Thursday April 24, 2014.
21.51: Labour’s Phil Jones concedes to the room that Lib Dem Paul Braithwaite is kinda-a-big-deal (not an exact quote) when it comes to the HS2 debate in Camden.
21.46: BIG BREAKING NEWS FROM PRIMROSE HILL:
The Conservatives in Camden appear to have a male supermodel leafleting. My friend is literally hanging out the window going ‘OH MY GOD’.
— India Knight (@indiaknight) April 24, 2014
21.31: Motions, the last pip of the meeting. Don’t always get to them but here we are tonight with one on HS2. Lib Dem councillor Paul Braithwaite starts by reminding everybody about all the things he has done in opposition to the High-Speed Two rail link. He has been irritated in the past that the Lib Dem contribution to the HS2 battle has apparently been downplayed in the council’s high profile respsonse. With his seat under threat in Cantelowes from fresh-faced Labour rival Danny Beales, he concedes it may be his ‘swansong opportunity’ to say all this.
21.19: Thursday nights for full council meetings are probably better than Monday nights. Less chance of a clash with football matches… unless you’re a Spurs fan.
21.06: Mike Katz now signing off from the council with an Oscar-style thank you speech. He talks of the ‘white heat’ of debate in the council chamber. Lib Dem Russell Eagling tells him what a few were thinking: ‘I think you’ve been appallingly treated by your colleagues’. He means the fact he got de-selected in Kilburn ward despite hardly being a shirker and then passed over for other candidatures by the people he’s just profusely thanked. Bit awkward.
Will miss sitting next to @mikekatz at full council, brilliant councillor who never fails to speak up for what he believes in.
— Georgia Gould (@Georgia_Gould) April 24, 2014
20.56: Earlier, councillors were shown the campaign video from the council’s KNOW this isn’t love drive to help people stuck in. The scene in the chamber was all a bit classroom, a whoop when the lights were dimmed and a problem getting the thing to play… but when it did start, nobody can argue with the strength of the message. Nicely done.
20.51: De-selected councillor Mike Katz going down in a blaze of Labour glory here in his last full council meeting, setting up more party political broadcasts for his boss. ‘Stop, stop, stop’, chants Lib Dem Flick Rea.
20.47: Back for some political to and fro here, Sarah Hayward, set up by a gimme question from backbencher Mike Katz, absolves the old Labour government for the banking crisis and cuts to public spending, insisting the Brown administration should not take all the heat for economic chaos across the whole world. As the countdown ticker to the right shows, not long before polling day…
20.22: Fear no more, here’s photographic evidence for you all that Sally Gimson did get back to London from Sheffield in time for tonight’s meeting. She was up in the city of steel, monorails and Keith Moffitt’s childhood memories earlier today looking to win a Labour parliamentary selection in Meg Munn’s safe Sheffield Heeley seat.
20.10: The debate on crime and community safety starts: Jonny Bucknell stands up and a few of his colleagues make whooshing Taser noises at him. He’s on the front page of the New Journal today calling for drunks in Camden Town to be controlled with stunguns. He wants every officer in Camden to have one.
20.04: Conservative councillor Chris ‘Knighty’ Knight has left his final full council meeting early. Things to do. He whispers in my ear on his way out: ‘In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’ll be back.’ Surely he isn’t regretting his decision not to stand again in Hampstead Town ward already.
19.56: T-Money on his feet, on one of his favourite subjects, the shiny redevelopment of King’s Cross railwaylands. It was the Europe’s biggest brownfield site and now there are things there, big business and public squares. There’s even going to be a man-made swimming pond. Ssssh… it would be churlish to ask how many family-sized affordable homes are being built on this vast opportunity.
19.50: A little heavy in the Town Hall chamber: here’s something to smile about. That Labour councillor Awale Olad in Holborn never stops parping on about Manchester United. He really should support a local team but on Sunday, he tweeted this pearl of wisdom: “Unless Moyes leaves on his own accord, United won’t sack him.” What a sage! The following day Manchester United, as you will all know, sacked their manager David Moyes.
19.42: Valerie Leach, Labour’s regeneration chief, gives her report. She gives a heartfelt thanks to her colleagues for support during her time on the cabinet.
19.38: On Peter Holt, a little bit of a shame that there won’t be such a need to follow his tweets for Camden news from now on.
Shitty week plus new Netflix account equals duvet day. Bliss
— Peter Holt (@peterholt99) January 25, 2014
19.24: Leader’s speech time: Lib Dem boss Keith Moffitt, the leader of the opposition, thanks the bods stepping down, particularly former housing man Chris Naylor, who of course you all read about in the last post. But he warns that senior officers are deserting the Town Hall right now and that Camden had become ‘a place where people wanted to work to that people don’t want to work’. One of those is Peter Holt, the interim communications boss whose he appointment he questioned when he arrived late last year. Holt, the guy swimming with a dolphin in his Twitter profile, had been a former Labour council leader in Merton. Keith calls for a ‘change in culture’ to keep the best staff. Conservative leader Claire-Louise Leyland says the missing people here are actually the public – and points to the public gallery where only one person sits, the Green election candidate Sian Berry. Labour council leader Sarah Hayward, below, in response blames staff departures on the cuts. “We’ve made 1,000 people redundant, it’s created a massive churn,” she adds.
19.16: Next up a deputation from four members of the public appealing for Camden Council not to demolish the land between Belsize Road and Kilburn High Road Overground station. Once a rubbish dump, the locals had turned it into a community garden. Housing chief Councillor Julian Fulbrook admits he was amazed by the ‘before and after’ pictures. “It would be tragic to lose the little space that you have carved up here,” he adds.
19.09: A debut speech by Camden’s new youth MP, Hannah Morri, 14, kicks things off. She says it’s “honour and a privilege to be elected… Over the next two years, I will make this diverse and vibrant borough a better place for young people to work, visit and study.” It’s all delivered with a confidence which sounds like she’s really going to make a go of it – and with a style that might make some non-youth councillors blush with envy. When I was 14, I was not doing this… Good luck to her.
19.01 Off again, here at Camden Town Hall – the last full council meeting before next month’s council elections. The Mayor Jonathan Simpson thanks the councillors not standing again for their service: Milena Nuti, Mike Katz, Laura Trott, Chris Knight, Chris Naylor, Russell Eagling.