Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Fighting harder, poor discipline and nasty comments

I have been putting off writing this post for a number of weeks, I was going to write it before the election then just after and I was still in two minds about writing it at all but the behaviour of certain Ipswich Tories this weekend has made my mind up for me.

The last few weeks have been a difficult time for the Labour Party, today we should have been announcing the end of the ‘bedroom tax’ but instead we had to listen to a Queens Speech that will see legislation put in place to allow a ‘snoopers’ charter, a vote on repealing the anti-hunting ban, attacks on our European Human Rights and a further nail in the coffin of social housing.
We have also lost our leader, an honourable man who not only had to stand up to the Tories but to do that whilst withstand vicious personal attacks from the right wing media.

But it has not all been gloom and doom, here in Ipswich we have stayed united, we look forward to the campaign to elect a new leader and deputy leader as an opportunity to help set the direction of the Labour Party over the next 10 years. We have been bolstered by the surge in new members, not only nationally but here in Ipswich. We look forward to welcoming them to our party as work and campaign hard not only for a Labour Government in 2020 but to continue with the good work that has already been carried out by the Labour run Ipswich Borough Council.

But many of us still feel angry, disappointed and sad about the result of the election this May. The campaign was also difficult for many of us as we lost a great young campaigner in Matthew Percy, and also during the campaign two of our councillors lost very close members of their family.

We would expect the local Tory activists to be cock-a -hoop about their election victory not only nationally but here in Ipswich – there is no doubt that many of them worked very hard to get Mr Gummer elected but some of them (not all) have allowed their feelings of joy to turn into a displayed of arrogance mixed with hatred that again reflects the big difference between the Ipswich Labour Party and the Tory party- we are well lead, have a sense of unity and discipline whilst local Tories seem able to behave badly knowing the local Tory leadership will come out with statements such as “I am not his mother” when excusing their unacceptable behaviour.

This lack of discipline amongst local Tories is nothing new but their behaviour at times over the last few months has sunk to a new low. One of our councillors decided to stand down early from his post as his partner was diagnosed with cancer, but within days of his announcement an Ipswich Tory candidate posted this: Ipswich Labour believe in born to rule privilege. This is why Ipswich Labour has so many political dynasties within it. The Rosses, the Cook’s and the Maguire’s. But Ipswich Labour’s belief in born to rule privilege goes beyond that. Ipswich Labour’s Favourite blogger has been informed that Richard Kirby was ordered to resign so that Colin Smart can be a councillor like his Dad.

In Ipswich Labour they adhere to outmoded Marxist doctrine about class warfare. To them it is who you are, who your family is and where you come from that matters. Not what you are and what you can do for your town. In the Conservative Party it is not who you are, who your family is or where you come from that matters, but what you are and what you can do for your country that counts.

Not only was this just a load of lies it was also very distressing for many as within days of Dick Kirby standing down his wife lost her battle against cancer. A number of us were very angry over these comments and the Tory agent was approached and reminded that as an official Tory election candidate that we would expect that he behaved in a more dignified way. The post was quickly removed, though there still seemed to be a lack of control within the local Tory Party has only a few weeks later another Ipswich Tory candidate had to remove tweets after appearing to call the public stupid.

You would have hoped that would be the end of it as it was no surprise that this one Tory candidate decided to write such a hurtful post as his blog is full of similar posts including some attacking his own Tory colleagues.

But on the May 17th he wrote a second post where he partly explains why he removed the blog but he seems to forget to mention that why we were so angry about it in the first place and the hurt it caused many as we had just heard that Mrs Kirby had passed away. Since then the funeral of Mrs Kirby has taken place (just before the local council count and many Labour councillors attended before returning to the Corn exchange for the count.)

Since the election the same Tory activist has continued to post inaccurate posts and attempt to use twitter to be abusive. The local Tory leadership seemed to have washed their hands of any responsibility as they state he not a member of their group and no longer a candidate – I am sure he will be selected again for Gipping next May. But more worrying for them should be that it seems younger Tory activists including one of their local party officers seem to believe his behaviour is acceptable and join in with some of his abusive tweets.

This week he returned to posting ‘Stupid things Alasdair Ross has said this week’ – I do wonder if he has anything better to do, I did not feel angry just slightly sad for him that he wishes to spend his spare time posting such rubbish. I know I am not perfect and often rub people up the wrong way but I come from a job where your wear your heart on your sleeve, where if someone disagrees with you they tell you to your face, discuss it like men and then carry on – united. Reading his drivel made me think what would my ex-army mates think of him and his comments – on an earlier post he stated that it is ‘what you do for your country that counts’ – I think I have done quite a bit for my country and I think back to sitting in hedges in the rain in Belfast, spending cold dark nights protecting one Serb granny in a village on the Croatia border but always on those occasions surrounded by soldiers who would do anything for you, a pride in being a member of a group, of a discipline that only comes from sharing the same regimental ethos.

He also accused me of assaulting 3 Tories at the count- a serious accusation- whilst the count was going on a number of Tories decided not to allow us to validate the ballot papers and they decided they would take all the places by the table, after asking for one of them to move, and their refusal – I had to attempt to push my way through (again I think back to Belfast, Pristina and Sangin – attempting to push through to able to witness the count is under no definition assault) - when one of the three a large Tory, who I have never seen in Ipswich before stated he would ‘take me outside’ which made me smile! In the end we had to get the Tory agent to tell them to stop acting like children and move away from the table to allow all political groups to validate the ballot papers.

Their boorish behaviour would continue later, after Mr Gummer made a speech that was both humble and one that was right for the occasion, the local Tories (not all of them but a largish number) decided to jeer when our candidate spoke, an action that seemed to even embarrass Mr Gummer.

So what now? I will continue to fight for what I believe is right, to represent my constituents and work hard for a better Ipswich whilst taking an active role in the local Labour Party and the national organisation.

How will I deal with what I expect will be continuous abusive tweets and posts full of inaccuracies from certain Tories?
Hard as it is, I will try and ignore them – to help again I will think back to what my mates who sat in the same hedge in Belfast with me would say about him – it would not be complimentary! But they would also say the best way to defeat people like that is to work harder and to continue to fight for what you believe in – they are right.

1 comment:

Paul West said...

Alasdair - this is all very well but I heard what you muttered under your breath as you started to walk down the stairs from the Corn Exchange after the general election count as you saw Ben Gummer talking to Paul Geater.