5 Apr 2012

Letter in Brent Times: Consultation, Brent has just got it so wrong

Letter in Brent Times, 5 April 2012 edition, p. 16 [e-edition here] Transcript follows:

'Consultation: Brent has just got it so wrong'

Your lament, ‘Consultation means very little to Brent residents’ is right on the money (editorial, 29 March).

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, which has entries by language experts prioritised for their importance and usefulness, defines consultation as: “The act of discussing something with somebody or with a group of people before making a decision about it.”

Unfortunately, the Brent administration would have us believe that when the people would argue vociferously against their plans, it is instead because we wanted them all along but just didn’t realise it yet.

The people of Brent wanted to have half of their libraries closed but just sought to have the decision overturned at the High Court for the fun of it, not once but twice, right? Wrong.

The people of Brent wanted to build a £102.4 million HQ in Wembley at a cost of £4 million every year for at least 25 years, not including the cost of financing the debt, in order to mask job losses as “efficiency savings”, right? Wrong again.

The people of Brent want to demolish a perfectly usable, and popular, library centre in Willesden in order to allow a building contractor to profit from the sale of the flats they would build on it for a smaller library in return, right? Wrong again.

The people of Brent want to demolish the locally listed original Victorian library in Willesden, too, because they just can’t stand the few remaining bits of heritage that give character and soul to the borough, right? Wrong again.

Brent Council is so wrong, and wrong again, about consultation, that they would have us believe that we have been consulted when we know we haven’t because that is even less incredulous a proposition than that their plans could have been agreed to by any reasonable person.

As the Green candidate in the upcoming election, I will fight for the right of all electors to have meaningful input into political decisions carried out in their name. That includes calling a thing by its proper name.

This same dictionary defines doublespeak as, “language that is intended to make people believe something which is not true.”

Dr Shahrar Ali
Green Party London Assembly candidate for Brent and Harrow

Picture: Neasden Library boarded up (taken 16 October 2011)

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