No blogging for a while – we got a newspaper to produce, y’know, and super Josie Hinton’s leaving do last week took a bit out of everyone at the New Journal. She had some great scoops in her two and a bit years at the paper, but I’ll always remember the time in the aftermath of her report about a poisonous spider being on the loose in Gospel Oak and when a reader came in claiming they had caught the big blighter. She took it up the road to London Zoo to get it checked – not her idea, to be fair – and was told it was nothing more than a large house spider. We’ll all miss her. She’ll go far.
Thursday August 25, 2011
* FIRST up: That Highgate by-election and a little mystery in need of clearing up. Conservatives working the door to door thing around the village last night decided against knocking on Tessa Jowell’s door. The former culture secretary has, quelle surprise, already pledged her support to Labour candidate Sally Gimson. A lovely little boost for Sally, I’m sure – but the Tories insist they can’t see Jowell, T anywhere on the electoral roll. A paperwork mix-up? Tess might want to put in a call to the electoral office if she really wants to help Missus Gimson in the most meaningful way next month.
* Nobody wants to make things harder for Chris Basson, the former Lib Dem councillor who has obviously been through a rough time and was given a suspended jail sentence for benefits fraud last week. Conservative leader Councillor Andrew Mennear makes a point in today’s Hampstead and Highgate Express about Lib Dem candidate vetting. Who knows what went on when the Lib Dems assembled what turned out to be a winningish team for the Camden Council elections in 2006? It’s pretty safe to say that there was not confidence among the entire group that Chris and his colleagues would actually prise Belsize from the Tories back then. Without wanting to sound Rowellatory, Cllr Brayshaw, sir, maybe the clean sweep the Lib Dems did go on to achieve in that ward five years ago had a little something to do with the relentless shift put in by Chris’s running mate. One Alexis Rowell. Just a possibility.
* Back to the Gimson camp – and ‘Camden’s Bercows’. I hear Sally’s Tory husband Andrew, the Daily Telegraph wit and Boris Johnson biographer, is backing his Labour supporting wife to the extent that – da da dah, cymbol, crash – he is willing to go to the count at the Town Hall, show his face and yelp ‘yeaaaah’ at a red rosette victory… should that happen. Fellow sketchwriters in important newspaper offices have their quills at the ready for the possible moment that he introduces his good lady as… the Labour councillor for Highgate.
* RIOTS: The most interesting paragraphs in this fortnight’s Private Eye are its first paragraphs. “Youths armed with glasses bottles, bricks and stones turned a high street into a warzone,” reported the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal – not this month, but back in March. Riot police took until 5am to restore order as around 200 youths aged between 14 and 20 rampaged along Hornsey High Street…Police Sergeant Michael Tisi said: ‘I felt it was not safe for officers to intervene as we were massively outnumbered.” Oddly enough this incident wasn’t even covered by London’s Evening Standard; and it completely failed to spark copycat violence and moral panic across the country. Could this possibly be because the riot kicked off on March 12 while rolling TV news and social media were otherwise engaged following the Japanese earthquake and unfolding nuclear crisis? Not much more to add to that apart from a hmmmmmm.
* CONSERVATIVE councillor Andrew Marshall wasn’t so impressed with a New Journal riots editorial comment which suggested the handling of the rioting and looting cases in the courts was in itself a form of ‘mob justice’ on the grounds that sentences seemed to be hiked up to reflect shouty public anger. Ludicrous CNJ at it again! Cllr M assures me, however, that he would have had greater truck with the paper if we had followed the line of the Newsquest groups papers down in south London. In case you haven’t seen the hang ’em high opinion of the Wimbledon and Streatham Guardian or read it on Roy Greenslade’s blog on it, here’s their simple solutions to this rioting malarkey:
* Meanwhile, Guardian journalists spotted a maths boo boo in the wraparound ad clinging to the Metro on Wednesday and logged straight on to Twitter to tell the world. (At this stage it is important to note that this rush to spread word of the offending mistake had nothing to do with Metro’s politics man John Higginson’s recent not so super superexclusive about Guardian phone-hacking curiously based on source material taken straight from, um, an article in the Guardian in 2006). For the wraparound, a yoghurt bar company had mistaken 100 percent for 200 percent – an error clearly qualifying for a patronising ‘epicfail’ tweet or two. It was a silly mistake. Still, when you turned to page 9 of The Guardian itself that same day, some might have thought it better to have a numbers mix-up in your ads pages than THE FRAULEINS WITH THE BIG JUGS: