Brexitty McBrexitface followed by business as usual
There’s a proverb about a week being a long time in politics. Anybody interested in citing this week as proof of that?
Where to start. Thursday morning the pleasant experience of hanging outside Green Dragon School encouraging people to vote (remain). Then most of the day in our Ealing Road HQ for the day coordinating people’s efforts at leafletting and canvassing. Late afternoon we closed the office for a bit and I went up to the Clayponds estate – lots of Labour voters and a fair smattering of both leavers and remainers amongst them. I returned to the office briefly then gave someone a lift back up to Clayponds to join the team. When I came back a neighbour put her head out of the door and said she’d seen someone going over the back fence, and I noticed one of the front upstairs windows was wide open. Going inside with some trepidation, I find nobody home but a nice big panel kicked out of the back door. OK, just as I get through to 999 a couple of the Met’s finest are knocking on the door. So that was a bit of a shock.
Back home for a shower to prepare for the count and then out to the Civic at about 11.30. Soon the results start coming in. Gibraltar looks excellent. The North East looks dodgy, and after a while the realisation dawns. If I had a shock earlier it was nothing to this one.
Friday was lost to shock and disbelief, glued to various media, watching Cameron resign and reflecting on the comedy of errors in our politics.
Jeremy Corbyn probably never wanted to be leader but was elected by accident and now can’t stand down. Cameron certainly did not want a referendum but won the General Election with an unexpected majority so had to deliver it. Boris Johnson didn’t want Brexit but wanted to be Tory leader and made the mistake of helping Brexit win, which also gave him no chance of becoming leader.
And the poor old public? Well, across England and Wales we voted for Brexit. Economic damage is inevitable, even now beginning to unfold, and whether it turns into a disaster depends on what we can negotiate as a continuing relationship with the entity we have just shoved two fingers up at. Boris and Gove and IDS backtracking like crazy from the promises they made before the vote and the likely outcome being a choice between economic isolation and probable really bad economic performance, or some kind of relationship with Europe involving uncontrolled (or mainly so) immigration, payments into EU funds without any rebate, complying with many EU directives without any say in them. A real triumph either way and I wonder how we’ll look back on this in a decade or two. Oh, meanwhile, Farage is busy going to the EU (not something he did a lot of before) sticking two fingers up in the most offensive way he can think of, to make sure they kick us out (a bit like Iceland you may say, but always remember that my mum was from Wales).
So.. into this week and business as usual. Meeting with my fellow councillors, the council leader and Hounslow’s head of development to talk about options for our local leisure centre. We’d really like a shiny new one but funds are tight so we’re looking at what can be achieved. It’s looking positive but early days yet and can’t say anything until matters clarify a little. Then down into the centre of Hounslow for Armed Forces Day. Nice weather so a short service of remembrance and respect was held outside the Church in Hounslow High Street. Soldiers old and new, including a 94 year old WW2 veteran, marching with the Irish Guards in their busbys but the Irish Wolfhound mascot wasn’t around, which was disappointing!
Back for a very interesting presentation with Brentford Community Council with the developers for the police station, Watermans Arts Centre and Max Factor sites. The idea is to site a new, improved and expanded Watermans within the police station site, facing Goddards, and speaking for myself I was quite heartened by all the proposals. The existing tower will come down and the new building will be substantially lower. The expectation on the riverside site is for 5 buildings of varying height with public space all around and improved river vistas from the road. All this is likely to come to planning in the autumn, and no doubt there will be public consultation beforehand.
Tuesday after a visit to the doc to get my still infected leg examined it was my first formal Audit Committee. We considered the Council’s draft accounts for last financial year, which have to be signed by the head of finance for 30 June, and approved them. They will now be audited and we will re-examine the audited accounts in the autumn, before final approval.
On Wednesday, after perplexing nurses who were attempting to dress my leg (‘we don’t have dressings big enough’) I went down to Isleworth for the launch of the newly refurbished water fountain dedicated to the late Rev Glossop. I recall that Glossop in Derbyshire was billed as the ‘first Transcendental Meditation town’ back in the days when the Maharishi used to sponsor parliamentary candidates so I thought I’d try to levitate to Isleworth. But sadly my consciousness isn’t pure enough, it seems, and my leg not being up to too much cycling I took the car. I then shot off, a few minutes late, to the Crematorium committee in Hanworth, texting Cllr Corinna Smart, the Chair, to apologise. Corinna phoned me and informed me that I was not 3 minutes late, but 24 hours and 3 minutes late. Before you start, remember what I said last week about why I’m a councillor and who’s responsible for that.
This morning it was another meeting of our working group re Lampton 360 and planned maintenance of our housing stock. A good meeting, all seems to be on track.
As for my luvverly Labour party… well, as some of you may have noticed we are having a bit of a barney at the moment, like our friends from the other party. If I knew what was really going on, I might tell you but the way I see it it is all about trying to get to the best position to get into power and start sorting out the mess that our friends from the other party have created. A week is a long time in politics, and next week no doubt we will have reached the sunlit uplands. Or maybe not.
July 1, 2016