Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In a Pickle over UKIP

Cllr David Pickles has resigned the Conservative whip to sit as a UKIP councillor for Belmont ward.

I've known David for five years and he has always had forthright views on the direction that the Conservatives should go and they didn't always coincide with mine.

I have no interest in stifling free speech, opinion or serious debate. However, I did feel that a recent letter in the local Guardian about housing and immigration was ill-informed and did not sit easily with a modern, changing party that seeks to represent all residents in Sutton.

That is not to say that these issues should not be discussed or that there are no problems. There quite obviously are many issues regarding our border controls and the total disarray in the Home Office, but it is vital that we discuss the situation rationally rather than risking tarring every immigrant with the same brush. Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking has just made the same mistake, referring to "her white families" who she feels should have priority over others for housing. This reference taken in isolation, would not look out of place on a BNP leaflet. What about black or Asian residents born in the UK? As the son of a Burmese immigrant, I want to tackle immigration head-on, but in a way that does not give way to hijacking by extremists.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Cllr Pickles for having the courage to say enough is enough, New Labour or Blue Labour is no choice at all. I hope the other Tories in Sutton realise its too late for the Tories and that UKIP is the future for all Eurosceptic, pro-gramar school, pro individual choice residents in this country. UKIP are not anti-imigrant despite the atempts to smear them as such. UKIP are anti illegal immigration and pro controlled imigration. Until we leave the EU and get control of our own boarders then the problems will only get worse. Well done to UKIP Councillor Pickles!

Anonymous said...

The poor sod who posted the above comment was obviously failed by the education system because of the numerous spelling errors!

arjun said...

My family came to Britain from Pakistan in the 1970s and I for one think we need a firmer and fairer immigration system in the country, properly enshrined in Tory policies but...

We need some proper reasoned debate on the topic in language that cannot be commandeered by fascists, racists and bigots. Maggie Hodge seems to have failed to have grasped this simple lesson - especially when British National party scum clog up her own town hall with 11 seats.

Is it not a core element of decent conservative thought to be tolerant, polite, measured and reasoned in debating potentially emotively controversial political subject like immigration?

It was these eternal British values that attracted my late mother and father to this country in the first place.

It doesn't take "courage" to talk about sensitive topics, but it does take intellect to appreciate their sensitivies.

Anonymous said...

Why am I not surprised that there is criticism of spelling rather than offering an alternative argument.

I note that arjun identified tolerant, polite, measured and reasoned as virtues and then destroyed his own argument by calling the BNP “scum” Not a polite way to describe them? Or is it only a requirement that you are polite to people you agree with?

Actually I do agree with him and think they are scum but that’s neither here nor there.

As regards debate on immigration then I’m afraid it will never happen under this government or under a Blue Labour or Lib-Dem government either. All three of the Lib/Lab/Con are signed up to the European Union Project and as such have given away control of immigration to the EU Commission. Just wait until we have a common EU Foreign Policy and we will really be in trouble. It is Brussels who decide who comes into Britain, not the British Government. Only when the UK is a sovereign nation again will we be able to do anything about controlling immigration.

Interestingly enough UKIP wants to control immigration but would give preference to immigrants from the Commonwealth over those from countries such as Rumania who have no traditional ties with this country. A policy that is exactly the opposite of the current one imposed by Brussels which gives unlimited rights to reside in the UK to Rumanians and Bulgarians but prevents Commonwealth citizens having the same access.

Anonymous said...

UKIPs policy is one in and one out.

So if Mr Patel dies then we can let 'another one' in.

However what if Mrs Singh has twins - does that cancel out the death?

Anonymous said...

........well done Cllr Pickles. At last someone with the true spirit to say what most people are thinking but don't have the guts to say out loud.

Anonymous said...

You have to hand it to Cllr Scully. He's not going to budge on this one. He's wrong of course because councillors like Cllr Pickles have the political gumption to fight their corner, and I certainly hope he will.

Anonymous said...

So where was the support for Cllr Pickles? None as far as I can see from the existing Conservative group, who quite frankly didn't deserve such a pro-active and hard-working guy. Good luck to him and UKIP - I'm sure he'll prosper politically without the so-called "Tories", who are nothing now but a weak clone of New Labour.

Anonymous said...

I see a letter in this week's Guardian reminding us of Cllr Pickles' efforts in securing the borough the return of the weekly collection. With councillors like him around, the local Tories must be quite sore at losing him. All power to his elbow I say, and good luck to him at the next elections. The Tories just don't deserve people like him.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster above. I well remember the fortnightly collections and the awful stench that went with it. If it wasn't for the likes of Cllr Pickles we would probably be overrun with rats by now especially with "global warming".

I only wish we had somebody like him as our councillor in our ward (Stonecot).

Scully said...

Am I just being cynical or are all the anonymous comments left here that have doubled the total responses received over the last year, the entire UKIP membership in the Borough?

Comments on a postcard please.

Anonymous said...

I see a very interesting debate opening up here. I have always voted Lib-Dem and was seriously considering switching my allegiance to the Tories at the next local election, but their attitude towards one of their ex-members is making me question that. Looking at their policies makes me wonder whether UKIP could really benefit the community. Although a lifelong Liberal, I've always been opposed the EU as it now stands, and Cllr Pickles has a valid point when he queries unlimited immigration and rightly points the finger at the EU for making it so hard for us to control our own borders. I think Cllr Pickles definitely deserves to be re-elected again, unfortunately I am in Sutton West ward and won't be able to vote for him. And finally can I enquire - do the Tories have a policy on immigration or are they just content to sit on the fence?

Anonymous said...

Was it thanks to the like of Cllr Pickles that the Tories went from 8 to 22 at the last election?

Anonymous said...

I am new to this blog and wanted to see what it was all about. Alas the author - Cllr Scully - appears to be hassled about the number of posts that are supportive of Cllr Pickles - otherwise why would he post a "cynical" (his words) post accusing UKIP members of posting?

For his information, I live in his ward (Carshalton Central), and find his attitude rather obnoxious. Surely Cllr Pickles has his views, and given the hard work he has done in the past, and particularly as it seems to the benefit of the local tory party, I find it rather amusing that his hackles are up enonugh to post on his own website.

Perhaps Cllr Pickles has upset him enough for him to comment and he realises he is, in fact, on the losing side.

Any comments from you Cllr Scully?

Anonymous said...

I too live in Cllr Scully's constituency and find his attitude towards Cllr Pickles quite unacceptable.

At least Cllr Pickles had the courage to speak his mind, which is more than all the Conservative group together seem to have.

Anonymous said...

All power to Cllr Pickles elbow I say. How dare people like Cllr Scully pontificate on Pickles' views? Surely in a democracy people like Cllr Pickles (whom i actually think is absolutely correct) have a right to say what they think? Perhaps the current Conservative group ought to think hard about the direction they are heading in, because as night follows day, they are not going to win the council next time because of their double standards and duplicity.

Anonymous said...

As a late night poster having just returned home from night-work on the 280 bus route, I cannot see what all the fuss is about. I have been a public sector worker all of my life, starting on the underground at Morden and now on the local bus routes having lived in Sutton for over 44 years. I read Cllr Pickles letter of a few weeks back and agree with him entirely. There was nothing racist about it at all and I cannot understand why the local conservatives are kicking up such a stink. Cllr Pickles speaks for us all. In my job I work entirely happily with staff from other races and there is nothing wrong with that, but surely Mr Pickles was pointing out the sheer numbers of people coming in now without any controls. That must be bad not just for the country but for Sutton in particular because there is just not the room for unlimited numbers of people. If the Tories won't listen - who will?

Scully said...

Anonymous 10.00am says "How dare people like Cllr Scully pontificate on Pickles' views?". Exactly how would you like an immigration debate to go. You are doing the very same thing in your post. I just happen to disagree with some of the conclusions that David came to.

Anonymous 9.43am I'm not entirely sure which part of my view is obnoxious. Nobody censored David and he resigned of his own volition. I very much accept that immigration is a massive issue and one that needs sorting. I previously worked for a Croydon MP with Lunar House in his constituency and saw the mess in the Home Office first hand. Sorting out border controls is not the same debate as saying that immigration is the prime cause of housing shortages. It is a factor but just not the main one.

Anonymous 9.43pm says "I find it rather amusing that his hackles are up enonugh to post on his own website." and then asks me to comment. Either I post to share my views or not you really can't have it both ways.

It's interesting that there is such concern about how the group treated David when we are told by UKIP that he resigned because of the Grammar School debate not immigration. Anyway, the Conservatives certainly want to strengthen border controls. A full national immigration policy will be announced in due time. In the meantime, they are in opposition so couldn't implement anything and David Pickles and I are both councillors and so have absolutely no effect on tackling immigration since we are only local politicians. Voting UKIP will only maintain a LibDem council, two local LibDem MPs and a Labour government. With Tony Blair ready to sign a treaty akin to the European Constitution in the next month and only the Conservatives calling for a referendum first, I cannot for the life of me see why you would want this to happen.

Anonymous said...

I read two different stories in the press. The one in the Guardian seemed to concentrate on the immigration issue, whereas the Sutton Advertiser had a much more balanced article mentioning the grammar school issue as well. As I understand it Cllr Pickles finally resigned from the Conservatives over their failure to back grammar schools, and it appears, by reading the two articles together, that he was not happy at the lack of support his stance on immigration had received. Perhaps the grammar school issue was the final nail in the coffin. I don't feel that the local tories have treated him badly and as its been said he did resign of his own accord, but it would have surely been a shrewd political move for them to have backed him. I've spoken to many many people over the last two weeks about this, and a vast majority believe that Cllr Pickles has hit the nail on the head. I think it's made the local tories look weak.

Anonymous said...

I have never voted Conservative, but always believed they prided themselves on being a "broad church", open to all differing opinions.

It's a shame that a hard-working councillor such as Cllr Pickles decided to leave, but that was entirely his choice. Maybe more efforts should have been to keep him on board. I live in Wallington so don't know what his profile is in Belmont but I should imagine that his previous huge majority will see him in good stead. Perhaps the Tories won't fight the Belmont seat too hard next time as I think they probably need him around.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time to put this one to bed. Cllr Pickles disagreed with the Tory line and resigned - that's his perogative. The Tories on the other hand made no effort to keep him - that's their business.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this discussion, and I'm sure there are many, I'll continue to give my vote to the local Lib-Dems because I think they are doing a good job in running Sutton council. Cllr Scully and his cohorts have a lot to learn. And as for UKIP!

Frederick said...

As for the above comment, I cannot see how the Lib-Dems can relinquish control in 2010 as they still have a decent majority and are seen to be steering a steady ship. I think the Conservatives have made a massive mistake in criticising Cllr Pickles stance. He has struck a populist note and will no doubt do well in any election he chooses to contest. So near and yet so far is once again the tag that the Tories deserve.

Anonymous said...

Well at least it's made for lively debate. For what its worth I think the tory party have made a big mistake by letting Pickles go so easy. He's a tough nut to crack.

Boris said...

I had to laugh at the UKIP caravan picture heading this article.

Is that Paul Scully's sense of humour?

Jason said...

or is that where the Sutton and Cheam tories will hold their next conference after they are wiped out in 2010?

jana said...

I came to this country 7 years ago to find work which was difficult in my country (Slovenia). I have mostly found the people here to be very friendly and welcoming, especially as I have been doing jobs which no-one else seems to want. Last year I married a scottish man. I read the letter from councillor Pickles with interest and I understand what he is saying. His words are correct because an uncontrolled flood of people here will undermine those already here. I don't think he is racist at all, maybe he could have chosen some more sensitive words but overall I know he is right.

I still cannot speak very good English so my husband is doing this for me. We live in Ringstead Rd which is near Carshalton and would like to know from Mr Scully what plans does he and his party have to restrict the numbers coming in?

jana said...

I came to this country 7 years ago to find work which was difficult in my country (Slovenia). I have mostly found the people here to be very friendly and welcoming, especially as I have been doing jobs which no-one else seems to want. Last year I married a scottish man. I read the letter from councillor Pickles with interest and I understand what he is saying. His words are correct because an uncontrolled flood of people here will undermine those already here. I don't think he is racist at all, maybe he could have chosen some more sensitive words but overall I know he is right.

I still cannot speak very good English so my husband is doing this for me. We live in Ringstead Rd which is near Carshalton and would like to know from Mr Scully what plans does he and his party have to restrict the numbers coming in?

Steve said...

God! What is all this? Pickles has quit the Tories - good for him. Scully doesn't like it - good for him. Let sleeping dogs lie and see who is right come the next elections.

Talk about a storm in a tea-cup.

Anonymous said...

I tell you what - this one will run on for a long time yet. As a Belmont resident I've known David Pickles for a long time, and he's quite a feisty character. Never underestimate his ability for self-publicity or to turn round a situation in his favour. He may be 1 against 20+ conservatives but I'd put my money on him to win through.

He believes passionately that the party he has left is wrong and misguided and will use all his influence to ensure that the voter sees it that way too.

I'm afraid that the tory party in Sutton when recently on the verge of a victory are now going to be the subject of a lot of bad press and a surprising number of people turning against them. I have to remain anonymous because as I said I know Cllr Pickles well and live local to him in Belmont.

Keith said...

All that needs to be done is for Mr Scully and the Conservatives to issue another press release admitting they were wrong and Mr Pickles was right.

That way he will comfortably go back under the tory wing and all this will be forgetten.

Robin said...

I bet the people of Belmont are pleased to have someone like councillor Pickles represent them, rather than some chinless wonder who sticks rigidly to the party line instead of having an opinion.

Lisa said...

I bet the people of Belmont are not pleased to have someone like councillor Pickles represent them, who stands under a party banner, gets elected, and then sticks two undemocratic fingers up to the electorate who voted for him by defecting to a laughable no hope party like the UK Independence Party.

Anonymous said...

I know both David Pickles and Paul Scully well. Both were elected because they stood under the Conservative banner and had the backing of their local Conservative team.

Cllr Pickles resignation is his decision but he should not delude himself that he can hold his seat single handedly. The Freeman's in Worcester Park know that to be true!

The poster who stated that the Lib Dems have a big majority on Sutton clearly is detached from reality. Just 300 votes differently distributed last time would have seen them lose control and 2010 will be an interesting contest between a resurgent Conservative Party and a declining Ming Campbell led Lib Dem party. If the GE has happened by then the Lib Dems may also have lost both of their MPs.

Richard Willis made Sutton and Cheam winnable for the Tories last time and Philippa Stroud should finish the job next time.

David Pickles' resignation is just a side show, whatever he and his handful of supporters may think.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.

I have been following this exchange for the past week or so and it has just got a bit silly.

Most of the anonymous comments in this thread - and by that I mean the ones that say Cllr Pickles is such a good bloke etc ad nauseum - seem to be written in a very distinct, but similar style! In fact, they read very much like letters I have seen in the Sutton Guardian - written by one Cllr Pickles.

I must be wrong on this though. Surely no-one would be so self-serving, self-important, and naive enough to think no one would notice. Or would they?

Maybe Paul could tell us how many of those anonymous comments came from the same URL?

Scully said...

Interesting thought, anonymous 4.08pm. My site meter shows only one computer looking at the blog last night between the eight comments from anon 9.27pm and Keith at 10.46pm, purportedly from a host of different people including Jason, Boris and a Slovenian women called Jana(the posts show the wrong time as they were actually posted an hour or so later than shown.) Suggests you might be onto something...

Lisa said...

i don't think we need to call in Sherlock Holmes to work this one out. Eh???

It would be infinitely better if the discussion focused on the politics of the situation.

Anyway back to the topic.In my opinion Ukip are a flash in the pan of British politics and I don't personaly see the point of defecting from a major political party likely to win the next Gen Election, whenever it might be, on an obscure point which local government reps can do little about. like immigration

I can understand why people might vote for the Ukip in Euro parliament election times, but not at local level like in Sutton council. I mean come on is Councillor Pickles going to lobby as a Ukip councillor to get us out the EU?

Adrian Ridley-Jones said...

In answer to some comments here, I must reply that :

UKIP has a wide range of policies addressing all aspects of life, not solely the matter of the EU. However, it must be pointed out that given around 85% of our legislation is being driven from Brussels its no wonder the EU features in a lot of areas. Perhaps your readers would be interested to know 17,000 laws and 100,000 pages of regulations have emanated from the EU over the past ten years.

UKIP has welcomed David Pickles because he represents common sense and has firm views over all sorts of issues, not solely grammar schools and immigration. UKIP is not racist and therefore welcomes reasoned debate.

UKIP stands for efficient national and local government and in that capacity estimates we could reduce council tax bills significantly. Indeed it is national policy to try to cut the bill by 40%.

As to the matter of good governance of Sutton, that must be a matter of debate, after all it was the liberal democrats that implemented the fortnightly bin collection and David Pickles who championed the return to weekly. Again its an EU directive that's being implemented, just as the closure of the Post Offices is due to EU policy.

Adrian Ridley-Jones
Chairman
UKIP Sutton / Carshalton Branch

Cllr David Pickles said...

Having, so far, ignored the crass comments about me on here, as Adrian has filed a post, I now feel in a position to comment.

Firstly, I resigned the Conservative whip over a number of things. My feelings over uncontrolled immigration have been with me for a very long time. I always thought the Conservative party was a broad church with those of differing opinions welcomed into the fold. Indeed the work I have done for the party over the years, I feel has earned me the right to espouse those opinions. I realise that there are those Tory councillors with possibly large immigrant voters, but here is where the party scored an "own-goal" in my opinion. Far from being remotely racist they should have welcomed my views along the lines of mass immigration damaging the prospects of those people already here. Obviously there are those in the group that still have a lot to learn about politics. I never have been one to be told and instructed what to do, so therefore objected to a phone call trying to get me "back into line". The final straw for me was the grammar school farce, where despite being told by various members of the party, and one or two rather higher up, that David Willetts was "misquoted", it was plain for all to see that the Tory toffs have already formulated policies, and councillors are mere fodder in their expectation to follow them through. It is rather amusing to see local tories supporting grammar schools, but the national party practially disowning them. So much for principles.

UKIP offer a breath of fresh air, and an honesty that the people of Sutton and indeed the whole country are crying out for. When I resigned, at no time was there a discussion held with me in private to seek out my differences and to offer a way back. Now there appears to be some attempt to get me back in, and a cynical effort to persuade me that my seat is longer winnable in Belmont.

Sorry folks. I intend to fight this all the way. The Conservative party, both locally and nationally is, in my opinion, totally and utterly discredited in its views, its outlook, and the way it is going forward. I have laid my political career on the line, and am quite happy NOT to be part of Sutton Conservatives.

The Moral Faculty said...

Prams and toys comes to mind. Sounds to us like you couldn't have your own way so you decided to take your ball home. Team players are what's needed in modern politics, not self-opinionated, self-important and sadly deluded mavericks. As team games do not seem to be on your agenda, you should get on really well with UKIP. We look forward to the gradual exposure of your real views, at which point the public will see and hear exactly what you stand for. Sadly we voted you in last time, we will not be making that mistake again.

Cllr David Pickles said...

Well.........that's your choice, and that's what democracy is all about. Obviously, from the way you have slanted your post, it cannot be other than a planted disgruntled tory plant.

I'm big enough to take it on the chin, but whatever the outcome in 3 years time, I'll hold my head up and feel satisfied that I did my best for the people of Belmont and Sutton borough. Of course, I expect the Tory "dirty tricks" department to come out of the woodwork and try to discredit me in Belmont. Sorry chum, it just won't wash, and it doesn't worry me one bit. I'll continue to work hard for my residents and as I've had dozens of phone calls and e-mails of support over my stance, I can't say I'm going to worry about losing much of my vote. If you're involved in local politics and you know me and what's going on then you'll know I'm telling the truth. If, as I suspect, you are just a planted post on behalf of the local tories then I'm afraid you cut no ice with me.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating that after a comment suggesting that numerous commenst on this thread were, in fact, from Cllr Pickles, the man himself finally leaves some comments...

Strange that...

the moral faculty said...

Like we said, self opinionated and self important, you would think he had something else better to do with his time. There again, may be he hasn't.

Cllr David Pickles said...

.....it's a pity people like "the moral faculty" can't reveal their true identity.

the moral faculty said...

Like you will reveal your true identity over time.

Enough of this piffle. We will enter into debate with serious people on real issues that affect the voting public, not those who try to score political points at the expense of truth and genuine discussion.

Cllr David Pickles said...

......so that means then that you haven't got a serious point to debate? You know as well as I do that my stance regarding immigration is a question of numbers - not race, colour, creed or religion or anything like that. It's a shame the "Conservative" party don't have the guts to stick up for the people of this country, this borough and Belmont. They are now akin to being in a strait-jacket, too scared to upset anyone in case they lose a vote or two. You seem to take great pleasure in almost accusing me of racism in a rather underhand way when you say I'll reveal my "true identity". If, as you claim, you voted for me last time, then you know my true identity and where I stand on serious issues. I'm also interested when you say "we will enter into debate". Who's the "we" or do you presume to speak for lots of people?

I'll debate with you in a serious way, real issues that affect the voting public at any time. I suspect you are miffed at my defection because I have told the truth. You want to get out more and meet the people of Belmont like I do then you'll realise just how much support I have for my position.

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