By Pete Radcliff, Broxtowe Momentum
The marginal constituency of Ashfield, the seat of Gloria De Piero, has been rocked by the defection of Piero’s office manager in the constituency, Lee Anderson as well as another Labour councillor to the Tories.
He and his co-defector, former Labour council leader Chris Baron, claimed that their defection was the result of Momentum’s influence in the constituency. Clear nonsense. For Momentum has only existed for a matter of weeks in Ashfield.
Whether any more of Lee Anderson’s colleagues on the right of the local Party join him in the Tory Party is yet to be seen. At the time of his defection, he announced to the press that he was still working for Gloria De Piero. He made no resignation from that post. One would hope that De Piero will have little choice other than sack him but they have had a long and close working relationship.
There is no pretence of wanting to reclaim the centre by Anderson and the other prominent defector. No, the Tories is the home they have chosen and deserve. And the defectors announced their defection in a photo-op with disgraced Tory MP Ben Bradley, renowned for his libellous tweet against Jeremy Corbyn.
These defections come as no surprise to Party activists in Ashfield. Anderson was rejected to continue as councillor by a panel appointed by Regional Office. In the period directly before his defection, and whilst still a Labour councillor, Anderson tried to rebrand himself away from anything that could be considered ‘Labour’. In an unpleasant campaign directed against travellers, he exploited all the usual prejudices and difficulties, and did a token blockade of their site, for which he was suspended from the party. A campaign that would have not been out of place coming from UKIP.
Anderson had been De Piero’s campaign manager in June 2017. Under his direction, canvassers were instructed not to mention Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. In fact, canvassers reported that Anderson accepted without denial shameful criticisms of Corbyn coming from far-right constituents on the doorstep. There was no serious campaign to fight for Labour’s radical policies under his direction.
Not surprisingly the election results in Ashfield were one of the worst in the country for Labour with the Tories nearly doubling their vote whilst Labour’s barely increased.
There have been numerous complaints made by left wing members in Ashfield Labour to Labour Party Regional Office. Bullying, discourteous behaviour were experienced by many of them.
They also faced a 2017 AGM where two branches had their delegates barred from voting without warning and 16 GMB delegates, most unseen before, turned up to prevent the left taking hold of crucial positions that their numerical strength in the constituency would justify.
It has yet to be seen whether the joint resignation of Anderson and Baron is just extreme personal opportunism. It is probably no coincidence that they take place at the same time as the hard right’s influence at Labour Party HQ breaks down. They can no longer rely on a biased Party machine to work in their favour.
We await to see whether there will be further defections by any former Labour Party officer, representative or worker elsewhere. If there is, then such destructive behaviour need not be as damaging as may be feared.
Many activists in Ashfield feel palpably relieved by the defections. It will mean greater Labour solidarity and cohesion within the local party. It will make it easier for them to forge a genuine radical local Labour local voice in their communities.
Whatever happens, Party activists across the region will need to support Ashfield and any other CLP affected by such turncoat.
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Below: Anderson’s blockade of a traveller site; Anderson with Ben Bradley (and with Gloria De Piero, above); fake social media accounts set up to harass Momentum members in the constituency
What a load of shite I had just read. Not sure if to laugh out load, find a bucket to be sick into, or just shake my head in utter disbelief at the person with gutter morals for spinning such a fabricated yarn.
Firstly, I’m no relative, I’m not being paid to do this, and neither am i not pollitcically motivated to do this. I’m just speaking my mind and leaving my thoughts behind, a bit like leaving some Andrex on a rusty nail in the old brick out-house, to wipe away the crap that someone has smeared on the seat.
Lee Anderson is the best local councilor Ashfields has ever had, Full Stop. I could call it quits and leave my thoughts there, …….but I can’t.
Lee is not a ‘comrade’ or anything else with a comunist twist to it, What he. Is however is:
a mate, a fella, a neighbour, but above all he is a damned hard working bloke with a conscious. He is a local born and bred (not a Russian comrade) councilor who goes all out to make the lives of his fellow men – women & children, the best he can.
Typical example is paying out of his own pocket for the installation of and the monthly maintenance fee of the ‘life lime’ call system for the elderly and disabled, who are the most vulnerable in the area and who otherwise would severely struggle to pay the service and probably go without it . I fall into the disabled and couldn’t afford it otherwise catatagory, as I survive on Disability benefits, having had to stop work 17yrs ago now through Degenerative Disc Desease and the base of my spine collapsing as a direct result of a serious RTA caused by a Drunken Comrade in 1983 !!
No, I didn’t ask Lee for help, i knew nothing about this. It was a friend who did this for me, and the first I knew was when Lee contacted me to arrange for the installation!!
That’s the Lee Anderson the the vast majority of Huthwaite and Brierley love and respect as their elected councilor. Not some Racist bigot you and your buddy ‘Comrades’ are trying to make him out to be.
As a villager, and a relatively new one to the area at that, it’s the first time in my 53yr life I’ve had dealings with a local councilor, I just wish that those higher up the political ladder had the ethics that Lee Anderson has got, and not like others I can think of, back stabbing egotistical jumped up no bodies.
The village had been a target for ILLEGAL Traveller camps, each time causing alot of damage the the land they have trespassed upon, and contaminating the ground surrounding their camps with their own body waste, faeces and urine, as well as all their discarded trash and unwanted items. This causes alot of unnecessary expense to ADC, money that could otherwise be far better spent for the greater good of the community.
Following appealing to the council after a relatively resent illegal occupation of the same piece of land on Strawberry Bank in Huthwaite, to make the Allotment Carpark secure by means of barriers and post, the council failed to do this,
So for the second time the land was reoccupied by Travellers again and a second costly clean up bill followed too.
Residents in the immediate locality were subjected to noise and pollution as well as witnessing the travellers using the carpark as a huge open air toilet again, causing not only an environmental issue but a health issue too.
The council failed again to secure the site despite begging and pleading from all concerned to do this. Lee Anderson did what the council should have done and made a temporary barrier to prevent travellers returning following anither legal eviction.
At no point was Lee a racist to those from the travelling community.
Lee then paid for a tractor/digger to place two huge pieces of waste concrete from a near by demolition site to prevent motor vehicle access to the carpark again, bit leaving adequate space for pedestrians and motorised/battery powered mobility scooters to pass between and retain access to the allotments.
Residents were delighted and overjoyed.ADC though took the opportunity to slate Lee for his actions and at their request Lee did remove the concrete on time for work to be miraculously carried out to install a barrier and bollards adjacent to the barriers.
I feel that this whole fiasco could quickly and easily been avoided if ADC had taken the appropriate messures in the first place to prevent the reoccupation of the land.
Bit instead they turned on one of their own.
Yes it’s sad that Lee has been forced/driven/hounded out of a political party he loved and supported by people who call themselves ‘Conrades’.
Yes it’s sad that Lee has had to join a political party that overall doesn’t represent our community, an ex mining area, it’s demise brought upon us by the Tory Party, a party I personally despise for its systemat blatant harassment and cruel actions against the poorest and most most vulnerable in society by the radical overhaul of the welfare system that some, like myself relay upon to survive through no choice of our own .
But if Lee thinks he can still provide the highly dedicated care and support he wants to provide and can do it through this political party then I for one will continue to provide Lee with my X on a ballot slip.
I’ll be voting for Lee Anderson, not the Tory’s and certainly not to put the second most destructive uncaring woman back into no: 10 Downing Street.
Well said all true
Lee Anderson will definitely get the votes of myself and my family