HERE’S something which may nark the Tulipista wing of Camden’s Labour party, as much as the yesteryear journalists who once re-branded Thursday as ‘Theoday’ – the day when, in angrier times, Theo Blackwell would ring up the borough’s local papers with some form of complaint about that week’s issue.
For Theo Blackwell, a love him or hate him kind of guy, is in the running for a gong in what we shall call the ‘councillor Oscars’. In fact, fair play to him, he’s the only representative from Camden on the shortlist for this year’s Local Councillor Achievement Awards, run by the LGiU think tank. If such laurels are a meter on ascending councillors, by the way, it is worth noting that last year Catherine West was crowned ‘council leader of the year’ while at the helm of Islington. Twelve months later, it looks like she will soon be the Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green, where she won the local Labour selection with minimal fuss and is pitching in a constituency where Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone looks like she is running out of road.
Theo lands in the ‘Bruce-Lockhart’ category, a special Oscar won by Islington’s Joe Caluori last year and a field in which the awards website tells us that the winners must ‘demonstrate their track record and potential for local leadership’. This is meant to be digested as more thematic than actually a prod to take over the full leadership of the council. He is, however, in being nominated for the prize being credited for his attempts to get more the council working and interacting online. You’d expect nothing less from someone, let’s not forget, who is the gamer councillor with the best World Of Warcraft ranking in the country. We joke, but if he wins, a £10,000 bursary awaits to help fund his efforts. In local government circles, beyond Camden, he is seen as someone making a good deal of the running in this sphere.
“Most of local government and councillors are in the dark ages when it comes to tech so I’m bidding for a project to evolve digital leadership across all authorities,” he says of his shortlisting.
The categories and full shortlist are available here.