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News and Comment October 2021

Index: 2019202020212022

3 October (Part 1) - I’m a racist

I went for a look around the Abbey Wood Village monthly market yesterday. It was disappointingly quiet what with the rain and the fuel shortage. Some regular stall holders were missing, in part because they had no fuel themselves or more seriously their supplies had not been delivered for the same reason. Additionally the general HGV driver shortage affecting the whole of Europe. Even the market organiser’s stall was looking a bit sparse for the same reasons.

Probably that is why my garden waste bin was not emptied last week. One collection in the past three months. How much compensation is going to be on offer?

Needing a few oddments from Sainsbury’s I ascended the station steps. At the top was a gaggle of six or eight or ten people but I didn’t even look up to see who they might be. I continued over the flyover, past the BP petrol station with a queue that didn’t even reach the roundabout, grabbed my stuff, got in a right old mess trying to buy a cabbage at the self-service till and with two well filled shopping bags, headed home.

As I got to the station entrance I became of aware of a fellow leaning against the wall with leaflets in his hand. I tried to give him a wide berth but he came across to intercept me. He asked if he could drop a leaflet into my bag and introduced himself as a Labour man. As we stood with legs straddling the borough boundary line I asked if he was from the Abbey Wood side or Bexley. He said Abbey Wood and mentioned Councillors Hyland and another whose name escapes me. Not to be outdone I said Belvedere and name dropped Sally and Daniel and Dave.

He was a decent enough bloke, no complaints whatsoever and he summoned across his colleague whose face I instantly recognised from Facebook and the like. I was not aware of his name but It was Councillor Clive Mardner. (I could have sworn he was introduced as Efford but maybe I jumped to conclusions.)

Clive asked something designed to extract my political leanings and I said I was a Tory “thoroughly pissed off with Johnson and all his cronies and I would never vote Conservative (nationally) again while any of them remained in the Cabinet”.

Fertile ground for a political campaigner I would have thought and maybe he thought so too because he summoned another of his colleagues standing around 40 feet away who I had not until then noticed. It was Abena Oppong-Asare MP. I told Clive that she would not want to speak to me and I was right. Clive asked why.

Abena“I have known her for a long time and I am very disappointed in her.”

He asked why again. I could have said anything, like one of the first things Teresa Pearce did when elected - and even before - was to make friendly gestures in my direction but that seemed to be a bit too self-centred so I fell back on what became obvious as soon as Abena was elected in December 2019. “She is not really interested in anything other than black or women’s issues.

I went on to say that after her election I analysed her first 25 Tweets and from memory 22 were on her two favourite subjects. It is a good job that I did not mention the BLM knee bending episode because Councillor Clive Mardner responded by calling me a racist, or to be more precise, what I had said would be considered to be racist. (The old blog shows my memory to be slightly at fault but not by much.)

It was of course a waste of breath but I objected. Earlier the same day I had welcomed my new Nigerian neighbours and helped out two more earlier in the week when their car was stolen. My last two phone calls were to a Pakistani and a Turk, there had been an early morning WhatsApp message from a Muslim and an email to an Indian. I had spoken to the Sainsbury’s assistant who helped me buy the cabbage but apart from her and the Nigerians the only other person I had spoken to that day is half Hungarian. It would be very hard to be a dedicated racist these days but Clive Mardner was pretty sure he had encountered one. He said so twice more.

It is a very funny way of going about recruiting disillusioned Tories to the Labour cause.

As for Abena, she might not think so but I consider I have gone very easy on her Parliamentary performance up until now in consideration of her time as a Bexley Councillor. In one of our friendly conversations many years ago she was even angling for an invitation out for dinner. I suspected at the time it was not a serious proposition and I still do but it is part of why I had no particular wish to be critical of the new Labour front bencher.

The kid gloves have been thrown away.

I was going to hold on to this report to give more time to see what the reaction of some local Labour members who I know just a bit would be, but I have some already. “Jesus! While campaigning?” “He's a bloody idiot.” “It’s how they deflect criticism. You are either a racist or a bully.”

Good to see that local Labour is just as divided as their Tory counterparts.

 

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