Camden waits and watches as ‘lost humanity’ Lib Dems lose leader in Haringey

CAMDEN Tory warhorse Andrew Mennear could yesterday be found lamenting Camden’s decision to delay local election counting. “The public deserve to know the results as soon as possible,” he said, although I suspected, as can be found with a few veterans of this game, he was more missing the drama of an all-night count.

In neighbouring Haringey, they could not wait, like kids ripping opening their Christmas stockings before their parents had woken they went straight for it. Inevitably, Camden politics bods will look there to see any trend, while they wait for their own results. If there is a form of replication, then it could be a hurtful afternoon for the Lib Dems.

Many will have woken up to Labour celebrating – dare we say, crowing? – after driving the Lib Dems out of big wards and setting the scene, as they see it, for Labour’s Catherine West to unseat MP Lynne Featherstone in Hornsey and Wood Green at the General Election next year. Maybe it wasn’t the kindest decision for the Lib Dem media planners, given this was unfolding in her constituency, to send Lynne onto the BBC’s election results programme. Her comment that her party had ‘lost some humanity’ since joining the government coalition with the Tories has been latched on to as a long-awaited admission about the effects of bedding down with the Tories at Whitehall.

Lynne is a good example of how you can build success on a neighbourhood basis, taking care of the little things for a bigger goal. So, she would be sorting out ticket machines at stations and moving bus stops for the elderly, which might seem like small beer but soothe irritations that affect people’s daily lives. In 2010, when London Labour came out and defended itself, on a day it lost the government, Lynne held on where others failed for the Lib Dems. But the nice neighbourhood stuff, it looks from the overnight stuff, has no longer been enough to counter what has gone on nationally, and the anger felt by a borough which leans left. She is still the Lib Dem MP, but her local council now has just 9 Lib Dems, puncturing a couple of decades of door to door work.

In Camden, Lib Dems, who have also made a name for themselves correcting community issues and making sure they know all of their neighbours’ concerns, will be wary of being hit by the same punch. In Haringey, the Lib Dem leader, Richard Wilson, fell overnight…


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