Democracy is something that we can take for granted although many parts of the world still have no democracy at all, or much less freedom to express political views than we enjoy in the west. I am however noticing a new intolerance of freedom of speech from the British Left, headed up by the Momentum organisation that now has seized political control of the Labour Party.
Momentum are a far-left faction of the Labour Party who are fighting internal and ideological battles, but who also try to shut down freedom of speech from political opponents. This new militancy that has emerged since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour Leader and as the problems of anti-Semitism within Labour have shown, it isn’t pleasant.
Here in Crawley we haven’t yet seen the worst of Momentum that has been seen in other areas, where Council Leaders have been forced out of office for not being left-wing enough and where attempts are being made to deselect moderate Labour MPs, but I am observing increased far-left activity in Crawley. This activity takes place internally within Labour as well as trying to silence people like me who will stand up to the bully-boy tactics of the far-left.
Last week saw an example of local democracy with the full council meeting taking place at Crawley Borough Council. These meetings are becoming increasingly farcical and at times an embarrassment to our local council and our town. Yet again we saw blatant time wasting by Labour Councillors, such as the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services who recited long council press releases word-for-word which everyone present has already seen.
I believe this tactic is to try to get to the 10.00pm closing time so that the meeting has to end before questions can be asked of senior Labour Councillors who prefer to avoid being questioned. They only have 15 minutes of questions compared to two hours of questions to Cabinet Members at Conservative-run West Sussex County Council. We also saw the Labour Leader of the Council suggesting that Conservative Councillors shouldn’t bother addressing the Council, because no press or public were present.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
25th July 2018