Following some tense exchanges in the Oldham Council Chamber earlier this week during the Budget debate (read more here), the local Labour Party has turned up the heat on hyper-local politicians attached to the disgraced Failsworth Independent Party (FIP).
A measured, but scathing, attack follows a ludicrous about-turn over the proposed Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone (CAZ).
A recent social media post by the Oldham and Saddleworth Conservatives highlighted the fact that, last November, all three FIP councillors (Neil Hindle, Brian Hobin and Mark Wilkinson) had, in effect, voted FOR the CAZ, following a motion brought by Conservative councillors calling for the Council to reject the need to charge vehicles in the Zone.
The immediate, and predictable, reaction of FIP supporters was to say that the Tories had got it wrong and were simply trying to undermine and humiliate the independents. But, the truth of the matter was quickly verified and the FIP was forced into a cringeworthy climbdown, reeking of the now standard sententious piety and blaming everyone else, except themselves:
In a post published on 25th February, 2022, on the Failsworth Independent Party Facebook page, they say:
“Clarification on Failsworth Independent Party stance on CAZ charges
“With the world in a scary place at the moment this may seem irrelevant and a moot point, especially now that people power has made for a major rethink.
“Following recent reports saying otherwise, we would like to confirm that Failsworth Independent Party Councillors have NEVER voted for the CAZ charges/proposals and we never will.
“OMBC accepted the proposals at cabinet level. As such individual councillors had no vote on the matter.”
The post goes on to say that FIP will vote against the CAZ charges in future as ‘originally planned’. Although there appears to be no mention of this stance on their poorly maintained website or in any other publicity materials.
The reply to the FIP post, by a spokesperson from the Oldham Labour group, pulled no punches:
“Voting the wrong way and accidentally supporting something you say you are against, once, could be excused as a mistake, doing it twice shows you are unfit to be making serious decisions.”
This is a reference to FIP previously ‘voting against each other and in some cases themselves’ on the Greater Manchester Mayor’s ‘Places for Everyone’ proposals which meant that the nett result was Failsworth’s independent councillors had, in fact, voted to concrete over the Green Belt adjacent to their town (read more here).
The Labour spokesperson goes on to say: “Rather than learning from this [mistake over the Green Belt] they were apparently confused again as they voted on the Conservative’s motion on the Clean Air Zone.
“Failsworth Independents have consistently shown they don’t understand the issues facing Failsworth or how to address them. If they are serious about helping Oldham move forward, they need to clean up their act and make sure they know how voting works at important meetings.”
By way of reply, Failsworth Independent Party Group Leader, Cllr Brian Hobin is quoted as saying in a local newspaper: “However other parties want to portray us we are only human.
“We will always be transparent with our electorate, keeping them informed along the way.
“Council meetings can be cumbersome and archaic in their workings and with respect to the Mayor, many times even she gets confused where she is up to, and she’s chairing them.”
Cllr Hobin has been asked to clarify and provide evidence supporting his claim that the Mayor has been confused ‘many times’.
As is becoming their habit, the Oldham and Saddleworth Conservatives declined to comment on the matter. That may be due to a recent, and increasingly hot, topic surfacing which, the local rumour mill says, involves the FIP and the Tories forming an alliance in 2022/23 which may see them as the official Opposition to the Labour Group, thus leaving the Liberal Democrats out in the cold.
The link may well be via two disgraced political activists and allies, Kaiser Rehman and Tameside based Raja Miah. One recently convicted of harassing a Labour councillor (read more here) and the other currently awaiting trial on the same charge plus another that Greater Manchester Police describe as sending malicious communications (read more here. Rehman, a re-invented Tory whom grandly describes himself as an ‘expert electioneer’ has recently attached himself to a group of avid FIP supporters and Miah is known to have the ear of two other leading Tory lights, Lewis Quigg and Robert Barnes – and, of course, Brian Hobin who has appeared twice as a star guest on Miah’s infamous Sunday evening Recusant Nine podcasts and continues to interact with him on social media despite Miah recently, very publicly and repeatedly, describing Hobin, and his FIP colleagues, as “thick as pigshit”. Perhaps, the Man from Mossley just got used to the bad smell?
Page last updated: Saturday 5th March, 2022 at 1215 hours
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