The cabinet, the elections and the expert advisers

CAMDEN’S Labour group met last night and decided that next month they will have elections for the cabinet posts at the Town Hall. There was always a promise from the leadership to look at how these important positions are shared out.

A compromise idea favoured by Camden leader Nash Ali and Theo Blackwell was to have a straight poll with the nine who score the most votes getting in. Nash would then decide who gets what job, similar to the way Ed Miliband divvied up the shadow cabinet.

That was voted down 15-13 in favour of contested elections for every post – the old style system Labour employed for many years and favoured by the likes of Tulip Siddiq and Julian Fulbrook.

The pros of that: members can boot out anybody they think hasn’t done so well over the last 12 months – uh oh! – and therefore feel like they have a say in the direction the party goes. The cons: votes like this, as we’ve seen in the past, can be divisive.

One interesting thing: for a full on revolution, Labour members need to convince Nash to resign if they really were in the market for a new leader. Local government laws say they can’t have an election for that position – Nash, after all is leader of the council, as well as the Labour group. It’s hard to think of anybody within the current cabinet who would stand against Nash in a direct election, but they may come out of the woodwork should he ever decide to step down.

Nash shows no inclination in wanting to do that and his performance at full council last week was combative on a tough night. While he read his speech from a piece of paper, he seemed more at home than ever with unscripted comebacks to the opposition.

So, that’s how things stand…

Not that we’re supposed to know. Theo Blackwell, the finance chief, sent this around to all Labour  members today:

Very sad new, colleagues – at least 2 of you are so concerned about jobs – or undermining others –  you immediately broke the spirit of the collective agreement discussed last night not to leak to the New Journal.  Richard Osley has the actual vote and the terms of what was discussed – what makes you think this will advance anything that Labour does here??  I’d like to see some of you more-leak minded people actually attack the Tories and Lib dems, but that would be asking too much I suppose!

And chief whip Roger Robinson replied with even fiercer sentiments:

I am seeking an investigation by expert advisers.

I would reiterate my email warning- if anyone is leaking to the media etc strict and effective action will be taken by the leadership of the Group including expulsion.

Stop it…whoever is doing it……..we need to be far more disciplined in the Group.


13 Comments on The cabinet, the elections and the expert advisers

  1. In the tradition of the “whodunit”,
    I suspect the leak was actually MEP candidate-in-the-offing, Theo!

    • Constantine Buhayer // March 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm //

      Elementary dear Watson; the leak must have come from a Labour councilor whose family can afford butlers, maids and chauffeurs.

  2. james hunter // March 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm //

    As someone who voted Labour at the last local election I am shocked that there is a cowardly person/s within the Labour Group who seems to be working under cover for the CNJ.

    The Camden Labour Group has gone through one of the toughest times ever for Camden Council. I have been very impressed with the way the Leader, Council Nasim Ali, has led them to victory and as you state continues to perform well with the cabinet.

    Most of the backbenchers seem to be very talented too. It is sad that aomgst them there is/are people with no principles or values.

    I was at London Council’s meeting today and was shocked that the only Council Leader from BME community was Councillor Nasim Ali. 1 out of 33. Camden should be very proud of it’s diversity and it also has more women than men on it’s cabinet.

    Why can some people never be straight forward and focus on the real challenges. The coalition government not the Labour Group.

    • Insulted Labour Backbencher // March 9, 2011 at 11:26 am //

      “Most of the backbenchers seem to be very talented too. It is sad that aomgst them there is/are people with no principles or values.”

      So this can in no uncertain terms be leaks from a broken pipe in the cabinet?

      Get real.

  3. Sounds to me like it was Meric Apak or Lorraine Revah.

    • For the record, absoulutely not me, I would never breach the collective will and decision of the Group. And I will not get drawn into a speculative blame game on a bolg – no disrespect to Richard.

  4. I can spot at least two errors in the blogpost… but am not going to tell you which I’m afraid.

  5. Constantine Buhayer // March 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm //

    Why does it have to be just one Labour member? New Labour moves in gangs, gone are the days of enlightened Labour individuals breaking the mold.
    More likely that 4 or 5 members ‘pushed’ each other into sending the email and one of them clicked the fateful ‘return’ key.

  6. Richard Osley // March 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm //

    The healthy journalism standard of at least double sourcing information and accounts makes this guessing game rather pointless. More important is that how the people that make crucial decisions in Camden are selected is of interest to the public and worthy of debate.

  7. Albert Shanker // March 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm //

    Shanker notes how the CNJ continues to be ever obsessed by internal Labour politics but never wrote about Tory or Lib dem internal politics: is this because (a) the Tories and Lib Dems were slightly more professional than members of the Labour group in not immediately tweeting/emailing the press with gossip they misguidedly feel could advance their gripe or cause or (b) no one knew who the Tories or Lib Dems were went they ran Camden, so they were a non-story…

    • Richard Osley // March 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm //

      Now, we’ve had that conversation many times: any local newspaper will be most interested in the people with the final say on policies at the Town Hall. Labour has, bar four years, been in control of Camden for decades – no wonder then that it has been subjected to greater scrutiny.

  8. Richard so whose your chum in the council who leaked the email?

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