Saturday, 10 March 2012

‘Cold, but soo busted’; Tory reductio ad absurdum ploy exposed

North vs South Kensington divide

The Council Budget meeting last Wednesday had a group of lively and interested observers, some even taking notes, who were able to confirm a suspicion that has been in the ether for some time.

The Labour Opposition Group gave a spirited and well-engineered alternative Budget with some great insights and speeches.
However, unlike the occasional compliment of yesteryear, it was met – by certain individuals designated as hell-hounds (pic left) – with rude barracking on minor issues, totally ignoring the main points and even accusing the authors of the Budget to be drunk, which is particularly harsh as it's Lent.

So, while the LG brought to light residents’ fury about the use of the Mayoral Bentley in straitened times, and suggested a more modest car instead, this was met by climate-change-denying tactics, totally invented statistics, and clarification by the Mayor about the definition of a personalised number-plate.

‘Environmentally friendly’ transport recommended by Tories for the Mayor; yes, a pimped out Hummer

Similarly, the discussion of Golborne ward now being the joint poorest in London was said to be an invention (despite the immediate deployment of several Blackberrys to find the offending stats), and was countered by a quite bonkers line of questioning about who knew whom in the yummy mummy set of North Kensington.

Save this and note:

Observers said the Tory tactics were quite obviously carefully planned and orchestrated, and ‘just cold’ – which in grockle parlance, for those who don’t know, means calculated, unfair, cruel.

It is also very clear to us all in the Labour Opposition that there is one single line of attack – and oh so unsophisticated when overused – which is reductio ad absurdum, reducing reasoned argument to banalities and polar splits. For example, because we have asked questions about the funding and timescale and various other extremely serious issues about Kensal Crossrail, this has to mean that we are ‘against regeneration’. Creating such binary fractures – black or white – is not clever. For such serious issues we should start by finding common ground.

As someone who has studied and teaches urban planning intermittently, saying I am ‘against regeneration’ is patently absurd. The Council knows I have not only engaged meaningfully, but even initiated a regeneration scheme at Edenham with community engagement and support from the outset, found funded partners genuinely interested in taking it to the next stage, and one partner even offering to fund a financial viability report. All that was lacking was an expression of interest from the Council, but answer came there none. I have also worked with my students on the Kensal site, and have plans to continue that exercise. Under Localism guidelines, we may make some leeway this time.

So, the Tories are busted and the reductio ad absurdum tack has failed them. A more circumspect and collegiate response to very serious concerns would be more dignified and a good start to joint working where that common ground can be found.

For visitors to this site who have been lumbered with this duty, as a kind blog-hostess I thought it only fair to offer something uplifting. So, here is cute picture no 1, looking forward to Easter hols:

For those interested in the winner of the 'Donkey Ears' competition based on the Council meeting, there is a delay as judges are deadlocked, there being two contenders neck and neck.


  1. Emma, you must realise how incredibly powerful you are. Your comments alone have the potential to stop Crossrail altogether, despite (clearly puny) Tory schmoozing. They're obviously very scared of you.

    As for denying that Golborne has particular need, that's par for the course. They've closed down services here, notably dispersing those scrounging, non-contributing elderly people from their home at Edenham, and shutting their well-loved and well-used Elderly Persons Integrated Care Service. Golborne is being demolished. The population is going to be massively increased at the same time as services are cut, via the destruction of good social housing. As the terribly brave rich are tempted to colonise Golborne we troglodites can be taught how to behave by their self-sacrificial market driven example. We might open yet another gallery! Or a desperately needed handbag shop!

    The Tory's don't live here, they're frightened of us at the same time as wanting to pat the deserving poor (if they can find one) on the head and bring us baskets of provisions as a demonstration of the Big Society. Golborne has mythical status for them, like Little Nell wandering into the no-mans-land of "Here Be Dragons."

    They might want to read Little Dorrit to see how elegantly they've recreated the worst of Victoriana, from a collapsing bank and the haughty nouveau riche, to children getting used to the prison of poverty, and an incompetent, sneering state beurocrasy.

    RBKC is not yet as disgusting as the their political Masters, they maintain some dying echo of the duties and responsibilities of power, but their contempt and disgust for the poor, for people who are not them, for people who can't or won't do them favours and who have less or no power demonstrates their lack of basic humanity, let alone the ability to act wisely and respectfully.

    You've a strong stomach to have anything to do with them.

  2. Thank you Anon, I'm not sure I agree with all your comments, you seem to attribute super-human powers to me while I am just a local parent with some useful skills, really angry at the social injustice around me.

    Young people I know, who've had a tough start in life, disadvantaged and demonised with sometimes inevitable results. People my age with appalling health and barely scraping by, with paltry pensions awaiting them. Older and disabled people who need a bit of help to be independent, being 'reabled'.

    Just sickening.

  3. oh they are definitely showing their
    ar.. now all we have to do is kick it ! if you're forming a group "The Dragon Troglodites" I'm in. (I play the Kensal Triangle )


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