Friday, May 16, 2008

The “N” Word

two men arguing with pointy fingersThe rumpus at last night’s Full Council meeting is reported in the Ilford Recorder and the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian.

Make of that what you will. However, perhaps I could remind Cllr Weinberg [and Full Council] that the BNP do have an elected councillor who is Jewish and that anti-Semitism is by no means confined to the political "right".

On to better things: The "good news for battling allotment holders" mentioned at the end of the Recorder piece is I think referring to this: [hat tip Richard Cooper].

The Planning Inspector who is responsible for passing the Redbridge Local Development Framework Plan has made a change regarding Open Spaces.
Open Space - Policy CR2 (Protection of Other Important Urban Open Space) has been deleted and all sites classified as CR2 are now included in CR1 (Protection of Important Urban Open Space). However the Inspector has indicated that school developments on sites now covered by CR1, or the expansion of other facilities "supportive of and ancillary to the purposes of the open space" is clearly permissible under Policy CR1.

Page 127


  1. What depths has debate in Redbridge Council Chamber sunk to! May I suggest readers also look at the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian report on the Council meeting for a full report and comments by Opposition Leaders. I may have had my difficulties as Council Leader (2004 - 2006) and they were many! but it did not come down to what appears to have been a bawling match with the Council Leader rising to Cllr Moth's bait. The troubles I had were conducted in my office or within the Group (I have the minutes still to prove it),not in the public domain.

    Redbridge deserves better!

  2. Thanks Anon [sic!].
    I have added the link to the main post.
    Trust you are well.

  3. Laurence Davies7:54 pm, May 17, 2008

    Sorry pressed wrong button did not mean to appear as anonymous! Very well.

    Keep up the good work Barkingside21

  4. There have been many occasions in the past when I have defended Harold Moth, both publicly and within the privacy of the Conservative Group, against the Group's bullying. On this occasion I can only share the anger of others that Councillor Moth has resorted to this outrageous, calculated, and deliberate insult. I may be critical of the style of leadership (or, very often, lack of it) within Redbridge Council, but Councillor Moth's deliberate insult is wholly inappropriate. He would do well to apologise privately to Councillor Weinberg, and publicly to the Council at its next meeting on 17 July if he wishes to have any hope of restoring even some of the respect in which he has always hitherto been held.

  5. Morris,

    I was not at the meeting [and neither it seems were you] so all I have to go on are the reports in the press.

    I am aware of Cllr Weinberg’s religion and his stated view on the BNP from a DVD on racism produced last year, he said if I remember correctly, that he “detests the BNP” and I am also aware of your views.

    However, whatever you think of the BNP they are a legitimate political party with democratically elected representatives and their presence is a mark of the freedom and tolerance this country is noted for. I do accept though, that the Achilles heel of Liberalism is that it can allow and tolerate the very forces that seek to destroy it.

    I am at present engaged in a debate about a boycott of Israel where some are accused of “demonising” Israel as a “racist” or “aparthied” state similar to old South Africa. And those who argue against a boycott [even though some are not Jewish] are accused of using the anti-Semitism card as a lever.

    All of these things are opinions, as is the notion that the BNP hold “Nazi” views, a view quite clearly refuted by Cllr Leppert. Whether they are or not, is not the point. The point is that they are all distractions or emotive glib generalisations that divert attention from rational debate of the issues.

    That is why I think Cllr Weinberg should have withdrawn his [reported] remark and having refused to do so should have been shown the door of the chamber. Rules are rules and should apply equally to all.

    Having said all that, Cllr Moth should have been aware of the sensitivity [and the likely associations that would be made, justified or not] of Cllr Weinberg to his remark, even though the background which led to it appears to be sound, and as far as I know, not dealt with.

    That is the tragedy or the mis-judgement of Cllr Moth. The issue he was trying to raise was not debated, but was overtaken [one cannot discount deliberately] by emotional confrontation.

  6. "Nazi" is in fact a contraction from the title "National sozialistische deutsche Arbeiter Partei" (NSDAP) or the National Socialist German Workers' Party. It has become a pejorative term due entirely to history.

    Having known Councillor Moth for more than 30 years I am in no doubt that his comment was made with malice afore thought, and landed on target. Given what I also know about Alan Weinberg I can well understand why the remark was offensive, as indeed was its intention.

  7. Morris,

    According to the reports Cllr Moth did not use the word “Nazi”. It was Cllr Weinberg who derived [interpreted] that association from Cllr Moth’s comment. Whether or not that derivation was intentional or justified is open to debate.

    However, I accept that you know both of them better than I.

  8. I agree. My point about the word "nazi" is merely comment about your immediately preceding comment.

  9. Thank you, Morris.
    Although I do feel that your view that the word "Nazi" has become a pejorative term, albeit "due entirely to history", rather reinforces my view that Cllr Weinberg should have withdrawn his remark or been shown the door.

  10. The point here is that Cllr Weinberg regards the BNP wholly as a Nazi party (whether they are or are not is important - but not the point here), his distaste for that party is total - and very well-known - and the jibe that he was a closet member of the BNP was an outrage.

    That Cllr Leppert (BNP) denied the BNP's links with Nazism - and pointed out that he was friends with the BNP's Jewish Councillor Patricia Richardson - throws a mighty spanner in the works. Accusing somebody falsely (even if not knowingly falsely) of being a Nazi would be a bit of an insult and a retraction would possibly be expected.

    I think Cllr Weinberg would probably have preferred to leave the Chamber than do that.

  11. Alan Weinberg should stick to his guns. A nazi is a nazi. The Debden councillor named by Gary wants us to have no people in this country from abroad. She, however, is of Romanian-Lithuanian descent. Ironic!

  12. Gary,
    I agree with your analysis but would add that Cllr Weinberg could [should?] have chosen not to say it.
    Whatever his private opinions are, they are a matter for himself. When in the council chamber discharging his duties as Leader of the Council he is a representative of the public, under the scrutiny of the public and the press. It is not as though he is a novice. He is an experienced councillor who one would expect to be able to distinguish between his public duties and his private opinions.

  13. Morris,
    Then argue the case on it's merits, point out the inconsistencies, like you do above, rather than resort to "naming" with the intent of guilt by association.
    Someone with your experience should be able to persaude others to reach that conclusion without such tactics.

  14. Councillor Weinberg is an experienced local politician, who, it appears, will enthusiastically grasp any opportunity to use his Jewish background as a persuasive political tool in the very full knowledge that the vast majority of the people of this country have very considerable sympathy for the suffering of his people at the hands of Adolf Hitler and his followers. What Councillor Weinberg appears not to understand however is that his general behaviour is frequently regarded by the electorate at large as being insultingly unacceptable; time to call it a day Councillor before you do any more damage.

  15. Back to the Question Guys - I was there at The Council Meeting purely to make sure that the Open Spaces (which includes Allotments) in Redbridge are comparatively safe. They now have a legal safety-net.
    I also have moderate sympathy for our New Mayor of Redbridge - Loraine Sladden - for the Full Council evening was a test for her without a doubt!
    That which worries me is quite plain for all people to comprehend(as it should be to those with a strong political bias) it strongly appears that once again, we are heading into the realm where we may not be able to trust this council, during this term as last, as The Meeting proved to be more of the same.
    Why did (although he was correct that the council was acknowledged) Councillor Goody drag out the "award" part of the comments?
    Perhaps to calm the evening down a bit?
    The public do not want to know how bad the others were, but, how this council can improve things Greatly!
    It seems that I am to be 'knocking some council officers' for a reason, however, this is often, regrettably justified for they have a tendency to break loose from the bit!
    The Council Officers should have used common-sense rather than their track to passify the party in power:
    Councillor Moth gave a statement that was easily recognized by the councillors - but not to this anti-political person. Councillor Moth, it seems from my position, was ejected simply because some people do not like what he says?
    This proved itself correct when he was later ejected (having said nothing more) from the public gallery?
    I feel that the council officers, advising the New Mayor, should have advised her to eject Councillor Wienberg for he shouted a statement - calling another councillor a "nazi"!
    That action, coupled with past known actions from Councillor Weinberg should have brought an instant warning from the Mayor - which she gave.
    When Councillor Weinberg repeated the statement and shouted, uncontrollably, that he would never apologize, he seemed to have no control, and should have, at least by common decency, been lead from the Chamber!
    As Leader of the Council he has not right to disrespect anyone for anything - for he represents the Full Council, The Officers and the Public (possibly in reverse order).
    At the very least, the council officers present should have called for a recess, as nothing less would have repaired the damage built onto that evening by Councillor Weinberg.
    Further, the other parties had a number of questions "manipulated" and one of the most respected councillors was rebuffed when he was 'ignored' but later made the same point - "How long will Cllr Moth be ejected for, this Meeting, one month - how long".
    The mayor was advised; "That question has gone by." Which indicates that important questions will be still ignored, by trick, rather than by Order of Business!
    Now we come to the nail in the coffin of this Leader of The Council.
    Councillor Weinberg put forward two nominees for a position on the licensing etc Committee!
    Yet, Why - Did the council vote in Councillor Moth, who had just been ejected, for an undertermined time span, from the Council Meeting?
    As the other nominee was still in the Chamber, the position should have gone to him, even by default?
    The Council has no legal right to dismiss that councillor simply because he was a Member of a political party the council did not like. Elections were held?
    Further, in the Agenda, councillors are told to remain behind so that they can vote-in the chairman of each of the Committees?
    I fear, the council seem to be so engrossed in their own thoughts, that they, with the help of their advisors, miss the point, when the point is respect, decency and competence.
    This incident - needs more than a cornflake packet and plastic-padding.
    I suppose that until this matter is publicly resolved, this council will be party to even more "Groups" contesting them more often!
    The CR1 Designation was only, finally, achieved because one large Action Group (CRA) of local residents "forced" the council to sit down with Lawyers on both sides.
    I would like all residents of Redbridge to say a humble "Thanks" to Cranbrook Residents Association for their stamina in light of a stubborn opposition.
    And pray for our Council to settle down and perhaps not be so keen on Their Politics.
    A good tip might be - concentrate on that which you can achieve within the budgets you have. Forget, at least in public your traits towards being bitchy for the sake of glory.

  16. I was in the Council chamber in the night in question. Cllr Weinberg should have apologised. Cllr Moth was understandably irate. Cllr Weinberg is extremely unpopular in the borough and is increasingly a liability for the Tory administration.

  17. Many thanks to' Richard or rep' for such a balanced account of what happened. (I was there!)
    Thank you also for bringing to my attention our debt of thanks to the Cranbrook Residents Association regarding the reclassification of our allotments.

  18. cllr bond said:

    The disappointment was that Cllr Moth's interjection and the subsequent reaction and controversy wrecked what should have been a serious debate about the current leadership of the Council.

  19. Leadership? WHAT leadership?

  20. Some "...ships" float, others sink.

  21. Despite the 20 comments, there was a lot more information to be found in the Ilford Recorder today. (By the way, my personal observations were proven wrong: Cllr Weinberg had been informed of the unholy alliance at Area 3.)
    What is interesting however is that nobody seems to care at all about Cllr Leppert's feelings.
    Perhaps, he knows that unkind comments are part of the deal in politics and he has a healthy attitude to aggravating comments.

  22. Councillor Weinberg was well aware of the "alliance". I still have copies of the emails that were exchanged in June 2007.

  23. Morris Hickey said:
    Leadership? WHAT leadership?

    The Leader
    I wanna be the leader
    I wanna be the leader
    Can I be the leader?
    Can I? I can?
    Promise? Promise?
    Yippee I'm the leader
    I'm the leader

    OK what shall we do?

    Roger McGough

  24. Anne... I particularly care about the conditions surrounding people caught up in such events (I include, Weinberg, Moth, Hoskins attempt to rationalise matters and Leppert as well as the "impressions given" by all the parties to everyone) - I care greatly that political people may break-free from their tendency towards 'degrading' an other; to change in favour of listening to their point of view.

  25. After last weeks council fiasco- Speaking to the Guardian the morning after the turbulent meeting, Cllr Weinberg said: "The fact that Labour and the Liberal Democrats don't want me in is a badge of honour and just means I'm doing the job right.
    Right? then perhaps Councillor Weinberg would like to explain the Great Conversation, which is only happening because the Cabinet cant take decisions, cant control its own members, viz would not put the allotment issue to a full council vote, and withdraws the whip from its members, sunk in disreputable scandals- Jaguars and coucillors allowances, and backdated mayoral allowances, if this is doing the job right,then heaven preserve us from doing the job any other way, bankruptcy is only a step away.
    If we had webcasting, we could have entered "Redbridge on the Rocks" (with apologies to Abel Ferrara) for the Palme D'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.
    and a quote
    Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation. - William Arthur Wood


  26. Cllr Weinberg seems to be relying on the current trend of drift away from Labour and to Conservative based on a "lame duck" leader.

    What he forgets is that local circumstances can run against national trends and cause "upsets" for exactly the same reasons.

  27. "....lame duck leader....". Oh, yes! No prizes for identifying.

  28. I have just realised this thread is still going on and I have just noticed a personal message, to me, from richard or rep and, I am not sure I understand at all what it means. (Sorry!)
    I don't know if it regrets personal attacks from one councillor to another or if it means that all is fair in politics!
    I am not going to air my strong opinions publicly but B21 could put me in contact with richard or rep, if wished.
    (aparte: would B21 consider the PM system much used in redbridge i? Is that possible?)

  29. A PM system is not possible as I allow anonymous comments and you don’t have to register or log in to comment. Even if you use a blogger ID, as you do Anne, you don’t have to make your profile public, as you don’t. Even if you do make your blogger profile public you do not have to display your email address, as Richard does.

    However, I do know who Richard is [and you know him too] so I will ask him to contact you since you have effectively given me permission to disclose your email address to him. In fact he’s probably already got your email address and you his.

  30. Thank you B21.
    I love this cloak and dagger thing!
    Perhaps not a good idea to have a dagger these days!

  31. Isn't a cloak a garment worn by a toff, or is that only in Crewe & Nantwich?

  32. "daggering in the back" or better known as "knifing in the back"
    definition :- popular political activity.
    cloak :- definition -popular political activity


  33. Morris Hickey you're right a cloak is a garment normally worn by a toff. Since there are many upper class toffs in the Tory party. I think it is safe to say this goes for the whole party and not just C&N!

  34. Back to the rumpus at the recent Full Council meeting. There is a letter in the recorder today advising cllrs to behave with decorum and not act as babies in prams.
    Fair enough but, why was nothing said when, at the previous Full Council meeting, comments by Cllr Moth, were met with howls of derision by more than one member of the cabinet? They were behaving like cruel marionettes and they were working as a pack. Gang warfare?
    I was shocked.

  35. You, anonymous, should learn to distinguish between humour and insult. A good start would be having the guts to disclose your true identity.

    I think the situation you describe applies across all political parties. Certainly Margaret Hodge is an upper class twit despite her pretentions towards socialism, and Hazel Blears has all the appearance of Hilda Ogden with hair dyed ginger.

  36. Discrimination on the basis of “social class” is just as bad as any other form of discrimination, including “gingerism”.
    That the Labour Party ought to know better and are not hanging their heads in shame, is neither surprising nor unexpected.