HAPPY New Year. Break over. What have we missed while eating Quality Street for breakfast?
* IT is probably Camden Labour Party which needs to be quickest off the blocks in 2013. By the end of the month, the Conservatives will have a parliamentary candidate for the Hampstead and Kilburn seat in place after their open primary event. The Liberal Democrats will be picking someone shortly too. The next general election may seem ages way but the long game will begin once those candidates are on the slate and Labour – even if their strategists assume that they can pick up Liberal Democrat voters upset by national deals with the Tories – will need to choose a player to take part. There is little suggestion coming from Glenda Jackson’s direction that she will suddenly change her mind and stand again, so it’s make your mind up time. All sitting Labour MPs have been advised by central office to make it clear whether they are staying or going by June. That in itself is interesting for those wondering about Frank Dobson’s position. But it is too long a timescale for Labour in the north of the borough to spend gossiping. Contenders for the jobs like Mike Katz, the Kilburn councillor, should not be kept waiting to see who will take on the constituency. It’ll be a long term battle, they might lose ground from the starting grid if they are.
* TWEET tweet. Islington councillor Jessica Asato was on Twitter over Christmas delighting in the fact she had ‘moved into’ a new pad in Norwich. There’s a nice Indian on the corner apparently. The fact she tweets so much more about Norwich, where she is already installed as the parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, than Islington has led to the usual long distance grumbles, and before Christmas there was that “Where’s Wally” style mock-up in the Islington Tribune. The vice-chair of the Fabian Society – a social media expert – hasn’t broken any rules and talking about it, at last, in this week’s Tribune she said: “I haven’t bought a home in Norwich and I haven’t called it home. I’ve rented a house there, that’s all. I have a job in London and I’m a councillor in London but I need somewhere to stay when I’m in Norwich. The idea that I’ve moved is ridiculous.” Yes, ridiculous, who would have jumped to that conclusion from this tweet:
Very pleased to have moved into a new house on Magpie Road, just in the nick of time! I have Delhi Spice on the corner as well which is ace!
— Jessica Asato (@Jessica_Asato) December 21, 2012
She puts up a feisty defence to all the jibes though. “I think it’s a bit rich for people to say my heart’s not in it,” Cllr Asato adds. “If people want to start comparing meeting attendances in Islington then let’s do that.” Effectively: Bring it on. That’s not to say all of her red rose colleagues are totally impressed with the arrangements and some, backstage, point to the fact that Lucy Rigby, another Islington councillor, saw two tasks as too much to juggle and stepped down from the council when she was picked to stand for Labour in Lincoln.
* THREE points to anybody who worked out the mystery toblerone toes belonged to Camden Labour councillor Abdul Hai at the end of last year.
* MY award-winning colleague Tom Foot took his mind off saving hospitals and sticking it to the man for a night out at the Roundhouse this week. He was reviewing the Argentinian jaw-dropper, Fuerzabruta:
One [of the performers] grabbed my hand and led me into the centre where I stood frozen in fear that I would have to dance.
Mercifully, she simply wanted to smash a glitter bomb polystyrene plank across my bonce. It exploded all around me as a storm of ticker-tape billowed about the room. I felt a rush of blood to the head and I left half-hypnotised.
And breathe. An outside chance for Private Eye’s Pseud’s Corner?
* MR Megaphone returned to Camden High Street this week, whirring on about the cheap price of booze in Co-Op. He was previously wondering about whether Olympians ate McFlurries in King’s Cross. This guy really divides opinion. Right on? Smug?
* FINALLY, thank you to @WHampstead for directing us to the blog written by Ben Dutton, whose wife Desreen died in a collision with a car in West Hampstead last year. This is one of the most moving and heartbreaking blogs you will read, almost too hard to read in parts. Helpless as we are, I wish him and his family well. His eulogy for Desreen may contain some wise guidance on how we could all make our lives better.