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Geoffrey Settle

Pledge to Peace - will Warrington sign up?

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You may have read about a question that I was asking at this weeks full council meeting.

 

http://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/2017/06/09/former-mayor-continues-campaign-for-warrington-to-pledge-to-peace/

 

Only "Will the council include as part of the 2021 City of Culture (or earlier) the promise to use the ‘Pledge for Peace’ pack and make Warrington a Town Pledged to Peace?" appeared in the summons - the solicitor stripped out the pre-amble for some reason.

 

Anyway here is the full question and supplementary and I await a reply sometime in the future?

 

All we have to do is prove what we have done in the past - a no brainer and highlight events that will be taking place - again those are under way and the Foundation4Peace have lots in the pipeline again a no brainer. So QED so why the delay in replying?

 

 

Question to Full Council – Pledge to Peace – Monday 19th June

 

Last year I attended the Peace Centre as Mayor on several occasions. During one visit, I joined a delegation led by the Mayor of Oldham. He was accompanied by people who had been instrumental in signing up Oldham for the ‘Pledge for Peace’. To date they are the only Town or City that has successfully achieved this accolade in the UK. At the end of the visit they gave me a ‘Pledge to Peace’ pack and offer of support.

The Councillor for Peace Cllr Derek Heffernan (who is now the Mayor) told me that they had been inspired by Nick Taylor (CEO) Peace Centre Nick Taylor when he came to visit Oldham and describe the work they do. It was very noticeable that they were also gaining additional inspiration when they met and talked to Colin and Wendy Parry as they described events, progress and future challenges.

I am reminded by the Chief Executive that in 1999 we tried to gain City status using the concept “City to Peace”.

Will the council include as part of the 2021 City of Culture (or earlier) the promise to use the ‘Pledge for Peace’ pack and make Warrington a Town Pledged to Peace?

 

 

Supplementary Question

I was hoping that you would agree to the Pledge to Peace tonight so that the process could begin to collect the evidence about how the Town has and will take peaceful steps, projects etc forward.

 

As part of the evidence of your commitment going forward will you pledge?

1.     To select a Councillor or Champion of Peace who will co-ordinate and facilitate the process;

2.     Allocate them a seat on the 2021 City of Culture bid and any other appropriate committee; and finally

3.     Grant the Freedom of the Borough to The Foundation 4 Peace, in recognition of the acknowledged Peace and Reconciliation work that they have done and continue to do promoting Peace across the world.

Warrington is reputed to be a place that celebrates its diversity and in the words from Jo Cox’s maiden speech “we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”

Finally, we don’t need to do this alone Richard Outram from the 1st Pledge to Peace place in Oldham has offered his support. In his latest edition of the Oldham Peace News he gives us an encouraging mention along with somewhere called Hull who are also bidding to be the 2nd Pledge to Peace contender in the UK.

The Foundation 4 Peace is the clear and active leader in the Peace process but there are other active groups and organisations involved in ‘Peace of Mind’ that can support the process such as Adrian Derbyshire with his Stop Hate campaign, LBGT raising awareness of prejudice and discrimination, the Rugby League’s ‘State of Mind Sport’ championed by Dr Phil Cooper MBE and the various faith communities.

I believe that the Pledge to Peace opens opportunities for schools, colleges and community groups to engage by creating works of art, literature (poems and essays), sport and much more.

Geoff Settle 19/6/2017

 

The response wasn't great but Cllr Dan Price is going to get back to me - given that getting Roger Hunt Freedom of the Town took a while - this request appears to be going the same way - But I will hang in there and persevere.

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Sha    112

Sorry Geoff, I don't agree with you on this.

The 'City for Peace' concept didn't work and I don't think a bid for 'City of Culture' will benefit from us being portrayed as a town in constant mourning. The bombing happened 20 years ago, isn't it time to move on? Other towns have been bombed or had terrible tragedy but they haven't made it a trademark. Manchester has recently had one of the biggest tragedies ever in the UK but they straight away organised another concert to restore confidence. Warrington's yearly bridge street vigils achieve nothing but to make people re-live the terror of that day and with what's going on in the world at present can only be a reminder as to how vulnerable we are. I feel sorry for the Parry's as everyone else in the town who remembers must, (as if we'll ever be able to forget), but the children of today need to be able to live unfettered from past misery and be allowed to grow up in an optimistic, joyful, forward-thinking atmosphere. Can we not just dump the doom & gloom and go for 'Opportunity and Optimism'? be a town where there are opportunities for all, (young & old & socially inclusive) where talent is nurtured and where life can be lived fully & joyfully.

We already have good educational standards, integrated communities, the disability awareness project and recently the wonderful and much needed disability inclusive playground, etc. So why don't we just build on the positives we have? We need to increase and improve arts provision, (re-open the old art college?) build a theatre, increase and enhance our open spaces, provide good hospital & healthcare facilities and upgrade the transport system. (loads more to add to that list but it'll do for a start :D)

Instead of 'Warrington a Town Pledged to Peace'  couldn't we be 'Warrington - Where Everyone's a Winner!'

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Well that's an opinion I don't share.

The pledge looks forward to a positive future but recognises that there is still a lot to do - just look at the work that the Foundation4Peace it works nationally to support those affected by terrorism and violent conflict, Adrian Derbyshire and his campaigns against Hate etc.

The Pledge to Peace is certainly not what you make it out to be.

This declaration of intent is meant to encourage projects and actions that are aimed at promoting peace in its most universal meaning, based on the significance of each individual person. It is inspired by the universal ideals of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity enshrined in the preamble of the "Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union” and confirmed by the Nizza Declaration in 2000 and the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. Click here to find out more http://www.pledgetopeace.eu/

 

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Sha    112

Geoff, Warrington can 'pledge for peace' without making it a focus of the bid for 'City of Culture'.  I don't think the 3 points you ask the council to commit to are necessary. 

'City for Culture' should be an upbeat celebration of what we offer for the present and the future - I don't think forging an identity on past misery plays a part here and I think Warrington's young people - many of whom weren't even born when Warrington was bombed would agree with me rather than you over this.

It's time we dropped the depressing image of "Warrington - the Town that was bombed" and moved on to allow a more optimistic, happier image of the town to be created.

There will always be social problems, not just in Warrington but everywhere and the work done by people like Adrian Derbyshire is fantastic, which we all greatly appreciate. But you don't base the town image on social problems. 

The town image is it's selling point, it's meant to attract people - Dump the doom & gloom and go for 'Opportunity and Optimism'.

 

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Bazj    493

I have to agree with Sha on this too... I have said for years that turning Bridge Street into a shrine to 2 dead children has had a detrimental effect in my eyes. Yes what happened was a disgusting act, however I and a lot of people I speak to would rather that the whole "River of Life" project had never been done... having your entire towns main street as a reminder of something that happened decades ago was never a good idea in my eyes.. Yes have a plaque but it should have stopped at that. 

 

There were many other atrocities carried out by the murdering scum of the IRA in many towns across the mainland and Northern Ireland and nowhere is there anywhere near as many memorials and dedicated buildings as there are here...  

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Davy51    232

On the other hand ,has the Peace Centre played a positive role in making life better or less dangerous for people in conflict zones ?  Like most arguments ,no doubt long standing wars are started over trivial matters & if talking peace can save just one life then the Peace Centre must be a good idea.

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Sha    112

I don't know if there has ever been any real evidence as to whether or not the Peace Centre has had any beneficial effects.

Some charitable organisations have obvious, great benefits - for example, St Rocco's. There can't be many people in Warrington whose families haven't benefited from the wonderful work of this charity!  but even though it's probably the most admired charity in the town I don't think it would be a good focus for a 'City of Culture' bid, 'Warrington City for Cancer Care' - not very cheering is it?

If I were to choose a charity to publicise for the 'City' of Culture' bid it would be the 'Warrington Disability Partnership'. They've helped so many people here and countrywide. The Disability Awareness Day is a really positive, upbeat event! and many other charities can be linked with it.

I think 'Opportunity & Optimism' should be the theme, this can cover everything, Arts, Sports, Entertainment, Education, Business, Health & Wellbeing, Social Cohesion /Inclusion, Families etc.etc.etc

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Sha    112
On ‎25‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 11:46 PM, Bazj said:

................... I have said for years that turning Bridge Street into a shrine to 2 dead children has had a detrimental effect in my eyes. Yes what happened was a disgusting act, however I and a lot of people I speak to would rather that the whole "River of Life" project had never been done... having your entire towns main street as a reminder of something that happened decades ago was never a good idea in my eyes.. Yes have a plaque but it should have stopped at that. .............  

I agree Baz, I think the "River of Life" shrine is morbid.

I don't like the skittles either, or the new additions - the great lumps of marble, don't know what they are supposed to be - are they supposed to be flower pots? 

All of these look really out of place in Bridge St, I cringe at the sight of them and even more when I think of the money that must have been spent on them!  Money, that I think  would better have been spent on renovating the beautiful Victorian Buildings. - what a tourist attraction it could have been!  

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Davy51    232

At least the River of Life hinders no one & is a silent tribute to the atrocity,somewhat like the cenotaph for the war dead , unlike some public remembrances for other matters that can rake over the embers for years. Manchester mentions the Arndale bomb every year,but when did we last hear of the coach blown up on the M62 near Hartshead Moor? Just a plaque in the services.

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observer    588

Why the attraction for memorials etc in the public space?   We have grave yards for that.  Public money needs to be spent on the living, the dead don't need it.     :ph34r:

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Bazj    493
12 hours ago, Davy51 said:

At least the River of Life hinders no one & is a silent tribute to the atrocity,somewhat like the cenotaph for the war dead , unlike some public remembrances for other matters that can rake over the embers for years. Manchester mentions the Arndale bomb every year,but when did we last hear of the coach blown up on the M62 near Hartshead Moor? Just a plaque in the services.

Hinders in what way? It is a street long memorial to something that happened long before most of the people who walk down it everyday were even born

Yes Manchester "Mentions the Arndale bomb every year, but at least they haven't turned the building or the surrounding streets into a mausoleum. And as for the M62 bombing, I always take a few minutes to go over to it if I stop at Hartshead Moor and the same at Birch where the memorial is to PC Codling who was shot there in 1989

 

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Davy51    232

The River of Life hinders no one because it is a matter of choice if you take notice of it or not ,it isn't thrust on users of Bridge Street . Flanders Fields happened long before we were born so should we forget the sacrifice made by soldiers from all sides who were pawns of their political masters just as the cause of the Bridge Street outrage was political.

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observer    588

Well, the way things seem to be going, we could finish up with plaques in every street.     :ph34r:

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What a strange lot and opinions we have here, thankfully I don't share them all?

It's no wonder that Warrington doesn't remember or celebrate it's past with such negative attitudes even when the evidence stares them in the face some people bury their heads in the sand or chose to turn the other way and forget.

As for another blue plaque.

I would like one at Victoria Park on the stadium wall for Chris Vose who captained the Great British Cross Country Team to Silver Olympic 1920 medals a real icon for Warrington Athletic Club but that is a campaign to come.

At least he will be remembered again later this year by WAC with a revival of a race that I organised for 4 years from Victoria Park between 1988 and 1991.

 

 

 

 

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observer    588

You wouldn't be, by any chance, be one of those folk who ties flowers to lamp posts or leaves balloons and teddy bears on pavements. Now that is strange.    :ph34r:

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Sha    112

Warrington holding an International Festival of Peace, what a ridiculous idea! and could be setting us up as a target for those who don't want international peace.

Hope you've noticed the comments on the link you've posted Geoff - not exactly an enthusiastic response to the idea!

You say "It's no wonder that Warrington doesn't remember or celebrate it's past, with such negative attitudes"

I think Warrington should celebrate it's past, our town has some really interesting history but when does this ever get promoted? You'd think the only thing that has ever happened here is the IRA bombing!  Absolutely sick of hearing about it! and I bet if you held a poll, most people in Warrington would say they are too!  There should be a survey done throughout the town so that the people can have a say on what they want Warrington to promote - not just follow the whims of a few councillors with what seems to be little knowledge of the town's rich history and more of an inclination to destroy it than promote it.

It's not us Geoff who have the negative attitudes - wallowing in grief and misery is negative, we should be celebrating the positive parts of the town's past.

 

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grey_man    172
5 hours ago, Geoffrey Settle said:

Why is this dependent on winning the City of Culture bid? Isn't it a good thing to do in its own right? This just makes it look like the council is desperately tacking anything on to the City of Culture bid because so far it seems to have come up with some t-shirts, dusting off an old charter document and a vlog by Lisa Appleton telling the people on the bid committee you can buy fruit in the market. 

Sorry, forgot Dan Price's slogan: 'Culture isn't about culture. It's about not culture.'

Or whatever it was. 

Edited by grey_man

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1 hour ago, Sha said:

Warrington holding an International Festival of Peace, what a ridiculous idea! and could be setting us up as a target for those who don't want international peace.

Hope you've noticed the comments on the link you've posted Geoff - not exactly an enthusiastic response to the idea!

You say "It's no wonder that Warrington doesn't remember or celebrate it's past, with such negative attitudes"

I think Warrington should celebrate it's past, our town has some really interesting history but when does this ever get promoted? You'd think the only thing that has ever happened here is the IRA bombing!  Absolutely sick of hearing about it! and I bet if you held a poll, most people in Warrington would say they are too!  There should be a survey done throughout the town so that the people can have a say on what they want Warrington to promote - not just follow the whims of a few councillors with what seems to be little knowledge of the town's rich history and more of an inclination to destroy it than promote it.

It's not us Geoff who have the negative attitudes - wallowing in grief and misery is negative, we should be celebrating the positive parts of the town's past.

 

I did organise a competition over a year ago to see what artists and photographers could make of heritage in Warrington https://www.facebook.com/pg/MayorofWarrington/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1720367761563393 

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1 hour ago, grey_man said:

Why is this dependent on winning the City of Culture bid? Isn't it a good thing to do in its own right? This just makes it look like the council is desperately tacking anything on to the City of Culture bid because so far it seems to have come up with some t-shirts, dusting off an old charter document and a vlog by Lisa Appleton telling the people on the bid committee you can buy fruit in the market. 

Sorry, forgot Dan Price's slogan: 'Culture isn't about culture. It's about not culture.'

Or whatever it was. 

I've been trying to get Warrington to Pledge to Peace for over 12 months now and I think that it stands in it's own merit. I made a promise that I would try and that's what I am doing and raising it at full council as a question from the public was one way of doing so.

I also thought that it made sense to include it as part of the Cultural bid for many reasons as I believe that culture is not just what we have but what we aspire to have and maybe Warrington could show the way.

We need to celebrate the arts, ideas, sport, customs, achievement, social behaviour etc. and try and change the negative aspects. Maybe by using the bid and pledge as a catalyst. 

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grey_man    172

Or maybe the council itself could be the catalyst rather than being actively hostile to the culture and heritage of the town, as it has been for years. I still believe that its interest in this bid is because of the word 'city' rather than 'culture'. As usual, this is about the council's obsessions and self-interest rather than what is good for Warrington. 

Your ambitions are laudable with regards to the Pledge, as they often are, but when it comes to culture you're just doing what Dan Price has done with his vacuous slogan. Because you can't point to very much in the way of actual commitment to culture, especially given that the council has been blocked from closing the libraries and selling off Walton Hall by the people of the town in the very recent past, you're trying to redefine the word.  

We'll see what happens when / if the bid fails. I suspect it will be back to normal. More crap housing estates. More flats. More chain stores and restaurants. More retail parks. More traffic. And a whacking great council office with no public cost where something more useful could stand. 

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asperity    266

I'm afraid that any sort of pseudo-pledge for anything would mean nothing as long as the people of Warrington don't feel any pride in being part of the town, and I don't sense that there is any pride in being a "Warringtonian" just now. Or at least not the sort of pride people who live in other towns and cities seem to show.

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observer    588

Do we remember when Warrington announced itself as a "nuclear free zone" ?   Waste from Sellafield was still being transported through the Town, and I don't think anyone told the Russians to re-direct their ICBMs !     :D

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