AFTER a little long weekend break, here’s a catch-up on the blog:
* UP in Cambridge, Labour councillors “took to Twitter to slam Jubilee celebrations”, as reported by the Cambridge News. One of them wrote: “Worshipping a dysfunctional family of half-German semi-illiterates because of which womb they plopped out of is absurd.” George Owers may be thinking he could have phrased that slightly differently, but the idea that an elected councillor shouldn’t say, if that’s what he honestly feels, that the Jubilee marathon was toot is plain silly. In fact, more should say it if they believe it. There is a fear among the elected, especially among Labour councillors, about saying anything slightly discursive about the monarchy and all that goes with it, when deep down, having won elections themselves, there is clearly a proportion irritated by the set-up as it is. When Lazzaro Pietragnoli jokingly described the Queen as ‘old fart Betty’ before his election as a Camden Town councillor earlier this year, Conservatives tried to make electoral gain out of the comment. It is difficult to believe that there aren’t high profile Labour people – and perhaps some top-ranked bods from other parties too – who feel similarly. They cower in silence, hoping the issue will go away and nobody will ask them about it. Some people are for an unelected head of state, some people are against – there should be a climate where politicians at every level can say what they think without fearing electoral meltdown.
* ONE Labour tweeter who didn’t hold back in publishing his views this week was London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, who cut Lord Andrew Adonis, Baron of Camden Town, no slack. Lord Adonis had been muttering about the High Speed 2 rail link being delayed. One of those delays could be the High Court challenge launched by Camden Council, which is concerned about the demolition and disruption facing communities around Euston. Reminded that Lord A was in the Labour Party and therefore a colleague, Murad tweeted: “You could have fooled me”. With friends like these….
— Murad Qureshi(@MuradQureshiAM) June 5, 2012
* THE dust is settling on the Labour leadership election in Camden with Tulip Siddiq wisely deciding against hounding the group as to who switched their votes on that dramatic decision day last month. Remember: she had more votes than Sarah Hayward at the group’s AGM on the first ballot, but in a second round of voting her score inexplicably slipped from 15 to 14, allowing Sarah to claim the big prize in a run-off. Others say they have deduced what went on and seem to know who changed their mind at the crucial moment, apparently in the interests of fairness and giving everyone a vote. Sarah, who said she was “humbled” by the support of her group, heads up a cabinet meeting at the Town Hall next Wednesday.
* JUST in case you haven’t clicked this link before: This looks like a perfect day in Kentish Town – a 360 panoramic view of the Alma Street Festival. Beautiful.
* AND another link, this time from our friends at the Hampstead and Highgate Express: The headline alone should be intriguing enough – ‘Does the ghost of Francis Bacon haunt the Gatehouse pub?’
* REGULAR readers to these pages will be well aware of the exasperation felt towards the Daily Telegraph’s news gathering operation, the bit where they seem to farm local newspapers for stories on a daily basis and then publish them almost word for word without any credit to the source. All nationals do a bit of this and we accept this, a lot of us are proud that are work is of a standard and importance for a national audience. The key thing is that our work should not go uncredited. The Tel actually did mention the New Journal last week as they took up the story of Camden Council’s prayer break dispute. The paper, however, has form HERE and HERE and HERE of allowing that simple mention to drop out of the copy. Yesterday Streatham Rachel Blundy from the Streatham Garden (@streathamjourno) claimed her story about a press officer suggesting Streatham should be napalmed was dealt similar treatment. There is anger about this on the comments section added to the Telegraph’s version. One reader writes that he thinks the story has been pinched, adding: If the shoe were on the other foot, the Telegraph would be bleating about plagiarism and demanding a credit or removal from website. You must be very proud of yourself and your work. The Tel would lose nothing by adding ‘told the Streatham Gazette‘, so why don’t they? It would actually look better. And if it is copy strung through agencies, they should refuse to buy without knowing where it is sourced from. Fairtrade journalism.