Election daily: You have 30 minutes to say your goodbyes

41 days to go…

A very late evening ‘daily’ for you today, as the newsroom has been busy covering the silent march, getting reaction, sorting photos, editing videos and so on. Look out for more on the community’s response to Camden’s murders in next week’s paper.


CAMDEN Labour are still organising their launch party for its local election manifesto, an event which usually comes with a special guest. Tessa Jowell did the honours in 2014, Ed Miliband was on hand in 2010 and Alastair Campbell had the duty in 2006, the year Labour lost control of the council. In between his turn and now, Miliband has led the party, lost an election, stepped down and has now turned into something of a popular booking after the success of his self-depreciating podcasts and late show appearances. This week he launched campaigns and manifestos in both Bury St Edmunds and Westminster; the latter being one to watch for us as Labour have their best chance in more than 30 years to win control of the famously blue city council.

“Particularly given the history of this borough, particularly the fact you have had uninterrupted Conservative rule since 1964,” he told Labour members over the borough boundary in Westminster on Wednesday night (pictured). “There is a unique opportunity here. This is a real moment. A crucial election. The Tories are quaking in their boots and they are right to be quaking in their boots.”

Some organisers of Camden’s campaign apparently believe Keir Starmer and Tulip Siddiq could bring enough stardust for their launch event on their own. But why stop there? Miliband, the new radio star lives on the patch, and hey the leader of the Labour Party lives only 1.7 miles from a former host venue, the Camden Irish Centre; that’s a seven minute drive up Camden Road (a little longer if Jeremy Corbyn cycles). Apparently, he’s still waiting for an invite.


MONDAY will see the last full council meeting before the local elections and this particular session usually has an end-of-term, non uniform day feel to it; a chance for rivals to suddenly say how lovely it has been working with members from all sides of the council chamber over the last four years, and to try to reel off their achievements in some creative way so that it doesn’t sound like an open brag. A good example: Tulip Siddiq’s hairbrush speech of a goodbye before she tootled off to Westminster? This time around, however, the knockabout nature of the last day in school will have to be measured carefully, as a serious and needed ‘themed’ debate on youth violence and knife crime has been scheduled to take up a large portion of the meeting. A 30-minute open session has, however, been sectioned off for departing councillors to do a My Way.


GERALD Clark from the Camden branch of the National Education Union (note to self: gotta get used to that as the new name for the NUT) was right when he told the silent marchers against knife crime on Thursday evening that one of the event’s most encouraging factors was the diversity of those who came: young, old, black, white, it made you feel there could be some cohesion to meeting a repetitive and mountainous challenge. At this (sort of) apolitical community coming together, there were also councillors from all of the main parties at the Town Hall. Labour ensured it had the best optics, however, by marching with the biggest banner. What was the message? STOP KNIFE CRIME NOW? END THE VIOLENCE? No, something far simpler: ‘HOLBORN AND ST PANCRAS LABOUR PARTY’.


Talking of the 2006 Labour campaign election launch, here’s Alastair Campbell at the London Irish Centre after coming off stage and chilling with then council leader Raj Chada and Frank Dobson.


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