who stood up in the council chamber and cheered a Tory councillor who was making his last speech before leaving the council, having been deselected last autumn. Local dead-tree reporting of this immediately brought out the following: Labour cannot comment on this after the shameful way they treated Jane Griffiths and why this lot - and Labour, and the Lib Dems and the Greens cannot just GET ON WITH THE WORK FOR WHICH THEY WERE VOTED IN FOR. START BE HAVING LIKE ADULTS. Oh, Silly me, they are politicians, aren’t they?
and that was over seven years ago! Reading Labour should have learned from that experience, but it seems they have not. If a retiring councillor wants to have a public score-settling - and it would not be the first time this has happened - then surely this comes under the heading of private grief for that councillor's party. And as such should be listened to in silence. And then everyone should move on. Undoubtedly Reading Labour had the text of the councillor's retiring speech beforehand, and had decided what they would do. I can just imagine the cackling at the group meeting beforehand. So when Josephine Lovelock was heaving her vast wine-fed bulk off the chair she might have done well to reflect on the wisdom or otherwise of her group's actions. People have long memories. I don't know the councillor concerned and have no idea whether the reported accusations against him are true. That's not the point here. The point is that members of the public, as the comments showed, know a crass hypocritical gesture when they see it, and they don't like it. And there is an election coming up. Reading Labour are confident of cementing their control of the council in May. Maybe that is just what they will do. But shouldn't they think of what they actually want to DO with that control? As historic Reading buildings like the Kings Meadow Baths crumble away with the connivance of the council, and as Reading Labour continue to fail to provide decent schools for Reading children, and as parts of south Reading look increasingly like the crappier suburbs of Belgrade, where is the vision? Think about that.
In semi-related news, this week the loathsome Ed Balls was in Reading. Local reporting does not say why he was there, other than that he visited Alfred Sutton School in east Reading. Yesterday on the Chronicle website he was pictured with a youngish person of drippy appearance with a Labour rosette on, who was not named. Today her name has been added to the picture, perhaps after representations from Reading Labour. Too late. She is the candidate for Park ward, which Reading Labour are not fighting this year. Their best offer previously was Basher McKenzie, and when the voters showed their disgust with the likes of him they couldn't think of anything else, so they put in a GIRL and then kept her safely out of the way. They put a picture on their Facebook page later in the day, which has Gumdrops Gavin in the foreground (who should stay out of direct sunlight, or get a skin peel), the loathsome Balls next to her, and shadowed, so you can't see her face, some GIRL or other with a rosette on. Also, getting your picture taken does not constitute "campaigning", chaps. Issues you're tackling in Park ward, anyone? Anyone? (sound of tumbleweed)
After Bradford West, is this really all there is? Still, Reading Labour "strongly supported" Ed Miliband for leader, we were told. So that's all right then.