Coalition’s cock-ups show why they’re losing popularity


2:42 pm - August 19th 2010

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contribution by Andy Slaughter MP

I was given two insights this week into why the Coalition’s honeymoon may have come to a premature end after 100 days.

Nick Clegg came to my constituency to preach the virtues of social mobility, but chose as his platform a Project for deprived children which his Coalition partners are evicting and whose grant they are taking away.

Clegg’s cock up was reported as exactly that – a gaffe.

He should have chosen another Children’s Centre to get his pics for the evening news. But I asked him in a private interview after he had made pizzas with the kids for the cameras, whether he supported the Shepherds Bush Families Project and wanted it to stay open. He wouldn’t answer.


via Political Scrapbook

Secondly, Inside Housing juxtaposed David Cameron’s quote to them on 30 April that the Tories had, “no policy to change the current or future security of tenure of tenants in social housing” with his recent statement that he intended to do just that.

Cameron, Inside Housing reported, was responding after then housing minister John Healey and I had claimed Tories were “considering removing security of tenure for future tenants.”

Cameron was still not being straight on housing policy after the Election. His first newspaper interview, for The Daily Telegraph on May 22nd, included this gem of probing journalism

Mr Cameron resisted the temptation to bat away questions about how he did not do enough to win the election outright. ‘I thought we had a good chance of winning the election outright,’ he said. ‘I thought there was a chance of falling short.’

So who does Cameron blame for robbing the country of his uncompromised leadership?

He was still angry over ‘appalling’ Labour lies that he blamed for preventing celebrated candidates such as Shaun Bailey winning in marginal seats. ‘They were telling people in Hammersmith they were going to have their council house taken away by the Tories.’

We did. They are. He said so last week.

In Hammersmith & Fulham, a testing ground for extreme Tory policies, they announced this and more last year.

Had their plans been more widely known by the eight million people who live in affordable social housing and the millions more who aspire to it, Labour may have held on to more seats.


Andy Slaughter is Labour MP for Hammersmith

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Reader comments


In the video, Clegg says “it will continue one way or another”.

Now we don’t know for sure what “it” refers to, but it isn’t a massive leap of imagination to suggest that he meant the Families Project.

Then again, it isn’t his job to commit to the Project’s continuation.

Oh and Clegg’s Coalition partners are the Conservative Parliamentary Party, not the Conservatives elected to Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

@2

Perhaps. But the Conservatives have long used Hammersmith and Fulham as an example of a flagship Tory council – I think Kate Belgrave has some good knowledge on this subject?

Andy,

Had their plans been more widely known by the eight million people who live in affordable social housing and the millions more who aspire to it, Labour may have held on to more seats.

Or the people may have recalled that, in at least 2007 and 2008, Labour considered ending secure tenancies.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Had their plans been more widely known by the eight million people who live in affordable social housing and the millions more who aspire to it, Labour may have held on to more seats.

Labour’s record on this is not exactly wonderful though, is it? Over the period 1997-2010, council house waiting lists went up, and average house prices rocketted. If Labour had been half competent, 60 million Britons would have been able to live in affordable housing. If I’m elected to Edinburgh council I plan to build thousands of low-cost high quality homes, while at the same time saving Edinburgh council hundreds of millions of pounds which can be used to lower council tax and prevent cuts in services. If Labour weren’t so crap, you could have done the same.

@4 ukliberty:

Or the people may have recalled that, in at least 2007 and 2008, Labour considered ending secure tenancies.

A policy which is as incompetent as it is nasty. Why don’t Labour and the Tories merge, they could call themselves the useless arsehole party?

Evening Mr Pill,

Indeed, Hammersmith has been the jewel in Cameron’s crown since that council took office in 2006. I understand that Stephen Greenhalgh has been advising Cameron on local govt since that time. I published a few things on Martin Bright’s blog in the New Statesman about it several years ago.

Hammersmith is well understood to be the true face of millennium Conservatism on the ground. Forget big society. Really – forget it. It’s a sales joke. In Hammersmith, the voluntary sector has been destroyed, services slashed, and charging introduced for homecare, meals on wheels, etc – vulnerable tenants took the council to court a couple of years ago to protest at homecare charges and the breaking of manifesto pledges that the introduction of those charges represented. The justice who found in that case took the trouble to note that Hammersmith people would be surprised to know that their low council tax was subsidised by some of their community’s most vulnerable people. Still, the LGC named Hammersmith council of the year last year. Tremendous.

They also introduced a filthy fines system – I’ve got an interview on my hangbitching.com site at the moment with a disabled guy who is being chased for 100 quid he hasn’t got for putting his rubbish bag out a few hours earlier than he should have. He has a doctor’s certificate, but he’s just told me they’ve torn that up and they’re still after him. He faces a fine of 1000 if he can’t pay it. It goes on and on. They’ve chased staff out of the place – they hired some consultant to look retrospectively at all staff emails, for example, with a view to sacking anyone who may once have sent anything that might have been a little vulgar or not quite of a standard, etc. Indeed, they have done that. That council is VORACIOUS. I think we started reporting all this on Liberal Conspiracy several years ago.

The irony of this latest stuff with Clegg is that the Lib Dems haven’t had a hand in Hammersmith as far as I can see. I don’t think they even have any representation on council – I only recall cllrs from the two main parties. Ironic, really, although speaks volumes about the research Clegg and his people have done on their new buddies.

Anyway – Chaminda & I are working on a few articles on the topic which we’ll have up soon, but you’re welcome to faff round my old site where I have an archive of all the articles and interviews I did around 2007 – 2009 about Hammersmith:

http://hangbitch.com/search/node/hammersmith

plenty to be going on with there.

@6

Cheers Kate. Worse than I thought, worrying precedent for the next 5 years.


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