I’ve heard that a Labour Councillor, Lewis Cox, Hobbayne, resigned last night & his resignation statement doesnt make good reading, this was from another page: It’s now just over three years since I was elected a Labour councillor by the residents of Hobbayne ward. I remember that election night well. It was a huge moment of personal pride for me that the people of the community where I live would put their trust in me to look after their interests. It was also a surprise. There’s still a very real sense that people like me don’t get elected as councillors – that they don’t get elected to very much, really. But back in 2017, when I was first selected as a candidate, there was a real sense of change in the Labour Party. A sense of hope. It became possible to believe that a working-class lad from Yorkshire, working shifts as cabin crew for an airline at Heathrow might not only be able to get elected but might have a voice and something to add within the Ealing Labour Group and Council, which would make a difference and help improve people’s lives.Of course, it wasn’t all plain sailing. The establishment of the Labour Party locally (people who were leaders then and are leaders now) threw every possible obstacle they could find in the way to prevent me – and members like me – from becoming candidates, let alone councillors. I will admit, it made my victory twice as sweet when I managed to dodge those obstacles and, despite not being wanted, getting myself elected as a Labour councillor in Ealing.The only benefit to that, as far as I can tell was that it allowed me to join Labour Group with eyes wide open – to know that I’d be met with disinterest, if not open hostility, and that I’d be forever consigned to the back benches, at least until the time that I promised my vote to a candidate for Labour Group leader who did not deserve it. For ours is not a system of meritocracy, where the most qualified or most experienced are put in the Cabinet or gifted roles with responsibility-so that we might best serve the interests of residents. No – it was when I joined, and remains tonight, a system very much based on patronage, back-room deals and cronyism.I’m afraid that has very much been my experience of these past three years. Nonetheless, for much of it I have got my head down and done the work required of a ward councillor – looking after the needs of Hobbayne residents. I have tried, when I can, to challenge decisions I think are wrong and to hold the Labour Group leadership and its appointees to account. I have hoped for a time when the situation might change, when we could have a fresh leadership and be better – and do better- than we have for years. Ealing Labour is increasingly a toxic brand. Something had to change. However, not all change is good. That is a realisation that I have come to. And one which I fear the residents of Ealing are about to realise.A week ago, at Labour Group AGM, I was faced with a choice that was really no choice at all. To vote as our leader a person that had done untold damage to the reputation of Ealing Labour for year after year, or to vote for his apprentice – effectively for a person who was no less implicated in many of the bad decisions that have turned residents against us and, worse still, who played a key role in widening the divisions in the Labour Party for factional ends. Members will understand why, in the end, I voted for neither.I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this past week – about my decision but also about the outcome of that vote and what it will mean for Ealing Labour and Ealing Council – none of it good. I’ve reflected too on the bitter disappointment I feel with regard to my fellow councillors – those who didn’t take a principled stand, look at what we were being offered as a choice for Labour Group leader, and see and say ‘No, it’s simply not good enough’. Instead, I see many of those councillors tonight getting rewarded with positions and special responsibility allowances having gifted their vote. Different faces, for sure, but the same old cynical and self-serving practices as before.The easy option for me now, of course, would be to spend the next 12 months sitting quietly on the back benches while continuing to claim my councillors allowance - but for those of you who know me, know that sitting quietly isn’t one of my strengths. I also think it’s about time that one of us was honest with the people we were elected to represent. By continuing to serve under Cllr Mason- I would effectively be endorsing him and his toxic brand of politics and that is not something I am willing to do - so tonight I am informing you that I no longer feel able to serve as a Ealing Labour councillor and will be resigning as a councillor with immediate effect.I don’t regret the decision I am making, but I do regret the causes of it – that when we were presented with the opportunity to pick a new and better leader for Ealing Labour, to improve our performance and our electoral prospects, that we were unable as individuals or as a group to replace the bad with anything better.--ends--
N V Brooks ● 152d17 Comments
We are doomed in LBE.We suffer from an ineffective "Opposition" with The Invisible & Somnambulant Conservatives, and whilst the LibDems are far more active and visible, they sadly lack any "clout" whatsoever at the local ballot box.I imagine that our best hope is arguably the new Independents Party, which is rumoured to be standing in every LBE Ward?
Rosco White ● 151d
Theres been good labour, Liberal and Tory councillors in the past. The one common detonator is a sense of duty and honour to the Borough and the people they represent.I fear that those who do still believe that are sidelined pretty quickly in the culture that now exists.The dodgy stuff is not that new. I recall reading in Private Eye a long time back the episode of ECT and the wheeling and dealing within.
Raymond Havelock ● 151d
You make a very good point, I feel sorry for the hard working, honest & decent Labourites in Ealing Borough who are being let down, badly.You must be beyond disgusted with the Labour controlled LBE antics of the past 10 years.And which are now set to continue unabated.At least you have Rupa as a "Good Labour" local reference.
Rosco White ● 151d
In many ways the cosiness between senior officers, the chief executive and cabinet shows that the local politics lack the dynamism required to bring about positive change. In fact when a more radical councillor as getting applauded by labour opponents it shows that the current regime is very much an authoritarian regime. I have long thought that north Korea must feel very much at home having their embassy in the borough. As a labour member and supporter I find this very disappointing.
Peter Chadburn ● 151d
".... no rules are being broken ", (where have we heard that before) so that's alright then!! 😂The good denizens of LBE have eyes and ears, Local Council level Ealing Labour are 100% Not Fit For Purpose. TRASH YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD, VOTE LOCAL LABOUR!
Rosco White ● 151d
Andy Jones, whether they are Champions league or West London Sunday Morning league doesn’t really matter, the principle is the thing. Once you cross a line it’s easy enough to do it again.There are multiple unanswered questions about the deal to give the town hall away to boutique hotel developers Mastcraft. A very opaque deal that, not helped by a certain Ealing MP being on good terms with the founder of that company. Who agreed a 250 year lease on a public building? Who sanctioned a £350,000 indemnity payable to Mastcraft if the deal didn’t go ahead, BEFORE the planning application was decided? Plenty of other unanswered questions.Bell admitted to certain parties that Commonplace wasn’t secure and could be gamed by both pro and anti LTN groups. Certainly there were numerous multiple entries that had to be deleted. There are probably more on there still.
Simon Hayes ● 151d
The use of Commonplace doesn't sit right with me but councillors are allowed to benefit from contracts from the council as long as they don't make the decision to award it. Other councils use Commonplace so it isn't a completely left field choice. Where did Bell say that it could be 'gamed'?The relationship between Ealing Council and A2Dominion is clearly far to close but once again, no rules are being broken and the organisation is helping the borough achieve its very aggressive housing build targets. I'd feel more comfortable if the opposition or the local media were up to doing a forensic analysis of whether or not this arrangement was compromised or not.In terms of cronyism this makes Ealing Council more Vanarama compared to the government's European Super League status.
Andy Jones ● 151d
No cronyism?Commonplace. Employed one Peter Mason in 2020. Ealing Council then contracts them to run LTN feedback forum at a cost of c£17,000, below the £25k limit for scrutiny of the tendering process.Fast forward to April 2021 and Bell admits Commonplace isn’t fit for purpose as it can be ‘gamed’ (probably because it’s not produced the results he wanted). Luckily it’s only taxpayer cash wasted on it.Then there’s A2Dominion.....
Simon Hayes ● 151d
Touche' Mr Brooks! Local Ealing Council Labour are a Total & Utter Crock, it is clear, obvious and well known.And to try and persuade otherwise is disingenuous to say the least, let alone treating Council Tax Paying & Voting Residents as fools & idiots. 🤣
Rosco White ● 151d
If one looks at the level of competence required to fulfil the cabinet brief handed to a number of councillors and then actually measures their performance within that brief, it is either incompetence or cronyism that got them there in the first place.
N V Brooks ● 151d
Agreed it makes no sense to flounce off as opposed to remaining on the council and using the position to highlight any inadequacies of the ruling administration.However, the word cronyism is being bandied around a lot here. It is well-documented and quite blatant in the Westminster government but I am unaware of any specific examples in Ealing. Giving political appointments to political allies isn't cronyism. I'm not saying it doesn't happen in Ealing but general criticisms of the council lack any force and the absence of detail make them unconvincing.
Andy Jones ● 151d
It would have been better that this councillor resign the Labour Whip and continued as an independent. There's plenty a councillor of no party can do simply by the right of access for ward constituents and, can vote freely.He could have also used that to highlight and expose the cronyism ( which in other countries has a direct meaning which we here don't seem to like to use, but all know what it infers)In effect, that may have given other Councillors the kahoonas to also resign the whip and bring about a change. 'Centrist' is not a byword for corrupt nor should it be for any other part of the political spectrum. It is not OK.Funny that the Parliamentary Labour Party spends so much time naval gazing and banging on about Cronyism in the Government - quite rightly, but is completely ambivalent about what goes in it's own Labour run councils and never mentions the likes of Bell & Co and the barefaced cronyism and bullying that is marbled through the whole thing.Hounslow is no better and one only has to look at offshoots like CIC's contract awards and appointments of Town Hall executives to see that this is wider than just locally elected councillors.Its odd too, that the Govt is more like labour run administrations than Tory ones.But it is and has been far too long accepted as the way to do things, and we the gullible and blinkered voters are who let these people in.Real change is needed. But I cannot see that in my lifetime- or my childrens' come to that.
Raymond Havelock ● 151d
That’s as maybe, but it doesn’t mean that this Labour Council isn’t riddled with cronyism and dodgy dealings. Mason has managed to squeeze in two more cabinet positions at yet more cost to taxpayers. Not exactly watching the pennies there.Mason talks a lot about transparency and engagement. His track record isn’t great on that. I doubt much will change in that respect. We will just get more spin.
Simon Hayes ● 151d
Cllr Cox's main issue doesn't seem to be any particular matter of policy but that the very talented Cllr Cox didn't get a boost to his allowance by being given a cabinet position by either Julian Bell or Peter Mason.He'd alienated many within the party by loudly complaining in the past when not receiving nominations in the past and airing the party's dirty washing. As one of the few openly Corbyn supporting Momentum councillors in Ealing he was never going to get a promotion in a very centrist Ealing Council.I'm not sure he deserves that much credit for storming off. He talks about not wanting to make noise from the back benches but this isn't a Westminster government. Even as an independent he would have done much needed work in his ward for his constituents.As this resignation seems to be more about personalities than policies, it doesn't look like it is the first of many so it is premature to talk about Labour imploding. It would have been far more interesting if it had been in a ward that Labour had a chance of losing in like one affected by the LTNs but the recent by-election shows that a new Labour councillor will take Cllr Cox's role.
Mark Evans ● 151d
Mr Cox, all the sensible people of Ealing are right behind you. It's about time someone on the inside called Labour Ealing what they are, scum. Well done
peter king ● 152d
The entire Local Council Labour Party needs irradiating, disinfecting, pasteurising, and fumigating.And even after all that it would still be rotten to the core and unfit for purpose.
Rosco White ● 152d