Dear Sir,

On Sunday 24th August a couple of dozen people – with the permission of the authorities – created an artwork on Palace Green, setting out 750 pairs of children’s shoes to illustrate the danger of Climate Change to the next generation. Two senior local politicians – the Leader of Gateshead Council and the MP for Durham City – joined me to congratulate and thank them.

It is beyond sanity to say that these earnest and gentle people – or indeed the three speakers – were trying to ‘overthrow Democracy’, as Mr Alastair Welsh screamed in last week’s Newton News.


Mr Welsh then went on to make some direct misrepresentations about me, which need correcting.

I am NOT ‘evil’, neither am I a ‘cancer’ – what kind of human being calls other people such things?

I am NOT a member of Momentum, neither am I a Marxist/Communist. Mr Welsh flings these terms as abuse-words but they have precise meanings. By contrast my Labour Party membership card tells me that politically and economically it is ‘a Democratic Socialist Party’, and that is the only political label he can truthfully attribute to me.

I am NOT ‘anti-capitalist’. My ‘other job’ at Durham County Council (as Cabinet Support: Economy and Regeneration) is to promote economic growth, and in 2017 I was named ‘Aycliffe Ambassador’ for the way I encourage local businesses. I seek a strong, resilient economy which provides people with fulfilling, prosperous jobs … and it is not ‘anti-capitalist’ to want that economic model to operate in a way which does not ruin the climate or abandon large numbers of people to food banks, homelessness and in-work poverty.


Being a member of Momentum, a Marxist, a Communist or anti-capitalist are all allowed political opinions in our free society … but they are labels incorrectly applied to me.

Most of all, I am NOT anti-democratic. I remind readers that the three speakers, including myself, were all *elected* to our positions; by contrast, it is Mr Welsh who is the self-appointed demagogue, presuming to speak on behalf of a populace who have not asked him to represent them.

Mr Welsh – without any respect for truth or reason – simply throws mud in the hope that by constant repetition some of it will stick.

John D Clare