Cllr Wai-Lee Ho

A Burntwood councillor said a video message sent to a rival was a “fun and light-hearted way” to defuse a political discussion.

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho posted the TikTok video of him miming to a song with a love heart filter in front of a picture of Labour’s Cllr Rob Birch.

The video drew criticism from some Labour councillors, with Cllr Darren Ennis branding it “strange”.

But Cllr Ho says he felt the video was a way of trying to prevent political rivals from clashing.

“Rather than fight back and allow things to escalate, I decided to make a video suggesting we should be friends rather than enemies.

“I thought it would be a fun and light-hearted way to defuse things.

“Unfortunately, it would seem that he doesn’t want to be friends, which is a shame because I believe better progress is made when we all get along.”

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho
Cllr Rob Birch

Cllr Birch had accused his Conservative rival of being unable to respond to a political debate in a mature way after the video was posted.

But Cllr Ho claimed the Labour councillor had been targeting his social media account:

“My comment about ‘living in his head rent free’ derives from him seeming to always want engage with my Twitter account in a negative way, which I view as targeted harassment /trolling – and I’m actually not the first to notice this behaviour of some councillors.

“I think it’s important to note that I don’t even follow him on Twitter so I only know what he tweets or comments when it involves my own account.

“I genuinely think Rob and I would make great friends, definitely someone I would have a pint with, if only he would tolerate that I don’t share his political ideology but I do share his passion and love for our town and district.”

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

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16 Comments

  1. This, is a complete distraction and irrelevant as a response to Cllr Rob Birch’s comments. Clearly Cllr Ho is unable to engage in a discussion. If he represented my area, I would be very disappointed in his behaviour. I thought Cllr’s were meant to be able to consider different perspectives and work across parties? Being ‘friends’ is irrelevant it is about working together for the good of the community in a respectful manner which includes healthy, sometimes heated discussions. Cllr Ho’s inability to engage in a healthy discussion and the need to create a video like this is frankly, immature and embarrassing!

  2. Unfortunately this is not the first time Cllr Ho has resorted to what he considers to be “light-hearted” tweeting when he is unable or unwilling to provide a response to a legitimate challenge, and having personally been on the receiving end on more than one occasion I am pleased to see that I am not the only person who thinks this standard of discourse is unacceptable.

    Indeed, there seems to be a pattern emerging that Cllr Ho will tweet an overtly political statement, then when challenged, legitimately and respectfully, by those with an alternative view, will resort to accusations of trolling, harassment and pleas to “be friends” accompanied by gifs and now this video.

    I read the exchange last night and Cllr Birch’s tweet was nothing more than an observation on the Chancellor’s order for certain Government departments to find additional savings (which was heavily covered in the national media) in response to one of Cllr Ho’s retweets of a new Tory party TV advert. This is not trolling any more than Cllr Ho’s original tweet was trolling.

    I find it very odd that someone who would tweet the Tory TV ad would then think it necessary to close down discussion. Surely such a political post is inviting debate? Cllr Ho asks for Cllr Birch to tolerate that he doesn’t share his political ideology and I’d say that goes both ways. Cllr Ho must also tolerate others who don’t share his very strong Tory beliefs, and this includes entering into debate about differences. Cllr Ho says he doesn’t follow Cllr Birch on Twitter. A quick scan of the people Cllr Ho does follow on Twitter shows this to be a very narrow range of views, and Cllr Ho may benefit from widening this so he can come out of the echo chamber and appreciate that there are a great many differing political views across our district. And as a reminder to Cllr Ho, Twitter is an open platform where anyone can see what anyone tweets, unless the account holder decides to limit access.

    If Cllr Ho cannot cope with legitimate and respectful challenge via social media, which is an important tool for us all to communicate, then I’d suggest he employs the “block” functionality on Twitter, protects his tweets, or perhaps re-evaluates whether he has thick enough skin to be a successful politician or whether his clear desire to make a difference to the district would be better served via an alternative platform.

    We don’t need to “be friends” to be effective, but we do need to be able to have grown up conversations and disagree with each other respectfully. Being unable to have legitimate discussion on social media, without resorting to strange videos, reflects badly on all councillors, and given music seems to be today’s media of choice for getting the point across, can I refer Cllr Ho to Ronan Keating’s classic “You Say it Best, When you Say Nothing at all”.

  3. Why does Clrr Ho feels thee need to “defuse” such a discussion?
    Surely it was simply a reasonable challenge to his beliefs and he should have been able to respond with a reasoned argument.

    Oh wait, hang on, Cllr Ho is a Conservative and given his timeline he clearly takes his lead from our MP.

    That explains it all – come on everyone, play fair. You are not allowed to disagree with Conservatives in Lichfield district. If you do, they’ll use childish distractions or call foul and make accusations of trolling.

  4. Behaviour like this from a public figure is embarrassing. It demeans the office of councillor. What does he take the electors for?

  5. If Cllr Ho is truly committed to serving the residents of Lichfield Ward how did he find the time to engage in such trivia? I trust hard working Cllr Pullen, his fellow representative of Highfield Ward and LDC leader, will be having stern words with him.

  6. Should I take being called pompous, lacking in a sense of fun and an ineffective councillor personally? Or should I accuse the name caller of trolling, harassment and make a plea to be friends along with a silly little video?

    I guess I’ll just carry on campaigning, listening to people, trying to make my little corner of Lichfield a better place to live and shrug it off like the grown up I am.

    Just as well I left the Tory party as I clearly have very different ideas about what’s effective and an acceptable way to conduct oneself.

  7. Trolling by the MP, that is.

    Cllr Grange, as ever, is a beacon of common sense and decorum – like one would expect of an elected representative.

  8. Furthermore when politicians stop spending their energy on dysfunctional “twittering” however it is intended, isn’t the road to hell paved by you know what, we might be able to finally get something politically useful done. Instead of the utter incompetence shown by those in power with regard to HS2 and a certain £106,000 BILLION, as far as we know it to currently be !! If I were a betting person I would bet on the final cost ( notwithstanding the cost to the environment and the creatures whose habitat it is) being way much higher.

  9. It’s about time politicians began exhibiting some maturity and setting an example to our children and youth. It’s a sad indictment of society when politicians like Mr Ho supported by his own Conservative MP, can find no better use of their time than ‘twitterise’ for ‘fun’ . I’m sure we all remember the ‘horror show’ of abusive words and behaviour by some MPs including our now Prime Minister in the House of Commons during the Brexit debate and Election Campaigning. Just another example of adults in positions of power behaving badly. To boot ‘Twitter’ shows just how Politicians have become smartphone dependent, an addiction no different to any other such as drugs, alcohol or gambling. Perhaps an addiction clinic for smartphone addicted politicians should be set up. It is so easy to be abusive and bullying when not face to face with the victims. Especially when there are real concerns about children as young as 7 becoming addicted to smartphones. Sometimes I wonder who are the children and who the adults. For goodness sake take responsibility for leading the way.

  10. Michael Fabricant, the publicity craving idiot that keeps on giving. Backing up Cllr, an apprentice publicity craving idiot in training.

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