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news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Eltham MP Clive Efford brands Boris Johnson’s family ‘imbeciles’

with 4 comments

Clive Efford

A curious outburst of unparliamentary language after the pubs closed last night from Eltham MP Clive Efford, who branded London mayor Boris Johnson’s family as imbeciles.

Efford is a vocal backer of Johnson’s plans to build a third road crossing feeding into the A102 and the A2, so long as a Silvertown Tunnel includes a Docklands Light Railway link to his constituency. Indeed, he’s even left Eltham to pose next to a traffic jam in Greenwich to claim a Silvertown Tunnel would reduce congestion.

This is despite established studies which suggest building new roads attracts new traffic – which would have a big impact on Eltham, where the A2 leading to and from the proposed tunnel is reduced to two lanes, creating a polluting bottleneck at the heart of Efford’s constituency. Labour’s former mayor Ken Livingstone has disowned the scheme.

TfL has no plans to extend the DLR to Eltham – despite Greenwich Council helping Efford out by commissioning a £70,000 study into his idea. The current Silvertown Tunnel proposals only include space for road traffic, and nothing for pedestrians, cyclists or trains.

Just after midnight, Efford, who’s also the shadow minister for sport, tweeted these remarks about the mayor’s father after seeing him on BBC1’s political talk show, This Week.

clive_efford_imbecile

Nothing wrong with a bit of robust argument, and we’ve all been rude about politicians, but if you’re backing something proposed by your political opponent, and want to negotiate for the best outcome, it’s probably best not to brand their family imbeciles.

Although, that said, the Silvertown Tunnel is an imbecilic idea.

But while we’re on Clive Efford, he’s a former Greenwich councillor, and still carries great sway within the local Labour establishment. Yet he’s remained silent on accusations of bullying by leader Chris Roberts.

This is despite the emergence of a voicemail where Roberts threatens cabinet member John Fahy, telling him he has a “fucking thick skull”. In case Efford hasn’t heard it, here it is…

There’s also been the decision by one of the Eltham ward party councillors, Hayley Fletcher, to stand down, complaining that the “bullying culture is rife and I see little prospect of that changing anytime soon”.

What has the shadow sports minister done about bullying in his own local party? I asked him myself last week, but got no reply.

Before Clive Efford flings insults at his opponents, perhaps he might like to sort his own party’s problems out first. And maybe, just maybe, he might like to set a better example…

PS. There was practically too much to report on from Wednesday’s Greenwich Council meeting, although the News Shopper’s Mark Chandler has had a good stab at the bizarre atmosphere where the bullying accusations against Chris Roberts hung over proceedings. More on the meeting will follow here, hopefully.

Written by Darryl

1 November, 2013 at 7:30 am

4 Responses

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  1. Apart from tweets for their sweets, not one Labour politician in Greenwich has SAID anything openly about Bullygate which, of course, is down to the very nature of bullying itself. It relies on people opting for a quiet life, turning a blind eye, keeping their head down…choose your own phrase. I’m suddenly engaged in an exchange of very interesting tweets with Matthew Pennycook, whom I’ve never met and I’m sure is an engaging cove who has a good chance of becoming the next Greenwich MP. But my message to him is: Don’t talk to me, Matt, talk to the people! If you want to be a leader, lead! I also bumped into Len Duvall in Woolwich last week and we go way back (the great Long Lane FC million-pound rescue mission, eh, Len?). Len spoke typically eloquently about the situation in Greenwich and I make him four-to-five to get the Greenwich job. But again, come on Len, be a leader, not for me in Wellington Street but for all the good people in Greenwich who, God knows, deserve better than the shameless, despicable apology for democracy that some of us witnessed in the council chamber on Wednesday, October 30, 2013. As for Clive, well, you can’t get what you never expect…

    Peter Cordwell

    1 November, 2013 at 8:54 am

  2. What a shame the Labour MP Clive Efford stoops to attacking politicians families like this, and so soon after the Ed Miliband/Daily Mail ‘character assassination’ of Ed’s father, where Labour were (quite justifiably) most upset about the attack. What is it they say about glass houses? Or I rather like the biblical expression “why worry about the speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own.” It seems that Mr Efford must have a little something affecting his own eyesight if he feels that an extra tunnel will actually reduce pollution in and around Greenwich. When will these stalwart car and road transport promoters wise up to modern thinking and research? And for this support to come from a shadow minister for sport too- a healthy lifestyle around car pollution. He should have watched the BBC series last night ‘Trust me I’m a Doctor’ where they were measuring air pollution in houses on the edge of busy roads. It’ll take more than the planting of a few silver birch though to solve Greenwich’s houses air quality problem. Can one imagine a line of silver birch planted along the length of Trafalgar road to improve air quality for its residents and business occupiers? No, but one can imagine a council in chaos encouraging spending millions on more tarmac to ensure our air quality depletes still further.

    derek small

    1 November, 2013 at 1:36 pm

  3. So another Greenwich Labour politician stoops to the level of the tabloid press with infantile sneers. Clive Offord must surely remember that Boris beat Ken twice to become the Mayor of London. Does he think that what Derek Small calls ‘character assassination’ will bring the voters back? And given the cowardly showing of the Labour group on Wednesday do they think they’ve put the issues of bullying and name calling to bed with their hand-wringing silence. Labour’s approach was purely tribal, with a dose of collective responsibility and confidentiality thrown in. Not-in-front-of-the-children was the battle cry. Party before people. And they played into the Tories hands by defending a leader with diminishing credibility . . . to who’s benefit will that play at the elections next year? Not Labour’s. I’m reminded of George Orwell’s famous quote from 1984: “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.” Well a bit harsh in these circumstances perhaps, and not applicable to all I know. But we need an open and honest political system/debate because the alternatives are not acceptable. And a system run on rumours, gossip, and cover-up is ultimately in no-one’s interest. You can only brush so much under the carpet before you trip over the lump you’ve created.

    mikepoweruk

    1 November, 2013 at 8:54 pm

  4. Never sure whether to laugh or cry when I read 853. They say Nero fiddled while Rome went up in flames and the Wars of the Roses was one heck of a spat within the same family. So what do we get in Greenwich?

    If half of what gets said here is true then theres the powerful inner circle locked in a great big dog fight. Any young promising talent gets bullied out for the sake of their mental health. The rest of them sit on the side lines and do nothing except draw their allowances. Look at the attendance figures and see who believes in management by disappearing.

    And out in the real world Boris has decreed that Convoys Wharf (with its Chinese backers) will be under the GLA for planning purposes. The Greenwich Core Strategy has been panned by the Mayor’s Office for not complying with the London Plan. Said Strategy depends on transport links that Tfl says it won’t deliver. There are wonderful plans to build a school right on one of the most polluted roads in the borough. Great news all of it. Probably a great deal else going on I have no idea about.

    Will things change in May? Like many boroughs that have a council of one political tint and always have the truth is that an oil drum of the right colour can get elected. The Dear Leader could already have an heir.

    Perhaps all councillors need to get it through their “word censored thick skulls” that council tax payers are funding this shambles and we deserve better. And a few local MPs really tuned in to local concerns would be a bonus.

    Jim Tyler

    2 November, 2013 at 5:31 pm


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