Friday, 5 December 2008

Three Wise Men....a postscript

As we promised those who came along to the Question Time event earlier in the week (see below), we have studied the comments which were submitted on the survey sheets at the end of the debate and have taken on board some of the suggestions that have been made to improve it for next year and to provide an even more effective platform through which residents attending can let us know of their concerns.

One thing that surprised and pleased me was that I seem to have held my own in the "ratings". Attendees were asked to rate the performances of the three elected members on the panel as well as of the Scrutiny team. My rating was marginally ahead of one of my colleagues, and just a little behind the other. Considering I was on "away" territory - almost exclusively discussing service matters rather than the community empowerment issues which are the ICG's concern - I am very happy with this.

Overall the event itself was very well received, with a very large majority expressing the view that it had been a useful exercise.


Suspiciously kind critic said...

Yes, well done Phil - second best panelist out of three.
Now what do you want for your tea tonight ?

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

Not humble pie, New Labour have eaten it all...

indiscreet town-hall caterer said...

Honestly councillor, how ungracious !
Everyone knows they prefer sour grapes.

Newshound said...

....which is clearly demonstrated by the front page of todays (12 Dec) Hounslow & Brentford Times !

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

@ Newshound

Pray tell.

Beau of the Bourgeoisie said...

Behold and beware councillor, Labour have re-calibrated their spin machine and are fighting back.
They take a complete non-story, infuse with a certain 'je ne sais quoi' and voila - triumphant front page headlines.
Hallelujah, our true leaders are rising from the ashes to save the world !

Councillor Phil Andrews said...


If you're referring to La K££n's complaint that she wasn't sent a gilt-edged VIP invitation to be Guest of Honour at a function in W4 then I would agree that this does seem to have been the precursor of some kind of primitive propaganda campaign.

Take a look at the forum under the thread "Is this in the interests of children with health needs in the borough" and you'll see what I mean.

"I'm just an ordinary non-political member of the public who thinks Ann Keen is a wonderful, caring and totally selfless human being and the Stalinist administration at Hounslow Council is victimising her because she is so successful...etc, etc."


Anonymous said...

They did a similar thing on the TW8 site just before the last local elections if my memory serves, didn't they?

Christmas Cracker said...

Most unkind of thingummybob to suggest you'd be just like Ann Keen if you shaved your whiskers off.
Bloody cheek - your hair's nowhere near as grey as hers !

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

Here's the M.O.:

Somebody posts what appears to be an innocent question, in this case enquiring why our MP was allegedly not allowed to come along to an event.

Obviously somebody who knows the full story (often me, because I have a thick skin and am not too arsed about the consequences) will come back and explain what the situation regarding the MPs actually is.

The original complainant (who is always a non-political bystander) will either not accept the explanation, pretend not to understand it or simply ignore it.

The intention is that somewhere along the way the councillor will lose his or her patience and say something which can be interpreted as being impolite or disrespectful, and a complaint will then be made (often by the idiot David Hughes) to the Standards Board for England.

If Plan A doesn't invoke the desired response then Plan B comes into play. Plan B is to introduce into the discussion an aggressive and obnoxious poster who will attack the councillor, often in a way that borders on abuse. There is one such character on the thread at the moment, there have been others who have played a similar role in the past and who may well have been the same person. These posters are easily recognisable by the fact that, despite living in Chiswick, they have a completely irrational (for somebody who is allegedly non-political) hatred of the ICG and rarely post on any other topic.

This character, of course, is far easier to lose one's temper with and thus more likely to provoke a reaction which can then be reported.

The fact that the Standards Board invariably rejects these complaints does not seem to deter our friends. They seem to work on the principle that if you aim enough blows one of them, one day, will land.

If all else fails, Plan C kicks in which involves creating an artificial groundswell of opinion which calls for political discussions and those who contribute towards them to be excluded from the forum, hoping that by this time nobody will notice the fact that the councillor only entered the debate in the first place to respond to a political comment.

Whilst this can all be fun it does have the effect of deterring many councillors from using these forums as a means of providing helpful information to their constituents (who are then attacked for not participating in local debate!). In that respect I guess the campaign can be said to have achieved at least one of its objectives.

Fortunately the electors of this borough seem to have indicated that they prefer honest debate to this style of low, subterranean politicking, but it is not easy for the beast to change its nature.

I have always felt that the old fable about the frog and the scorpion could have been written with these people and their insidious organisation in mind.

Always invited everywhere said...

Even so Phil, what on earth possessed that dreadful woman to kick up such a big fuss over nothing in the first place ?
It was never going to win her any new fans, it was only going to provoke her old enemies.
Accordingly, a few choice opinions expressed in the local press this week.

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

Because they are a One Trick Pony.

Newshound said...

Well it seems plan C is kicking in right now !
Letters of support for the gracious lady in this weeks local press from the usual suspects (Kaur, Horgan, Sampson etc).

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

@ Newshound

Too little, too late IMHO. The idea that ordinary voters who are not members of The Club are going to be impressed by the same old acolytes returning to the pages of the local press again and again to vent their adoration and tell the lesser beings how fortunate they are to be represented by such an important personage, when it is clear their MP is but a useless parasite, is somewhat hopeful to say the least.

New Labour has always drawn comfort from its view that members of the voting public are malleable and essentially stupid, but the experiences of Isleworth and Syon demonstrate that there is a point at which enough becomes enough.

I assume she had the good sense this time to write different letters for each of the different correspondents?

Firefly said...

Whilst the clearly orchestrated show of support has indeed been truly nauseating to witness, it is now being reported that friends and relatives of equally beleaguered 'Blairite Babe' Jacqui Smith have been engaged in a similar scam.

Must be a 'Labour' thing !

Eagle-Eye said...

Congratulations Phil, you are now seemingly being credited as the mastermind behind the 'Ann Keen smear campaign' currently being waged on various local websites (Chronicle letters 15 Jan).
It certainly slipped under MY radar - you did start it before or after you borrowed all that lead from the church roof ?

Most principled individual said...

Come on then Phil, how long have you been a member of the Magic Circle ?
It would seem you made your fiendish internet smear campaign completely disappear as soon as it was mentioned in the local press.
Why, it was almost as if it never even existed !
Eat your heart out Derren Brown and take a trip to Specsavers Eagle-Eye.
I suspect your last comment was SUPPOSED to begin "Did you" rather than "You did".
DOH !!!!!

ps Did you make the Brentford & Isleworth Labour party website disappear as well ?