Sketch: Camden, Full Council 28/6/10
SO, we could have spent the evening watching Brazil: the World Cup maestros who make everything England toil over look so easy. Apparently, in a 3-0 win over Chile the old masters of the beautiful game were rolling back the years, playing with pomp and wonderful braggadocio. Instead, we watched a scrappier contest at the Town Hall, albeit with some old hands revelling in the rediscovery of old powers.
In the council chamber, this wasn’t a 3-0 scoreline. Nash Ali, Theo Blackwell and Julian Fulbrook, for all their full council tricks, are not quite Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Robinho, and their opponents on the Lib Dem and Conservative benches are meatier challenges than Brazil obviously found in the Chileans.
Labour popped through their motion on the budget and scored with a promise of PCSOs in Camden Town and funding for UK Online computer centres. But they were pegged back, repeatedly dogged by the crucial question: How will the Labour administration pay to repair council estates now they aren’t selling off empty properties? Are they playing for penalties on that one? Time will tell.
In the midfield battles, there could have been a flurry of yellow cards. Ref Jonathan Simpson, the Mayor, set the tone by slapping down the gavel at the first sign of trouble. He gave a few ticking offs and last warnings to Don Williams for taking too long over a question and Nancy Jirira for persistent heckling. Her new seat next to the press box will liven up the season.
Simpson, on the other hand, is clearly intent – rightly so – on running a tight ship.
Extra fantasy league points, by the way, are gained if you have any of the following in your dream teams:
*3 points for a goal: Angela Mason ticked off Green Summit from the manifesto list. Newbie Gillian Risso-Gill fired a shot for businesses in West End Lane.
*2 points for an assist: Peter Brayshaw set up Theo Blackwell in the questions for a long lecture on finance.
*3 points for a clean sheet: Environment chief Sue Vincent was in goal when tricky deputations were fired her way: one on the HS2 rail link, another on the Brill Place site.
*-1 point for a whirring mobile phone: Were Tweetaholics on the home benches causing all the crackle-buzzing on the microphone system? It sounded like a bunch of drunks filing Morse code.
The first competitive match of the new season (think Mayor-making, think Charity Shield) was, however, naturally tempered by the truly awful, truly inexplicable tragedy of three weeks ago. A minute’s silence for dear Martin Davies, the man who should have been leading the Tory attack and always rose above the petty squabbles of these occasions, put the snarling across the desks all into perspective.
The tributes were spellbinding. If the eloquence and unity in those 20 minutes of memories could somehow be captured, bottled and used in the response to the tough economic course ahead, Camden would surely only benefit. A friend and a colleague, Martin should be enjoying a post-game pint in the Black Cap, like he used to with Gloria Lazenby and Pat Nightingale, right now. The orange flowers pinned to the Conservative counciillors’ lapels were a lovely touch.
The final whistle was eventually blown by the Mayor at 10pm, the pools coupon might have had it as a score draw but no need for extra time. The World Cup ends in two weeks, the four teams in at the Town Hall have a much longer season ahead.