As a service to our absentee MP and to the New Labour Party in Hounslow, I reproduce below without amendment a posting which appeared on the party's local webpage a couple of days ago. To those who will accuse me of tactical naivete by needlessly giving a plug to our opponents, my response would be that the importance of empowering people in an age of dictatorship by spin cannot be stressed enough:
"Local people will be able to petition the council to take action on issues such as traffic calming, moving dumped cars, or cleaning up fly-tipping under new rights proposed by the Labour Government.
"Local Labour MP Ann Keen has challenged local people to take up the new powers and force action from the council.
"Ann said: ‘Most people Brentford and Isleworth have signed a petition. But soon, petitions will have real bite, and the council will have to sit up and take notice of local people’s concerns. I want people to tell me what they want fixing, and if the council won’t act, we will work together to launch a petition. Petitions will give our communities real clout.’
"Labour’s Communities in Control white paper also suggests that local people should be able to decide how the council spends money, how criminals should be punished as part of their ‘community payback’, how more young people should be involved, and how local groups should own and run assets such as parks and community centres.
"Ann Keen MP will be giving out a new pocket-sized card called What Can I Do? to local groups in coming weeks. The card sets out how people can have their say, get involved, and make changes locally."
I promise I am not making this up, this really is on the Brentford and Isleworth Labour Party's website.
If there is any sincerity at all in this new approach beyond its obvious Hounslow Council-bashing then this new initiative has to be applauded. But taking into account the track record of its authors, I hope I will be forgiven for not getting myself all worked up just now.