Saturday, 10 March 2012
‘Cold, but soo busted’; Tory reductio ad absurdum ploy exposed
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.
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.
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: http://ecm.london.gov.uk/re?l=juj637I5ihkqbwI0
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.