|Council Conflict Over Palestine Town Twinning Meeting
Labour accused of 'distracting public from real issues facing local government'
A special meeting of the Borough Council to discuss the issue of Hounslow’s town twinning arrangement with Ramallah in Palestine has been branded "a complete waste of time and money" by Conservative councillors.
He said that the Labour Party were looking to "distract the public from the real issues facing local government" with a "stunt will win them a few votes in the local elections.”
Paul Hughes-Smith, of West London's Palestine Solidarity Campaign commented "This seems to be as much an issue of interparty fighting on the council as it is about giving support to the beleaguered citizens of Ramallah and helping people in Hounslow to benefit from possible cultural,social and educational interchange with another part of the world. I don't think there is any expectation that if the twinning is revived, vast amounts of council funds will be devoted to it. Whatever exchanges and dialogue that might be set up would probably have to be funded from elsewhere but the imprimatur of the council will help to facilitate this and also the use of council premises for meetings and perhaps some clerical help might be all that is required.
Councillor Andrew Dakers explains why he did not vote in favour “The goals of the Hounslow-Ramallah Town Twinning Association, as I explained in full Council, I fully support. Hounslow is hugely diverse and where local residents want to establish active twinning relationships with different parts of the world, this is to be welcomed. Well run it should be of cultural, social and economic benefit.
“Clearly the timing of this motion debate was unfortunate as this is a politically heated period prior to 6 May where Labour and the Tories seem intent on slinging mud at each other. This community project unfortunately got stuck in the cross-fire.
“Given the motion clearly was not going to get majority support on Tuesday night, I decided it was best to support deferral of the motion until after the election. This has the advantage of giving Council officers more time to produce a report on the proposals for councillors. The report can put the twinning relationship in context and consider how it would work best in practice.”
April 30, 2010