Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oh Dear Mr Barnbrook

Mr 'Free Speech'

Monday's Times: doesn't do much for councillor Richard Barnbrook's credentials as an upstanding democrat.

The Times reporting on the BNP's decision, taken kicking and screaming to change its constitution to allow black and Asian people to become members notes:

"However, the party’s democratic credentials were called into question when a reporter from The Times was bundled out of a press conference shortly before Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, was due to speak. A party official objected to a profile which had appeared in the newspaper at the weekend.

The Times had been invited by Simon Darby, the party's press officer, with other media, to hear Mr Griffin describe the constitutional changes.

However Richard Barmbrook, a local councillor and a member of the London Assembly, who was upset by an article about him in The Times on Saturday, said that the newspaper was unwelcome inside the Elm Park pub in Hornchurch, where the meeting took place.

After The Times tried to explain that the newspaper had been officially invited into the building, the BNP's security staff lifted and shoved its reporter out of the building, grabbing his nose. A punch was also thrown by security staff and the reporter was flung at a parked car outside.

Mr Griffin said The Times had lied about the party. He said: “Because he is from The Times, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and it lies and it lies and it lies about this party.
“So he was told ’we’re sorry, you told one lie too many’, The Times, so we are not allowing anyone from The Times in – kindly leave.
“He refused to leave when he was asked so he had to be encouraged to leave.”
A BBC reporter asked if he would be removed if he said the wrong thing. Mr Griffin replied: “If you utter some outrageous lie about me... you won’t be welcome again.”
Mr Griffin told Sky News he expected a “trickle, rather than a flood” of applications from black and Asian people.
He said: “Anyone can be a member of this party. We are happy to accept anyone as a member providing they agree with us that this country should remain fundamentally British.”


Good to see councillor Barnbrook has a thick skin and can take media criticism like a man....

Then again, maybe not..

What would he be like if he was council leader?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Would the BNP have stopped Dagenham prison?

You have to ask the question - would the BNP's Nick Griffin or Richard Barnbrook have been able to stop the plan to build a 1500 inmate prison in Dagenham?

- Would a BNP council led by the forementioned councillor Barnbrook have managed to get Jack Straw to come to the Borough and hear for himself the strength of opposition against the plan?

- Could he have persuaded 15,000 people to sign the petition opposing the plans? Would he have been allowed into Downing Street to deliver it to the Prime Minister?

- Would a BNP led council been able to convince local people to reply to a council questionnaire on the prison?

- And would Barnbrook, boozer Bailey or Welshpool based Nick Griffin have been able by force of argument to convince government ministers and civil servants to pull the plug on their prison proposal?

The answer to all these questions is a simple one - no.

The harsh reality is that the BNP are a pariah party - one that no one in government would be prepared to concede to - let alone listen to.

It's hard to believe either, given their particularly unpleasant brand of racist politics, that they could ever marshal mainstream local opinion on any issue to benefit the community.

In that case, if voting for them won't change anything - what is the point of voting BNP?

The BNP didn't stop a prison in Dagenham.
A Tory candidate didn't stop that prison.

It took a Labour MP - Jon Cruddas, working with the local council leadership - marshalling local resident opposition and lobbying government that forced a government re-think.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What if?

WHAT if the BNP win in May and end up running the council after the local elections - a cause of jubilation for the far right but what about everyone else in the borough?

Local people have to ask themselves some very tough questions.

What employer would want to move into a BNP controlled borough?

Where will the jobs come from for local people and what will happen when companies decide to relocate because being based in BNP controlled Barking and Dagenham does nothing for business?

What headmaster would want to answer to council leader Richard Barnbrook?

What black social worker would want to work in a borough run by an administration advocating a form of apartheid and colour segregation, discriminating against people of colour?

What estate agent would be able to sell a two bedroom house in Barking or Dagenham when house prices plummet after May and there is an exodus from the borough?

What will happen to inward investment if the BNP win - will government still invest in schools, community facilities and child care or will the borough be quarantined given enough money to keep going but no more?

What will happen to the local crime rate if the BNP win - will increased numbers of racist attacks make areas of the borough no-go zones?

What will become of the reputation of Barking and Dagenham if the fascists win?

Who will speak to Bailey and Barnbrook - how will they be able to work with other organisations to build a better borough especially if those organisations have black and asian staff?

How will the BNP be able to cut the council tax and balance the council budget particularly as none of them have ever run any organisation before? Will they expect council officers to do it for them - if so - how many council staff do they think would want to work for a BNP borough?

Lots of ifs for local people to consider before they put their cross beside the BNP on election day.

Maybe they should stop and think whether their protest vote and then a BNP borough will be better - or in reality - much, much, worse.

One's thigs for sure there's no shortage of question marks beside what a BNP controlled council would mean.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stone cold sober (2)

Mine's a pint.....maybe not if you're BNP councillor Bob Bailey...

Councillor Bob Bailey's little local difficulty regarding his rather interesting take on sobriety at last week's Freedom of the Borough ceremony in Barking - refuses to go away - as much as he might hope it would.
The Barking and Dagenham Post is the latest media source to give the hapless BNP group leader another unfavourable headline:

Councillor thrown out of civic reception
‘BNP man was ‘drunk and an embarassment’.

COUNCILLOR Bob Bailey was removed from the Freedom of the Borough ceremony last week because he was drunk, claimed fellow councillors.

The opposition leader was "clearly under the influence" according to deputy council leader Cllr Bob Little.

Cllr Little is now calling for Cllr Bailey's resignation, however the BNP man says he has done nothing wrong.

Cllr Bailey, who is an ex serviceman, was due to speak in support of bestowing the borough's highest honour on the Royal Anglian Regiment - the Freedom of the Borough.

But before he could deliver his speech on Wednesday January 27, he was escorted from the Broadway Theatre by a security guard.

Cllr Bailey claims this is because council staff and other councillors were concerned his address would be a "political hot potato".

"I must have received four calls from council officers that afternoon asking me not to mention the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

"They had already decided that I should not be allowed to speak. They were trying to censure me. That's why I was told to leave.

"And as for Bob Little - I didn't see or speak to him all evening - so I don't know where he is getting his information from."

Cllr Little has said Cllr Bailey was in no fit state to deliver a speech and suggested he apologise to the award recipients.

"Councillor Bailey should resign," he said. "Turning up for such an important event inebriated is at best embarrassing, at worst an insult to the event, the sponsors and to the people receiving the Freedom of the Borough.

"In all my time as a councillor I have never seen anyone behave in such a way."

Cllr Bailey claims senior council staff were behind his removal from the ceremony last week and his being drunk is a lie invented to cover up the truth.

Council chief Rob Whiteman said: "When I spoke to Cllr Bailey during the day I did not ask him to say nothing about the war but rather reminded him that the Freedom of the Borough ceremony is a civic and non-party political occasion where guests would be offended if the atmosphere was not one of celebrating the achievements of those being honoured.

"Cllr Bailey was not removed from the event because of any views he might express but because he was very drunk and causing embarrassment and concern to others which we are not willing to tolerate from anybody."

And the paper's editorial did him and his party no favours either.

“Why did one of our elected representatives, Councillor Bob Bailey allow himself to be ignominiously thrown out of the very civic reception arranged to honour six new Freemen of the borough….?

Councillor Bailey has tried to defend his actions but if he is honest, he set himself up at a time when he needed to be squeaky clean….”

All in all then a bit of an own-goal from the BNP.

Earlier in the week Bailey's notoriety hit the headlines in the Guardian diary:

• The gloves are off again in Barking, where the boxing promoter Frank Maloney, Ukip's talisman for the general election, has been rebuffed in his attempts to settle the issue in the boxing ring. Nick Griffin said no, ­citing a historical eye injury. Margaret Hodge was never going to make the weight. And so each will rely on their high-calibre local supporters in east London. In Griffin's case, this will mean a prominent role for Bob Bailey, the leader of the opposition on Barking and Dagenham council, where the BNP has 12 councillors. Oh dear. For Bailey, the BNP's main organiser in the capital, will keep making a fool of himself. He did it again last week. The occasion was a high-profile event to award the freedom of the borough to various worthies. Sir Trevor Brooking, Barking born and bred, was a recipient, as was General Sir John McColl, the deputy supreme allied commander Europe, who accepted the honour on behalf of the borough's adopted regiment, the Royal Anglian, currently deployed to Afghanistan. All received testimonials, and no doubt the Royal Anglian would have been showered with praise by Bailey – as had been arranged. Alas, he was pissed. So pissed that when he left the room, officials ruled that he should not be re-admitted. There were protests, of course there were protests, but then this is a man who attributed last year's drink-driving conviction to "a conspiracy against the indigenous people". People drink and then they say the strangest things.

It's not been a good few days then for Mr Bailey, to put it mildly - no wonder his colleague Richard Barnbrook wants his job as group leader after May's elections.

One serious thought to ponder - if Bailey, a former Royal Marine, couldn't stay sober for a ceremony to honour the British military (and it shoud be added - Holocaust Memorial Day) how can he be judged fit to run a council?