I've had enough. I've been a Labour Party member for over 20 years, but I've had enough. Why? It's a culmination of many things. The last straw was a couple of weeks ago. I was at the gym and I was on a cycling machine. At my gym, we have large TV screens which show various channels. On one of these was SKY NEWS. The top story was the closure of a refugee camp nearl Calais. French Riot police, who looked for all the world like latter day stormtroopers were removing the refugees, bulldozers were tearing down the shanty town. They showed the faces of terrified young men, women and children as they were lead away. I thought to myself "This is no civilised way to treat such disenfranchised people". I hate bullying and this was state sponsored political bullying at it's worst. I thought to myself "I'm glad we don't behave like that". As I thought that, Alan Johnson, a LABOUR cabinet minister and seen by many as the heir to Tony Blair came on. What did he have to say? he said he was delighted by the actions.At that moment, I realised that myself and Labour no longer believe in the same things. I know refugees are not popular in some quarters, but most of this lot came from Afghanistan, a place where we are fighting a war. If we are going to engage in military campaigns in far away places, it is inevitable that we'll face issues such as these. If I was an Afghan living in Helmand and I didn't want to be a fundamentalist Taliban Muslim, and I saw the British army in my town, I'd probably decide to come here as well. I'd probably want my wife and children to live in a peaceful tolerant country rather than a warzone. Alan Johnson's comments show a total lack of compassion and understanding. This is not what the Labour party should stand for.
Let me make a couple of points. I hold local Labour Councillors such as Alison Moore in high esteem for the work they do. I doubt that you could get a cigarette paper between her and my views on just about any important social matter, but the people such as Johnson and Mandleson at national level just don't believe in what I believe or stand for what I stand for. When a Labour business secretary such as Mandleson proposes privatising the Royal Mail, how can someone like me associate themselves with that. I believe in progressive left wing politics, I totally support Ken Livingstone's progressive alliance, but I'm sorry I cannot support a party where senior people condone such actions.
This has been a very difficult issue for me as we desperately need to get the Tories out of Barnet Council. Labour will quite clearly be a part of that process. I believe that they will only achieve this by distancing themselves from national policies. Don't get me wrong, I will still strongly support all Labour candidates who believe in what I consider to be core socialist values. I just find that there are too many things which I fundamentally disagree with to classify myself as a "Labour member". I hope that the party will realise it's mistakes and when that happens I'll rejoin.
As to the tone of this blog. It won't change. I'll still urge people to vote Labour in Hendon at the next election. Andrew Dismore is a good MP (albiet one who I have had disagreements with). His opponent, Matthew Offord is a man who left a trail of disaster in his wake when he was Deputy Leader. He may do a fine widow twanky impersonation of Brian Coleman, which is really rather funny, he may write a nice blog about sailing, which is interesting and informative, but he is useless at being a politician and would be a liability. As to locally in Mill Hill. We have two Lib-Dems and one Tory John Hart. I like John Hart, I'd say he's the best of the bunch for Barnet Tories, but he's followed the party line so I'm afraid he has to go. As such I'll be supporting the Lib Dems in Mill Hill. On the wider Barnet scene, I'd urge people to do the following. I cannot believe that real local Tories can be happy with Mike Freer and Brian Coleman. I'd urge them to stand as independent Conservatives in seats such as Totteridge where the opposition stand no chance. I'd actively campaign for any independent who stood for honest, transparent administration on this blog and give them whatever platform I could. I doubt the Tories will lose in Barnet next time, due to the national scene, but I intend to try and help some sort of cross party effort to clean up Barnet and make it a Borough to be proud of.
I hope that Labour, Lib-Dem and Independent Conservatives can unite to solve our systemic problems. We may disagree on much, but lets get the administration into the open. Lets support the following :-
* Recording of all open Council meetings
* Only hold meetings in private when 80% of Councillors agree
* Bring back management by committees of councillors and scale back the powers of the Cabinet
* Put all expenses, gifts & hospitality and other relevent information on line (as has been done for the GLA)
* Change the Council Constitution so that the Mayor requires 75% of Councillors to elect them
* Reform the Standards process to weed out malicious or frivalous complaints, but to take real action against Councillors who can't behave themselves. Allow complainants the right to address the committee in Standards hearings.
* Put all council invoices over £2,000 on line to ensure best value for the people of Barnet
This has been a very difficult decision for me to make. It is in no way a reflection on any Labour member or councillor in Barnet. I must emphasise that Labour's Barnet Councillors have done absolutely nothing which I could criticise during the tenure of this blog. I just can't belong to a party which has the current mob at the top any longer. Sorry.
I know how you feel but the Tories would be so much worse. I think I'll buy a nose peg for polling day and still vote Labour. But I fully sympathise.
I'm certainly not voting Tory or urging anyone to vote for them. If I've given that impression, I apologise
You say “we desperately need to get the Tories out of Barnet Council.” I say that we desperately need to get the Tories in. The ruling clique is not even remotely Conservative.
Nowhere in the Conservative philosophy does it say that you should increase council tax above the rate of inflation, line your own pockets with massive rises in allowances, hike the fees for infant burials, propose stealth parking charges for Brent Cross, build thousands of rabbit hutches in already congested areas, scrap warden services for the elderly and call residents who speak out “wankers”.
The issue for the Conservatives in Barnet is that these guys run the council and they comprise 2 of the 3 prospective MP's. On top of that Coleman is on the GLA and has been given a senior job by Boris. On top of that Theresa Villiers hasn't covered herself in glory with her expenses.
On top of that, Freer has put the Barnet Tories in the public eye through his EASYCOUNCIL scheme and even worse Coleman has launched his attack on the Blogosphere, which is probably at least 75% Tory supporting.
I think Barnet Council is in danger of becoming like Derek Hatton's Liverpool. If I didn't live here I might even find it funny.
I don’t disagree with your comments about these individuals, but I would say that they are the exception rather than the rule. There are many excellent Conservative councils around the country delivering good quality services at a reasonable cost, where the councillors are motivated by the spirit of public service rather than a big fat pay cheque.
Many senior Tories have told me that they are embarrassed by the shenanigans of Freer and Coleman, but the problem is similar to that which the Labour party faces. Genuine party members are resigning in frustration, which enable the wreckers who remain to tighten their control on the local party machine.
Just a note to say that the previous comment was deleted because it was left by a bloke plugging a book about God that he'd written and made no reference whatsoever to any topic on the blog. I don't mind what people say, but I see this as a complete and dishonest misuse of the system.
Was his name Moses?
Post a Comment