Saturday, 26 July 2008

New Labour - an idea whose time has passed

I apologise in advance for another post on that subject, but an A3 leaflet which was doing the rounds on Isleworth's Worton estate earlier in the week finally convinced me that it is game over for the abomination that is New Labour.

On those rare occasions when New Labour in Hounslow gives any impression of being interested in knowing why it has been so thoroughly wiped out in its former stronghold in Isleworth, the usual practice is to suggest that the ICG is some form of local, right-wing political party - either of a meekly Conservative bent or representing something altogether more sinister, depending upon the audience to whom the suggestion is being addressed.

I have long been of the view that there are essentially two reasons for this wilful misapprehension of what has been happening in and around Isleworth, perhaps only one of which is
after all pernicious.

The first, of course, is simply about blatant smearmongering. At the 2006 local elections Hounslow Labour's strategy seemed to revolve around committing almost its entire political machine to the cause of returning Isleworth to where it "belonged", with a campaign based wholly on the failed tactics of 2002 involving the terrorisation of minorities and other vulnerable people. Its tragic miscalculation of ICG strength and its ignorance of political realities in Isleworth led to the Party bogging itself down in the Russian winter of a hopeless cause while we merrily cleaned up in Syon, and even helped engineer the downfall of a leading Party apparatchik in Brentford.

The second reason for New Labour's determination to attribute a political motive to the ICG's operation, I believe, is more to do with simple reassurance. If New Labour bigwigs are able to convince themselves that their rejection by the community of Isleworth has some kind of ideological foundation, it helps absolve them of any blame for their own predicament. And, of course, of the need for any serious introspection of a kind which might reveal nasties of a kind which they would prefer to remain unrevealed.

Whichever of the two motivations drives New Labour in its dealings with the ICG today what is clearly apparent is a lack of scruple, combined with an equal lack of any real kind of programme beyond the pursuit , or retention, of political office. Nowhere is this more evident than in the aforementioned leaflet (above right), which leads with the interesting announcement: "Ann Keen says Cut the Council Tax".

The article goes on to tell us: "...the level of Council Tax is controlled by Hounslow Council and so could, and should, be cut to help at this difficult time...unfortunately the Conservatives who run Hounslow Council could only freeze the Council Tax this year...

"Ann's suggestion has been backed by Labour councillors in Hounslow who argue if it's possible to freeze it then surely it must be possible to cut the council tax locally...

"Hard pressed local families have enough to deal with without more taxes on top - unlike the Tories and Lib Dems we think the local council tax should be cut."

There is little point in dwelling for too long upon the sheer gall of the message conveyed by New Labour in these few short words. It is very widely known indeed that New Labour in Hounslow has for two years outspokenly opposed the policy of the current administration of keeping Council Tax low, and that it dares to believe that it could get away with now trying to suggest the exact opposite serves only to reveal the utter contempt in which Mrs. Keen and her followers hold their own voters.

Believe it or not, what overcame me when I read the headline was actually a genuine sense of sympathy and embarrassment for all those New Labour apologists and acolytes, including one or two who have technically left the Party itself, who had invested so much time and effort in writing letters to the local press, posting comments on internet forums and using every other available means to argue the case for a higher Council Tax in order to protect what they would have us believe were services for the vulnerable (but often in reality, of course, jobs for cronies). Greater love hath no woman than this; that a woman lay down her friends for her life - as John the Apostle might have said had he encountered the appalling Mrs. Keen.

Locally, as nationally, it is evident that New Labour has lost its way. As it has done so it has become progressively (if that is the right word!) more dishonest, more opportunistic, and less motivated by any kind of principle. Rather than being a means towards achieving an end, the acquisition of political office by any means possible has become the end in itself.

And yet, ironically, I believe not only that there is a need for a Labour Party in our local politics, but also that a Labour Party rooted in honesty, integrity and sound principles would in the fullness of time actually turn the tide around once again. Alas current Party wisdom seems to have it that the way forward for an organisation which finds itself increasingly rejected for its cynicism, its dishonesty and its nastiness is to become more cynical, less honest and nastier.

For the forseeable future, it would seem, political life for the ICG must go on.


Anonymous said...

You seem short of comments, so I will give you some advice- get a job you sponger.

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

Welcome to the blog Vanessa.

Anonymous said...

Same old, same old. The Labour in Isleworth will never change it's pig ugly face. It will always be a face that looks like it's chewing a lemon, consumed with bitterness because they didnt get the same allowance and freedoms that you get now. They will never forgive the voters for rejecting them and there so-called job for life. All power to your elbow Phil but don't think your ever going to change these people because they never will accept it.

Anonymous said...

So come on then Phil, out with your 'Swingometer' and offer us a few theories as to why the Worton Estate was targetted with this rubbish before the Worple Estate & Ivybridge.

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

Don't know.

The Worton has something of a reputation for being militant and maybe they figured they'd get the difficult bit over first. Who knows? These people have hardly shown themselves to be master strategists in the past, have they?

Anonymous said...

A surprisingly restrained dissertation, but as we went to the same school - 10 out of 10.

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

"A surprisingly restrained dissertation, but as we went to the same school - 10 out of 10."

Now you've got me curious...

Anonymous said...


Don't be curious - it may be your first love looking to be appointed official ICG groupie.
Great if she's still a 'looker', but not so good if she's 22 stone with uncontrollable flatulence.

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

Now you've got me worried - I went to a boys' school!

Anonymous said...

But you surely didn't go to an all-boys PRIMARY school did you Phil?
Two ton Tessie will be so disappointed and she'll definitely come and get ya now !

Eagle-Eye said...

Our Labour friends certainly believe in stretching this feeble material a long way, don't they?
In todays Hounslow Chronicle, Ruth Cadbury no less is now griping about next years council tax freeze, proclaiming it should be CUT!
Honestly, if Hounslow Council announced that they were going to give everyone a free mars bar, Labour would insist that everyone should have two!

Anonymous said...

Ruth Cadbury absolutely is the most stereotypical New Labour clone imaginable. With her it really is a case of my party right or wrong. If Gordon Brown announced we were going to invade France or send five year old kids down the mines she'd be up for it.

It was only a matter of months ago that Ruth was arguing for a council tax increase in the chamber. This shamelessness only serves to show the contempt in which they hold the general electorate.

Gatecrasher said...

Yes she did say those things in the chamber, didn't she ?
I sneaked in and listened from behind the curtains, where were you hiding anonymous ?

Anonymous said...

Maybe he/she has a PC and was watching the web cast?

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

One thing Ruth certainly did say in the council chamber, back in 2006 at one of her first debates as Deputy Leader of the opposition, was something to the effect of "You call it dishonesty, we call it politics".

It was said during a debate following the Hanworth Park by-election, at which which the usual smears had been used to familiarly devastating electoral effect (this was the by-election which inspired the "Forgive them, for they know not what they do" statement by the defeated Nu Lab candidate Colin Ellar to the Hounslow Chronicle.

I took the inference of this statement to be that telling lies (in the case of this particular debate to voters) was considered by her party to be acceptable provided it took place within a political context.

Certainly New Labour's general conduct in Hounslow both prior to and following that statement would seem to suggest that this is pretty much the official party view.

On the question of the Council Tax, New Labour's position prior to the Keens' latest wobble was and remains very well documented. The contempt for the intelligence of the voting public suggested by this amazing volte face truly beggars belief.

29 September 2008 23:23

Eagle-Eye said...

Interesting to see Cllr Thompson's response to this latest palaver in todays Chronicle.
The Labour Party "dishonest" - surely not ?
Of course they would cut Council Tax if they were still in power !

Square Dancer said...

You mean the webcasts are fully functional now ?
A while back, I seem to recall all sorts of teething troubles (pictures, but intermittent sound etc).
Moreover 'Sods Law' always seemed to prevail - perfect reception whenever one of Sharma's mob were speaking, but total silence whenever there was anything worth listening to.