Barely six months into his mayoralty, Sideshow Bob Parker is making enemies all over the place - and of some of those are in high places.

Wigram MP and cabinet Minister Jim Anderton has added his political clout to the growing campaign against the Christchurch City Council's massive 24 percent rent rise for council tenants.

This increase was proposed and steered through council by Sideshow backed by cronies like Councillor Barry Corbett and the less-than-hard-working Councillor Susan Wells.

Anderton told the Christchurch Press that there was insufficient evidence for the rent rise and that many tenants would not be able to offset with the government accommodation supplement - which is what both Sideshow and Barry Corbett claimed.

Anderton went on to say that a 'a sudden across-the-board increase in rents of 24 percent is brutal' and that 'the increase would apply to some of the most vulnerable citizens in Christchurch'. He pointed out that perhaps a quarter of council tenants had some kind of disability.

Meanwhile a new pressure group, the Coalition for Fair Rents, has been formed. The group includes the Methodist Mission, the City Mission, (ironically, Barry Corbett was once its media officer), Age Concern and the Christchurch 2021 organisation which is an 'unofficial' Labour Party grouping.

And what has been Sideshow Bob's response? It has been the usual arrogance and conceit.

From far away in Beijing Sideshow has even hinted that there is a political campaign being directed against him, co-ordinated by the Labour Party.

Of course, he said exactly the same thing during the mayoral campaign. It wasn't true then and its not true now.

What we are witnessing is a Mayor - backed by certain Christchurch business and property interests- attempting to steer the council down a neo-liberal road.

Sideshow is supported by people from within the council bureaucracy (Council CEO Tony Marryatt in particular) and backed by councillors who support Sideshow's reactionary politics, including Barry Corbett and Susan Wells.

However with the political opposition growing by the day, Parker's defence of the huge rent increase is looking increasingly untenable and there may well be one or two councillors reconsidering their support for the increase - especially since it could see them being voted out of office at the next election.

Meanwhile Sideshow has been making some astonishing comments on the Chinese crackdown in Tibet.

Sideshow has steadfastly refused to condemn the Chinese regime's violent oppression of the Tibetan people. Before he went to China Sideshow Bob claimed it was the role of the Prime Minister and the Labour Government to speak on such an issue.

Over in Beijing though Sideshow Bob appears to have had a change of heart. Now he's speaking out on behalf of the Chinese Stalinist regime.

''There is the feeling that the story is not a balanced story that is being told in the West', said a sympathetic Sideshow Bob. 'There is a sense in some ways they feel the Western media is being manipulated in a very clever and calculated way. There is a side to the story that also should be told to bring balance to the story.'

And what side of the story would that be then Bob? That the Chinese regime are justified in killing Tibetan protesters, Buddhist monks, sending political dissidents off to labour camps?

Oh, what about the fact that China executed more people (at least 470) in 2007 than any other country in the world? Is that the 'side of the story' that the bootlicking Sideshow Bob is talking about?

As for the media being manipulated, here's Sideshow defending a regime that censors the news everyday. What the hell is this idiot talking about?

Sideshow Bob Parker is a disgrace to the city of Christchurch. Councillors who support this man are also a disgrace. Unfortunately Christchurch is stuck with Sideshow Bob and his cronies until the next election in two years time..


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