Every now and then I feel deeply ashamed by the actions of my country's government.
I felt that shame when Tony Blair took the UK into war against Iraq.
I felt similar deep shame on November 5 while observing Ealing Council agree to St George's proposals to build a 700-flat housing estate in Dickens Yard right in the centre of Ealing.
Bizarrely, none of the elected councillors who made this multi-million decision live or represent residents or businesses in the six central Ealing area wards of Ealing Broadway, Hanger Hill, Walpole, Elthorne, Ealing Common and Cleveland.
If any of our councillors have a detailed knowledge of the central Ealing area it is these 18 councillors. These councillors collectively repre-sent the interests of some 76,000 central Ealing area residents.
It's common knowledge that hundreds and hundreds of central Ealing area residents wrote to Ealing Council objecting to the proposals. How can local democracy be seen to be legitimate when councillors from outer Ealing towns including Dormers Wells, East Acton, Southall, Southfield and Norwood Green are selected to make such a momentous decision on the development of 4.4 acres in the centre of Ealing?
It would be like asking councillors from Hanger Hill, Ealing Common and Walpole to make the decision on the planning application to redevelop the Southall Gas Works site. How crazy would that be?
None of the nine councillors from Cleveland, Elthorne and Hanger Hill wards spoke at all in the meeting. One wonders how exactly these councillors were representing the interests of the 38,000 residents in those wards at the meeting?