May 19 2013

James Bond Says: Enough is Enough!

cllr_james_bondA true friend stands by their friends so it is with a touch of irony that I find myself defending two councillors from the same party but who are now on opposite sides of a political divide that, in these past weeks, has poisoned local politics in Harrow.

Cllr Victoria Silver (Labour) is accused of racism for comparing Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar (Independent Labour) to the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe in a comment posted on Twitter.

Knowing Victoria as I do, long before we were both elected three years ago, I can state without hesitation that she is not a racist. Her view, and in essence the motivation to tweet the words “Why do I keep thinking of #Mugabe” was to highlight a leader who had lost an election but had clung onto office regardless. This is her opinion however hard it is for her detractors to stomach and it should be respected as such. Any rational person should be able to see that there is no racist motive in this comparison and I share Victoria’s view that this row has been distorted to such an extent that it will sadly fuel a drip feed of accusations.

I will also stand up for Victoria because I am appalled by the hate inspired campaign being mounted against her. The demands for her resignation as a councillor are motivated by malice and nothing more, as are the moves to refer her to the Standards Committee. Even Harrow Council for Justice is on its high horse and is calling for Victoria to go. Enough I say! Victoria is an outstanding councillor of integrity and honour and one of the best we’ve ever had. Her ongoing work to champion the cause of carers in Harrow, for example, is second to none and I for one will not stay silent and watch others attempt to sully her good name with vexatious complaints.

Cllr Nana Asante (Independent Labour) is also someone I have immense respect for. She knows that in her hour of need I stood up for her when she was the victim of an injustice and a gross misrepresentation of the facts. This week, God willing, Nana will ascend to the position of Mayor of Harrow. I have made no secret of my view that I think Nana will be an outstanding first citizen for the borough of Harrow. I have been a fan of hers since she was lined up for this role a year ago when she was appointed deputy mayor.

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Is this going to be the legacy of the 2010-2014 council?[/pullquote]So it came as a surprise to learn that her ascension to the mayoralty was far from guaranteed as convention normally allows. That one of her colleagues almost managed to take the top job for themselves was more than just bad manners and only highlights the deep divisions that have since fractured Labour in Harrow.

But when a communication on twitter is twisted to suggest that another councillor has the human rights record of an African dictator I despair for that person’s intelligence. Our reputation as local politicians could not be any lower right now. What must our residents think? If we are not careful we are heading for the lowest turnout in Harrow election history next May leaving thousands of residents disillusioned and disenfranchised. Is this going to be the legacy of the 2010-2014 council?

Cllr James Bond
Headstone North Ward


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