Sunday Review #3: Getting hot; Cowley’s campaign; Ed’s choice

* THIS bulletin is a little late this week because we’ve all been watching Glastonbury and Wimbledon. Plus it was Camden’s full council last night, where for the first time I learned that no matter how hot it gets, chief male civil servants are ordered by the convention of council dress code rules to keep their suit jackets and ties on throughout the proceedings. What a sweat that is. Poor old borough solicitor Andrew Maughan prowled the room for a stand-up whirly fan as the temperature refused to drop during yesterday’s mini heatwave. Flick Rea promised a ‘humanitarian’ campaign to allow Mr Maughan and colleagues to take their suit jackets off if faced with another full council sauna.

* Conservative councillor Chris Knight is more worried about spending on council newsletter, Your Camden, which he calculates at a £150,000 a year outlay for Camden Council. Chris told the council that he is particularly annoyed that his ward has been renamed Hampstead Green by the four times a year magazine. The lament about the quality and cost of the council magazines is understandable – Knight called it ‘useless propaganda’ – but doesn’t the opposition always call for these newsletters to be closed? It’s usually a different story once you take office. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that the Conservatives held a stake in the administration which ran Camden – and, yes, they kept the printing presses alive too.

* In terms of Wimbledon, it may be time to start worrying about Evening Standard columnist Jason Cowley. A good egg, Cowley, editor of the New Statesman, is especially perceptive about things that happen at his beloved Arsenal. But when it comes to the tennis, he seems to have only one chief point to make: Andy Murray needs to lighten up.

During the Australian Open, Cowley wrote a full pager column for the Standard (Jan 31) with the title: ‘Murray needs to lighten up…’ Yesterday, with Wimbledon in full swing, Cowley wrote a full pager column for the Standard (June 27) with the title ‘Come on, Andy Murray, lighten up‘. He also wrote a small piece (Jan 24) for the same paper earlier this year titled ‘Miserable Murray will never win over the fans‘, which essentially said: Andy Murray needs to lighten up. It must be a tougher  job than it looks coming up with new ideas for sports columns. Here’s a few bits from Jason’s ‘Lighten Up Andy’ campaign

Jan 24: The reason Murray is not more popular is that, for all his excellence at tennis, he seems a joyless fellow, especially when compared to his charming and charismatic rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Jan 31: At present, Murray plays without a smile and without evident joy…Perhaps he should start playing Davis Cup again.

June 27: The trouble with Murray is Murray himself: his apparent joylessness, his lack of charm and humour, his ­unsmiling reluctance to represent ­Britain at Davis Cup… Murray is especially unfortunate because his three main rivals – Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic – have attractive personalities.

You get the idea with that…

* Finally, we can’t let last week disappear from memory without checking in on the Labour debate over whether shadow cabinet positions should be decided by election or not. Ed Miliband wants to pick his own people for the top jobs (kinda suggesting in the process that he isn’t so happy with the people he’s been left working with by the current process). How many local members must have a view on this? The bloody events locally of last month’s Camden cabinet switcharoo has left people thinking (no swearing on the comments please) that there must be a better way of assembling a team, one that is democratic without scarring so badly. But how? Allowing the leader so much power to lock in a cabinet team and lock out others has never been a convincing method to all in the local vocal Labour group.


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