Despite the obvious and overwhelming public opposition to the Tube strikes currently blighting London, Enfield’s Labour Council refuse to acknowledge the negative impact that they are having on our residents.
Instead of reconsidering their position, they have chosen, through Councillor Ozzie Uzoanya, to return to the tribal politics of old and try to position the dispute as class war.
He is missing the point; my concern is not with politics, but with the people of Enfield. They deserve better than a Labour administration that puts the needs of its union comrades before theirs.
Like many thousands of people who live in Enfield, I rely on London’s extensive public transport network to travel to work in Central London each day and I am alarmed to hear that RMT/TSSA have announced plans for more strikes on 3 October, 2 November and 28 November – the first of which suspiciously coincides with the Conservative Party conference.
Millions of people across London are struggling to cope with the impact of the negative financial legacy left by the last government and even the loss of a day’s income could have a disastrous effect on the household finances for some of the most vulnerable in our borough in the run-up to Christmas.
Bob Crow and the RMT have tried to trick the people of London into believing that these strikes are in the interests of public safety, but it is clear that this strategy has failed; a ComRes poll published this Monday (20 September) shows that 65% of Londoners oppose these strikes confirming overwhelming public opposition. The public are not being protected by these militant unions, but are being held to ransom by them.
In the Council meeting that took place on Wednesday 22 September, I seconded Cllr Mike Rye OBE’s proposed motion calling on the Council to write to union leaders making it clear that Enfield does not support these strikes, a motion that we hoped the Labour administration would support.
However, their close links to the unions (nearly half of the Labour members had to declare an interest for being members of unions potentially connected in some way with the strikes) ensured that our attempts were thwarted.
Whilst – after a lively debate – a compromise was reached on a motion encouraging both Transport for London and the Unions to negotiate in good faith to find a resolution, it is clear that the administration is out of touch with public opinion and minded to put their loyalty to the unions before the needs of the people of Enfield.
The fragile economic recovery engineered by the new Coalition government is under threat if we allow the union militancy that blighted much of the 1970s and 1980s to go unchecked and the Opposition group remain strongly opposed to the planned strike action, which is unjustified and unwelcome.
At the end of my speech in the chamber, I implored the Labour administration to show solidarity not with the unions that support and fund them, but with the people of Enfield who elected them and who need them to operate in their best interests in these difficult economic times.
On this attempt, we were not able to convince them to put the needs of the people of Enfield before their desire to please their comrades in the unions, but I’d like to reassure our residents that we will continue to fight hard in their interests – the people of Enfield cannot afford this strike and it is pity that their council doesn’t agree.
For too many years, the Labour Government under the guidance of Gordon Brown ran the British economy at a deficit, using borrowed money to create jobs in the public sector as part of the the largest programme of gerrymandering ever undertaken;
Today, our new Chancellor, George Osborne, took the initiative and introduced the toughest Budget for nearly a century. He has rightly been dubbed ‘The Enforcer’ by the British press.
Like many, I will be analysing the impact of the budget on my finances and those of my family, but what has struck me most so far is the image above…
A Conservative Chancellor delivering a budget consisting of many things that the Liberal Democrats opposed flanked by the two most senior Liberal Democrats; priceless!
Who said that there is never anything exciting in politics?! I wonder how they felt and how their party will react to their leadership supporting policies that they campaigned against just weeks ago.
Believe it or not, the Prime Minister was sitting behind George Osborne, curiously out of shot – perhaps conveniently?
I commend George Osborne and this brave budget. Well done, George – no longer ‘Boy George’ I think!
The Conservatives are the natural allies of America – our Atlanticism and Eurosceptism always play well in Washington DC, and Prime Minister Cameron’s compassionate conservatism fits well with President Obama’s focus on individual responsibility and social liberalism.
Labour has traditionally had a difficult relationship with the United States, shunning the world’s largest capitalist economy in favour of its socialist-leaning European neighbours, and Prime Minister Blair was the first Labour leader to break the mould, forging a strong relationship with President Bush Jr.
His close relationship with George Bush sometimes led to accusations that Blair was acting like a ‘poodle’, demonstrating unswerving loyalty to his friend.
Ultimately, this created a less than healthy situation where America’s actions did not receive full scrutiny and where Britain had no choice but to follow its cousin ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’, which led us into two poorly-planned wars costing thousands of lives.
Blair’s instincts were, however, correct: America is our most important ally; It is his approach that was flawed.
He attempted to build upon Margaret Thatcher’s impressive legacy in which she created the ‘Special Relationship’ through her uniquely close bond with President Ronald Reagan.
Blair mistook the mutual respect and admiration that Thatcher and Reagan had for each other as simple friendship and affection; his relationship with Bush Jr had a similar level of warmth, but not the depth and true objectivity that defined the Thatcher / Reagan era – and shaped world politics for nearly a decade.
Whereas Thatcher and Reagan were trusted confidantes and peers, the way that George Bush called out “Yo, Blair!” to Tony Blair reflected what was obviously a very different level of understanding.
Gordon Brown, as Prime Minister, was simply unable to build any kind of sensible working relationship with President Obama, New Labour’s totalitarian approach sitting much more comfortably with the neo-conservative Republican approach than with Obama’s democratic one.
It is no surprise that President Obama was so quick to congratulate David Cameron on his becoming Prime Minister; the new Conservative administration under dynamic young leadership is exactly the sort of partner that the President needs in Europe; he was quoted as saying of David Cameron:
“…smart, dedicated new prime minister… is somebody we are going to be able to work with very effectively…”
Hopefully, the Special Relationship is back; that will be good for Britain, good for America and good for the world!
It really is an incredible day for British politics, as the new Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister demonstrate genuine chemistry and respect for each other in their first press conference.
The way in which the potential stumbling blocks in a Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition have been ironed-out is impressive, and whilst I’m sure that the relationship will be difficult, there is no doubt that these two dynamic leaders are committed to putting Britain back on track and dealing with problems left by a wasteful and misguided Labour administration.
The focus on enhancing civil liberties and once again making an Englishman’s home his castle is most welcome indeed.
Already, we have a clear indication of their priorities as the new Government has already agreed to:
• A Great Repeal Bill, which will scrap ID cards, enhance civil liberties, reduce the ability of state officials to enter homes and cut regulation;
• £6 billion of public spending cuts to take effect in the current financial year, as a start on a concerted drive to cut the deficit;
• Major reform of the banks, perhaps amounting to “breaking them up”;
• Moves over time towards raising the starting threshold for income tax to £10,000 a year, paid for by changes to non-business Capital Gains Tax;
• A pupil premium, moving funding for disadvantaged children towards average spending on pupils in private schools;
• A cap on immigration from outside the EU;
• A referendum on the Alternative Voting electoral system;
• Legislation to require that Parliaments last a fixed term of five years;
• Trident replacement to go ahead, but subject to a value for money test;
• No further transfers of power to the EU, and no entry to the Euro; and
• Tax recognition of marriage, but LDs to have the right to abstain on votes on this (which means it will still get through the Commons).
Although Old Labour will soon resurface to start complaining about the plans, no right thinking person in the UK should object to this initial programme and I hope that even the more tribal observers will put aside their party loyalties and embrace this important agenda in the interests of our country.
David Cameron already has the makings of a fine leader!
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