NEW Labour pressure group, Progress, are to take over Camden Town Hall at the start of next month for their ‘Winning With Women’ conference.
Speakers include Harriet Harman, former Islington councillors Lucy Rigby and Jessica Asato (now fighting parliamentary seats) and Camden’s own council leader Sarah Hayward.
But how will this jamboree go down with the dyed-in-the-wool union backed side of Camden’s often fractious Labour group?
Well, there have been one or two frowns about the idea of a group which they see pulling Labour closer back to Blair setting up shop in, of all places, their own back yard. It’s been taken by the most irritated left-wingers as a two finger salute, a sod you lot response to loss of Mike Katz from the council election ticket in Kilburn and the success of Tulip Siddiq in the parliamentary selection race in Hampstead and Kilburn.
To try and put this squabble in context, at times during the Hampstead and Kilburn parliamentary candidate selection campaign, it was whispered that membership of Progress could be a vote-loser in a contest where certainly some supporters of the winning team felt it was important to establish traditional left wing credentials.
The feeling over Progress harks back to the basic fault line in Camden’s group, a kind of division between the crowd who will never forgive Tony Blair, always viewed as a Prime Minister who not only wasted Labour’s chance in government but was dangerously destructive to boot, and the loyalists, some of them Progress members, keen to ensure the best bits of Blair are not erased from history with each revision.
You’ll hear the latter reminding colleagues about how many elections he won but it doesn’t hold much sway with the members who remain resolutely suspicious of the shiny, happy Progress people heading to Camden HQ in a couple of weeks.