OSCAR night for local councillors ended in disappointment for the mystery man, woman or people who nominated Camden’s Sarah Hayward to be crowned leader of the year. Stevenage’s Sharon Taylor took the gong at the C’llr Awards, set up by the Local Government Information Unit.
The organisers are sworn to secrecy over who nominated for Sarah and how many entries they receive, but in making the final six last night she ran close to following in the footsteps of former Islington Council leader Catherine West, who collected the award in 2013 before graduating from the town hall to become the Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green. “It was great just to be shortlisted,” Sarah said, as admirers suggested online that she should have won.
Such awards may not seem like a big deal to people outside the undervalued world of local government and the ‘proudofmyclllr’ Twitter hashtag for the evening may have been a little bit sickly, but it’s surely not bad a thing to do more to try and recognise the work of local councillors, especially given most of their own constituents haven’t a clue who they are until they want something.
The soiree, however, did not pass without a typically colourful tweet from Sarah’s colleague Theo Blackwell, who has walked away with a prize from these awards in the past. His update from the Livery Hall in Guildhall and what should be a happy event, a night off from crossed swords and blame game politics, made the scene outside sound like the familiar protest gatherings in Judd Street before cabinet council meetings.