Thursday, 30 December 2010

A Rotten Borough - Part LIX

Doing the end of year clear up you always come across some of the old leaflets and flyers delivered by the various parties. Amongst them I found one from the Reading Labour Party delivered in April 2008 in two versions, Urdu and English, but strangely enough only to Muslim voters. In it they value the support of the Muslin community and that Labour and they have acheived "much together", including:

  • Labour provided premises for the Pakistani Community Centre
  • Labour enlarging Park Hall for the Pakistan community
  • "Your Labour MP and councillors hold special advice sessions at the PCC."
  • Labour "helped with planning permission for every mosque in Reading"
  • Labour got sites for the Abu Bakr and Jamme Masjid mosques.
  • Labour acquired the land for the Green Road mosque.
  • Labour paid the salary for a year for a Muslim Development Worker in west Reading.
  • Labour paid for elderly luncheon clubs and youth clubs for the Muslim Community
  • Labour funded courses at the WEA Asian Women's Learning Centre
Martin Salter is also organising a visit to Kashmir and Pakistan taking former councillor and PCC commitee member Christine Borgars [who according to the PCC website "remains active in Reading Labour Party including managing their campaign database."]

Of course, it wasn't Labour who paid for these things, it was the council. As this was an election leaflet for Katesgrove, the recipients didn't have a Labour MP who could hold advice surgeries in East Reading at the PCC. Alongside the clear inference of bribing the Muslim electorate with council cash, there is what appears to be a clear case of Labour admitting to predetermining planning decisions.

It would seem that the only reason Reading Labour exists is to take money from the general population and hand it to people they think will vote for them. I'm indebted to the members of the Muslim community who saw through their motives, gave me (and translated) these leaflets and voted them out of Katesgrove. :)


Christine said...

I do not have a UK passport and have never visited Kashmir or Pakistan. My last UK passport was issued in the mid-80's at a Post Office with a one-year duration. My copy of the English text of the letter referenced does NOT say that I was to visit Pakistan or Kashmir - only that I was among the people with whom Martin Salter had worked to provide help for communities devasted by the Kashmir earthquake. I doubt the council paid me enough mileage in 13 years to pay for a taxi to Heathrow!

When I was a councillor, as well as monthly general advice surgeries at Park Church Hall, I held badly-attended monthly advice surgeries at the PCC for a number of years. Thereafter I encouraged members of the Pakistani community seeking to contact me to drop in during my weekly computer clubs at the PCC, or arranged a home visit. My help is still occasionally sought by members of the Pakistani community. The PCC serves all of Reading and Martin Salter held advice surgeries there as and when invited to do so.

I have helped with planning permission for more than one mosque building in Reading insofar as I have facilitated meetings with planning officers for Pre-Application Advice (a process so much favoured by planning officers that it is now formalised and chargeable). Also at least one site meeting where an application had been submitted. I have also helped with form filling and drafting sections of the applications. I have given my opinion to various mosque reps as to matters that must be addressed in any re-submission of a planning application, taking into account what has previously been said. None of that comprises, or implies, pre-determination.

Nothing really strange about restricting delivery of a leaflet in Urdu to families who may be able to read Urdu - and to provide an English translation for recipients who don't read Urdu. We also sent and delivered leaflets and letters just to people who had told us they support Labour, with a special version for postal voters. I expect that the Lib Dems have election leaflets delivered to only some segments of the electorate?

Much else of the text of the letter refers to "Labour councillors", or "Labour Council", not simply "Labour". You do your cause little good by misrepresenting the contents of old literature, or in casting unjustified aspersions.

Christine Borgars

Was said...

Fair enough if you didn't actually go anywhere, but the leaflet is quite clear in claiming "it was Labour wot dun it". I am not mis-attributing anything.

[I've removed the duplicate post]