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SALFORD LIBDEM CANDIDATE CLAIMS SHE’S BEING BULLIED IN CLAREMONT
 

Star date: 23rd April 2018

TENSION, 'BULLYING' AND POLITICAL DOG FIGHTING IN LOCAL ELECTION CONTEST

While the local election campaigns around Salford are pretty mild at the moment, in the Claremont ward it's all kicking off, with the LibDem candidate, Stef Lorenz, accusing Labour Party supporters of 'bullying', and the authorities of complicity.

Stef has been blocked from putting up posters in the local Height Library for a jumble sale and art auction in aid of restoring the old Height Youth Club, been forced to stand down as chair of that campaign and has been met with a volley of political abuse on social media. What's going on?

Full details here...


Claremont Local Election Salford Claremont Local Election Salford Height Community Hub Leaflet with councillor details
Stef Lorenz leaflet
click image to enlarge

"As a child I was bullied, and I felt I was being bullied, particularly by certain people who can be really nasty for no good reason..." Stef Lorenz

Come election time in Salford and, usually, all the candidates are over keen to show how integrated they are with the local community... 'Here I am doing a litter clean up'... 'Here I am with some old dears'... 'Here I am doing this that and the other...Aren't I wonderful? Vote for meeeeeeee....'

It's standard practice. Turn up to some community event, get your mug at the front of a photo, bugger off and then shove it on your election leaflet, gawping out with a hi-viz jacket and a brush, desperately trying to look human.

It's cynical. It's opportunist. It's horrid. And virtually every candidate from every political party does it. That's the perceived game.

Up in the Claremont ward this 'game' has turned nasty. You have a LibDem candidate, Stef Lorenz, who happened to be the chair of the Claremont Community Centre Campaign, which is raising money to turn the old Height Youth Club into a new facility; who is involved with the Claremont Alleygaters, and who is trying to get a new community notice board mounted in the area.

To raise funds, the Community Centre Campaign held a jumble sale and art auction, with works donated by the likes of Harold Riley and Geoffrey Key*. But when they asked to put up a poster in the Height Library for the jumble sale and maybe have an exhibition of the art in the Library foyer, they were refused permission point blank by Salford Community Leisure.

An explanation from the Director of Libraries and Culture stated that the decision was due to 'purdah' and 'exploratory work being undertaken by local councillors'.

"This was well before the purdah period" Stef recalls "I wrote back and said, A: 'It isn't political'; B: 'It isn't in purdah', and C: 'What explorations is anybody doing?'. She never replied. But from that point on, the Library staff were instructed to have nothing to do with the Claremont Community Centre campaign because it was 'political'.

"They never explained why it was political" she adds "The only explanation is that I was heading it up and, because I was a candidate, therefore everything I did was political. And that's been the argument that has gone on since..."

Meanwhile, having refused permission for the jumble sale and art auction publicity, an official notice was then handed out via the Library stating that local councillors were 'exploring' delivery of a 'Height Community Hub' and if anyone was interested to contact the councillors directly.

As this bullet was undermining the Community Centre campaign, everything Stef was involved with was turned around and made 'political'...A community notice board? Political! A fundraising campaign for a community centre? Political! Cleaning alleyways? Political!

What Stef calls 'internet trolls', virtually all Labour Party supporters, hammered her on social media sites for Irlams O'Th' Height, basically writing that everything she did was just a front for her candidacy. Most of the posts have now been deleted.

She was forced to stand down as chair of the Community Centre Campaign. She was forced to change her election leaflet as people who weren't LibDem supporters appeared on them, even though other parties' campaign leaflets are usually festooned with similar photos...and she couldn't even put up a poster for a jumble sale ...So how does Stef feel?

"I veer between laughing at how it's like children in the playground, how pathetic and petty" she says "But there are other times when I feel like I'm being bullied and I have had very dark days. As a child I was bullied, and I felt I was being bullied, particularly by certain people who can be really nasty for no good reason.

"I have my own political site where I put things but I've never put any political posts up on other sites and yet, because it's me, everything gets turned and twisted" she adds "They cannot believe that I actually get satisfaction from working with the community to make things better around here.

"I said to them 'Why do you think I want to get on the Council?'...It's not to go on jollies and get a fat salary" she adds "I'm a retired professional; I don't need the fat salary. I don't want to go to the South of France; if I wanted to I could do that. I don't want power in the Council either. Why do I want to get on the Council? So I can do more of what I'm doing now. So I've got a bit more clout, can get a bit more done for the community...I've stood in two by-elections before but it's never been like this..."

So why are they doing it? "They're jealous" she responds. Of what? "What I'm doing. They're worried, which is good in a way, that I'm making them face up to some of the gaps in their campaign. I'm knocking their complacency."

The Salford Star tried to interview the Labour Party candidate in Claremont, standing Councillor Neil Reynolds. But he didn't respond to email and Facebook messages. We also tried to get hold of the Conservative Party candidate, Charlotte Annaliese Woods. But the Tories never responded either.

However, Independent candidate, Mary Ferrer, and Green Party candidate, Daniel Towers, do agree to discuss the fracas...

For Daniel, it's a problem of bringing Politics, with a capital 'P' into community activities...

"I do appreciate the energy that she seems to have for the community" he says "She's working really hard, I have no doubts about that. However...she's claiming to be involved with these groups in a non political fashion, that's where the difficulty is.

"I think this is an effort by the LibDems to promote Stef Lorenz as a candidate rather than promote the Party" he explains "And I understand that, because the LibDems are so unpopular in Salford after the Bedroom Tax and all the damage that was done in the Coalition.

"There's nothing wrong with what she actually does, but when we as the Green Party do a litter pick or community event, we always say that it's a Green Party thing, if it's led by the Green Party" he explains "I did some work for the Claremont Alleygaters, thinking it was a non political group, but I then ended up on the front page of the LibDems leaflet [*This statement was later acknowledged as a mistake - Daniel didn't appear on a LibDem leaflet]

"I don't think it's the worst evil in the world but I don't want to be on the next LibDem leaflet, especially when they joined with the Tories" he adds "Having said that, I don't see anything wrong in putting up a poster about a jumble sale...and the community notice board doesn't seem like a problem.

"I think these are all good ideas if everyone works together" he insists "The Green Party will always work with anyone. People should put their politics aside and actually fight for the community."

The political push-me-pull-you-ing over the Height Youth Club doesn't impress Daniel either, with the Community Centre Campaign now seemingly undermined by a 'Height Community Hub' campaign from the powers that be...

"They're fighting fire with fire here" he says "It's fifty fifty. Labour are obviously thinking about the seat and getting worried...

"It's become a bit of a dog fight" he adds "I understand that it's a popularity contest but the community is what matters and I think some people have gone out of their way and converted it into a political thing. A lot of people are to blame; it's the problem with tribal politics."

Meanwhile, Independent candidate, Mary Ferrer, who disagrees with a lot of Stef's stances, also has her concerns about what's going off in the background to the election...

"I think she's gone about things the wrong way" Mary explains "She has got a good heart, I'm not saying she hasn't, but she's doing things for the wrong reasons and she's upset a lot of people with the things she has done."

But if you're standing for the Council surely you would expect candidates to be involved in community campaigns and issues? "Yes but she's denied that she's doing it for political reasons...she's done it in a roundabout way."

Labour Party supporters seem to be behind all the attacks. Would that be accurate? "A lot of them on Facebook are" Mary responds "They are frightened of her, to be honest, because she has been that pro-active in the ward for the last 18 months. She's been out there doing things which I think is fantastic, it's just that in the last few months it's gone a bit sour. The Labour Party are running scared, maybe they think she'll get in, I don't know..."

Stef Lorenz certainly has her work cut out to overturn Labour's majority. At the last local by-election she polled 162 votes, against the Labour Party's 718, with the Conservatives coming second on 447 votes.

So is Stef Lorenz manipulating community campaigns to try and get votes? Or is she just naive and experiencing the sharp end of daring to stand up to the powers that be? And do the voters know what's going off or are they innocently oblivious to it all? And do they really care?


The full list of candidates for Claremont...

•Mary Ferrer - Independent
•Stef Lorenz - Liberal Democrats
•Neil Andrew Reynolds* - Labour Party
•Daniel James Towers - Green Party
•Charlotte Annaliese Woods - Conservative Party

Voting is on Thursday 3rd May

*For details of the Community Centre Campaign see previous Salford Star article - click here

Phil wrote
at 08:22:02 on 03 May 2018
Joe O'Neill, I think that you have mistaken me for Ray of Sunshine. I'm not him, although I do share his Socialist beliefs. If anything, your mistaking me for Ray, along with your poor grasp of written English, compels me to believe that you would be disastrous for the Salfordians of Swinton North. Being an elected councillor is a serious responsibility, and not one best served by a political renegade such as yourself, a man who jumps from party to party with all of the lack of loyalty known to renegades and turncoats the world over. I'm sorry Joe, but I hope that you receive as few votes as possible tomorrow, and that the future of Swinton North will be in the safe hands of the Labour candidate for many, many years to come. There's only twelve hours to go now People. So please, I implore you, turn up and turn out in force, do the right thing for Salford and vote Labour. Vote Salford Labour. For I tell you, the age of the Ragged Trousered philanthropists is over, but Socialism under Our Beloved Leader Jeremy Corbyn, and his neophytes, the likes of Becky Long Bailey and Mayor Paul, is only just beginning. Trust me, the future is RED. THE FUTURE IS SOCIALISM ... THE FUTURE IS LABOUR.
 
Felse wrote
at 08:21:43 on 03 May 2018
Nice one Bob. I am predicting the loss of 3 Labour and 1 Tory if my campaign works out with voting turnout droping below 20% in some wards signaling the end of currrent Labour. Sorry Phil it is nothing personal against Labour - I actually admire your Mayor Paul Dennett for his last years work but even he deserves the clean sweep to bring in fresh, exciting ideas from Councillors. If we do not change the team we simply get nothing new!
 
wrote
at 08:21:35 on 03 May 2018
@Rayofsunshine. Here's how it is: Fred insinuates/labels John a racist with no evidence on a legitimate point about immigration (we know here for arguments sake his comments were not covertly or overtly racist). John then gets anti-racist abuse, John withdraws himself and his comments. Fred win's the debate with no real argument and others stay quiet for fear the same will happen to them. This is what happens in public and political life and what I thought when I read your comment. You must see this isn't a valid debate, it's insinuations based on sub-text you think you see. I'm not for a second saying you shouldn't have the right to accuse Joe O'Neil of being a racist (I'm not saying he is or isn't, I don't know him), but from what I read on his site he was just slating her, rather glib and lazily (He needs to write more in-depth in my opinion). This type of debate just isn't conducive to a real discourse with actual facts and evidence. You can say as you wish, so you can call Joe as a racist based on nothing, but ultimately it's at the expense of your own integrity and of the political atmosphere we live in. In short make sure accusations are based on fact and not hidden sub-text you think you see as this will damage legitimate political discourse, which has already happened in this country for far too long.
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 18:38:52 on 02 May 2018
I am predicting a humpty dumpty type catastrophe for one of our political heavyweights tomoz, and I will be very merry about it when it happens.
 
Joseph O'Neill wrote
at 18:38:40 on 02 May 2018
Phil My comments were raised over Mrs Abbot remarks regarding the wind rush scandal! please tell me how you came to that conclusion? and where did i say this? or is this one more figment of your disturbed mind. Please if you wish to understand my concerns over Mrs Abbott type in car crash interviews Dianna Abbott, from illegal immigration, to police funding , to white people being racist the women is a disaster. She could hold one of the most senior positions in the British Government can you imagine, i don't care what colour she is she could be pink with candy stripes for all i care only in your mind my motives are racist. I feel answering you is a waste of the valuable time i have, you seem to think i have plenty but i can assure you it's not to answer a fruit cake like you.
 
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 15:12:55 on 02 May 2018
Joe,you've got several posts on your site stating that Dianne Abbott is stupid/incompetent. You provide no supporting evidence for such claims, rather your attacks are purely directed at MS.Abbott as a peŕson! Your latest "hate speech" posting was provoked by comments made by MS.Abbott about the Windrush Scandal.
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 15:12:01 on 02 May 2018
Philip you and your friend,Sunshine are a pair of evil nasty people. Just one question, what have you both done for your community. I don't mean in your paid job,if you have or ever had one.The good thing is I for one couldn't care less what you think of me.I don't think for one minute I will get in,but at least I know I have tried.I haven't got the army of helpers like Labour. But I will know I gave it my best shot. So when things get worse,which they will.Hope I am wrong, houses in Buile Hill Park. 100 plus on Duncan Mattison playing fields. Schools getting worse.Little or no affordable housing across the city. Bins going to 4 weeks. I will have known I tried.The list could go on and on.
 
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 15:11:34 on 02 May 2018
@Wrote,ìf I may be franķ,I fínd yoúr poìnt of view confused;on the one hand you accuse me of trying to close down debate by raising the spectre òf racism! On the other you conceďe that ìt ìs rìģht and proper to challlenge both overt and masked examples of racísm. Basícally,accordíng to yóur ĺogic,"I'm dammed if I do" and "I'm dammed if I don't"! I ùnderstand that essentially Joe O'Neil is a sad figure with lots of time to fill. However, his sad predicament shouĺdn't grant Joe carte blanche to spew out racist bile every time he contests a council seat.
 
Philip Giuseppe Rossi, The Broadwalk ... wrote
at 06:00:13 on 02 May 2018
Ray, don't fall for the "Old Battler's" tricks. Just wait until Thursday and laugh like a bastard when you see how many votes the "Old Battler" got. Heh heh heh heh. Trust me, Ray, if Felse was standing, then the combined number of votes polled by O'Neill, Ferrer and Felse ... would be about half of what any individual Labour candidate polled. Ray, these people aren't even Has Beens. Fact is, they are Never Was's .
 
wrote
at 05:59:08 on 02 May 2018
@Rayofsunshine. Your comment is exactly what stops legitimate political discourse. Someone has an opinion on a Politician's competence and ability to do the job and people like you bring them down with accusations or insinuations of "Racist!" These kind of comments just creates a toxic, stifled environment where people are afraid to question and only serves the likes of far-right parties who make political capital out of the toxic climate people like you create. Really everyone would be allowed their say, even those with lazy arguments based around insinuations of racism, which would then be questioned and challenged publicly. Though we all know this isn't how it works.
 
joe o'neill wrote
at 17:13:35 on 01 May 2018
Ray thanks for the advertisement the stats are jumping. PS Do you think because she is black it's unfair to question her ability to hold such high office, i would ask the same questions what ever the colour. I think your the one with the problem.
 
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 14:48:30 on 01 May 2018
Why does Joe O'Neil's demented blog site,"Inside Salford Politics" continually denigrate and demean Dianne Abbott MP and Shaddow Home Secretary? Is it simply a case of pure envy of someone, unlike Joe, has had à successful political career? Could it be that Joe has an issue with Black People in positions of power? After all Joe is well known for playing the race card when standing for election. "Social Democrat", my arse!!
 
wrote
at 07:27:37 on 01 May 2018
@Phil Rossi. You're on here trying to rustle jimmies, ain't ya?
 
Phil wrote
at 19:19:10 on 30 April 2018
Do I detect sour grapes, Wrote? If anything You should be celebrating the triumph of Salford Labour. For when Jeremy becomes Prime Minister, and showers our city with lots of cash, Salford will rise like a Phoenix from the Ashes, and under Our Beloved Mayor Paul, will go from strength to glorious strength... I see the UKs first truly Socialist City arising in Salford. A place where Instead of children reciting The Lord's Prayer during school assembly, they shall be reciting The Socialist Prayer, and learning of our Beloved Fathers, Marx and Engels... As someone once famously said, Things Can Only Get Better... and under Our Beloved Mayor Dennett, Things shall.
 
wrote
at 14:18:09 on 30 April 2018
@Phil Rossi. Yeh people fought and died so I could have a binary choice in a political system that assures the traditional established moneyed parties win. Two Parties who are fine with austerity and gentrification. The two parties who are fine with Private Finance initiatives that puts our Council in further debt. The two parties who are happy to lie to our faces on the door step. The two parties who blame each other for everything. The two parties who work together to perpetuate the national and civic political stitch-up that guarantees them and their corporate friends power. Yes, Labour will win, because of blind, familial ideological allegiance. If this is democracy then we may as well have let the Nazis march in because blind ideological allegiance isn't democratic nor does it foster an informed decision, it's just complete stupidity. I don't feel 'empowered' and I don't feel my vote makes a blind bit of difference. But hey, your team's going to win, so who cares about me and my vote and worries about the health of our democracy.
 
wrote
at 14:16:52 on 30 April 2018
Felsey is to blame for the low key campaign. When he pulled out the election deflated like a punctured tyre. No other has his stark vision, public confidence in the election has now failed. Michael J Felse needs to get off his arse and kick start Salford back in gear before Thursday or else the people will be staying at home with a no vote for anyone.
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 19:33:03 on 29 April 2018
Phil,let's hope one of us pulls more votes than the Labour candidate
 
Salford Star wrote
at 18:37:00 on 29 April 2018
See Ray of Sunshine's comment below - apart from this article, the Star's coverage has been low key because there don't appear to be any Salford manifestos or 'visions' from any of the parties. Even the ignorant Labour Party candidate in Claremont didn't acknowledge our request for an interview. It's no wonder the turnout is so low! In fact, the only candidate, apart from those in Claremont, who has been in touch has been the English Democrat. We can't do a balanced election article just based on him.
 
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 18:30:22 on 29 April 2018
Is it me or is the Star's coverage of this year's local elections distinctly low key? Where are the competing visions for Salford's future? Prediction, Stef will poll more than Mary!
 
Phil Rossi wrote
at 18:30:13 on 29 April 2018
Just a couple of days to go before the big day, Folks. Yes, that's right, voting day is soon. That being so, this is just a little reminder to you peoples. Don't waste your vote, folks. And do vote, remember, people died years ago so that you would have the opportunity to vote. Never forget that. Never, never forget that ... and as I said, don't waste your votes. No. Vote Labour. The only real political party in Salford. The only party that cares about you, the electorate. You, the Citizens ... vote Labour. You know it makes sense.
 
cliveofindia wrote
at 07:32:53 on 25 April 2018
What's this fat salary that councillors receive? The vast majority get a £10,500 allowance pa before deductions which is the case with the current Claremont councillors! Another slippery and misleading comment from the prospective LD councillor for Claremont.
 
fletcher wrote
at 16:22:50 on 24 April 2018
I was a teacher at PWHS when you were there Guy Otten. I remember the staff meeting. "Go". I will say no more on this site.
 
Phil wrote
at 16:22:47 on 24 April 2018
I have read this story and, try as I might, I see no evidence of any bullying; what I see is someone using self promotion to drum up a few more votes. Contemptible. Utterly contemptible.
 
Gareth L wrote
at 08:04:21 on 24 April 2018
Imagine a world without politics!! I can dream.
 
Old Salfordian wrote
at 08:04:16 on 24 April 2018
So, the Libdems are back on the ballot papers in Salford and seeking publicity. They disappeared from most of Salford from 2013, when, as part of the Coalition Government they imposed the Bedroom Tax on thousands of people across Salford and presided over the biggest ever cuts in local council funding. Thatcher would have been proud. The destitution, hardship and worry that they have caused to thousands in this city and beyond with this evil bedroom tax is unforgivable. Now, five years on, they think it's safe to return, hoping that everybody has forgotten. If this self-publicist of a candidate really wants to do some good in the community, she needs to get down to Manchester city centre and help the homeless who populate most every shop doorway. A great deal of those unfortunate souls are in the position that they are in today as a direct result of her party selling out in 2010 for thirty pieces of ministerial silver.
 
Guy Otten wrote
at 08:03:16 on 24 April 2018
Yes Fletcher, that's me. Give me a clue who you are!
 
Jason Brown wrote
at 08:03:01 on 24 April 2018
Stef Lorenz being bullied, what complete and utter rubbish. For somebody who claims to be all for improving the community it's interesting isn't it that wherever there is division and controversy, Stef Lorenz is right there in the middle of it. She is the most devisive, egotistical, narcissistic person who only drives a wedge between the community by the way she goes about her business and by the way she engages with social media by putting a post out there playing the victim and selectively sharing information to create a certain impression. She hasn't got an ounce of integrity in her and is good at playing the victim, as can be seen in this article. I'm surprised Stephen that you fell for this and can't see Stef for what she really is, and how actually her community projects are not really community projects, they are for her political advancement and all you have to do is check out her 20 reasons to vote Stef post on her Stef for Claremont page, where she boasts about said projects.
 
wrote
at 08:02:20 on 24 April 2018
With Felsey not standing they have to bully someone else. Is this goodbye Michael J Felse with Labour having chased him away to his Donny bolt hole. As Phil would say everyone to vote Labour.
 
Guy Otten wrote
at 08:02:06 on 24 April 2018
Mary, Dan Towers's photo was not on Stef's leaflet. This was a misunderstanding by the author of the otherwise great Salford Star article. Otherwise I agree it was a good article which points up the negativity that Stef had experienced not withstanding the commitment the effort and the work Stef had put into the area we are making our home
 
Stef Lorenz wrote
at 19:12:14 on 23 April 2018
It appears to have been a genuine mistake on Dan’s part. The picture on the leaflet was of somebody else. End of.
 
Stef Lorenz wrote
at 17:19:47 on 23 April 2018
It wasn’t on anybody’s leaflet. There was just a photo of him on the Claremont Alleygaters facebook page ,along with photos of other people who were at the working party.
 
Paul Dean wrote
at 17:19:34 on 23 April 2018
Mary if you read the article Dan Towers had stated "I did some work for the Claremont Alleygaters, thinking it was a non political group, but I then ended up on the front page of the LibDems leaflet."
 
fletcher wrote
at 17:19:13 on 23 April 2018
Is the Guy Otten the solicitor Guy Otten, who began his working career as a teacher at PWHS?
 
Jayne Gosnall wrote
at 17:18:54 on 23 April 2018
As a Height resident for decades (unlike Stef and her partner, Guy Otten)and Green supporter, AND a person who's experienced genuine, extreme bullying, I think this has much more to do Stef's arrogant unilateral behaviour than political bullying, since the list of people she's annoying is growing as we speak. My first experience of Stef was her walking into the library with her dog (not an assistance dog) and asking complete strangers to sign her nomination papers last year, without explaining what that meant to them, eg their names would be listed on a website. The whole CCCC project demonstrates 100% why this is a vanity project for Stef and not a community project, since Stef chose a name and brand which matches the political ward rather than the community area, while the community have barely been consulted....and this is after requests from her alleged bullies who want the local people to come first and their representatives to be public servants! She also fought suggestions that the CCCC constitution should have a non-political clause, which would have prevented the problems that have since arisen. Why would a political candidate not wish for an a-political clause I wonder? There is a great deal of evidence of VERY undemocratic behaviour within and without her projects, and inconsistent information being given to different people. I sincerely hope she can choose in future between politics and community activism and put an end to all the ill-feeling she's created. Then we might feel the benefit of Stef's more positive energies on th' Height. Let's hear more from all the many great people who do fantastic stuff around here who AREN'T obsessed with self-publicity
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 14:40:37 on 23 April 2018
Good story, but I didn't think for a minute it would be otherwise. Don't understand Guy Otters comment regarding the Green candidate not having his picture on Stefs leaflet.why would it be on another candidates leaflet. Just seems a bit odd.
 
Guy Otten wrote
at 14:03:57 on 23 April 2018
Thank you for a great article! Just one point: I don't see Dan Towers' photo on Stef Lorenz's leaflet!
 
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