Despite many things written which, based on independently verified data, are clearly false, and the personal mudslinging, it’s been important to keep the messaging positive. When I read David Corigall’s letter last week, I felt that insinuating our campaign was a move towards national socialism (more commonly known as Nazism) had overstepped the mark and required a response.
David is correct when he says that our campaigning is well organised and highly motivated. When he says that we are lacking empathy regarding health, social or economic impacts on our society he could not be further from the truth. Over the last 7 years, I have attended vigils for 10 people who lost their lives as a result of being hit by people driving motor vehicles whilst walking or cycling. I've met family members and friends who have been devastated by the needless loss of loved ones. I've met people who have lost their limbs and have had their livelihoods completely upturned as a result of being hit by motorists. I feel tearful now as I'm writing, remembering those heart-breaking encounters. These memories, along with knowing that over 100 people are killed or seriously injured - that is, to a life changing extent - every year in Islington by motor vehicles, is the reason why I and many others are well organised and highly motivated.
I know that there are people who who feel their livelihood is threatened by People Friendly Streets such as cab drivers, shop owners or driving instructors. I don't feel the need to state the reasons why I believe these fears are misplaced, as this has been so eloquently explained in many letters previously published on the pages of the Islington Tribune. I do understand why they feel angry and I respect the right for them to feel that way. However, there are councillors supportive of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods who have been the target of personal abuse and even death threats. The letter written by David needs to be seen in this context.
I do hope David has a chance to take some perspective regarding the changes happening to our streets and that we all understand the need to keep the tone civilised and respectful to each other. As the late Jo Cox said before she was murdered by a fascist, "we have more in common than that which divides us".