Thursday, 12 January 2012

By Jiminy Cricket!

I've obviously got this ward councillor thing all wrong.

You see, after working for over a year on the planning application for 77-81 Whitley Street, meeting with residents, talking to businesses, working out through my own research that the application was actually for a Tesco Express, going through planning policy documents, speaking in person to the Communities and Government Director of Tesco, managing expectations of local businesses, attending and speaking at the public hearing, exchanging emails with Tesco's Head of Property Communication, delivering updates to residents and businesses, discovering "inexactitudes" in the applicants submission and working with council officers in the planning and highways departments to put the strongest case possible to the Planning Inspectorate... I was obviously a bit of an idiot.

I should have learnt from Labour's Little Book of Laissez-Faire Campaigning that all I needed to do was let someone else do all the work and then claim credit for it.

After all, how otherwise can you rationally account for the complete non-attendance at a public planning hearing and yet claim total credit for its findings?

But I perhaps do Labour a disservice. Their approach was even better than letting someone else do all the work.

It involved sitting on the fence until splinters in the bum became an occupational hazard. Yes. they could see both sides of the argument but once the result of the appeal was announced... they were "pleased".

I bet they had a "Great news as Tesco invest in Katesgrove" press release ready as well!

However, my faith in my constituents and local businesses in undiminished. This is a genuine exchange today from a conversation with a local shopkeeper after showing them the report in The Reading Chronicle with a picture of Labour Ausländers celebrating a Lib Dem win as their own:

Me:What do you think about this article?
Shop:[Points at picture] Who are they?
Me:Labour.
Shop:Never seen them.

[Reads article] **** off!

I’m going to tell everyone who buys this that this is rubbish. They did nothing. I’ve never seen them before. How can they lie like that?
Me:That’s politics!
But obviously I conceed that this could is an isolated case, apart maybe from...
  • Labour claiming sole credit for the Lok 'n' Store objections when the councillor didn't bother turning up at the hearing. Even more hilarious as if they'd mentioned the work of David Sutton and Richard Stainthorp they'd have had a lot of credibility as it was clearly, as far as residents were concerned, a cross-party piece of work. In contrast, I personally thanked Pete Ruhemann of his work!
  • Claiming credit for cleaning up the alley way behind Elgar Road when residents knew it was myself and Gareth who got it cleared and ridiculed Labour's leaflet.
  • Claiming credit for removal of double yellow lines in Collis Street when is was again over a year's worth of work by Gareth and myself.
  • Failing to mention that Lib Dems helped clean up Whitley Street Estate when the Neighbourhood Action Group had a litter pick [NAGs are meant to be apolitical - it is part of their constitution].
  • Claiming credit for the allocation of parking permits to Boults Walk and Compass House residents when it had been agreed before the election after work by the Lib Dem councillors.
  • Claiming credit for the doubling of residents permits which in fact I had pressured for and obtained the agreement of Richard Willis to restore the allocation before last May's election.
  • Attacking Lib Dems for a cut LABOUR had made to student waste collections.
Oh, there are more I could mention.

There is a term for these sort of tactics. It's called "The Big Lie". Orwell put it quite well:

The key-word here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts.”

And again:

“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed....”

Perhaps I should not mention the instance when a Labour councillor collected a petition against a licencing application, didn't turn up at the licencing hearing, didn't answer calls to a developer concerned about it... and never quite got around to mentioning to residents that he was a trustee of one of the organisations that was resident in the building making the application!

There is however a big problem for Labour. I have discovered the heartening fact that people remember what you do for them, not the lies published in political leaflets.

Labour are a parasitic organism leeching off those responsible for the actual work done.

The reverse socialist dream. Kind of apt!

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