One of the trends I predicted long ago (but have scarcely mentioned to anyone, just a couple of people) has been local Labour's ever more brazen attempts to manipulate the political agenda for their own benefit. Of course, this has been dressed up in a way that the less-than-perceptive will not recognise and who will no doubt fall into the perennial trap of believing what has been so carefully presented to them.
More fool them! Through their reactions they merely encourage those who seek to 'con' our people, who will ramp up their efforts in the same vein.
Indeed, this is exactly what has been happening here in Medway, particularly at meetings of the Full Council, for several meetings now. I predicted this would happen, largely based on the fact that without having me on the Council to act as an inhibitor for their wilder excesses (I always made them come off worse if that tried it on when I was there) they were now free to act without that corrective, and several damaging stories that do not hold water have appeared in the local media.
I'd have made sure there was no usable story, as I did five times during my years on the Council. As I have said before, there's no value in having a two column-inch retraction on page 38 of the following week's newspaper: the damage will already have been done. It has always been essential to kill the story off before it can even become a news story.
Nowadays, though, we also have the regular claque in the public gallery at every Council meeting. Labour claim they are 'nothing to do with us', but several of their party members (including the odd former councillor) have suddenly started coming – I have even been on the same 'bus to such events – and sit within the claque's ranks. My instrumentation records all this stuff, permanently...
This is being cranked up as the Council meetings come and go, with the express purpose of disrupting what is, after all, business affecting a quarter of a million residents (plus employees and visitors here) to manipulate, control and dominate these meetings for the benefit of a political faction. That is the truth of it, as anyone with the perception to take the step back that I often advocate and see what is really going on will spot very easily.
For their part, the Conservative administration of the council has been less than fully competent in handling itself and the council itself, still being bogged down in the officer-run Cabinet system that operates against the public interest, and certainly against local democracy. Indeed, it depends on having most of that local democracy having been stripped away, so that most elected members no longer have any right to vote on most policy matters. That too was Labour's doing, by imposition as usual for them.
Thus we have a rubbish council system, easily interfered with by organised groups with their own agenda, and achieving relatively little (it has been declining for years now). It's an old story in many (other) places, but it has to be nipped in the (belated) bud here.
All of it is, of course, to do with next May's all-out council elections, and an increasingly desperate Labour party locally, seeing the trend of the past fourteen years, has become bolder in its desperation. They know they cannot achieve any significant gains without playing it very dirty indeed; and the filthiest party in British politics has long been Labour, by a comfortable margin. They have no qualms about behaving in any way they feel they need to, in order to achieve at least some kind of vistory next year.
In fact, the present ploy is quite a clever one, as they know that the local media reporters have to report what happens, rather than interpret its true meaning and motivation. Thus they merely need to control the 'what happens' aspect and they have their favourable media coverage – which is the primary aim of the game. Even if reporters in attendance realise what is going on (and most of those over the years probably didn't, I mention just for the record) there is nothing they can do about it. They are pawns in the game, effectively powerless to present a balanced report, let alone explaining to their typical readership what was really going on.
Thus the battle is fought, and the ante will continue to be upped during the next nine months or so. Most of the public will fall for it; and indeed this will be a sharp test for the Medway electorate, who – along with others in Kent – have already started to realise the folly of going along with a slick sales pitch and 'manufactured' scenarios, as a result of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner election less than two years ago.
Indications are that one lesson has been partly learnt, but that won't stop many from falling into exactly the same kind of trap next May. It is embarrassing to have to admit that an awful lot of humanity are just plain gullible – but there it is. After all, if it weren't so, there'd be no point in all this being set up and executed: it'd be a wasted effort – but it does work, so of course they keep doing it....