Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Slaughter to the rescue - oh, no, Slaughter to the slaughter


Just 24 hours to go before the electoral meltdown begins and we can start ticking off the remaining days of the Blair regime. Coincidentally, I'm sure, this is the day when I happen to receive another emailed newsletter from my ex-MP, Andrew Slaughter (who has not replied to my last email about the Legislative & Regulatory Reform Bill). I'm going to get myself taken off his list, since I'm no longer his constituent, but it's interesting nevertheless to read his last-minute pleading for votes.

Slaughter chooses not to lay into the BNP (although more on them in a moment) but desperately tries nevertheless to persuade us that the Tories fighting for control of Hammersmith Council are little better:
The Tory strategy borrows from the Libdem Focus pavement politics campaign, where every street and many individuals are named to give a faux-local feel to what are often nationally-produced leaflets. But ironically it is the hard right of the Tory party – often using Lord Ashcroft’s money - that is pioneering it. Still very powerful, this faction – known by other conservatives as the Tory Taliban – knows its ideas are unpopular, but wants to slide its supporters into winnable seats whether in councils or Parliament. They are to the Tories what Militant was to Labour in the 1980s, but better-resourced and connected, and therefore more dangerous. They are happy to pick up centrist votes on the coattails of Cameron, but they are no friends of his. The Tory candidates in H&F are overwhelmingly pro-Liam Fox, the defeated right-wing candidate, and three of the four sitting councillors who supported Cameron have been deselected.

Two of these, Emile al-Uzaizi and Amanda Lloyd-Harris, are standing as independents and are running neck-and-neck with the official stooges in Palace Riverside - the safest Tory ward in London. Emile and Amanda point out rather bewilderedly that they have given 30 years loyal service to the party, held senior positions and thought, with Cameron’s accession, that their time had come. Emile is gay, half-Arab and on the wet wing of the party. Amanda is a single parent who hails from the Antipodes. Just the sort of candidates Dave the Chameleon says he wants – but they were dumped for identikit hoorays. Perhaps Eton is still more important than diversity in the new Tory party.

But while this is all fun, the consequences for non-yuppies in H&F will be dire if the Tories win on Thursday. The Tory Taliban openly boast that they will turn Hammersmith into Wandsworth mark 2. That means £50 million in cuts, mainly in education and social services, but also in Neighbourhood Policing (which H&F uniquely funds) and street services like the popular orange-sack recycling and Smarter Borough seven-day-a-week street cleaning operation. But the damage will be more lasting than this. They plan the same type of social engineering pioneered by Wandsworth and Westminster in the 1980s. No more social housing, only riverside penthouse development: driving the poor out of the centre of cities so they can become playgrounds for the super rich.
While all the above is possibly true (and I wouldn't take any Labour MP's word for anything, especially during an election campaign), the fact is that Slaughter is on a hiding to nothing. The Tories are widely predicted to take Hammersmith & Fulham and sending dire messages to his local supporters (many of whom actually live in Ealing and not in Hammersmith & Fulham at all, much of which is under the Tory MP, Greg Hands, who probably has a very different story to tell) won't do Slaughter and his party any favours at a local level.

Anyway, it's Slaughter's turn to invoke the BNP Demon:
H&F also has its first BNP candidate standing in a marginal ward in Fulham. I feel there is some irony that he chose here to stand, where almost every street reveals redevelopment needed to replace houses destroyed by the Luftwaffe. My father remembers demonstrating when Mosley tried to speak at Olympia 70 years ago. It is a pity that, with the knowledge of the Holocaust and other extreme consequences of racial hatred, fascists still bid for our votes. There is one easy remedy. See that they are rejected and humiliated.
Preaching to the converted, there, Andrew. Still, good to see you're following the national strategy of warning about a BNP takeover if Labour supporters fail to turn out tomorrow. It's not going to happen - and, even if it did, BNP councillors have an appalling record of corruption, in-fighting and disregard for their constituents, which nearly always results in their resignation or rejection at the next election.

Slaughter continues:
And no abuse. This may partly be because targeting means you spend ever more time persuading your supporters to vote than trying to change others’ minds. But there are more real achievements to point to than four years ago - don’t take my word for it go to Polly Toynbee's column. At one residents meeting last month I felt I was in the ‘If Carlsberg did…’ ad. In response to questions the Labour councillors were able to talk about: new kitchens and bathrooms, roofs and windows for council flats; the new leisure centre and swimming pool; the new health centre; better results and new buildings in local schools; new bus services; the new neighbourhood police team… Not that everything was going well, but there was plenty to point to that was improving the quality of life locally. I have heard less criticism of local councils at this election than any previous, but will that be enough to save Labour seats if there is a national swing to the other parties?
Thanks for the link to Toynbee's column, Andy. Somehow I missed it. It's exactly the kind of tongue-up-Blair's-arse that she has mastered, and of which I complained in yesterday's post. Read it and weep. Anyway, the rest of what Slaughter says above is the Kitty Ussher tactic: tell the voters that you can't understand why people think Labour's going to lose when everything's going so well. I think Slaughter and Ussher (sounds like a firm of funeral directors, doesn't it?) know damn well why there's going to be a catastrophe tomorrow. It's the old sleight of hand thing, again - "don't look over there, look over here, no, here, don't look around my eyes..."

And here's the master stroke; his final paragraph:
The problem is some voters use local elections not to decide who should run local services but to give a progress report on the Government (shocking, I know). While I would not try to deny that there are some little national difficulties, I also feel both public and politicians are being set up. The media is bored with Blair as PM, they want to get on to Brown v Cameron, and they see bad local election results as their best chance of tipping over the Blair bandwagon at last.
Little national difficulties??? And what's all this about blaming the media? The media is bored with Blair? How about every fucking British citizen is sickened with Blair and his neo-fascist policies? How about every other Labour supporter is seething with ill-repressed fury that this vile, patronising man has taken our party and shoved it so far to the Right it's about to fall off the edge of the world? How about I'm fucking glad you're not my MP any more, Andrew Slaughter?


Post a Comment

<< Home