Rough Sleeping Censorship on Wrexham Town Matters Group

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  • #148494

    Matt
    Participant

    I’ve been given no choice but to write up a response on here in regards to this highly surprising request by Nigel Lewis in the Wrexham Town Matters for people to not post images of homeless people into the group from around Wrexham as it might harm businesses. He has now switched off comments for the thread in question so no-one has the right to reply. This is awful censorship at its finest.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/175207472917951/permalink/451151911990171/

    Are we really at the delusional stage of Victorian style denial of poverty by better offs that we can sweep the town’s homeless under the rug, stick our fingers in our ears and hope the problem goes away.

    In my opinion homeless people are a Wrexham town matter & are discussed in great detail on social media & on here. Surely by trying to portay Wrexham town centre through rose tinted Instagram filters online we are just as likely to create reputational damage for the town’s business. Hey come to Wrexhan, everything is great, no dilapidation, empty units or beggars, just a spending paradise. You’d get done under the Trade Descriptions Act.

    Sometimes everything has to be seen warts and all for people to care enough to push for change. Just look at how apathetic the council were against addressing used syringes across town until the town’s bus centre was publicly shamed by the national press. They were given a kick up the backside to actually start sorting things.

    Ultimately failing to discuss or display homeless issues in a town centre business context you are also suppressing honest and hardworking business owners from actually talking about how homelessness and drug abuse about town actually impacts on their establishments and finding the correct ways to addressing the issues by reducing nuisance behaviour. Also it reduces their willingness to participate in more positive actions of donating to help those in genuine need.

    I’m not denying the glut of homeless people distributed across the main shopping doesn’t massively have a huge turn off effect in terms of shopping experience. But if people are not even able to talk about it, how is anything ever going to get resolved?

    #148497

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    I think the closure of a single Facebook thread is not likely to stop the types of comments people may wish to make – they will move to another platform eg Wrexham.com thread!!

    There is almost no evidence to show that censorship has ever changed the views of people on an issue – so often negative views will just be escalated. In this case, Nigel trying to keep reality from people who use town on a regular basis will just raise more and more negativity.

    Allowing people to express their view – and in this case, making sure that the Council are made aware of the comments then there is a chance that someone will eventually sit up look and listen

    #148499

    Matt
    Participant

    I completely agree with you. The reason I mentioned it in the first place is because Wrexham Town Matters has 9.7k of members so it’s one of the main more general outlets used for the average Wrexhamer (and those from farther afield) to discuss and learn things going on about the town.

    There’s always just this constant push against ideas deemed to fall outside of the ‘Wrexham is a Paradise at all costs view’. So critique of Ty Pawb frowned upon, homeless frowned upon, general badmouthing of council decision making – frowned upon.

    I think there’s an active responsibility on leaders/admin of influential discussion groups to let conversation flow without trying to control it when views do not necessarily match up with their own. There’s also a complete ban on political discussion on there (political threads will be deleted).

    I think it sends a bad message when you push out the idea to 9.7k members that photos of homeless people are bad for the town. A lot of people who suffer from groupthink are just going to read that, agree without commenting, go along with it & therefore voila unhelping and potentially sensitive topic stifled. Politics talk already supressed. We’re just walking the line here that the mainstream media uses to keep people compliant – Government great, record employment, happiest town revealed, here’s a figure skating kitten, positive sporting hero, Lol typical Dreary May Weather.

    If it wasn’t for Wrexham.com other main actors and influential figures from Wrexham would prevent the overall flow of conversation online in terms of how the town and how public figures are perceived. Long may we have the right to vent, debate, mock, agree, disagree and discuss love of sausages and pastries on this forum.

    #148501

    bubble
    Participant

    I was hoping that the motivation behind it was that it’s seen as unethical to post photos of homeless people without their knowledge or permission, but having now read the FB post (thanks for the link, Matt), I see that’s not the case.
    Sometimes I consider contacting national newspapers or other news media to ask them to discreetly come and visit Wrexham and then report their findings. When the ‘zombies’ at the bus station made the national news, it annoyed me that authorities said photos taken by the bus driver were historical and that the situation had since improved. There was also a news article I saw some months back saying that Wrexham was hoping to be used by other towns as a model of how to deal with the homeless/ substance abuse problems.
    I would love the national news to independently verify (or otherwise) what the situation as regards homelessness/ substance abuse in Wrexham town is really like. I don’t think the council/ police/ agencies involved will ever really do anything to properly tackle the issues unless they are effectively shamed into it.

    #148505

    JaneJ
    Participant

    Perhaps the Council will change Ty Pawb into a homeless shelter when they realise the current offering is a financial disaster. It would be quite easy to convert the stalls into small two-bed hostel accommodation. Also, workshops for them to be engaged in activities during the day.
    There just solved two of the most controversial issues in Wrexham in one simple change of use!!

    #148506

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    I have had several posts deleted from ‘Wrexham Matters – almost instantaneously. The reason? Because I have had the audacity to post ideas or observations contrary to the ‘hail fellow well met,backslapping ideology of what has almost become a personal fiefdom.
    Matt is absolutely correct in all his assertions and observations and I totally endorse what he has to say.
    I suppose it could be argued that there are two interpretations to the meaning of the word ‘matters’, the one that I would use – things appertaining to Wrexham in the most general sense and the other – statements that only portray Wrexham in glowing terms.
    Perhaps it is encumber on Nigel now that he has decided to be the draconian arbiter on censorship, which of the loose definitions he expects contributors to adhere to. Then we may see the worth or otherwise of making pertinent comment.

    #148510

    bubble
    Participant

    Perhaps the Council will change Ty Pawb into a homeless shelter when they realise the current offering is a financial disaster. It would be quite easy to convert the stalls into small two-bed hostel accommodation. Also, workshops for them to be engaged in activities during the day.
    There just solved two of the most controversial issues in Wrexham in one simple change of use!!

    Or perhaps it could be converted into cells, once the police station leaves town. They probably wouldn’t have to do much work to convert it either, it as it already has the feel of Prisoner Cell Block H.

    #148525

    janeywxm
    Participant

    I was hoping that the motivation behind it was that it’s seen as unethical to post photos of homeless people without their knowledge or permission,

    Its actually not illegal to photograph anyone in public space with or without their consent.

    Janey

    #148529
    AMA Express
    AMA Express
    Participant

    I was hoping that the motivation behind it was that it’s seen as unethical to post photos of homeless people without their knowledge or permission,

    Its actually not illegal to photograph anyone in public space with or without their consent.

    Janey

    No, it’s not illegal to photograph them. But it is unethical and could be illegal to publish their photographs without their prior permission.

    #148531

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    Interesting action from Nigel who has publicly lambasted the Council for ignoring the scale of the issue and not acknowledging what was happening in town and then he censors his site to hide the issue!

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