Camden Council ‘get in early’ with Nelson Mandela tribute

mandela2THERE was a minor spot of disagreement, a delicate one, behind the scenes at Monday’s full council meeting. Although councillors spoke with great eloquence and care about a world figure who has been an inspiration to all, there were a few puzzled minds as to why members were devoting part of Camden’s all-member meeting on paying a lengthy-ish tribute to Nelson Mandela at this stage.

In a special extra item, three councillors spoke of their heartfelt admiration for the stricken former South African president, who historically had a special connection with anti-apartheid campaigners in Camden. But some quietly felt that while it is appropriate to honour Mandela’s unique importance with some local recognition and the tributes were nothing but well meant, it might have waited until news of his death.

It’s a delicate thing for anybody to suggest and people who thought the gun had been jumped – especially at a meeting which Camden routinely fails to reach its business end – said they thought any questioning of this part of the meeting would have resulted in unfair accusations that they did not appreciate Mandela’s contribution.

“He’s not dead yet. It felt a bit like we were getting in a bit early, giving him the last rites from another continent,” said one councillor, who then repeatedly asked for their name not to be mentioned.

It’s a hard one to call. Elsewhere, top-ranking figures said that on balance it was the right thing to do as Mandela is perhaps the only world figure able to unite the squabbling council chamber under one tribute. And from their moving speeches, you could see that those who did take part felt there was a deeply-felt need to say something, especially as there is not another full council meeting until September.

All of the motions didn’t get heard, however, and the structure and function of the full council meeting is currently under review in Camden.

NELSON MANDELA PIC: SOUTH AFRICA/THE GOOD NEWS

5 Comments on Camden Council ‘get in early’ with Nelson Mandela tribute

  1. For the record, the first motion (Conservatives on landlors’ service charge) was discussed, amended and approved. here the webcast

    • Richard Osley // June 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm //

      Thanks LazzaPops, but to be clear: not all of the tabled motions were considered. The link to website is helpful. People can hear the touching tributes to Mandela.

    • Camden Tenant - but very disillusioned! // June 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm //

      After the first Leaseholders’ Action Plan (first drawn up about three years ago), an extensive ‘cross party’ scrutiny report on leaseholder service charges, a further and more recent Leaseholders’ Action Plan (they didn’t even bother to change the name!) and now a motion passed by all three parties on unacceptable leaseholder service charges, wouldn’t you think Camden Council leaseholders might at least have seen some improvement in the service being delivered by Camden Council!

      Also, don’t you know that a local election is fast approaching!

      Camden Tenant

  2. As someone who has sat through two Council meetings recently waiting for agenda items that were not reached, I would ask that tributes of this sort be either avoided or put at the end of the agenda (probably the same thing).

    Nelson Mandela has been involved in matters of substance and they get squeezed out only too easily. The same goes for congratulations on gongs, appointments etc. Harder to stop is the party political point scoring. Councillors should have to sit in the gallery once in a while and imagine what the average citizen thinks.

    Nick

  3. Andrew Marshall // June 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm //

    I arrived ten mins late and hearing speeches assumed he had died. Bit odd, though no doubt from good motives. Andrew

    Sent from my iPhone

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