Is the ICG displaying "astounding hypocrisy" over UKIP?

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Is the ICG displaying "astounding hypocrisy" over UKIP?

Postby Captain Darling » Sun May 04, 2014 1:19 am

There are currently two threads on the Neighbour Net forums relating to UKIP’s decision to field three candidates in Isleworth Ward in this month’s Hounslow borough council elections.

They both centre on allegations made by ICG leader Phil Andrews that the Labour Party has “loaned” candidates to UKIP in order to split what he calls “the protest vote”. If it is true that Labour has collaborated with UKIP then I do not agree with it and I am not willing to defend it. However, I am entitled to defend myself.

ICG Chairman Ian speed has responded to his colleague’s allegations by posting the comment “Robin Taylor – UKIP to the core”. He then compounded this smear by suggesting that I am somehow complicit in the view that “Lenny Henry should emigrate to a black country”, a remark recently made by a former UKIP council candidate in Enfield.

The basis for Ian Speed’s assertion would appear to be the fact that I am a Labour member and am therefore a racist because the Isleworth branch of my party has allegedly conspired with a rival party whose ex-member made the aforementioned remark. (For the record I live in Southall, not Isleworth).

Of all people, the ICG Chairman really shouldn’t try to imply guilt by association. His colleague Phil Andrews was active in far-right organisations for a total of fifteen years. During this time he sustained convictions for violence and drunkenness. Should we infer from this that Ian Speed is a Nazi yob?

More to the point – and this seems to have been almost completely missed in the debate now raging on the Neighbour Net fora – the ICG leader has now admitted that he actually tried to do a deal with UKIP himself, a party he recently referred to as “hard right”. If that is UKIP’s true position on the political axis then might we enquire as to what he thinks he has in common with the party?

Last June I reported on ChiswickChat that Phil Andrews had sought a meeting with Hounslow’s newly-defected UKIP councillors. He responded by calling me a liar yet he has now been forced to concede that he not only did contact the UKIP councillors but that he actually held two meetings with them.

As I predicted, the purpose of the meetings was to try and persuade UKIP not to stand candidates in the ICG target wards of Isleworth and Syon. Given this fact, would it not be fair to conclude that Phil Andrews still sees himself as someone who holds an electoral appeal to people on the hard right? Otherwise, why on earth would he think UKIP poses a threat to his voter base?

During the course of one of the meetings Phil Andrews alleges that UKIP offered him a deal whereby it would field just one candidate in each of Isleworth and Syon wards, leaving the field clear for the ICG to field two (effectively forming a ‘ticket’ of three candidates).

This revelation is quite an eye-opener, for doesn’t UKIP have a policy of not accepting members who had been in the National Front or BNP since 1980? It seems strange that it regards such people as unfit to join the party but okay to do back-room deals with.

Aside from this, there is another important issue: in his account of the meetings Phil Andrews conveniently fails to explain what he brought to the bargaining table. He has already made it clear that he was not willing to do a ‘2 and 1’ candidate deal with UKIP, insisting instead that UKIP must stand aside altogether in order that the ICG would be able to field a full slate of three candidates in both wards.

So precisely what did Phil Andrews offer in return? An assurance that his group shared UKIP’s ideology, perhaps? An offer of campaigning advice and assistance for those wards which UKIP would be contesting (as he gave to the Cranford Independents in return for their endorsement in 2010)? Or maybe a tacit agreement that any successful ICG or UKIP candidates would co-operate in the Hounslow Council chamber after the elections?

Unlike Phil Andrews I do not have a line of communication to Hounslow’s UKIP councillors, so I am unable to ask them these questions. However, I do think there is something about this affair that has a funny smell to it and as usual the scent surrounding the ICG is particularly unpleasant.

Given the above facts, surely it ill-behoves ICG Chairman Ian Speed to cast aspersions on others in relation to UKIP? Veteran Tory Councillor Barbara Reid, a former ally of the ICG, once lambasted the group for its "astounding hypocrisy". Its behaviour over the UKIP issue would certainly seem to vindicate her words.

******

Ian Speed’s attack on me was swiftly backed up by another ICG cheerleader in the form of Steve Taylor. For the record Mr Taylor is the primary spokesperson for the Mogden Residents Action Group (which, it just so happens, was co-founded by Phil Andrews).

Steve Taylor used the opportunity to malign me for allegedly keeping “historical archives of quotes from contributors to this forum going back for years and years”. My view about this is simple: there is nothing wrong with quoting people as long as it is done accurately.

It is a fact that Steve Taylor accused the previous government of “looking after foreigners and paving the way for them”, that he described Labour’s education policy as being one of “immigration, immigration, immigration” and that he opined that migrants “suck off our benefits system”. These remarks are far more UKIP-ish in their tone than anything I have ever written.

He further asserts that I have made “sinister boasts” of “I know where you all live”. But the truth is I have never said anything of the sort. His misquotation is presumably a reference to the fact that I once mentioned that he lives in Weavers Close Isleworth. This was an entirely relevant observation given that we were discussing the Mogden sewage works which borders that road. His letters to the local press on this issue have been signed off 'Steve Taylor, Weavers Close Isleworth', so precisely why is it sinister for me to mention this?

Far more sinister is the fact that Steve Taylor has actually called at a previous address of mine in Trinity Road Southall demanding to know my whereabouts. This is quite significant because in the first online post he ever directed at me he indicated that he had things to say to me which are not dull enough for the forum.

The mind truly boggles, for Steve Taylor has on a number of occasions used the forums to call me “sick” and “evil”. Such terminology is usually reserved for murderers, rapists and child abusers yet I’ve had it applied to me on a routine basis simply for being an opponent of the ICG. It is a wholly inappropriate use of a neighbourhood forum.

He has also accused me of “practising onanism in Southole” (notice the deliberate distortion of the word ‘Southall’) yet in his latest attack laughably complains that I refuse to “sit down sensibly and debate face to face”.

Steve Taylor seems to be cut from the same cloth as his ally Phil Andrews, someone who is truly gifted in his ability to direct an array of complimentary terms at a wide range of online opponents (“lying scumbag”, “repulsive arse”, “parasite”, “demented”, “disturbed”, “gutless creep”, “lunatic” and “dickhead” to mention just a few recent examples).

Phil Andrews has also directed a number of implied threats at me, including expressing his desire to give me a slapping. Am I alone in thinking that this is inappropriate for someone who aspires to renewed public office?

Considering the tone of their online language I suspect that should either of these potty-mouthed charmers ever make an appearance on my current doorstep then PC Plod will almost certainly take a keen interest in finding out what they are doing there.

******

There is one final aspect of the behaviour of Phil Andrews which is worthy of close examination and this relates to his tactic of making false accusations against his political opponents. Many of these smears stick because they cannot be disproven.

As an example he has accused me of playing a part in the vandalising of his car, though when challenged over this claimed that I would not have had the “courage” to do so. It is very informative that the former portfolio holder for ‘Community Safety’ regards committing an act of criminal damage to private property in the owner’s absence to be worthy of the term 'courage'. Most people would call it crass stupidity and cowardice.

Among his other false allegations: that I sent a mailing (presumably about him) to his work colleagues; that I was behind anonymous comments he had posted on his own blog (this he backs up with another falsehood – namely that he has obtained my IP address because a mutual friend shared my emails with him); that I was behind anti-immigrant postings on the ‘BrentfordTW8.com’ internet discussion forum (I won’t even dignify that one with a response); that my family live in the South West so as to be as far away from me as possible (please refer to my last response); and that I have never had the “courage” to stand for public office. (In fact I’ve stood twice but would contest the notion that it is courage that motivates a person to do so).

Phil Andrews has also repeatedly claimed that I was banned from the local Neighbour Net fora for allegedly posting under assumed names. Not true. In 2011, after two years of posting, the moderators sent me an email stating that my account had been suspended "after complaints from other users”. This is nothing unusual and in fact dozens of political contributors have had their accounts terminated over the years.

One final example of a Phil Andrews falsehood which I will add to the mix: he has stated that despite living in Southall I am politically active in Isleworth and has accused me of being behind newsletters recently circulated by the Isleworth Labour branch.

Apart from posting an online article about the ICG I have played no part in Isleworth politics since 2010. In fact my only substantive political activity since then has been to send about half a dozen letters to the Ealing Gazette (each of them critical of UKIP). Disability has prevented me from being more active.

However, I freely admit to having more than a passing interest in the outcome of this month’s election in Isleworth especially in the light of the repeated attacks made on me by one of that ward’s candidates. Why wouldn’t I?

Phil Andrews’ fixation with your truly has led him to make various other allegations and although these are too numerous to rebut individually they do lead me to conclude that he seems to live in a surreal world dominated by his paranoia and personal vendettas. Should he make any further such accusations please do not assume they are true simply because a denial is not issued in each and every case.

One comical anecdote is that he has frequently charged that I do not have a girlfriend. The underlying implication seems to be that because someone is mad enough to disagree with him it necessarily follows that they are too inadequate or unhinged to form a close personal relationship.

Why does any of this matter? It matters because Phil Andrews has now seen fit to level an accusation of corruption at one of his Labour opponents in this month’s local election. In the light of this it is surely important that voters understand that he has a track record of making inaccurate allegations of this sort.

More ominously it would seem that his latest smear, relating to a housing allocation, has been deliberately timed to ensure that his opponent has no realistic hope of disproving it this side of polling day. The allegation mirrors similar insinuations which he levelled at former Isleworth Labour Councillor Vanessa Smith a dozen or so years ago. (Needless to say, no evidence was ever forthcoming).

As for his political track record I would recommend that readers pour themselves a strong mug of coffee, click on the following link and look at the 4,500-word essay contained therein.

It is essential reading for any investigative journalist who wishes to really understand some of the background to the current controversy unfolding in Isleworth Ward…


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Captain Darling
 
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