Harlow’s adult and youth councillors unite to promote Debate Not Hate

News / Sat 15th Apr 2023 at 09:36am

A CAMPAIGN to encourage healthy debate and improve support for local politicians facing abuse and intimidation has been by adult and youth councillors in Harlow.

Just before the last Full Council meeting held on 6 April 2023, Youth Councillors Nicoleta Cerescu and Ella Braby joined Councillor Andrew Johnson (Chair of Harlow Council), Councillor Russell Perrin (Leader of Harlow Council) and Councillor Chris Vince, (Leader of the Opposition), to add cross-party support for the Local Government Association (LGA) Debate Not Hate campaign.

The Debate Not Hate campaign, which was unanimously backed by Harlow Council and Harlow Youth Council, aims to raise public awareness of the role of councillors in their communities, encourage healthy debate and improve the responses and support for local politicians facing abuse and intimidation.

The intimidation and abuse of councillors, in person or otherwise, undermines democracy; it can prevent elected members from representing the communities they serve, deter individuals from standing for election, and undermine public trust in democratic processes.

Nationally 7 in 10 councillors reported experiencing abuse and intimidation over the last 12 months and councillors reported feeling that abuse is becoming more common and increasing in severity.

Debating and disagreeing with one another has always been, and will continue to be, a healthy part of democracy. However, the right engagement matters and abuse and intimidation crosses the line into dangerous territory and has no place in politics.

The council has signed up to the LGA’s Debate Not Hate public statement calling for a government working group to bring together relevant agencies and partners to produce an action plan.

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2 Comments for Harlow’s adult and youth councillors unite to promote Debate Not Hate:

Luke Burton
2023-04-15 11:26:34

Maybe there would be a bit more goodwill if both the national and local administration would actually get the very basics sorted such as potholes, public services, and anti-social behaviour rather than engaging in silly 'Culture Wars'.

David Forman
2023-04-16 19:46:52

Luke Barton has a point. If politicians tried to solve problems instead of seeking the latest photo opportunity, and wrote letters that offered solutions rather than telling us what we already know maybe the public would respect them a little more.

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