HARSH times in Camden’s Labour Party with members still unable find a place for Mike Katz to stand at May’s council election. The Kilburn councillor may be wondering what he’s done wrong – he hasn’t missed meetings or sat on the backbenches in a lethargic silence these last four years. De-selected in his own ward last year, he went for the last slot on the election slate this week and was rebuffed again. Here, he missed out on being the candidate in Regent’s Park – an opening triggered by Tulip Siddiq’s withdrawal to concentrate on her parliamentary campaign.
The branch, effectively picking a new councillor for the Town Hall given how secure the ward is for Labour, opted instead for local community worker Nadia Shah at a meeting of members. To be fair, the noise there has been all about getting somebody with sharper links to the ward and, besides, there’s a feeling among card-holders that it was not up to Regent’s Park ward tidy up any lingering bad feeling about what had happened in the Kilburn ward. Mike did not embarrass himself in the votes, pushed on through the first round of voting, but it wasn’t enough.
It’s when you tot up his list of near misses though, that even those who might disagree with his side of the group arguments might wince. He had already invested energy pushing for a council seat when he won Kilburn in the first place. Then came de-selection on a night of internal voting that has never really been clearly explained. Then he was shut out of the chance to fulfil his ambition of becoming the the MP for Hampstead and Kilburn by the order of an all woman shortlist. And then he was sliced out of the running for the candidacy in Brent Central in short-listing. It’s not a great advert for wanting to spend hours and hours trying be a local politician. There are those who have done far less casework who cruised through selection.