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

  • Comment Why Britain’s women won’t “calm down”

    Why Britain’s women won’t “calm down”

    From November 4th until the end of 2014, women across the country will effectively be working for free. The gender pay gap means that women are paid on average 15% less than their male counterparts; we have to work an extra 60 days annually to earn the same amount as a man doing the same job. For black and minority ethnic women, the pay gap is 20%. Women in Britain need a pay rise. It was heartening to see so many […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Get used to hearing a lot more of what Cameron’s Tories really think…

    Get used to hearing a lot more of what Cameron’s Tories really think…

    The revelation earlier this week that government welfare minister Lord Freud had referred to disabled people as ‘not worth the full [minimum] wage’ seemed somewhat familiar – and not only because of the Prime Minister’s repeated assertion that, when it comes to disabled people, anything his government does is above criticism. Fans of longstanding rent-a-reactionary-view Philip ‘why it is so offensive to black up your face’ Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, will remember that he made the same point in […]

    Read more →
  • News “I rule it out”: Burnham says he won’t be making a leadership bid

    “I rule it out”: Burnham says he won’t be making a leadership bid

    Andy Burnham has been named in several newspapers lately as a possible future Labour leadership candidate, but he was keen to scotch such rumours when he appeared on Marr this morning, saying: “I rule it out… No, I am [a] Labour loyalist to my core. I am loyal to the leader, and the leader of our party, Ed Miliband, has said, the NHS will be his big priority going towards this election. I am 100% focused on developing a plan for the […]

    Read more →
  • News Tory minister: “disabled people work harder because they’re grateful to have a job”

    Tory minister: “disabled people work harder because they’re grateful to have a job”

    Tory Minister Lord Freud was put under pressure this week after he suggested that disabled people were “not worth” the minimum wage. Today another Tory Minister appears to have make similarly ill-judged (and revealing) comments about the Tory Party’s approach to disabled workers. The Independent on Sunday reports that Andrew Selous – the former parliamentary aide to Iain Duncan Smith and now a Justice Minister – told a fringe meeting: “disabled people work harder because they’re grateful to have a job”. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Our party should welcome a debate with Farage – and we can win it

    Our party should welcome a debate with Farage – and we can win it

    By James Dray and Lewis Iwu Should UKIP be part of the televised election debates? Forget for a minute the question of whether or not Farage should be entitled to be there; instead, let’s look at the real question; can we beat him? A man who significant numbers of people see the rather obvious faults of but still really rather like? A man who decimated Nick Clegg in the European debates? We think that we can, and more importantly, we […]

    Read more →
7ads6x98y