Thursday, 27 August 2009

Now Ann cuts Mogden community adrift

Sorry to keep banging on about the Keens, but an extraordinary development yesterday left me wondering just what kind of advice our Member of Parliament is receiving.

Users of the and community forums will be aware that a spokesperson for Ann Keen recently threatened that his party would "work around" the resident-led Mogden Residents' Action Group (MRAG), which for many years has served as the voice of the organised community living in the vicinity of the plant and whose authority to do so derives from public meetings attended by hundreds, a petition signed by several thousand and a group action involving some 1,400 litigants.

To understand the thinking behind this one has to look back into the history of the conflict in and around Isleworth between the residents' movement and New Labour. This conflict is essentially one between two broad schools of thought. One (theirs) has it that only a small, select group of people who are essentially "in the know" and have the requisite intelligence, guile and expertise (them) are truly capable of representing the people's interests and that the role of the wider community is to elect them to positions of office - not just strictly political office but also within residents' associations, amenity groups and suchlike - and then stand back and leave it to them to do what needs to be done on our behalf.

The other (ours) has it that the community itself should aspire to take the lead on local issues and that the role of their elected political leadership is simply to provide guidance, advice and assistance where asked for.

It would have been as a direct follow-up to her spokesperson's threat that, on August 22nd (a Saturday?), Mrs. Keen allegedly met privately with an unnamed Director of Thames Water without any prior consultation with the residents. The Director, we are told, regaled her with the usual empty spiel about how concerned the company is for the plight of long-suffering residents, advised her of a meeting of the Mogden Residents' Liaison Committee to take place in September of which the rest of us have already long been aware, and informed her (and from the wording of her Press Statement it came as news) that nearly six months ago the local authority had granted permission for a 40% expansion of the plant's capacity.

According to Mrs. Keen she was "delighted" by news of the plant's expansion, and following publication of the Press Statement her spokesperson raced onto the local internet forums to announce "Ann Keen Speaks Up For Local Residents"!

And yet, of course, what she has done is added her own name to the already long list of politicians who have consigned residents already suffering the excesses of Mogden to even more misery as Thames sets about making a case for reneging on its promise not to increase intake, which anybody who is familiar with its track record knows it inevitably will.

By her actions Mrs. Keen has without question kissed goodbye to almost any remaining support she might have had within a two-mile radius of Mogden. That they consider her betrayal something to gloat about would suggest that Camp Keen is either woefully ignorant of local issues and has given her the worst possible advice or, more likely, that they have already given up and that the remainder of her campaign is to be a mere "spoiling" exercise in which she intends to wreak as much "revenge" as possible upon her ungrateful constituents.

Whichever is the case she's bought it, but on a parliamentary level at least the question remains - who will speak up for the residents living around Mogden?


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I have just read your article on Mogden. Not only are you a good looking chap but you write an interesting and, I suspect, a very accurate account of what is occuring there.

Keep it up.

Colin Murphy

isleworth tiger said...

Having a go at Ann Keen is all fine and dandy but your Tory colleagues are still defending their decision to stab you in the back on the Chiswick W4 forum, what do you propose to do about that?

We already know Ann Keen is a louse but how do you justify staying in coalition with people who want you to support their cuts but aren't prepared to give you any support in return?

What happened to the MRAG candidate in the general election idea?

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

@ tiger

Although I am a member of the MRAG Committee it would be inappropriate for me to take part in any discussions as to whether or not MRAG should field a general election candidate as it would be difficult for my opinion not to be influenced in one direction or another by wider political considerations. However I am aware that the idea has been mooted.

It is of course not inconceivable that Ann Keen's recent declaration for Thames Water may have been designed to provoke just such a response from MRAG. The more the vote against her is split the more chance she has of retaining her seat. It is difficult to think of any better explanation for this extraordinary act of folly.

My guess is that much may depend on what the other, existing PPCs have to say on the matter over the coming weeks.

Anonymous said...

Good account Phil. Richard and I are just admiring it over a pint.

Todd Feeling Richard


But Mrs Keen is our one, true saviour who can cure all our ills at will whenever she pleases.
Did I not post a glowing tribute to her acknowledging this fact back in May ?
Phil, surely you haven't forgotten the lead up to the 2006 local election ?
The lobbying of Ann Keen alone resulted in £40m being produced out of thin air to deal with the Mogden pong.
Such a shame that whatever they spent it on didn't work !

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

@ Dame Annie

We still have the leaflet in which the three 2006 Labour candidates in Isleworth claimed to have solved the issue of the Mogden Pong. It will make interesting reading this time around.

Dishonesty/Politics ? said...

Come now Phil, Team Labour did much more than just cure the Mogden pong during their last election drive, didn't they ?
I seem to recall them improving the 267 bus service, appointing a 'lollipop man/lady' for Ivybridge School and initiating a much needed clean-up of Pit Park in Northcote Avenue.
They did all that while the ICG seemingly did nothing and they STILL lost !
A classic example of the electorate in Isleworth getting it wrong again.

stig said...

There seems to be a big debate going on in cyberspace between Conservative and Labour loyalists about which of the two parties has been marginally the least useless in their handling of the Mogden affair. What I find nauseating is that neither has the grace to be useless in silence, they both have to pretend to have been doing something positive. For my money the Tories have proved the worst because they have used public money (Hounslow Matters) to peddle their particular untruths whereas Labour stick theirs on party leaflets and no-one believes anything they say anyway.

Avid Reader said...

The article about Mogden in the latest issue of "Hounslow Matters" is an absolute joke.
In fact, "Hounslow Matters" itself is an absolute joke !
The previous Labour administration used it to promote their own personal agenda and now the Tories appear to be following suit.
If material cannot be presented impartially, the axe should fall.

Anonymous said...

The article makes in clear that chief officers are only working for one half of the coalition. The ICG will need to deal with this, "good old Peter" may promise his support but he is too overworked and too busy to spend his time fighting the ICG's corner. The chief officers are absolutely out of control and it will only get worse as the election approaches.