Friday, 28 November 2008

The art of hedging

As one who has been known to take the occasional flutter I am probably more familiar than most with the concept of hedging one's bets. Many a time I have backed a soccer team or a horse with one book and then laid it off with another at a favourable price, locking in a guaranteed profit.

Sadly Hounslow New Labour's latest act of hedging,
taking an anti "cuts" stance whilst simultaneously demanding even bigger reductions to our borough's spending than we have currently managed is not likely to reap dividends. Those whose loyalty is not to New Labour are unlikely to be taken in, whilst traditional Labour supporters whose instinct it is, like mine, to protect services first and foremost will in all likelihood be confused and demoralised by this latest volte face.

Thus the debate at this week's Borough Council meeting at which the first tranche of proposed savings was introduced saw New Labour in mid fluster. As soon as Labour Deputy Leader Councillor Ruth Cadbury began to issue forth in a schoolteacher-like tone, voice filled with an absurdly exaggerated indignation that was so clearly contrived, it was obvious to me that the party had not been briefed as to whether it was required to support the proposals and demand that they should be taken further, or oppose them with a flourish of socialistic ardour.

My suspicions were confirmed when the Labour Group proposed that the report be deferred, ostensibly on the grounds that they had not had enough time to consider it.

One cannot but admire the lengths that the depleted ranks of Hounslow New Labour are prepared to go to in their efforts to try to keep their alleged Members of Parliament in office and in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Their willingness to sacrifice their credibility and if needs be to allow themselves to become a borough-wide laughing stock in the name of that quest is certainly to be respected.

The whole glorious farce was beautifully epitomised by Councillor Mohinder Gill, a likeable chap, when he raised his hand to oppose the recommendations, then quickly dropped it again after looking around and seeing that his colleagues had been instructed to abstain.

One is almost tempted to hope that the sacrifice turns out to be worth it. Almost.


Newshound said...

Slightly off the subject matter perhaps, but did no-one else notice the local press coverage concerning the welcome reprieve of our remaining post offices ?
The MP for Richmond, Susan Kramer "Expressed her relief" (HB Times 21 Nov), while Hounslow's finest "Claimed a victory" (Informer 21 Nov).
So there you have it, Lord & Lady Keen alone saved the day and everyone should love them for it.

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

@ Newshound

Breathtaking, isn't it?

I don't know whether you visit the forum at, but a week or so ago there was an interesting debate raging over there, where New Labour have created a rumour that the council administration is secretly planning to bury Gunnersbury Park "under a sea of concrete".

But according to one of them, who certainly is familiar with the art of hedging (back to topic, see?), if in the event this doesn't happen it will be all thanks to Ann K££n and her sidekicks for "exposing" this cunning secret plan!

It is easy to become angry when confronted by this kind of thing but I honestly believe that this style of campaigning rebounds in the long run, and the evidence of Isleworth and Syon wards (historically strong Labour areas) surely bears this out.

Voters don't like being taken for mugs, and those who forget this store up an awful lot of bad karma for themselves which almost invariably surfaces at some stage in the future.

My feeling is that the K££ns will get theirs at this forthcoming general election, and if the ICG can assist in any small part towards bringing that about then I believe we have a moral duty to do so.

down to my last Jag said...

Phil's absolutely right Newshound,
mention the words "Hedging your bets" and people like Ann Keen immediately spring to mind !

Prince of the Proletariat said...

But hasn't the glorious grey-haired goddess got you all over a barrel ?
Unpopular as she is in certain quarters, I can't really see any Tory or Lib-Dem candidate getting enough widespread support in both Brentford AND Isleworth to unseat her.
It's going to take some very astute tactical voting.

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

@ Prince of the Proletariat

Over a barrel? Not me Your Highness, we're not even contesting the election.

But if you look at the results from 2005, the national swing against New Labour, La K££ns own especial unpopularity, New Labour's political confusion around Council Tax, its demoralisation at having been told to go into opposition on the council, and the fact that both the Tories and the Lib Dems have stronger candidates this time around (I'm assuming Andrew is stronger for having been a councillor and Group Leader for nearly three years) then the signs all point in the right direction.

I always had her down as blonde btw, but then I'm notiously unobservant.

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

I meant notoriously, of course...

Christmas cracker said...

I share the apprehension of our gracious 'prince'.
Not much doubt that the anti-Labour vote will be considerable next time round, but it could be split right down the middle and she could hold on by the skin of her teeth.
Btw - grey barnet/blonde barnet ?
Always the same style/never a hair out of place ?
Isn't it a wig anyway ?


Eagle-Eye said...

What sort of jiggery-pokery are we witnessing in this weeks local press I wonder ?
According to the "Chronicle", Alan Keen has just expressed an opinion concerning cuts to school funding the Tories would allegedly implement should they win the next general election.
However a remarkably similar piece was published in the "HB Times/
Guardian way back in May 2008 !

The same speculative story appearing in rival newspapers 8 months apart - a quite masterful demonstration of 'hedging' or an innocent mix-up.
You decide.