Monday, 9 April 2012

Don't Tell 'Em Pike

I've been getting some stick from the Conservatives over the past week or so on the Chiswick W4 community forum. They would appear to be becoming a little tetchy over the fact that I take the opportunity to post there from time to time to remind Chiswick people of the incidents that led to the deterioration of the erstwhile good relationship between their Group and ours during the last months of the 2006-2010 Conservative/ICG coalition that managed Hounslow Council - when it is relevant to a topic that is being discussed, naturally.

I say "managed" because, in spite of the ICG's best efforts, the authority was still led by chief officers when we handed the chains of office back to Labour in May 2010, and needless to say that is still very much the case today.

Those incidents included the Mogden betrayal (made worse by a shameful officer-produced feature in the council's HM Magazine arguing the Conservative case for expansion against the ICG's contrary case), the effective non co-operation of chief officers with the ICG aspects of coalition policy and the discovery of a proposal discussed by the Conservative Group to try to split the ICG asunder following the May elections by offering coalition terms to some of our elected members and not to others should the distribution of seats have permitted.

I have rehearsed all of these incidents before and don't intend to go into them in detail again. None of them are denied by our former partners and they have if nothing else taught us an abject lesson about how political parties operate in general, and that this kind of low politicking is by no means confined to Labour.

But I would remind those who feel the need to taunt us over our election reverse (that these people can effectively celebrate their own defeat gives us some clue as to the limitations of their own ambitions), and make threats against us, that every action has a reaction.

Many Conservative members of our acquaintance are unhappy with the way things have turned out, and for obvious reasons. I am advised that this is the case in Chiswick as well as in Isleworth, and I would guess it applies elsewhere in the borough too. It may be that many of those people will reflect upon the prospect, brought about by their own local party officials, of what will effectively be permanent Labour domination of the local authority for the forseeable future and will be open to persuasion that there is a better way.

It may be also that the many channels of communication through which that conversation may be had will become increasingly open to us.

If there is one positive to emerge from the election defeat of 2010 it is that it has taught us to consider our whole long-term strategic approach and not just the two-dimensional business of delivering leaflets and winning votes. And there has never been more of an appetite for independent civic engagement than there is today.

Just thought I would mention it, Captain Mainwaring!


cupcake said...

A good article Phil. When are we going to find out what are the ICG plans for elections. Its just over two years away now and there are sorts of conflicting rumours doing the circuit.

Phil Andrews said...

I'll let you know when I know Cupcake, it's not my decision.