IN THIS month’s blog, Mr Perrin reflects on the decision of the Labour Party to expel the 81-year-old "turbulent priest".
"As Cllr Aaron Kiely enters the last five months of his term as the “sham” Councillor for South Ockendon, I thought the readers of “Your Thurrock”, especially those who have followed and commented upon this shameful saga, might be interested to read as to how the Thurrock Labour Party dealt with another member of the Party (namely myself} .
On 16th October, 2014 I received a letter, dated 13th October, 2014, expelling me from the Labour Party as a result of the following:-
“We have been informed that you were recently witnessed distributing leaflets for UKIP in Essex.
Clause 2.1.4.B of the Labour Party’s rules states: “A member of the party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour Group or unit of the Party…… shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member, subject to the provisions of part 6.1.2. Of the disciplinary rules”. You are, therefore, no longer a member of the Labour Party and have been removed from the national membership system. You will no longer be entitled to attend local Labour Party meetings”.
The letter originated from the office of the “Head of Compliance Unit” and was signed by a person with the title “Compliance Officer”. Now there’s a Department and job title which would not be out of place in George Orwell’s novel “1984”.
I do not deny I was distributing UKIP leaflets but I am not a member and, apart from supporting UKIP on the issue of “uncontrolled immigration” I am not a committed supporter of UKIP.
In fact, at the time, I was also not a member of the Labour Party, having decided not to renew my membership effective 11th September, 2014. I was merely helping some friends who happened to be UKIP members and taking the opportunity to gage the support for UKIP on the “doorstep”. I was not endorsing the message, I was simply the messenger.
I suggest, therefore, the Labour Party is guilty of shooting the messenger rather than the writer of the message.
It seems the Labour Party consider fraternisation with any political organisation other than an official Labour Group or unit of the Party to be so heinous as to merit the severest of penalty, i.e. ostracism and expulsion, whilst at the same time condoning or at the very least turning a blind eye regarding the conduct of Cllr Kiely over the past 3 and a half years.
Bearing in mind that Cllr Kiely will continue his pretence and claim his allowances until May, 2015 and at risk of being accused of “raking over old coals” and for the benefit of those who may not be aware of the Kiely saga I repeat the following:-
Mr Kiely was elected in May 2011, as the Labour Party Councillor for the South Ockendon Ward, promising much but since then, apart from a few weeks immediately following his election, he is better known as the “absentee” Councillor rather than an active Councillor. During the past 3 years and 5 months the “wily” Cllr Kiely has contrived to attend two Council meetings each year, that being the minimum numbers of meetings Councillors are obligated to attend in order to qualify for the payment of an Â£8,000 p.a. allowance.
It is reasonable to assume that Cllr Kiely has, thus far, taken from the “public purse”, i.e. the taxpayer, Â£24,000 for about 12 hours attendance in the Council Chamber doing absolutely nothing and the guarantee of more to come till May 2015. Nice one Councillor! I am unable to talk about his work record as no such record exists. If he applied the same zeal and enthusiasm he gives to his role as an NUS National Executive Councillor to his duty and responsibilities as a paid elected Councillor his local reputation would not be so lowly esteemed.
As to the manner in which the Thurrock Labour Party, the Thurrock Council Labour Group and in particular Cllr John Kent as Leader of the Council have handled and continue to handle this problem it is nothing short of shameful.
In so far as I am aware, apart from a “reluctant” response from Cllr John Kent, when questioned about Kiely’s conduct, admitting he was “unable to defend the indefensible”, there has not been one word from the Thurrock Labour Party or the Labour Group rebuking Cllr Kiely. On the contrary. I have witnessed, from my seat in the public gallery in the Council Chamber, Labour Councillors loudly applauding Kiely and John Kent trying to mitigate Kiely’s record of absence by referring to the absenteeism of a Conservative Councillor as if that somehow justified Kiely’s absence. In my book two wrongs do not make a right.
For the past two years or more Cllr John Kent has claimed that there is an ongoing “internal inquiry” into the conduct of Cllr Kiely and he is, therefore, unable to make any comment.
I am inclined to the view that no such inquiry exists and that he has deliberately misled Councillors and the public and is using the “inquiry” as a means of avoiding answering any questions about Kiely;s conduct. Some may say Cllr John Kent is simply being “economical with the truth”. I have no truck with such terminology and believe if you are not telling the truth then you are lying.
So readers, if any there be, I leave you to judge who the greater transgressor is, Mr Kiely the “sham” Councillor “robbing” the taxpayer or myself, whose only “crime” has been to hold Councillors to account?
I suggest that the action taken against me by the local Labour Party was motivated more by spite than any fraternisation or support for a rival political party.