Monday, August 07, 2006

Labour Councillor Slams Government Policy at CND Rally

It was billed as a commemorative event to mark the loss of life resulting from the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan at the end of WW2.

However it rapidly descended into a declaration of outright political warfare by Labour Councillor Denis Harryman on his party in government.
Cllr Harryman was the guest speaker at a CND rally at Riverside Park last night. Also in attendance in his official capacity was Cllr John Slade, the Mayor of Southampton.

The event which was organised by CND and had been advertised on the Stop the War Coalition website, was more a political rally than a commemorative event. There was no religious aspect to the evening as one might expect; no prayers. Instead there was a very political speech by Cllr Harryman in which he was deeply critical of his own party in Government.

Cllr Harryman devoted only 1 minute of his 16 minute speech to the subject of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Calling for unilateral nuclear disarmament he claimed that secret decisions had already been taken to replace Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent. He called for the Southampton Labour party to bring forward motions to the next Labour Conference condemning this.

Cllr Harryman went on to criticise the Government on a range of foreign policy and domestic issues, including housing policy and tuition fees (which incidentally both Southampton's Labour MPs supported).

I was quite astonished that he held such strong views and that he was so opposed to Government policy and that as a senior Labour Councillor he felt that he could remain part of the Labour Party. I was also amazed by some of the comments that he made. Here are some which I found particularly bizarre:

Cllr Harryman claimed that the CND movement was responsible for averting nuclear war during the Cold War! I mean come on really! As if during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev was on the phone to CND sorting the problem out!

He suggested that if Britain abandoned its nuclear weapons, then this would inspire Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions! This is incredibly naive!

Clearly Cllr Harryman is deeply at odds with Government policy and Labour Party policy. I wonder how he can seriously ever again stand for elected office on a Labour Party ticket.

Was it right for the Mayor to be there?

Of course Cllr Slade can attend anything he likes as a private citizen. However is it right for him to attend a deeply political event such as this, in his official capacity, wearing the chain of office, accompanied by Council staff and arriving in the mayoral car? I personally do not think this is right. After all it’s our taxes that are being used.

1 comment:

Matt Dean said...

Cllr Moulton's comments sum up the event very well; a political rally held to promote the views of the hard-left.
Slade's attendance with the Mayoral car was a total waste and abuse of public money and brings his office into disrepute.