Shaking the grassroots of suburbia

February 23, 2010 12:18 pm

Author:

Share this Article

Rupa

By Rupa Huq

When New Labour came to power it was middle England that was said to dictate who won. This time round it’s likely to be those areas seen as, well, a little naff, on the edges if our cities: the suburbs. If the 300+ strong packed-to-the rafters meeting I attended last night at Ealing Town Hall is anything to go by, suburbanites are not impressed by the Tories and we stand a fighting chance there.

Yesterday’s shindig was organised by Save Ealing’s Centre, a pressure group of local residents’ associations in the borough once known as “queen of the suburbs” but now suffering creeping dilapidation under a Tory administration since 2006.

The meeting had an election rally type significance. Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem General Election candidates gathered from the new Ealing Central and Acton seat, which is theoretically a three way marginal, although on the evidence of the European and Mayoral elections, it looks like Labour may be ahead and the Lib Dems imploded. The Green candidate, who’d lost her voice, sent an emissiary to read a statement that seemed contrary to what everyone wanted, i.e., “no more shops”.

Some observations then:

1. The Ashcroft-funded Angie Bray seemed a jolly hockey sticks type who deferred to Councillor David Millican alongside her on the platform on just about everything. Understandable, as she lives in Chiswick.

2. There was a very “anti-developer” vibe in the room. The chair, News 24′s Stephen Sackur rephrased one question as “it seems the developers are a fat puppy and Ealing Council are prepared to let it roll over and say ‘tickle me’.”

3. Lib Dems seem to contradict themselves on everything, well brought out by the Forensic Sackur.

4. Labour’s Bassam Mafouz and group leader Julian Bell did well to expose the difference between what Angie Bray was saying and what Boris has actually done.

The biggest jeer of the night was directed at the Tory council, when my fellow council candidate Wiktor Moszczynski asked for an assurance that they would block all future high rise development – an assurance they wouldn’t give. I also got a laugh for pointing out that on the day that Poundland declared itself as the “winner” of the recession, with a new store opening per week, the one in west Ealing had closed down. Boris might think he’s got the suburbs sewn up, but last night told a very different story – I got the sense that the suburbs are, well, revolting!

Anyway to follow all this up further I’d like to invite every LabourList reader over to Ealing and more specifically Walpole ward, where I am a candidate, on Saturday. It’s one we need to win back after the ’06 debacle in which Labour lost the council. Details of our mass canvass are at the inevitable Facebook group.

Finally, seeing as I didn’t take a camera along last night, instead here’s a photo of Hilary Benn (current Ealing borough resident and Walpole councillor 1979 – ’99) with myself and the other two advising us on campaign tactics. I can’t promise he’ll be there on Saturday as his constituency is in Leeds, but a lot of other interesting people will.

For more details on our campaign, please e-mail walpole.labour@activist.com or telephone Paul Conlan on 07808 930917. And join our Facebook group here.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • Featured The Top 100 UKIP leaning Labour seats

    The Top 100 UKIP leaning Labour seats

    By Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin In our recent book, Revolt on the Right, we compiled a list of the most demographically receptive seats in the country for Ukip. This allowed us to rank all seats in the country according to how favourable their populations are for Ukip, using the most recent census data. The ideal seats for Ukip share key characteristics: they have lots of ‘left behind’ voters who we also know from our research are the most receptive to Ukip and […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Polling Clacton polling: What does it say for Labour?

    Clacton polling: What does it say for Labour?

    The date for the by-election in Clacton was confirmed this morning as Thursday, October 9th – not only the day after the Lib Dem conference finishes but also David Cameron’s birthday. The two polls so far in the constituency do not point to many happy returns for the Prime Minister, as the result appears to be a foregone conclusion. At the weekend, a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday gave UKIP a 44% lead over the second place Tories. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Does Labour have a problem with black men?

    Does Labour have a problem with black men?

    Now that may seem a strange question for a Party that has both Chuka Umunna and Sadiq Khan in its Shadow Cabinet but something troubling is emerging from the current round of Parliamentary selections. Of the 100 constituencies where Labour hopes to make gains or when Labour MPs have announced their retirement/parliamentary by-elections since 2010 so far just three have selected a BME male candidate. And this is from a section of society which is immensely loyal to the Labour […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Why are you Labour?

    Why are you Labour?

    Why are you a member of the Labour Party? I’d been a member for years when someone first asked me that question. On some level I guess I knew the answer, but no-one at any Constituency Labour Party meeting, canvassing session, conference – or even in the pub  –  had ever outright asked me the question. It was Arnie Graf – an American, rather than someone steeped in the party their whole life – who asked me. It was an obvious […]

    Read more →
  • News Eddie Izzard commits to running for “Parliament or Mayor” by 2020

    Eddie Izzard commits to running for “Parliament or Mayor” by 2020

    Comic and actor Eddie Izzard has reaffirmed his longstanding commitment to entering electoral politics by 2020, by going for a Labour parliamentary selection or London Mayor. Izzard is a lifelong Labour supporter (and Londoner) and has spoken in the past of his desire to become London Mayor. However, the recent announcement that Boris Johnson does not intend to stand for a third term has raised the chances of Labour winning the mayoralty in 2016, and thus there being a Labour incumbent in […]

    Read more →