A Camden Town trionfa un veneziano

THE unsurprising scoreline in the Camden Town with Primrose Hill by-election was so unsurprising it was almost only mentioned in passing in the local press, especially as it concided with the day Brian Coleman fell. But it was BIG news in Labour winner Lazzaro Pietragnoli’s Italian homeland, all over the news.

The Corriere Della Sera went with… A Camden Town Trionfa un veneziano

La Repubblica chose… Un Italiano (Stra)vince a Londra

L’Unita headline it with… Un Italiano vince a Camden Town

And so on. Sadly, my Italian doesn’t stretch beyond ‘ciao’, ‘arrivederci’, and ‘franco baresi’, so I can’t read the interviews Lazzaro’s interviews. But I did run them through the disjointed Google translator. La Repubblica reported:

E’ riuscito a prendere più voti del candidato laburista delle precedenti amministrative, “specie a Primrose Hill, un’area in cui in passato il primo partito erano i liberaldemocratici e invece io ho portato in testa il Labour”, dice, “ho incontrato anche elettori che mi dicevano che avrebbero votato per il conservatore Boris Johnson come sindaco e per me come consigliere comunale”.

  ….translator: ‘It could out-vote the candidate of the previous Labour administration, “especially in Primrose Hill, an area in which the first party in the past were the Liberal Democrats and instead I pulled ahead on Labour”, he says, “I also met I said that voters would vote for the Conservative Boris Johnson as mayor and for me as an alderman.”‘ This sounds like a possible acceptance that people happy to vote for him as a Labour candidate were at the same time bored of Ken Livingstone.

More interesting, perhaps, is the rough translation of the report in La Voce d’Italia

C’è stato solo qualche tentativo di attacco, racconta ancora Pietragnoli. “‘Nell’ultima campagna gli avversari conservatori hanno provato a far leva sul mio essere italiano per attaccarmi ma visti i risultati direi che il tentativo è fallito”.

…translator: ‘There’s been some attempt to attack, it still tells Pietragnoli. “In the last campaign the conservative opponents have tried to capitalize on my to be Italian to attack me but given the results I would say that the attempt has failed.”‘

Attacks on the basis of Lazzaro’s Italian background? Surely not the Camden Conservatives? What will Tory Frognal councillor Gio Spinella say?

8 Comments on A Camden Town trionfa un veneziano

  1. Well, perhaps not the Tory party officially, but I can give you names and addresses of people who can confirm that the nationality argument was used by camapigners on behalf of the Conservative candidate.

    On the previous point: once we have the ward-by-ward result of the Mayoral election you will see that I had more votes than Livingstone and Boris got more votes than the local conservative candidate.
    It’s a fact: there were people in CTwPH who voted for Boris as a Mayor and for me as a local councillor!
    We can then discuss if they were Labour voters bored with Ken or Conservatives voters bored with Nigel. :-D

  2. Gio Spinella // May 12, 2012 at 12:46 am //

    I can only comment for what was said in our leaflets of course, but Lazzaro faced some hard questions about his unfortunate (to say the least) comments towards Her Majesty and also about his self-definition as an internationalist who hates borders.

    At no time was nationality- especially being Italian!- raised as an issue but rather whether his comments were appropriate for someone standing for council.

    As the ancient Romans said in the Latin both Lazzaro and I studied in secondary school in Italy, “verba volant, scripta manent.” Translations: spoken words fly [in the air], written words stay- and it is only proper that everyone standing for public office account and be called into account for what they say.

    As the result in the by-election clearly indicated, voters decided what mattered to them. Lazzaro won. Viva Lazzaro. Until 2014 anyway… :-)

    I’d remind anyone trying to suggest anything that our council group is lead by a man married to a Belgian woman, our finance spokes-person is West Indian, another councillor is married to a Colombian woman, our former leader speaks fluent German (amongst other languages) and our deputy leader is South African. And then there’s me…

    And if any campaigner on behalf of the Conservatives had something to say about being Italian, please send them over to me!

  3. Lazzaro. Very concerned to read your comments. You have my campaign card, so please email me (or we can meet for tea next week) the details of any residents that you have cited in your statement and I will personally look into these ‘nationality arguments’ allegations. As a European myself I do not support the use of such arguments. It is the individual that counts and not their nationality.

    As Gio had said the unfortunate matter of your Twitter spats with him in connection with ‘Her Majesty’ in her Diamond Jubilee year is on public record. The matter of you stating that you are a Republican and hates borders so drinking tea is only reason you love Britain is also on public record. Fatto!

    We did discuss this in Fitzroy Road (where some building facade had collapsed!) and you offered me a reasonable explanation of it was written in the third person, perhaps!

    So Lazzoro, perhaps you did set yourself up with such potentially inflammatory comments. Which no doubt may have put off some Labour voters with you and voted for Conservatives instead. Clearly the victory in achieving a comfortable second place over the Liberal Democrats is proof of this during the very challenging times in mid term elections!

    Tale è la vita! :-)

  4. con.sidekick // May 12, 2012 at 9:58 am //

    No one knows Lazzoro ; the people of CT & PH voted Labour.
    Everyone hates the FibDims and so Rumble Tumbled into second place.

  5. Nigel, I will send you personal details of people who complained with me about the nationality issue (and the accident for me is over, also because I think -and said in the same interview with La Repubblica- that being Italian was an asset in an area so socially and culturally diverse as Camden Town and Primrose Hill)

    As for the other personal attacks contained in the official Tory literature, as I explained to Nigel in Fitzroy Road, that was in my opinion a big mistake they made. During the campaign, people (with the exception of Nigel and ConservativeHome) were not interested in my tweet about the Queen (which was clearly a cheerful comment, refering to the Private Eye phoney account of the Queen and ending with a “smile”, not an insult) and they never raised questions about my self declared republicanism, my hate for borders and my love for tea.

    I never replied to the Tory attacks during the campaign, as I wanted to focus on policies and on the things that really matter to people, rather than embarking in useless personal discussion…
    The result clearly shows that the electorate found my political approach more persuading and serious than anything the Tory may say in order to undermine my person (“Why should this man represent you at our Town Hall?” was a line in a Tory leaflet!)

    I am sorry that, inspite of the clear result, Gio and Nigel are still defending that sort of campaign, claiming that it put off some Labour voters.

    From my direct experience on the doorstep in the last three months, having met thousands of voters and hundreds of Labour supporters, I do not have any evidence of that.
    Instead there is plenty of Conservative and Lib Dem voters in Camden Town with Primrose Hill which are put off by the national government and are willing to discuss political issue and to receive credible answers for their real concerns.
    They found in my campaign a more serious approach and more credible solutions!
    I thank all of them for their support and pledge I won’t let them down.

    I really hope the Tory will learn the lesson (as I have learnt to be more careful and less ironic in my public discussions), unless they are really satisfied with calling “amazing victory” a second place! :-D

  6. Lazzaro you have made very serious allegations to the Italian press and indeed now here to Richard Osley senior editor of a leading local paper CNJ. The Camden Conservatives and especially myself wish to receive either a retraction or evidence supporting your allegations as soon as is possible from you.

    In fact the people of Camden Town with Primrose Hill and I am sure the people of Italy need to know if the allegations that you as a newly elected Camden Labour councillor have made have any basis in truth and in fact.

    We can all read on your Company Team profile that again your ever slippery words have changed again from the “is a European citizen born in Itlay. He has always been involved in European politics. He writes for job and for passion. He is a republican and hates borders, so drinking tea is the ONLY reason why he loves Britain” to “a European citizen born in Itlay. He has always been involved in European politics. He writes for job and for passion. He is a republican and hates borders, so drinking tea is the MAIN reason why he loves Britain.”

    I am also sure that people of Italy would like you also to spell the name of that wonderful country “Italy” correctly too!

    Guess you thought if you changed it during the campaign we may have noticed. We have noticed. The people of Camden will notice, the people of Italy will notice.

    So apart from insulting “Her Majesty” and drinking tea what else do you like about our wonderfully diverse country and local area of Camden?

    Careful now the people of Camden and Italy are listening, watching and waiting to hear as as are we.


  7. Send them back to Italy, where they belong !!!

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