Confirmed: Sally ‘seriously considering’ leadership challenge
After all those rumours, Sally Gimson has confirmed today that she is ‘seriously considering’ challenging council leader Sarah Hayward at the Labour group’s AGM. It’s not quite clear whether this has come out early by accident (maybe it was impossible to keep a lid on such a bombshell) or design (maybe her backers think more councillors can be persuaded over a longer course race).
Although ‘seriously considering’ doesn’t mean ‘definitely, yes I will’, the Sally camp seem pretty adamant that she is unlikely to back away from the idea now. It’s almost gone too far already, and has reached the stage where if she steps away now then she risks looking like a bottler. She is apparently enthused for the debate ahead.
And she will need to be. For Sarah isn’t about to cash in her chips like Nash Ali did in when it was her doing the challenging for the top spot in 2012. He stepped down before the vote; the incumbent usually feels like they need to not just win, but win decisively. Sarah tonight said challenge is ‘healthy’ but urged councillors to keep their focus.
“Challenge is a healthy and essential part of democracy, but these matters are settled each May in Camden Labour group. That is clearly some way off and our residents expect us to be focused on the borough, not ourselves. Camden Labour is united against the threats posed to our communities by the Tories: disproportionate cuts, HS2 and the end of social housing. We must stay focused on these issues.”
“I am seriously considering it. It is early days, the AGM is not until May. Before then I must speak to party colleagues and members across the two constituencies. The unity of the group of councillors comes before everything else.”
For us avid viewers of the American production of ‘House of Cards’, to see a vicious drama being played out in our own back yard, is an unexpected source of great entertainment. It was not so much the TV show’s main plot line that had us political geeks tuning in each week, but rather the Machiavellian sub-plots from which the action received its impetus.
The question here is, what is the sub-plot giving impetus to this local show? Who has put it into Gimson’s head that she might have a chance at winning the leadership and why has the secret instigator of this local drama, chosen Gimson as the agent of change?
Well, Gimson is known to a standard bearer for ‘Progress’; that we know. Yet, we also know she is not a glint-eyed ideologue and is amenable to whoever might hold out the prospect of her own personal progress. So, whoever is pushing her is not a Corbynista, that’s for sure, but the person also knows that Gimson would be more palatable to ‘Gardiners’ of the group, than they them self might ever be.
The main plot line here is that of the Blairites, shoring up their hold on power, by making a pre-emptive strike, before the Corbynistas are provoked into making a play themselves, by Hayward’s perceived weak leadership, in the face of government reforms. But, the question remains, what is the sub-plot giving impetus to this main action?
Well, who wields the most power in the Cabinet? Whose consent is required, before practically any decision is ever made by the council? Who in the Cabinet, best benefits from the protection offered by Hayward’s continued leadership? Whose position has remained uncontested, indeed unassailable, ever since Hayward became leader?
If you’ve worked out who is that person, then you should also be able to work out, that it is this person’s position, which ultimately is being played for, and not Hayward’s. As Kevin Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood, in ‘House of Cards’, says when wanting to work out who is behind any plot to undo him, “if you want the answer, follow the money”.
So, who in the Labour group, both has the biggest grudge against T-Money and also the influence to bring about his downfall? Answers, here please.
I’m going to send this to my mum.
No, Theo! Not that Lady, I meant the other one!
A tsumani! How pleasing. One can imagine the floodgates this weekend. The Tories will love this…