Last Thursday I spoke on behalf of Brent Fightback at Kensal Green Labour ward meeting. There were 11 or 12 people there, including all 3 ward councillors, and the response was very positive. This was not an anti Labour rant but I presented a few issues where I thought the council was lacking and Labour members could be exerting pressure.
These were namely 1) the closure of Central Middlesex A&E where I said that Labour should take a strong stand within the Health Committee and refer the decision up to the Secretary of State, and 2) the response to housing/benefit changes where I said the council should look at reclassifying homes to avoid the bedroom tax (as Knowsley Housing Authority has) and also adopt a policy of no evictions in the way that Dundee council has. (I did also mention a needs budget but its didn't get taken up in the discussion afterwards).
People were very receptive and interested to hear that there was far more that the council could be doing to fight the cuts. Many of them had not considered or even heard about some of the possibilities such as reclassification of homes.
Throughout the meeting I emphasised that that Brent Fightback saw its role within the broad Labour movement and wanted a dialogue with Labour members and councillors about how best to resist cuts.
Despite not raising a word of disagreement at the time, Councillor James Powney is now attacking Brent Fightback on his blog as the "loony left alternative" whose "main activity consists of attacking people in the Labour Party". This strikes me as more than a little dishonest and perhaps an indication of how isolated he is from ordinary members within his own party.
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