Sunday, 14 October 2012


"Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out devils in your name, but as he is not one of us we tried to stop him." Jesus said to him, "Do not stop him, for he who is not against you is on your side." (Luke 9:49)

It's okay, relax. You know that I am a Christian and that I go to church, but I am no theologian and neither am I anything like good enough as a person to even begin to presume to sit in judgement upon others.

But whether you are a Christian, a follower of another religion or indeed of none, it is evident to most people that there are teachings contained in the Holy Book that serve as a useful guide to us in the conduct of our everyday lives. The above quote, delivered to us at our Church this morning by the Revd. John Kafwanka (an Isleworthian!) set me thinking about why it was that, nearly nineteen years ago, I helped found the ICG (then known as the Isleworth Community Group) and why now, in 2012, I continue to give it my support.

Let me approach where I am going from a slightly more contemporary angle. I don't think this will be the first time on this blog that I will have quoted the chorus of the rock epic 2112:

"We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
Our great computers fill Our hallowed halls
We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
All the gifts of life are held within Our walls".

For the disciples, they were the few who had been chosen from amongst the many to answer a special calling, and it must have been galling for them that somebody who was not one of their number was performing successful healing work in the name of Jesus. So they tried to stop him, without any thought of course for the beneficiary of the stranger's good deed.

In the fictitious 2112 the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx were the custodians of all knowledge and happiness, having defeated the Elder Race in a battle for control of the Planets of the Solar Federation. When the boy found the guitar by the waterfall and presented it to them they crushed it nervously underfoot, for it was a relic of a bygone age which had not been under their dominion.

Seasoned local community watchers will know where this article is heading. Whether it is the St. John's residents and their successful campaign to save their community centre, or the organisers of the Brentford Festival, or for that matter the ICG and its many works on behalf of the community of which it is an integral part, any positive acts which have been brought about independently by the community (I believe they call us "plebs") must either be denied or destroyed.

I have reflected recently upon how this mentality continues to prevail in the highest echelons of the local authority in Hounslow. Those who trouble to browse Facebook or the local community forums will have seen how those of us who consider it our mission to empower the grass roots have continued to be abused and vilified, even in our attempted "post political" incarnation.

Demonstrably it is not because we stand, but because of what we stand for.


digger said...

I presume you already know that the labour party WANTS you to put up canidates in the election because they fogure you and the tories will split the anti labour vote. the oppinion is that the icg is a spent force and the torys are the biggest threat now. Don't think you can squeeze any consession out of labour they want you to stand, I know that from first hand.

Phil Andrews said...

That thought had occurred to me Digger.