Local elections in Hillingdon – my view

The people of Hillingdon go to the ballot box in less than two weeks time to vote for their local councillors who will make up the Hillingdon council chamber for the next four years.

Four years ago I was heavily involved as the Chairman of UKIP Hillingdon and a council candidate in the Charville ward in Hayes End – we ended up as the third largest party in the Borough but with no councillors to show for it, in part due to a faulty strategy imposed on us from above to bolster the EU elections that were held on the same day and in part due to a complete mismatch of firepower on the doorstep in terms of activists and cash. Despite this, we came very close to winning in a couple of wards and affected results in others.

Fast forward to 2018 and there are no UKIP candidates standing, leaving around 18% of the total vote up for grabs. (I toyed with standing as an independent but current circumstances would have made that extremely difficult so decided against it.)  The Liberal Democrats are fielding fewer candidates (13) after their disastrous showing last time out, whilst the Greens have surprisingly managed to stand 38 candidates, up from the 22 they stood in 2014.

Labour and the Conservatives are, as usual, standing a full slate of 65 candidates across the 22 wards in the borough, with Labour claiming that they have a good chance of taking control of the council and promoting the idea through the hashtag #MarginalHillingdon.

So,as somebody who is politically homeless at present and with no UKIP candidates to vote for, I can cast my beady eye over the proceedings and with an independent outlook give my predictions for what may happen, cutting through the spin from the respective parties and candidates. Here is my take –

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Will the real Labour position ever be known on BREXIT?

During the BREXIT negotiations, one thing has remained a constant – the confusion surrounding Labour’s stance on where they stand on both membership of the EU and a vision for Britain outside the bloc.

Speaking recently, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP stated that his party has not ruled out giving support for a second referendum. Strangely, Shadow Northern Ireland minister Owen Smith was sacked by the party last month when calling for exactly the same thing!

McDonnell also stated that Labour are ‘walking a tightrope’ when it comes to their position on Brexit, suggesting that they are more concerned with losing votes than they are in putting forward a coherent vision for our country. With support for Labour now coming from the Middle Class Islington set after years of ignoring their working class heartlands, it would appear that they are afraid to lay out a position for fear of alienating either the remain supporting London vote or the leave supporting Northern electorate. So much for the ‘Men of integrity’, Corbyn and McDonnell!

Ominously, he also commented that they were prepared to show ‘flexibility’ on free movement of people in order to get a good deal for Financial Services companies and access to the Single Market. The hypocrisy of his position is amazing – McDonnell is always bashing financial services from his regressive left pulpit whilst claiming to stand up for the working classes who are most affected by free movement. Indeed, a few years ago McDonnell supported a series of demonstrations by the RMT Union about what they termed ‘Social Dumping’, the undercutting of their members by cheap imported labour – the very labour that McDonnell is now prepared to show ‘flexibility’ over.

What a slap in the face for those Trade Unionists who believed that Labour were standing up for their conditions in the workplace!

It is telling that many senior Labour politicians are wriggling and evading on the BREXIT position when their electorates gave them their instruction on June 23rd 2016 – Leave the European Union. Indeed, John McDonnell’s own constituency (Hayes & Harlington) recorded a 60% Leave vote, the highest of the three Parliamentary constituencies in Hillingdon and a larger mandate than neighbouring Uxbridge where Brexiteer Boris Johnson is the MP.

So, why the constant fudge? In my opinion, it is to keep the money coming from the large pro EU trade unions such as Unite and an attempt to be all things to all people in order not to split their vote at any upcoming General Election.

That Labour would put narrow party political interests ahead of the future of our country in refusing to lay out their stall on the biggest issue of this generation tells you all you need to know about their organisation. It is also why it is patently unfit to be near the levers of power in a post BREXIT UK.

London Mayor nearly doubles marketing spend while complaining of cuts

The massive increase in violent crime in London under Mayor Sadiq Khan has finally been commented on by the mainstream media, with murder figures in the last few months outstripping New York.

After hiding away for days after the initial headlines (A point brutally exposed on LBC Radio by presenter Tom Swarbrick), Khan has ventured out to apportion much of the blame to ‘Government Cuts’.

Whilst I will not defend Home Secretary Amber Rudd on this (Or her predecessor, Theresa May) who have both defenestrated our Police Force, it is interesting to note where Mayor Khan deploys the budget that he has at his command.

It has been much commented about that he now has 900 officers looking over ‘hate crime’ on line, something far less dangerous to life and limb than the knives and guns that have resulted in over 50 deaths on London streets this year and many more cases that have required hospital treatment.

Tonight saw another revelation in the pages of the London Evening Standard about his use of public funds, namely the increase in taxpayers cash spent on the GLA ‘self promotion budget’.

Political editor Joe Murphy reported on a freedom of information request that showed a rise in spending on publicity from £1.3million to £2.5 million in the past year, including a £300,000 increase in staffing for the Mayor’s media relations and marketing, taking it to a whopping £1,392,000 spent of YOUR money.

Mayor Khan’s spokesperson pointed out that cash had been ‘switched between different budgets’ in an attempt to defend the increase but the basic truth remains this – when lives are being lost on a daily basis in the Capital, for the Mayor to complain about cuts when spending the money he does have on self promotion is a total disgrace and a betrayal of the Londoner’s he has pledged to serve.

It is time for Sadiq Khan to put the wellbeing of the people of London before his Political ambitions or do the decent thing and resign.

Westminster Protest against anti Semitism

The ongoing rumblings about Labour anti Semitism have exploded in to a full blown crisis this week with revelations that Jeremy Corbyn is a member of a number of social media groups that feature anti Jewish tropes and that he questioned the removal of a mural depicting Jews as getting rich at the expense of the workers.

The Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies called a demonstration on Parliament Square earlier today where a letter was put in to the meeting of The Parliamentary Labour Party scheduled for this evening.

I arrived at the demonstration around 5.30pm to be greeted by the sight of over a thousand protesters waving placards, banners and Israeli flags. Off to the side under the statue of Churchill, a group of around a hundred under pop up banners of the JVL (Jewish Voice for Labour) counter demonstrated in defence of Jeremy Corbyn.

Many on the main demonstration tried to engage the Corbynistas in debate but it appeared futile. To try and gauge the feeling, I myself approached them and found a middle aged man in a leather jacket amenable to discussion. He advised me that Corbyn had fought anti Semitism all his life and this was just a Tory plot to try and stop the rise of socialism in the UK. The irony was not lost on me that whilst he was telling me this, principled Labour MP John Mann was on the platform speaking in favour of the demonstration and calling out anti Jewish bigotry.

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Gerry Adams gets a hot reception in London

Spring is in the air and along with the Daffodils, demonstrations proliferated across the country today.

Birmingham saw thousands march in support of Justice for the 21 and against terrorism, whilst in London an event that seemed to pass under the radar was also treated to a peaceful protest from Veterans and Patriots.

 

A conference named ‘Towards a United Ireland’ was held from 12pm at the TUC Headquarters on Great Russell Street where the keynote speaker was former Sinn Fein leader and alleged IRA commander, Gerry Adams, with support speakers including current SF leader Michelle O’Neill. What the TUC are doing hosting a meeting discussing sovereignty of a part of the UK baffles me as their remit is to be an umbrella group for trade unions, whose job is to support their member’s rights in the workplace, not interfering in politics.

Adams is also a highly controversial figure given his past associations and as a result, a number of veterans decided to peacefully protest the event, supported by patriots from a number of groups.

I arrived at just after 12pm when the attendees had already entered the building – a large presence was outside handing out leaflets about injustice towards our Armed Forces veterans in the province, many of whom are now seeing cases that were investigated and closed in the 1970’s re-opened whilst IRA members who killed innocent civilians were pardoned under The Good Friday Agreement.

Prominent were posters with Adams’ image alongside that of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 who was executed by the IRA for being ‘an informer’ – it is alleged that Adams authorised the killing and some of the veterans who were there who had flown in from Northern Ireland told me it was in reality because she had helped a wounded British soldier.

Other posters showed bloodied hands and placards had names of civilians, Police Officers and military who had been killed by the IRA with times and dates on them.

The gathering obviously had an effect on the speakers as Adams was smuggled in around the back rather than having to walk through the assembled peaceful demonstration at the front – a victory of sorts for those who came from across the UK to make their point.

By 12.30 it was obvious that no more people were coming through, so the protesters retired to various pubs and restaurants for lunch, agreeing to meet back at 4pm to catch the attendees on the way out.

None of the speakers were in evidence when we got back, but a number of conversations were had with people exiting the conference and putting across our point of view. The Police presence was quite heavy and I was informed by one of the officers that there had been an issue around 15 minutes before our arrival but I have no further information on that.

One thing that did strike me was the reaction of one of the event organisers towards us as she was putting equipment in the back of the sound van – “We love you lot”, she said with a sneer. It is a pity she doesn’t love the family of Jean McConville as much, an innocent woman executed by a bullet to the back of the head whose body was missing and therefore unable to be laid to rest for over 20 years by her grieving relatives.

 

Remain insults show they still don’t get the point

This piece was originally written for and published by MBGA News and Pax Britannica last week

This week has seen the Spring Conference of the pro EU Liberal Democrats and a speech from their leader, Sir Vince Cable, that shows why his party are becoming an irrelevance on the national stage – they are in denial about the Leave vote in the Referendum and have no idea what drove it.

Sir Vince stated in his keynote speech that older voters were driven by nostalgia and for a world where ‘faces were white’.

I was the co-ordinator for the Leave campaign in Hillingdon during the referendum, a West London Borough with a very diverse community. Funnily enough, those older white faces were in the more affluent North of our Borough which had the smallest leave vote – we had a 57% mandate to leave the EU across the borough but the strongest vote for our exit from the EU was in the Hayes & Harlington constituency at nearly 60%, a constituency that is a Labour stronghold and where White English people are now in the minority. Like Sir Vince, local MP John McDonnell dismissed the leave vote on the Sophy Ridge Show on Sky a few weeks later as being driven by ‘fear of the other’ and a ‘lack of information’

I had many memorable conversations on our street stalls in the area during the campaign, one of the most striking being with a Black South African who had been involved in the anti Apartheid campaign in his homeland during the 1980’s. He advised me that he was fully behind BREXIT as he had fought so hard to get his voice heard during those times – “I can’t believe that anybody would vote to give away their ability to elect those who represent them when I had to fight to get my right to vote”

Our team also heard many BME Britons talk about embracing the Commonwealth and those who had stood with us during the times when Europe was not such a peaceful place – they felt upset that well qualified friends and family of theirs who wanted to come to the UK and could contribute as engineers and medical staff were discriminated against in favour of white Europeans who were coming to do manual work. Indeed, a report published last week showed that EU migrants are costing the UK economy £4bn in benefits payments when our NHS is struggling to recruit trained staff from outside of the EU to fill the skills gap that has been exacerbated by the failure of our government to train the staff that we desperately need from our own labour pool.

 

Sir Vince also stated that the vote had crushed ‘The dreams and aspirations of younger people for years to come’. Maybe he has not consulted the younger people of Italy who see unemployment rates of over 40% and voted overwhelmingly last week for Eurosceptic parties in their national elections, or the unemployment rates amongst the youth of Greece and Spain whose economies have been crushed by the EU and their Euro currency to push their unemployment rates to similar levels? Is this the future you wish to see for the youth of our country in pursuit of the EU superstate Sir Vince?

 

Vince Cable represents the dreams of the 20th century, a protectionist bloc when tariffs were high and the world was a different place. BREXIT represents the dreams of the 21st Century – a UK that is outwardly looking, globally trading, independent and prosperous. A 21st century where your personal ability and hard work is the judge of who you are, not your skin colour, age, gender or religion.

His opinions should be left in the past along with his political party