Kilburn erupts: Mike Katz de-selected by Labour colleagues

kilburnTHE curiosities of Camden Labour’s council election selection contests continued last night. Councillor Mike Katz (far right, in the picture, not politics) was de-selected in the Kilburn ward as the party sat down to decide who will stand there at next year’s council elections.

There had been talk earlier in the year that Thomas Gardiner, often appearing restless to colleagues about the Labour group’s direction and progress, and his wife Maryam Eslamdoust, the councillor who irritated the leadership with comments about racial divisions at Camden Town Hall, might be open to an ambush. “Well, that was all in their f***ing minds”, was the blunt assessment of that idea today from one frustrated member. 

The annoyance is because after the internal vote last night, Thomas and Maryam (also pictured) were re-selected and Mike, cast as a New Labour eagle in a nest of lefty voices, lost his place on the slate. Either the plan to bump them off had never existed or it had been warded off in the weeks running up to the vote.

Labour’s selection process for council election candidacies has proven itself to be a bit of a bear-pit ordeal before, throwing up surprise results and more than once generating bad feeling. There are reports that only eight people turned up to the meeting, slimming the number of votes needed to cause a surprise. But this one is the biggest shock of the current rounds of ward selections because it was generally felt outside of Kilburn that despite differences of opinion and talks of conspiracies, all three of the sitting councillors would be able to clinch their spots again without any blood staining the carpet. 

For those who feel sympathy for Mike in the group – people who know the wait he endured to get on the council in the first place – there is anger and frustration today. Strong, asterisk-laden words like those above are being used which are probably a little too furious to keep using on these pages. Those with less sympathy in the Labour group said Mike had fallen into a trap that had originally been designed for others and that he should have worked at making sure his supporters were there to vote.

The killer is surely that Labour has almost finished picking the entire team for next May’s elections. The line-up is almost full and there is not a similar opportunity to the one seized by Councillor Abdul Quadir last month when he hurried to another ward following de-selection in Bloomsbury. There is not really another ward for Mike to get a second run at, particularly when, you’d imagine, he’d want to stick close to the Brent Central parliamentary constituency. And all this follows the blow of seeing his hopes of running for the Commons in Hampstead and Kilburn kiboshed by the imposition of an all women’s shortlist. It’s a jungle out there.

5 Comments on Kilburn erupts: Mike Katz de-selected by Labour colleagues

  1. iamIndependent // July 5, 2013 at 12:14 am //

    .. much ado about nothing.

  2. Chris Knight // July 5, 2013 at 9:56 am //

    I feel quite sorry for Mike, its the Labour electioral selection system that needs a “root and branch overhaul” if the report of only 8 turning for the selection process is corrcet it simply shows apathy and a lack of appetite towards running of Camden by Labour and it is shame that any candidate should have to go under these circumstances.

    The Consevative system is far and away better than both Labour and the Lib Dems being far more transparent, take the selection Parliamentary Candidate for example which is done by means of an open primary when all registered voters in the constituency are invited to attend and vote, at the Simon Marcus selection i recognised Labour & Lib Dem supporters in the 400 + crowd that attended.

    Come on Labour your back to the days of “Beer & Sandwiches in smoke filled rooms”, the Lib Dems are just as secretive but wiith pure fruit juice and pulses and a bit of back stabbing to accompany the refreshment.
    That said i ahve always found Mike to a decent bloke to work with and it sad that his run should end this way!.

  3. Graham Peasantry // July 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm //

    The Labour selection process is quite clear: you are selected for one election only, and sitting councillors have no god-given right to be re-selected. Most wards have had a higher attendance than 8, but occasionally there will be a low turnout and in the real world that’s how life is. The Labour system allows party members who live in that particular ward to vote on their candidates, which is a hugely valuable safeguard against group leaders and ruling cliques just putting their favourites in and thus firming up their majorities in their party group. Long may it continue.

  4. Keith Sedgwick // July 6, 2013 at 1:52 am //

    I really don’t see what is the big surprise, here. Mike has made it patently clear that serving as a lowly local Councillor, is not where he wants his political ambitions to rest. Did he not make it clear that he has Parliamentary ambitions? Did he not publicly say he was weighing up his options, after failing to qualify for the Hampstead & Kilburn short-list?

    There are very things that get up the nose of local activists more, than being made to feel that they are merely a stepping stone in somebody’s political career. So, since he made it clear that he would take a Parliamentary seat if offered, why on earth should his ward sit around and wait to be jilted; or am I missing something here?

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