Wednesday, January 31, 2007



An apology is due from me...but only about the elections.

Horsham District Council have their elections this May - not West Sussex County Council. Sorry, my mistake.

Cllr John Mortimer has made an unsurprising, spirited defence of his 'council housing' position ("Always against housing sell-off", Crawley News, Letters Page, January 31)...but he (like Skuds and Danivon here) is still missing the point, in my view.

At every available opportunity since 1997, did Cllr Mortimer (and his political colleagues) openly oppose his (Labour) government's policy relating to privatisation - which inevitably led to the privatisation of council houses - and the mess we are now in.

It's quite clear that the Labour-controlled Brighton City Council did not openly oppose this government policy - and are not openly opposing - quite the opposite in fact.

13,000 Brighton council tenants are voting on the privatisation/housing association issue right now - as Cllr Mortimer well knows...and others.

You are still "Wrong", Richard.

1) Crawley Borough Council also has elections this year, including your beloved ward of Ifield. I did consider not telling you in the hope that you'd forget to stand, but I'm not that cruel.

2) John has also in that very letter pointed out his opposition to other aspects of Labour policy on housing - and I have heard him make the same points publicly. I'm not sure that he has used 'every opportunity' to do so, as he has other things to deal with as a ward councillor, and constantly going on about one topic just to satisfy your demands for consistency might be a but too much. If he had, he wouldn't have been able to use 'every opportunity' to oppose development of land west of Ifield, or support calls to do something about floods, or investigate traffic problems, or oppose redevelopment of the school sites, or get involved in monitoring the work of the Police, or voicing his opinion on travellers.

3) He, and we, have (as we have tried to explain to you) opposed the current government policy consistently by pushing for the 4th Option, which would allow more councils to retain housing under democratic control. We have seen our position adopted not only by the local Party, but by conference, and we haev lobbied Ministers to change it. This has not been a secret (although perhaps we didn't shout about it, and if we did, it might have been drowned out by the constant moaning on Iraq).

4) What Brighton & Hove City council does is nothing to do with John, or us. They will go to ballot and the tenants will decide. As far as I'm aware, at least one, if not all three, of the B&H Labour parties also supports the 4th Option, but without government policy changing, they have to
a) evaluate the various options, consult and ultimately (if change is a realistic option) ballot
b) accept that they may not be able to afford to retain council housing under current frameworks.

A long comment, but I feel that I have to nail down your woolly accusations and allusions.

Skuds and I are not missing the point, you keep changing the point in order to avoid accepting that you have made mistakes. Very Blairesque. Potential Symonds voters should take note, I think...
"Blairesque", eh ? Ouch ! That's more cruel than thinking of not telling there's a CBC election this year !

Thank you, Mr Richards, for being so thorough in attemptng to prove me wrong...I will answer your 4 bullet points thus :

1. Yes, I was getting confused indeed. No excuse really. I could say that if I'm confused about this, then potential voters are totally and utterly confused to the point of apathy and indifference, but then you'll jump down my throat and accuse me of an over-inflated ego - so I won't say it.
So let's be clear : CBC and HDC elections this May - but not WSCC elections - and maybe/maybe not General Election.

2. Cllr John Mortimer does a great job for Ifield, but that does not exempt him from criticism.
Shuttleworth's letter made accusations which may prove to be false...if that clearly becomes the case, the biggest winner will be Cllr John Mortimer. If I'm "wrong" on this, then I'll be the first to apologise to him personally - but at present 'the jury is still out' for me.

3. This is one reason why I would never join the Labour Party - you have no power and influence over your 'Bliar' Leader. I would rather shoot myself than join the Con Party, but at least they were able to get rid of an out-of-control megalomaniac called Mrs T.

You lot are proving politically impotent to do that with your pathologically-insane Leader - or are you just plain gutless ?

4. Brighton and Hove have everything to do with CBC - both were Labour-controlled when the Council Housing/Privatisation issue was in full swing. Fortunately for you, the Cons are having to deal with this now in Crawley (and completely messing it up of course)...but you and I both know that it could have easily been you lot in the mess that Labour-controlled Brighton is in now. It will be the main vote-winner for you in May...but don't try to cover up your Party's bullshit on the issue, with your own.

Yes, I make mistakes - so do you.
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1. Yes, but you are not typical, as you are a regular candidate.

2. You are wrong on this, and instead of checking, you are just blathering.

3. Blair is going soon (sooner than Mrs T went/was pushed). Of course, the Party would be a lot stronger at resisting renegade leaders if people didn't leave/stay away because it's not perfect. As an anti-Blairite, I've been marginalised more by the self righteous abandoning me than the leadership.

4. Sigh... Perhaps, but the ballot would have happened by now, the result would have been a resounding 'No' and Mortimer would be declaring victory.

Still, I don't see why you insist on conflating issues all the time.
"Conflating", eh ? Trying to see things as a whole - yes, I do "insist" on that when I can - for myself.
"Shuttleworth's letter made accusations which may prove to be false"

May? Quite often I can find myself arguing with you on matters of opinion, which can be fun but ultimately result in agreeing to disagree. This particular one is just a matter of fact, which anyone who has sat through council meetings should know, and which will be backed up by the records.
If you are THAT certain about John M's lack of hypocrisy about council house privatisation, and THAT certain about Shuttleworth's lack of truth, then it is to the Crawley News editor you must representatives of the Labour Party.

I am not a member of the Labour Party, as you know, but if it is clearly proved - beyond reasonable doubt - that Shuttleworth's words are near-libelous, or libelous, I will be contacting the News myself.
John has rebutted the allegations, and to be honest I think he wants to leave it at that.

Not, I hasten to add, because he isn't confident of his innocence, but because he's confident that he doesn't need to prove himself.

Now, if it really is that important to you, Richard, and you can't take our word for it, then check for yourself.

I can't really be bothered trying to get around the nebulous cloud of your argument.
"Nebulous"...will have to look that one up....ummmm...."lacking definite form, shape, or content...vague..."

Right - understood - OK...

Local Labour Party politicians, for all their high-minded words, don't seem to have fully grasped the fact that the Government- The Labour Party - is wanting to be rid of the old idealogical system of council housing.

So, the Government - by fair means and foul (especially the latter) are doing everything in their power - which is considerable - to fully privatise the system (as the previous Con. Government was trying to do).

One step towards privatisation - in the early days - was the 'Right to Buy' (RTB). This gave council tenants the opportunity to buy their council house at a knock-down price, and then later when they wanted to sell it, they made themselves a considerable amount of money....and of course the 'money men' gained considerably as well.

It appears that the aforementioned councillor has already taken advantage of his RTB, but now is railing against the privatisation of Crawley's council housing.

I had the audacity to say that there might be some sort of hypocrisy here on the part of this councillor.

"Danivon", a keen local Labour supporter (and former councillor) is not happy with me for raising this point - for reasons known to himself and others - and "can't get around the nebulous cloud of (my) argument.

Try harder, Danivon.
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