Morning update 22.04.15: Not quite Sheffield ’92
THE most neurotic Labour supporters in Hampstead and Kilburn over-worried that a glitzy party in The Good Shop just over two weeks before voting might seem a bit too complacent, a bit too Neil Kinnock a la the 1992 Sheffield rally. But no YouTube video of Tulip Siddiq shouting ‘we’re all right’ has emerged yet – maybe glitzy was the wrong word, anyhow – and it was also an opportunity for a star guest to show he is not deserting the red rose over Ed Balls’ controversial mansion tax policy. There Lord Melvin Bragg, the broadcaster, pumping up the supporters in expectation of victory in Hampstead and Kilburn on May 7. Earlier in the year, he had publicly warned Labour could lose the seat due to the homes tax, which he described as a ‘crude weapon’ to the Ham & High.
Melvyn Bragg speaking in support of @TulipSiddiq in Hampstead & Kilburn. “@Ed_Miliband is winning” pic.twitter.com/MIcfYVCHx7
— Natacha Kennedy (@natachakennedy) April 19, 2015
ALL QUIET ON THE AGM FRONT
PEOPLE continue to ask about what may happen at Camden Labour’s AGM next month. The local election campaigns have to a large extent whooshed away the usual gossip about potential swaps and switches on the Town Hall cabinet. Maybe it was the energy and anticipation around the general election in fact which, in contrast, made the drone of last week’s full council meeting seem so parish hall with its call for newt licences and roast dinners. Maybe everyone felt there were more interesting debates to be had on the campaign doorsteps right now. Anyways, there does not seem much appetite for internal jostling for position when such a big election effort is needed in these next few weeks. As mentioned here before, you can never rule anything out and bets should be hedged, but there is talk of nobody at all being on hand to challenge Meric Apak’s potential move to replace Julian Fulbrook when he relinquishes as housing role.
Friends and family of Somers Town councillor Peter Brayshaw will gather on the Curnock Street Estate on Saturday afternoon to plant a tree in his memory. He died just before Christmas. It’s a worthy tribute to a man who devoted so much of his time to serving on Camden Council.
A JOB on the Sun On Sunday may never be mine, but these pages do not really nose about revealing who is romancing who at the Town Hall. Only when it’s relevant to a genuine news story, like the time Thomas Gardiner needed a judge to tell him that he was not influenced by his wife on licensing decisions, or the CNJ story last week about Maajid Nawaz’s defence visit to a strip club which was set in the context of the potential harm to his election campaign, do we head down that route. Sometimes councillors, without prompting, offer a glimpse themselves about this side to their lives. Former Lib Dem John Bryant, for example, blogged about falling in love and getting married, and how this changed his bachelor life, with the Naomi Campbell poster in his bathroom coming down. With a smile on her face at full council meeting, Conservative councillor Siobhan Baillie has a nibble too. Referencing the idea put forward by a school in Frognal for a ‘kiss and drop’ scheme on the morning school run, where parents do not leave their cars. The kids are kissed goodbye in the car and school staff then chaperone them from a bay to the school gate. “Kiss and drop,” Siobhan joked, “sounds a bit like my love life at the moment.”
EVERYBODY NEEDS GOOD NEIGHBOURS
UP in East Finchley, the Labour stronghold within Tory Mike Freer’s Finchley and Golders Green, the apparently surging Sarah Sackman campaign may suggest you will struggle to spot a blue banner. Do I get a prize?” THREE EX-COUNCILLORS
OLD council rivals, Labour’s Tulip Siddiq and Liberal Democrat Nancy Jirira, have been clashing so much on Twitter that the former appealed to ex-Camden Lib Dem leader Keith Moffitt to intervene. Nancy has occasionally re-tweeted negative news stories about the Bangladeshi government, which of course is run by Tulip’s aunt, and been icy about the Hampstead and Kilburn campaign. Tulip threatened to ‘report’ her, turning first to former to Keith. “Nancy tweeting as a private individual and is no longer a councillor,” he replied. “I call empty threats to report her intimidation!” Tulip said: “That’s a very mature attitude Keith. Does her not being a councillor give her the licence to smear me?”. Again, Keith remain unimpressed: “Please don’t patronise me Tulip. It doesn’t become you.”
HOLBORN and St Pancras Conservative Tom Smith continues to buzz up and down the country, a bit of door-knocking in Camden and then back to the North East where he is the parliamentary candidate in Gateshead. As is well known now, the Tories have a policy of being photographed with woolly ruminants during this campaign. But it seems Tom, who stood in Fortune Green at last year’s council elections, has bottled the brief, however. You are supposed to be cradling a lamb and popping milk down its throat, son, not standing back at a safe distance from a couple of sheep in a field. Central office will be on the phone…
Great morning out campaigning for @annietrev with @cameronpenny in Snitter pic.twitter.com/BAe67aAR42 — Thomas Smith (@Tom_Smith26) April 18, 2015
LOCAL NEWSPAPER OSCARS
Allow me just one indulgent sentence here to be a bit soaky about the CNJ’s team – and that means everyone who makes sure the paper comes out each week, and all those who have contributed over last 12 months to make sure its as lively as ever. We don’t take home huge salaries, and people are more likely to write in when they are angry about something in the paper rather than when they enjoyed an article, but there was some measure of recognition for the newspaper yesterday when it was short-listed among the top six of high circulation local newspapers in the entire United Kingdom at the Regional Press Awards.
TWEETS: Accidental Partridge alert from Labour’s Phil Jones. An anecdote that needs expanding.
Canvassing today in the block where I got trapped in a lift with Ken Livingstone in 2012 – glad lifts working today pic.twitter.com/OTpPa6PvMQ — Phil Jones (@philjones79) April 18, 2015
The excellent Marginal Streets photo project continues in Hampstead and Kilburn
Day twenty one of Marginal Streets shows two people both jaded, yet one of them is passion… http://t.co/V9bEsuEHnT pic.twitter.com/yt4qtRsf8s — Marginal Streets (@marginalstreets) April 20, 2015
Cllr Meric Apak will be an excellent choice for Cabinet member for Housing. It’s a portfolio that he truly cares passionately about and as an excellent Chair of Housing Scrutiny he has earned it!
Richard, you will be happy to know that the Naomi Campbell picture is still with me, and it now hangs in my office in my new home in Harrow. My lovely wife allowed me to keep all the stuff she did not like in my own private space. Suffice to say my 8 feet by 8 feet room is rather cramped!