Durham Lib Dem candidate: Cause of river deaths is drinking

Look at how shockingly in-touch they are

| UPDATED noad

The Lib Dem Parliamentary Party Candidate for Durham City has distributed a pamphlet blaming student drinking for recent river tragedies.

Callous Craig Martin is a teacher who graduated from the University of York.

In the pamphlet he writes: “Before these [deaths] there was nothing for 30 years so what has changed? The truth: excessive alcohol consumption.”

Is this victim blaming?

Student drinking has actually consistently declined nationally over the past decade but recent tragedies in Durham have caused many to speak out about an apparent drinking problem.

He declined to comment about accusations of student-bashing and divisive language.

Instead he wrote on his Facebook: “Along with the local MP Roberta Blackman-Woods I fully support the efforts being made by the Council, Police and Licensing Trade to make Durham a safer place for everyone.”

Craig Martin surrounded by party faithful

These “efforts” include on-the-spot fines for those caught drinking, something many believe will target students unfairly.

Students have called for other methods such as river fencing, with one fresher’s mum raising over £2500 for river safety measures, something Craig Marin called “unaffordable and unnecessary.”

“It’s important that everyone takes responsibility for their own actions, but its equally important we support the efforts being made by the Police,” he said.

Despite a claim the recent tragedies are unique, river incidents are unfortunately common as has been documented by student David Allison.

Almost thirty incidents have taken place since 2001 mostly involving local people.

Fellow Lib Dem councillor, Nigel Martin, previously wrote: “Why suddenly have we had these incidents after decades with no problem.

“The unpalatable truth is that all the individuals had been drinking recklessly beforehand, and what has changed in the past few years is the level of such drinking in the student community.”

A student-friendly face of the Lib Dems?

Nigel Martin has been a representative for the Lib Dems for over thirty years, while also working for the University.

He helpfully reminds his voters: “Remember, all the victims have been students; none have been other local residents.”

The councillor also takes aims at beloved club Klute, in a veiled reference, asking: “What responsible landlord serves “quads” of spirits?”

The nightclub best known for a Quaddie does not in fact serve Quaddies. It serves two doubles costing £4.80 with a mixer – a price Nigel Martin wants raised.

Many students have felt these politicians are guilty of divisive language, and accentuating an already strong student-local divide.

The campaign for greater river safety continues.