Who got the part of Theo?

GET this: Camden’s Liberal Democrats are more than ready for the upcoming budget-setting meeting at the Town Hall, a night where one of the most eye-watering settlements in recent history will be signed off. It will inevitably be a highly charged evening where some celebrated services finally face a yes or a no on future funding. To prepare for the debate, the group and Lib Dem supporters staged an ‘away day’ on Saturday (*away day = hiring a room in the Town Hall).

At this private session, whispers have it, members embarked on a role play of how the meeting may pan out. With blustery brilliance, John Bryant apparently played the part of heckling Labour finance man Theo Blackwell, likely to be the busiest man in the amphitheatre at the main event. Flick Rea passed the audition as an angry union campaigner. What a scene it must have been. Like Glee club, or something like that.

7 Comments on Who got the part of Theo?

  1. Andrew Marshall // January 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm //

    Ralph Scott and Russell Eagling apparently played “the Tories”, but whether this was Mennear, Philp, Bucknell, Marshall or whoever I don’t know. We is a broad party.

    David Laws played Cameron in Clegg’s prep for the debates I recall.

  2. Keith Sedgwick // January 28, 2011 at 12:53 am //

    I’ve just come from a meeting organised by my Gospel Oak Councillors, where Theo Blackwell played the part of ‘an outright liar’. It was a brilliantly convincing performance.

    As part of his caricature he told the assembled residents of his ward that Housing services were being cut as a direct consequence of central government cuts. Some of the more impressionable members of the audience were amazingly convinced by this deception.

    I however am familiar with another version of his pantomime, in which the leading man tells the truth of how the ending of communal housing repairs, the raising of rents above the government guideline and the closing of District Housing Offices, are a way of raising money to plug the £75m gap caused by one of the local Labour party’s election pledges.

    Equally convincing, with a colossal performance as Theo’s fellow deceiver, was Cllr. Lorraine Revah, who sought to hoax the audience into believing that Queen’s Crescent Library was threatened with closure and she was going to save it.

    The setting for this grand illusion was the so called Gospel Oak Action Group meeting. Every one who had been invited were on the mailing list of the previous Area Forums, whose run was cut short, it is claimed, due to very high staging costs. The evening was administered by the officer who used to manage the Area Forums. There were also as many other Council officers attendant as used to be at the Area Forums. Yet I am told the meeting wasn’t an Area Forum as Labour Councillors had made a election pledge to grt rid of them. So it looked like an Area Forum, was run like an Area Forum, but was actually an Action Group meeting. What an evening of grand illusion.

  3. Theo Blackwell // January 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm //


    You did rather get the wrong end of the stick in public – I did say that there was a difference between the HRA and the overall budget but I was trying to illustrate what would change. I did ask you when you argued with me in front of everyone what you thought my sinister motivation was behind this but you couldn’t come up with one so I’m glad you’ve obviously been spending the night thinking one up.

    However, is your argument that the housing budget wont be under pressure? Because that it a very misleading statement to make to your own neighbours!

    The £75m you mention is decent homes money – are you suggesting all of this would be spent in Gospel Oak?

    Yes, Areas Forum were replaced by Area Action Groups what’s they point you make?


  4. Dr. Mike O'Smoke // January 29, 2011 at 12:56 am //

    Yes, Keith, they’re Area Forums without the frills.

    I’d have thought the only Town Hall resident particularly bothered would be a certain Liberal member concerned by the lack of food.

  5. Last month (dec) I received an email from a committee officer inviting me, on behalf of the three ward councillors, to the newly named area action group in Kentish Town. I explained to the officer that I didn’t feel safe attending council meetings. From the email I received back I got the impression my concerns were to be passed onto the three ward councillors, but I didn’t hear anything from them. A month later and a few days before the meeting I get another email from the committee officer again inviting me to the area action group, no word though about the safety issues.

  6. Keith Sedgwick // February 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm //

    Sarah’s comment encapsulates everything that is wrong with this Labour adminstration and which is most evident in the decision to abolish Area Forums. They don’t listen. They are not interested in listening. They know best.

    Our last Area Forum saw the community award £11,000 to Queen’s Crescent Community centre, to buy a minibus to enable excursions for local youth and for hiring-out to raise revenue. At the first Gospel Oak Action Group, the head of the same centre complained that nobody had consulted him, before adding his Luncheon Club to a list of services for which funding might stop. The contrast is telling.

    At the Gospel Area Action Groups we had no money to spend. In fact the we were just invited to sit and listen to Theo Blackwell rant about how terrible the current government is and how his Labour chums shouldn’t be blamed for any cuts they make in Council services.

    Area Forums were conversations between residents and Councillors. Area Action Groups are Councillors talking at residents.

    Welcome to Camden under Labour!

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