Saturday, May 06, 2006

Tory town

It wasn't entirely unexpected, but the way it happened and the actuality are quite disappointing. The Tories won seats in Southgate and Ifield, and got lucky with the drawing of lots for Broadfield North (just as they did in Furnace Green and Maidenbower not so long ago).

So, from a Labour majority of 1 we go to a Tory majority of 1. Bob Lanzer will be the new leader. Duncan Crow will be the deputy. I wonder who else will be running departments. Will Brenda Burgess be tasked with trying to convince tenants to opt for Stock Transfer? Who will have to handle the travellers (and what will they actually DO, now that they have ruled out the only sensible option)? What cuts will they make:

Voluntary sector - currently CBC donates about £600,000 to local voluntary groups. None of them is a loony left 'muslim lesbian single mothers coffee morning' group. They include the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Crawley CVS. Any cuts here will not exactly chime with the national Tory line about using voluntary and charitable bodies to do good in the community

Community Wardens - Labour was going to increase the number of them. If the Tories don't or even more cut them, will that make our streets safer?

Raid the bank - Crawley is one of the few councils in the country which has kept itself debt free. In fact, there's some money in the bank. The easy option would be to spend that money to keep council tax down. However, the interest on it is also used to keep council tax down. So if you dip into those reserves and don't decrease revenue demands, all that will happen is that the savings will disappear. I'm all for using that capital to invest to make savings. But a Council Tax giveaway - while popular - will erode the financial position long term.

One thing I do know - we need a decent, united opposition on the Council. Part of the problem with the group appears to me that they didn't notice that a majority of 16 had gone down to a majority of 1. You can afford posture politics sometimes, but not with a single vote at play.

20 comments:

Richard W. Symonds said...

What will be an "effective opposition" ?

Well, the New Labour Blairites will have to get back to their Old Labour roots for a start - and that should include Laura Moffatt MP.

Nationally, I think the Labour Party must do to Blair what the Tory Party did to Thatcher - and fast.

If not, no-one will be able to tell the difference between a Cameronite or a Blairite.

The country, and this county, will become like the US : two right-wing party's (Republican/Democrat -Conservative/New Labour).

The UK will become just another 'client state' of the US (like Israel) - The "U.S.K.".

Any "USK" critic will be branded left-wing, old labour, socialist, liberal, radical, communist, terrorist sympathiser, or whatever.

It's already happening in the US under the Neoconservatives - it is starting to happen here (I've already been accused of sounding like "a paranoid Communist". It won't be long before 'they' have made me a member of the 'loony left', a communist, even a terrorist sympathiser - if ever they feel really threatened by me).

So, an effective opposition must somehow 'divorce' itself from Tony Blair and the Blairites.

It can't call itself 'socialist' - the word (not the vision) has been discredited.

But it can still call itself "Labour" (that word is not yet 'demonized' in the UK)('1945-2045 Labour'?), but must create an identity separate and distinct from "New Labour" (which is simply a Tory Party wearing red clothes).

Danivon said...

Richard, I'm looking at the local situation here. Very few of the Labour councillors are 'Blairite', if any of them ever were.

I do like your dire predictions of the future, though. Makes me start realising how optimistic I am.

Richard W. Symonds said...

If you are right about most Crawley Labour councillors not being Blairites, then I think that such councillors committed a grave error in NOT having the courage to stand up and be counted - especially about the Iraq war, which I think will go down in future history as a monstrous war crime in breach of international law.

These councillors have paid a high price for being political cowards -and have played a part in making the world (locally and globally) less safe.

If voters sympathetic to the Labour 'philosophy' felt that their local Labour councillor, who was representing them, had the courage to stand up and be counted (instead of towing the party line), I think there would have been more votes for Labour - and would have avoided what we saw last Thursday.

Danivon said...

Explain to me how a local borough councillor can 'stand up' against a war. I was opposed to the war, but as a councillor I was not going to be able to do much about it. What I was able to do was to continue to work for my constituents.

I agree on some areas, that the association between New Labour at a national level, and Labour at a local level loses us votes. Of course the reverse was true in the period when Labour was popular. To be honest. I don't think it makes a lot of difference - Chris Mullins was outspoken and he lost in Gossops Green two years ago.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Then perhaps our MP has more to answer for than originally thought.

Labour councillors appear (to me) to take a lead from their MP.

Interesting CEEFAX tonight "Blair 'targeted by Old Labour coup'" (7 May 22.40). Out of those 50 back-bench Labour MP's mentioned, something tells me our Laura will not be among them.

The fact that this 'Old Labour coup' is part of a larger 'right wing' plot is beyond the understanding of most of us.

Dani, Blair's 'special relationship' with the US Republican Neo-Cons is damaging the Labour Party - to such an extent that most voters can't tell the difference between a Cameronite Tory and a New Labour Blairite.

Laura Moffatt MP has damaged the Labour Party by her over-obedience to Blair - and thus Bush.

Labour Councillors have damaged the Labour Party by their over-obedience to Laura Moffatt - and thus Blair.

So everybody was so far up each others backside that they were unable to mae the obvious point to the electorate that the Tories were also pro-Iraq war - and they (especially the 'shower' at County Hall) were far more to blame for the huge problems in Crawley.

Blair's gotta go (and quickly) if the Labour Party wants to survive.

The question is : Which way will Laura jump ?

Richard W. Symonds said...

By the way, I'm going to try for a 're-vote' in the Ifield Ward.

Danivon said...

Because of the postal ballots farce?

Local councillors do not take a lead from the MP. Remember that there was no Labour MP until 1997 here - Councillors were acting without needing direction or inspiration from Laura Moffat for years, and continued to afterwards. They don't owe their position to her, and don't need to be 'obedient' to her either.

I think you have a strange idea of how the Party works. Were you a member?

Richard W. Symonds said...

No

Richard W. Symonds said...

And yes, primarily because of the postal votes "blunder" (Crawley News Front Page, April 26/Crawley Observer, May 3, Page 6)...

And because of the disturbing cheer from the BNP when the Tory result was announced early Friday morning...

And because...

El Tom said...

Hhhm. just think how I feel having lived in Woking for the last 4 years.

oh, and you might be interested in this...

Danivon said...

That link is broken, Tom. And I really wanted to see some pictures of the old toblerones...

Danivon said...

Richard:

Well, we all know that there are some on the finges of the Tory Party with more right wing tendencies, and that the BNP and UKIP in Crawley have a shared history. I seem to remember they were just as happy at the 2004 count when Tories made gains.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Dani : Can you give me any clues as to why John Stanley is not challenging the validity of the Ifield vote - or maybe he is...

Am I missing something - as an 'outsider' to the mysteries of being a Party member :)

I've just been accused by a young Tory of "sounding like a paranoid communist" - well, that's a new one !

Never been a Party member of that either !

Danivon said...

I don't know if John is or is not challenging the poll. I haven't seen him since the election.

Are you missing anything? I don't know. A lot of internal politics in the Party is a turn off for many people, frankly. Ifield Ward Labour Party has itself somewhat of a reputation. But being on the outside, it's difficult for anyone to understand what goes on in any organisation.

Anyway, Orwell managed to remain a member of the Labour Party and/or ILP - even if he wasn't always comfortable with the leadership or policies.

You mean you didn't notice? The whole 'client state' thing is a bit paranoid, no?

Richard W. Symonds said...

Real politik, not real paranoia...

Read more Chomsky...and Orwell :)

Danivon said...

Chomsky does my head in. Besides, I know more about his work in liguistics, and he got stuck in his semantic rut, refusing to entertain more up to date theories.

So, he made a massive impact, and then kept banging out the same tired line without pausing to see what has changed since

Richard W. Symonds said...

And what has changed since ?

Danivon said...

Linguistics moved on, considering context as much as syntax. Chomsky has some odd ideas about language - that grammar came first.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Interesting to hear you say that Chomsky had some "odd ideas about language", considering he has been described as "The Einstein of Modern Linguistics" - but thereagain Einstein's views (especially his socialism) have been described as more than "odd" -some would say "paranoid ravings" !

Chomsky, for all his faults, will go down in future history as a 'secular prophet' who had an abiding commitment to language as the partner of truth.

I would describe him as America's George Orwell - one of the greatest critical thinkers the 20th Century has produced.

Chomsky also has the courage to put his words into action.

Andbefore you say it, I am not a Chomskyite 'groupie' - but, to my mind, his 'take on life' (especially his merciless analysis on global real politik) is the least implausible explanation of what is going on in our (inner and outer)world.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Dani, I've only just picked up your comments about Orwell (on the RWS site).

I will have to learn how to manage these sites - but in the meantime...Orwell...yeah, my kind of guy - and he's English !

A democratic socialist of the 'English school'...and basically 'says all that needs to be said' with Animal Farm and 1984...along with "Orwell and Politics" (Penguin Classics 2001).