Sunday, 28 March 2010
Ann puts on a show but it's not unusual
Back in 2005, shortly before the result of the general election of that year in the Brentford and Isleworth constituency was announced, a peculiar and rather amusing thing happened.
Ann Keen, who had presumably been notified by an associate that she had survived the challenges of the various opposing candidates, at last entered the election count at Hounslow Civic Centre. But that wasn't the amusing bit.
What gave cause for much hilarity was the entourage by which she was accompanied, and the manner of its arrival. Surrounded by young boys attired in near-identical suits, she was escorted all the way from her carriage, up the spiral staircase and through the antechamber to the podium from which the result was to be announced. I could have sworn the spotty oiks were marching in step too, although I concede that just possibly my imagination was playing tricks with me and getting carried away.
This group exercise in delusional self-importance was not in any way untypical, indeed the whole Ann Keen experience has revolved for most of its time around a cult of imagined celebrity. I recall a residents' meeting on my own estate being gatecrashed by the then local Labour Party organiser and a handful of his members who scrutinised the gathering closely, furtively identifying individual residents whom they obviously felt might be vulnerable to an approach before sidling up to them like market spivs and whispering "would you like to meet Ann Keen?", the name itself spoken in a more assertive tone as if to emphasise the sheer generosity of the offer that was being made to the lucky resident.
Until recently, when at long last it would seem to have dawned upon them that she has become a liability, Labour's wannabe local councillors would queue to be photographed with their idol, and would proudly publish their photographs all across their own election leaflets in the apparent belief that their own importance and celebrity would somehow be enhanced by mere association.
Last week, inevitably, the circus came to Isleworth. As Mrs. Keen's gold minibus arrived at the Bridge Link Centre on Ivybridge on Thursday an aide excitedly raced to the passenger side door to open it so that her very important personage could step down and greet the excited throng that been awaiting her arrival.
In actual fact it wasn't really much of a throng. Five or six frankly pathetic ladies who probably hadn't been so excited since the time they threw their knickers at Tom Jones, and a very small handful of bitter and resentful men who still mourn the passing of the good old days when only Labour Party members were allowed to get involved with organising residents' activities, inasfar as any actually took place, on the estate.
And the royal visit itself was a tad disappointing, for there were others who had turned up to actually speak to their MP and ask her questions only to be brusquely advised by one of her hangers-on that she would only be sparing them fifteen minutes of her valuable (and very expensive) time which was just sufficient for her to have some photos taken. The knickerless screamers will probably be sent copies that they will truly treasure for what little remains of their middle age.
For those though who actually had questions to ask or problems to resolve - rehousing issues, repairs, anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and the like - the fleeting visitation did not really provide a great deal of relief. As a result of this the local authority's Lead Member for Housing and Service Improvement, ICG councillor Jon Hardy, has decided at short notice to hold a surgery of his own (see above) to make good the deficit.
The sheer brass neck of these objectionable people who assume themselves to be our lords and masters and who, given half the chance, would reverse the movement towards involvement and participation that my colleagues and I have triggered since becoming part of the administration at the local authority is absolutely staggering. One can only imagine how, in private session, they must mock and pour scorn upon those they represent, or in many cases aspire to.
How gratifying it is indeed to know that it will all be over in six weeks.