Last Sunday, Barnet UNISON rep John Burgess suffered a horrible act of vandalism on his car and a vile homophobic note was left on his windscreen. Like many other local people I was horrified. The local left has been in disarray since the general election and I assumed that this was an ideal opportunity to rebuild the local solidarity and give us something to unite over. I can't believe that any decent person, on the right or left, would condone vandalism and homophobia and assumed that as John has been a tireless champion of good causes and the hardest working man (IMHO) in Barnet for workers right, that to a man, the great and good in the various left supporting groups, the Labour Party and the Unions would, to a man come out. I assumed that as soon as the news broke, telephones would be burning with people ringing to support John. How wrong I was.
As I expected, a letter was put together for people to express their outrage at what happened to John. Here is the letter.
I was totally disgusted to see that only two Labour Councillors, Amy Trevethan and Paul Edwards bothered to support John. In fact in terms of PPC's, the Local Green party did better, with two of their three PPC's supporting the letter. Andrew Dismore, the local Labour GLA rep didn't bother. Alison Moore, Leader of the Labour Group on Barnet Council didn't bother. I am pleased to see all of the local bloggers did bother. I'd expect no less.
When will the local Labour Party wake up to the fact that people such as John Burgess are the lifeblood of the Labour movement. These are the people who work tirelessly, who organise, who are at the cutting edge of the cuts. When will they realise that the reason Labour lost the last election is not because they weren't Tory enough, but because they've lost the trust of working people. Is it any wonder, if the great and good of the Labour Party cannot even be bothered to come out in solidarity with a hard working trade union rep, who has had his tyres slashed and had a disgusting note left on his vandalised car?