Incestuous nature of establishment politics

Sir,-One of the achievements of the Isleworth Community Group during its eight-year existence has been to successfully demonstrate to an ever increasing number of local people the incestuous nature of establishment politics.

Only by taking control of the decision-making process itself, we have argued, can the community hope to have any kind of meaningful input. Last week the Isleworth & Brentford Area Committee helped us to illustrate this point.

Having elected just five Labour councillors from a possible 12, the voters of Isleworth and Brentford had expressed their desire for a change of management. They were denied such a change by the actions of the Conservative councillors, who voted to put a Labour councillor back in the chair.

In a clearly pre-planned move, the Labour councillor was installed as chair by the combined votes of the two parties after having been seconded by a Conservative.

In return, a Conservative was allowed the post of vice-chair after having been seconded by a Labour councillor.

Ever since this vote took place both parties have publicly denied that there was any arrangement between them, claiming that the events were spontaneous and co-incidental.

Such claims do not stand up to serious scrutiny and themselves give an insight into the preparedness of politicians to simply lie to the people who elected them to their positions of trust.

As this already tenuous argument breaks down completely, watch how both parties over the next week or two change their story to plead the most altruistic of motives, acting as they did to defend democracy and humanity itself against three people, two of them of pensionable age, who pretend to be community councillors but who are really a front for the BNP or the Al-Qaida network, or whatever.

The truth of the matter is that the local political system has become a private members' club, which outsiders beyond the ranks of the established parties must be prevented from gatecrashing at all costs.

Just as Labour has become drunk with power after having been in office for so long, so the Conservatives have become conditioned to being in opposition and are scared rigid of being anywhere else.

Voters everywhere must realise that they can only change the way this council is run by voting for a real alternative outside of the Old Boys' Network.

In large areas of the borough only the community group provides that alternative, and we will continue to provide it through the electoral process for as long as the wishes of our community continue to be overridden and ignored.- Councillor Phil Andrews - Community, Isleworth ward, L B Hounslow, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow.

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