Sunday, 7 February 2016

Socially Engineered

In London, Zac Goldsmith has an uphill battle ahead of him to win the London Mayoralty this coming May. Labour's Sadiq Khan is widely tipped to win instead, a few think by quite a margin.

Why? Is it because Sadiq is better for the job than Zac would be? No: the exact opposite is the case – though Zac doesn't have the charisma of the incumbent, Boris Johnson. He'd still be vastly better for London, especially in the upcoming years, but it will take a lot for him to win. It is definitely possible, but far from easy.

Why should this be? It's down to the social engineering of London during the Labour years in government, especially the vast influx of immigrants from what were known would be Labour-favourable (one way or another) origins. The scale of that situation has been reported in a few places in recent months, and there are a number of associated aspects of all of that which show just bad that purely politically-motivated policy has been – most notably for the newcomers themselves.

We here in Medway have also witnessed social engineering at work in places such as Troy Town, which is an area within Rochester. Back in the 'eighties, the then Labour-run predecessor council to today's Unitary Authority arranged for a lot of social housing to be built in Troy Town. If you were to wander around that area, you'd no doubt be surprised at just how much of this ill-fitting 'square peg in round hole' accommodation there is there. It isn't vast, but there is a fair amount of it, and of course it's generally high-density – so there are a lot of votes embedded in those quarters.

A former mayor, who has lived here much longer than I have, gave me the low-down on this, including names and dates. It explains why that ward (when it was a separate ward) was the only part of Rochester to have Labour councillors even after the Unitary Authority came into being, and even after the following local elections when Labour lost its other Rochester seats. They are still there today, though not very well liked – and that is a whole 'nother story, which is very interesting in itself but doesn't concern us today.

Interestingly, because there was already a fair amount of social housing and similar in neighbouring Strood, and Labour seemed to think they had those seats by default, perhaps too much of their effort went into the 'Troy Town project' – and there are still signs of that going on today, I notice whenever I pass through there. The consequence seems to have been that the good folks of urban Strood (the rural part is a separate entity) saw what was going on in other places that had Conservative representation and grew ever more marginal in their voting at each successive local election.

By the year 2003 they had switched over (grown up?) and elected five out of six Conservative councillors, with Fred Bacon holding on in what was by then called Strood South ward only because of his strong personal vote. Since then, Labour has held only one or none of the three seats in each of Strood North and Strood South wards, and now has no seats there at all.

Other Labour 'safe' territory on our council also had the odd seat lost to Conservatives last May: Twydall, and Luton &Wayfield. No longer do they have any safe seats on Medway Council, despite all they have done to try to wangle things (including their ward boundary changes that were accepted by the Local Government Commission, taking effect in 2003).

The overall lesson in all of this is to at least be aware of any such political manipulations in the local community and nearby. Even if there is little if anything any of us as ordinary citizens can do about such social engineering, at least we ought to know of it and realise what is really going on.

Of course, this could equally well be done the other way around by Conservatives or other elected representatives on the political right, but my experience has been that this is rarely done for political reasons and in most instances is done just to improve the quality of an area – which is surely what those they are representing would wish them to do. I have seen this from the inside: different motivation, different goal in view; so let us not be misled on that.

Meanwhile, Labour here are fighting a losing battle – and I have seen a number of signs that, behind the public face, they do realise this – especially since the advent of the Corbyn & company party leadership, which makes an already bad situation for them even worse. The rest of us here in Medway, though, have to live with the fallout from their manipulations from years past – just as Londoners are having to cope with a raft of acute and in some cases severe consequences of the last Labour government's self-serving policies that ripped apart our Capital's core being and transformed it entirely.

At least it never got anywhere near that extent here...

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