Sunday, 4 March 2012

Labour blowing smoke over Boris Island

Boris Island... the cause of the battles
As the battle to stop the advances of Boris Island are taken up a notch local Labour have thrown their lot in with those that oppose it (everyone else) and have been doing a lot of campaigning out in the Peninsula and rural areas of Strood to get support for the "No campaign". This is very welcome, they are the second biggest party in Medway Council and their numbers when joined with the Conservatives (who represent the wards concerned) are numerous enough to make a real difference. For our part, the Libdems are working with our wards too. However, not to miss an opportunity there appears to be red smoke being blown. I must admit that I have been critical of the Conservative group within the Council in the past and although I have pro-Conservative leanings at times I am a Libdem through and through and so I speak as an outsider on this issue observing and stating my opinions.

I've spoken before about Local Government vs. National Government (here) and it is still applicable. One of the common calls by the Labour group has been "Two faced Tories." drawing, mostly, on the two heads of the Conservative party :- Local Government says one thing and National government seems to say another and over rule the other.

This comes down to really basic knowledge so here it is Politics 101;

National Government represents the Nation and National Interest.

Local Government represents the Local Communities and Local Interest.

So there it is... simple and easy? Now lets lets put this into an example.

The Mayor of London ( a Local Political figure) wants to increase the standing of his Locality better and has suggested a new Hub Airport. 

It just so happens that a National level Government the UK needs to increase AIRPORT CAPACITY so they are entertaining the ideas and opening up to consultation.(Had Boris Johnson suggested building a 90 foot statue of Winston Churchill in the middle of the estuary defiantly raising two fingers to Germany I'm absolutely positive that National Government would turn it down as it is not in the National interest.)

The areas suggested by the Mayor of London is to the west of the city in the Estuary so as not to ruin Green belt areas.

The Medway Council (Local Authority) - as well as South Essex councils and MPs are against the idea as it is not in the Local interest and would be environmentally damaging.

The only thing that muddies this is that ALL of these groups are Conservatives BUT it should be borne in mind that the two Local groups are representing their Localities and the National Government are looking at the National interest.

Clearly this is not a case of some scary Conservative plot.

Another point to make on this is that this has become yet another rod for Medway Labour to beat the Local Conservative Group with at a time when all of the local political groups should be united against the airport and working together for this end rather than trying to sway voters.

Also attached to this... the National Labour Party, which sits in the Houses of Parliament, has not ruled out an estuary airport. There are indeed supporters in this group who would back such a scheme. There are only two parties in Parliament who have categorically come out against the scheme and that is the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. Is this a case of Two faced Labour?

Also Ken Livingstone, who is running for Mayor of London has come out against the scheme (possibly for the votes but I'm not going to complain) but it may not be enough. I come back to the point that if it is in the NATIONAL interest then his opinion will mean nothing.

I do admit though that Justine Greening, minister for Transport, should have responded to the letter sent by the Council.

Point 2 is more of an observational point. There have been recent complaints as to the size of the badges produced for the "No Campaign" and the small amount of posters etc being deployed in comparison to the Anti- Cliffe campaign.

Well, times have changed and there is a distinct lack of money these days especially at the Council. A council who has recently out sourced two elderly care homes and cut back services etc. Where should this money come?
If they were to syphon off more money for this campaign would that not be stealing money from worthier causes? After all the fight is going on in Westminster, not in the streets of Medway. The same is also so for a referendum. National Government have to make serious and tough decisions and some decisions that are in the National interest will unfortunately be put through whatever the locals think.
Take Dungeness Nuclear reactor... did the locals want that? Or the people of Bewel in Sussex whose villages were then flooded for a massive reservoir? Nope... It is unfortunate but there it is, the needs of the nation will unfortunately always come first when it comes to national politics and governance.
Had the Council spent more on the campaign would they be under attack for wasting more of the Council tax payers money? Probably.

Also- the badge is only slightly smaller than my "Yes 2 AV" badge that I still proudly wear.

It feels that Medway Labour are trying to capture political ground and use a National decission and campaign to win points from the Local Conservatives. The divided approach and constant niggling is damaging the campaign and the supposed "United front" and is misleading the public.

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