Ealing Labour has lost the argument

Julian Bell head in handsIn his last chance to lay out Labour’s case for the local elections this Thursday Labour leader Julian Bell had nothing positive to say. No new ideas. No policies to explain. Instead he laid into the local Conservatives.

He first talked about proposed changes to the NHS. He blames the “Tories” for these changes without mentioning that the driver for “Shaping a Healthier Future” is Labour’s own £20 billion Nicholson Challenge programme which was kicked off in 2009 by Andrew Burnham. Labour’s attempt to rebrand their own policy has been going on for four years now. The proposals we are having to endure were dreamt up by NHS managers in response to a financial constraint that was built into the NHS already in May 2010. None of us like their donut solution which leaves our borough with an A&E hole. But, the courts agreed the process was sound when the council took it to judicial review. The Independent Reconfiguration Panel agreed with NHS North West London’s proposals. The only actor in this whole drama who has given Ealing any relief is the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt. Bell and Labour may denigrate Hunt’s promise but it is the best we have had so far. What you will not hear is any Labour politician saying that Ed Balls is going to spend £20 billion undoing Nicholson. Come on Cllr Bell – if Labour is going to undo these changes let’s hear about it. So far we have a promise from Hunt and nothing from Labour.

Bell then goes back to the cuts chant he has been repeating for four years. His argument is rather undermined by council questions (questions 41 and 42), formally answered by council officers, that show that the council is spending much more money than it was in 2010 and is employing the same headcount pretty much. After “unprecedented cuts” the council is the same size as, or even bigger than, it was in 2010. Once you get out of the local government finance hall of mirrors you are left with a huge organisation that is still huge.

Again, you will not hear any Labour politician promising to unwind the tighter financial settlement being imposed on councils.

Labour is trying to scare voters with stories about how extravagant the Conservatives’ pledge card is – at least ours makes some promises unlike Labour’s which is not exactly tangible. In reality our promises are very modest and affordable.

Three years of council tax freeze are already built into the council’s medium term financial strategy (MTFS). The MTFS assumes that parking charges will not rise. The garden tax pledge will cost about 0.15% of the council’s total spending. The roads promise is a choice – there are lots of things we won’t do but we will prioritise the road outside your house. Labour found the money for a useless car park in Southall. Any spare money will go on the road outside your house if the Conservatives are in charge.

Julian Bell and the Ealing Labour party have lost the argument. They are left with cheap insults and scaremongering. The fact is that everyone is talking about the Conservative offer and they like what they see.

Freeze strap

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2 Responses to Ealing Labour has lost the argument

  1. Henry says:

    Good result for the Tories then. Surely that should tell you that the people of Ealing whole-heartedly support the Labour Council and Ealing is very much a Labour borough (having also voted against Johnson in the Mayor Elections of 2012)? Ealing has conclusively voted Labour and rejected the Tories.

  2. Mark Walder says:

    Do not give up!

    The karmic wheel goes around and will go around again. There are plenty of focii in Ealing, especially the Northfields and South Ealing area that demand your attention. The Ealing Fields Residents Association needs someone to champion its campaign to stop the relentless onslaught of the illegal building work going on on the Assyrian House in South Ealing. The West Ealing Neighbours needs someone near the top that isn’t a complete nincompoop like Eric Alan Leach. The Ealing Civic Society, the Ealing Hstorical Society, the Selbourne Society… all could do with professional input. The potential is there to have the Assyrian House turned into a listed building (a classic of its times with its beautiful cupola when it was St Mary’s Church Hall), and the trees around it could have tree preservation orders put on it. Then the cupola could be restored….
    Rupa Huq’s family businesses (try the free company director search facilities provided by various organisations on the Internet) bear scrutiny as the General Election looms.
    There is so much to do…
    If you want to do more business-oriented things I think that you should try writing analysis on technology and related markets for organisations such as Gartner Group (high end), or Frost and Sullivan (low end). Both use “freelance” material and it can be very well paid. I would not advise consultancy – try non-customer facing analysis.
    I am deeply suspicious of anyone senior in the BBC or associated with the BBC so your comments have not upset me. However, possibly an examination of the philosophy of truth, points of view and multiple truths might serve to give you insight into the situation you are in. The thing is not to do a Dennehy and go UKIP!
    Personally, from your interest in local issues and the content of your blogs I think you are more of a Liberal Democrat than a Conservative at heart.
    On a final note, I have, on occasion been on the sharp end of some of your enthusiasms, and while I have forgiven you the damage you caused, I still think that an examination of truth, and the multiple truths that can be associated with a given instance in time or given situation may help you to break through into bigger things.
    Best regards,
    Mark.

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