‘Ex’-fascist Melanie Baddeley – formerly of the British National Party – has withdrawn from her position as Deputy Lord Mayor, and will no longer represent the city as Lord Mayor from September.
This is second time in five years that Baddeley had been set to become Lord Mayor after being appointed by her fellow councillors. The first time was in 2015, when she was withdrawn before even being sworn in, following uproar from the local community.
Since Spring 2019, when Baddeley was successfully appointed as Deputy by councillors, NorSCARF has ran a campaign against her alongside other community activists. There was a plan to hold a demonstration during her official mayor making ceremony on 10th September, but with three months to go, Baddeley has stood down.
There is no doubt that the recent upsurge of Black Lives Matter protests, both internationally and locally, has been the deciding factor in Baddeley’s withdrawal. Since the movement has re-emerged following the horrific murder of George Floyd by police, racism has been questioned at all levels. It is clear that the two fantastic Black Lives Matter protests in Stoke over the past few weeks have shown the council that people are no longer willing to be represented by racists!
The news of Baddeley’s withdrawal is an incredible success for all anti-racists in our area. It is a cause of celebration for all residents of our city. And the Black Lives Matter movement has been key to building the understanding that the foolish idea of having an ‘ex’-fascist as a mayor should never have even been considered in the first place!
But the work does not stop. Campaigners have recently brought attention to the current Lord Mayor – Jackie Barnes – who was forced into a public apology over racist social media content. Focus has now turned to the demand for her to withdraw from her position in shame, as her racist ideas are not fit to represent the people of our city. The ‘blm for Stoke’ group has called a demonstration outside the Stoke civic offices at 1pm on Saturday 18th July to demand that she withdraws. We encourage all people to come out for this demonstration in support of blm for Stoke, to listen to the voices who are part of this movement, and to say in unity – ‘This is our city and we have a right to not be represented by racists’!!