Blog post: A word in your ear from Mr Perrin;
Date posted: 12-09-2012
By Peter Perrin
“I agree with the comments made by Mrs Dee Lodge and Mr John Noon in the Your Thurrock story titled “Belhus councillors slammed for “hi-jacking” community campaigns” and I understand and sympathise with their anger and hurt.
However I am not surprised by such conduct, claiming credit for other people’s hard work and achievements comes naturally to Councillors and other politicians as recently witnessed by the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London regarding the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games.
Why have the Belhus Councillors, apparently, been singled out for criticism? I can only surmise it is their propensity to a condition known as “foot-in-mouth” which manifests itself as a result of their actions or inactions. All three Councillors were elected by the residents of the Belhus Ward to represent them in Council and promote the Belhus residents interests and well-being, instead they have regularly promoted the well-being and interests of the residents of the South Ockendon Ward at the expense of the residents of Belhus.
For example they actually opposed a petition, organised by Mrs Lodge , signed by Belhus residents regarding heavy goods vehicles [HGVs] thundering past their homes day and night but supported a campaign regarding HGVs in the South Ockendon Ward preventing HGVs from entering South Road from both directions thereby increasing HGV traffic along West Road, Arisdale Avenue, Daiglen Drive and Stifford Road. So residents of Belhus, as you lie in bed at night and are disturbed by the noise of HGVs thundering past your home or are worried about your children going to and from school or your elderly parents going to the shops you know who to blame your “we do not care” Councillors.
Co-incidentally two of the Councillors live in Brandon Groves which is off South Road, a NIMBY [not in my back yard] attitude if ever there was.
The Belhus Councillors also refused to support the campaign, again organised by Mrs Lodge, making people aware of the serious risk to the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families arising from the presence of toxic black mould in their homes, they even went so far as to imply that Mrs Lodge was simply “scaremongering” by identifying black mould as a category 1 hazard.
Now that the campaign has attracted nation-wide attention and has forced Thurrock Council to take action to deal with the problem it is no surprise that Councillors are “falling over themselves” to be identified with the campaign and to claim credit as concerned Councillors.
Then there is the “two hatted” Cllr Sue Gray who believes her role as Chair of the South Ockendon Residents Association [SORA] [elected by 6 friends] is more important than her role as a paid Councillor [elected by 500 voters] [paid from the public purse i.e the tax-payer].
This Councillor is more prone to “foot-in-mouth” than most other Councillors, it was she who circulated a racist email claiming she had not read it before passing it on and was unaware of its content.
I have personally been the “victim” of her claiming credit where credit was not due and using it to her advantage
To be fair it is not only the Belhus Councillors who attract criticism nor is it only Labour Councillors but it would seem that Labour Councillors, fairly or unfairly, cause more adverse comment and their conduct seems to invite controversy.
Leader of the Labour Group Cllr John Kent appeared to condone a questionable decision when he allowed the then Mayor, Mrs Cheale, to block the selection of Yash Gupta as the Labour mayoral candidate. Because he needed her casting vote to retain control of the Council he caved in without questioning her motives.
I was subsequently told that Mrs Cheale also made it known that she would not vote for the Conservative candidate Cllr Tunde Ojetola. Make of that what you will but I am firmly of one opinion and it should have been dealt with accordingly.
Cllrs Kent and Anderson abjectly surrendered to Mrs Cheale’s demands and withdrew their support for their respective candidates and considered it a price well worth paying in the battle to gain control of the Council.
The controversy arising as a consequence of the absentee Cllr Kiely is another example of Cllr Kent failing to exhibit strong leadership by taking firm action against the wayward Cllr Kiely and demanding that he honour his obligations as a Councillor or face disciplinary action such as withdrawal of the Party “whip”, thereby making it clear that the Labour Party were not prepared to continue to support him and would not recognise him as a Labour Party Councillor. I doubt any action will be taken as, yet again, maintaining control of the Council must be achieved at any cost.
Some people question the quality and commitment of certain Labour Councillors and wonder why they were selected or worse, taking account of a previous record, re-selected. I suggest they were selected precisely because of their limitations and could, therefore, be relied upon to toe the Party line without questioning and would present no threat to the “elite” Labour Councillors. It may be argued that they could not be that bad as they were elected by a majority vote but I rebut that suggestion and point out that most people vote for a political Party rather than an individual candidate who, probably, would not be recognised when passing. The ability and commitment of the candidate is determined by the Party selection panel and the voter has no choice other than to accept what is offered.
The primary objective of a Party Councillor is to promote and protect the Party’s interests at all cost. So we should not be surprised when they are unashamedly hypocritical, economical with the truth, “spin” facts and figures to suit their own purpose, whose conscience is untroubled when claiming credit on the backs of other peoples efforts but are equally untroubled to shift the blame to others when things go wrong. It is what politicians do!