‘Tessa and the Trots’
HAVE the Labour councillors in Camden who are being pestered about the possibility of setting an illegal budget in defiance of the government’s demands to slash spending on public services read the lastest issue of Total Politics magazine? Tessa Jowell, the former Camden councillor who went on to serve in Tony Blair’s cabinet, could become their mascot against the idea. She recalls how she took on those rebellious ‘Trots’:
I used to go to branch meetings and people would turn their backs on me and call me ‘Thatcher’s scum’. In 1986 we stopped Camden Council, on which I was an elected member, from setting what would have been an illegal rate – we had to be taken home by the police. I remember a whole of Trots coming back round to my house one Saturday and saying, ‘We are very concerned you haven’t changed your mind.’ I said, ‘I haven’t changed my mind because I don’t agree with you. We have a genuine difference of view about this.
I find Tessa’s claim that members at branch meetings turned their backs on her and called her names rather odd; I was at that time a member of the Labour Party in the same ward as her, indeed I was a near neighbour living in the same street, and not only did no-one behave like she claims in at ward party meetings – I don’t remember her actually attending a a single meeting of the branch in the period she mentions. But then, as demonstrated during her husband’s problems with the Italian courts, she does seem to have a poor memory.