Sadly Ipswich Borough Council really wasn’t seen in the best light last week due to the behaviour of a small number of Labour councillors. An incredibly acrimonious meeting where instead of engaging in constructive debate many senior Labour councillors decided to engage in straight up slander of their political opponents.
I wasn’t even at the meeting and I’d never even commented on the topic being discussed but I still ended up being at the receiving end of all sorts of wild allegations with a senior Labour councillor referring to my “racist views”.
Of course we’re left guessing as to what precisely these views are as it wasn’t made clear at the meeting. However, bearing in mind the attacks that have been levelled at me by the very same councillor over the past couple of days I’m quite confident that this lurid accusation is connected to my views on illegal immigration and the channel crossings we’ve been seeing.
It’s worth remembering that the current Labour leader Keir Starmer is actually on record for starting many years ago that immigration control is “racist”. So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprised such a view is held by Labour councillors in Ipswich.
Bearing in mind the frequent contact I get from constituents on the topic of illegal immigration I’m pretty confident the majority actually share my views on the matter so I’m not sure what this says about the views of a number of Ipswich Labour councillors towards the bulk of Ipswich residents. Increasingly as a local Party they seem out of touch.
In short, my advice to the local Labour Party is to rethink the strategy of labelling political opponents as racist, when the reality is mere difference of opinion. Not only is this a divisive strategy, and insults the thousands of Ipswich voters sharing my views, but demonstrates a clear breech in councillor code of conduct.
In politics, it’s important that we are able to engage in disagreements while remaining civil: it shouldn’t be the case that disagreement turns to slander or abuse of opponents. We need to get better at disagreeing with each other, without resorting to insults.