time when another new-normal is a sense that democracy itself is irrelevant to many people, and that its representatives are self-serving rather than serving others, it is vitally important that people see, in us, a reason to believe, again, that democracy is the best basis for a healthy nation.

If an elected representative's beliefs are fundamentally different, and in their actions, they appear to encourage prejudicial ideas of separation, division and a sense of personal superiority, in the pursuit of a perverse idea of national purity, then there should be no place for that person in elected Public Office.

I have no pleasure in seconding this motion but it is my duty to do so, for the reasons I have given, and to support the actions proposed."