There’s always a risk when eager young politicians try to do something in which they have little or no expertise.
Take Bensham Manor’s Labour councillor, Jamie Audsley, and his attempt this week at being an estate agent in Thornton Heath.
As part of the Thornton Heath Community Action Team’s “campaign for a new restaurant”, Audsley pushed out on his social media account (1,251 Twitter followers) a poster advertising the bidding for 91, High Street, apparently on behalf of the large West End agency CBRE.
Judged by the glossy publicity material, they appear to think that the people who want a swanky new restaurant in Thornton Heath are all white, with not one Afro-Caribbean or Asian person pictured on the poster.
“Good idea,” was one response via Twitter, “but please use images that reflect the people living in Thornton Heath.”
Last year, when council-subsidised Boozepark made a similar gaffe with images of the venue featuring solely middle-class caucasian customers, they were shamed into issuing a grovelling apology.
Audsley’s response to his error of judgement was to state, “Good feedback”. There was no apology, just an undertaking to pass the comment along.
But Oxford graduate Audsley, who was first elected to the council in 2014 and is regarded a rising star under council deputy leader Alison Butler, was to be further reproached.
Callton Young, the long-time community activist and now a councillor for neighbouring West Thornton ward, also questioned Audsley’s eagerness to assist a big firm from central London.
“Let’s try to use local businesses to find local solutions,” Young tweeted. “Local agents can’t compete with West End-based CBRE!”
Young has been particularly active on social media recently, warning of the dangers of gentrification.
“Gentrification creeps up on the unwitting,” Young tweeted. “Deprived people must be on guard wherever they live.
“The downside of gentrification is inequality for local residents,” Young warned.
What, or who, could Councillor Young have in mind?
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