In other news… on Jess Ennis, Judy Steel & other stories

by Stephen Tall on August 12, 2012

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Campaign to rename Tudor Square in honour of Jess (Postcode Gazette)

Sheffield politicians want to rename Tudor Square in honour of Jessica Ennis. The Liberal Democrats have backed a campaign which went viral on twitter on Saturday night, following Jessica’s victory in the women’s heptathlon. The suggestion follows calls by Nick Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam, that Ennis be granted Freedom of the City. Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Sheffield Council, said: “Every Sheffielder will have been bursting with pride as our golden girl took the starring role in what was undoubtedly one of the greatest nights in British sporting history. Sheffield, Britain – even the world – expected, and Jess delivered in some style. She is a brilliant ambassador for our city and an inspiration to hundreds of young people – she has earnt the respect of the whole city and no honour will be truly fitting of her achievement.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Simon Arthur jailed for assaulting mother (The Independent)

An outspoken councillor who beat his 87-year-old mother so often that she slept in her car to avoid him has been jailed for four months. … Arthur has a familiar public face in Swansea as a readily quotable Liberal Democrat Mumbles community councillor. His actions hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when he angrily attacked his elderly mother on July 21. … The court imposed an indefinite restraining order on Arthur, which prevents him living with his mother after he is released from jail. The local branch of the Lib Dems has suspended Arthur and is expected to expel him.

Granny Judy Steel with Jaguar tattoo to vote “yes” in independence poll despite being Lib Dem member (Daily Record)

The Lib Dem party, of which Judy Steel is a member and her husband a former leader, are decidedly in the “No” camp, and that is how Sir David will vote come the day, just as party line dictates – but not his wife. It is not a new decision, nor is it a passing fancy. Judy Steel has been an advocate for independence for Scotland since before she knew her husband and was, in fact, a member of the Nationalist Committee while at Edinburgh University. “I have always believed in Scotland as an independent country. It’s an emotional thing,” she said.

County mourns death of former chairman (ThisIsCornwall)

Tributes have been paid to a South Devon councillor who has died aged 73. Devon-born Fred Symons, an influential councillor in Teignbridge, died after battling illness. … He was a founder member of the Social Democrat Party and served as chairman. He entered Devon politics in 1985, arriving at County Hall as a Liberal Democrat. He also served as a Teignbridge parish and district councillor, sitting on numerous committees during his terms of office. He was Teignbridge District Council chairman in 1997, Devon County Council chairman in 2000 and fire authority chairman from 1998 to 2000. He was also an Honorary Alderman.

Nicol Stephen makes £110,000 profit on flat bought with taxpayers’ help (Scotsman)

FORMER Scottish Lib Dem leader Nicol Stephen has made almost £110,000 on a house that was partly paid for by the taxpayer, leading to calls that he and other MSPs should hand over any profits from the now defunct Holyrood housing allowance. Lord Stephen, who stepped down as an MSP last year and soon after became a member of the House of Lords, is now the biggest known beneficiary of the scheme, which saw the mortgages on MSPs homes paid in Edinburgh. … Yesterday Lord Stephen was unavailable for comment. However, a Lib Dem spokesman said that Lord Stephen would be paying capital gains tax on the property, but said there was “nothing to add”.

Video evidence remains off-limits to councillors (Whitstable People)

Lib Dem Nick Eden-Green had urged Canterbury City Councillors to lift the ban after he was prevented from showing footage of disruptive and drunken revellers in Canterbury. He argued that at least four other councils – Oldham, Sutton, Southwark and Islington – regularly showed DVD evidence. … Lib Dem leader Alex Perkins said other councils had mobile phone apps to upload images directly to officials, and said there could be legal safeguards like not showing footage in public. Cllr Perkins added “It is time we caught up with the 21st century. People no longer go in front of cars waving red flags and once it was thought too dangerous not to. It is not too dangerous to show moving images.”

Brent Liberal Democrat leader Paul Lorber ‘shocked and saddened’ at defection (Harrow Times)

Councillor James Allie, who represents Alperton, announced his switch to Labour in an open letter released this morning, in which he listed a series of damning criticisms of both Lib Dem MPs in Westminster and his former colleagues in Brent. He singled out Cllr Lorber’s campaign to keep open six libraries in the borough after they were selected for closure by Brent Council, calling his “posturing” on the issue “an insult to the library campaigners and the people of Brent”. But Cllr Lorber said: “I’m very proud of Brent Liberal Democrats’ record in campaigning to save local libraries alongside thousands of local residents, fighting to keep historic festivals and tackling over-the-top spending by Brent Council. This is a record that James’ new Labour colleagues have consistently opposed.”

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.