Election daily: He said it in the Camden New Journal

39 days to go….


YOU can say it in the Camden New Journal, but you can’t in the Guardian?, Andrew Marr asked Tom Watson on his programme, referring to an article Keir Starmer wrote for the CNJ in 2016 in which he said: “Once the negotiations have been completed, it will be for Parliament to decide whether to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act. Before doing so, I believe that the public should be consulted again: either in another referendum or in a general election.”

The suggestion has been made this weekend that this comment is only a little short of the call for a second referendum on Brexit which got Owen Smith the sack from Labour’s front bench on Friday evening. Mr Starmer has more recently written – and said lots of times – that Labour’s policy will not be to campaign for a second referendum, and he might argue that this opinion piece was written before last June’s general election, his second clause. Rather than say all of this, however, Mr Watson reached for an obviously untrue response to defend his colleague.

“Well to be honest, Andrew, I’m not a reader of the Camden New Journal. My paper is the Sandwell Express & Star, so I’ve not read what Keir said there,” he sighed.

We know differently of course. There is photographic evidence of him engrossed in our pages.


OLD school junglists – I they like to dance at something called a rave, m,lud – can not help but smile at the sight of one of the scene’s leading figures sharing a table with knighted suit-wearer Sir Keir Starmer and other local Labour politicians who may never have heard one of his hectic DJ sets. Maybe, that’s unfair. Maybe Lady Kelly loved a bit of Leviticus back in the day, maybe Marcus Boyland was a regular at Moondance, maybe Mr Starmer had a high-viz and a whistle on big nights out. Either way, the success of the new community campaigns against knife crime hang on being all-inclusive and diverse, and the way Save Our Boys, Save Our Girls has brought the former director of public prosecutions together alongside Jumpin’ Jack Frost can only be welcome. These campaigners mean business.


SOME have assumed Simon ‘mangalore’ Marcus, the former Camden councillor who lost to Tulip Siddiq in Hampstead and Kilburn at the 2015 general election, has tootled off and is now pursuing interests outside of politics. Long-term readers will remember he moved swiftly out of NW3 after the election, following a fading campaign in which the Standard described him as ‘visibly tired’ and colleagues lamented his polling day nap. But the big man is actually still keeping his eye in and occasionally pops up with an op-ed piece in various places.

On the subject of knife crime, he predicted things would get worse this year back in December, and blamed all politicians, including the Conservatives, for what he says is an avoidable crimewave. His prescription: More police, longer jail terms and more stop and search.

“The government is clueless. Dominic Raab, minister for courts and justice, thinks it is getting tough on knife crime. Police Minister Nick Hurd says the link between police numbers and crime ‘are not as clear as people think’, and Sadiq Khan is campaigning with rap stars, bloggers and poets using social media to tell youngsters not to pick up a knife,” he wrote at the time, for The Conservative Woman. “Poets and bloggers won’t stop a knife in the belly, so their words aren’t much use.”

He added: “Many politicians are ideologically prohibited from accepting the clear solutions to the problem, which are: a minimum 25 per cent rise in police numbers in England, sustained high levels of stop and search along with more accountability, life sentences for violent repeat offenders and better interventions and life chances for first-time offenders.”

It all sounds like a man who doesn’t see his political career as over yet, but with such sharp words for Theresa May and her ministers in this piece, which party would he stand for if opportunity knocks again?


AT the last council elections, Labour unseated their Lib Dem rivals in West Hampstead as Phil Rosenberg, James Yarde and Angela Pober won seats. It’s a ward which shows what a difference four years can make. Cllr Rosenberg and Cllr Yarde are stepping down, while Cllr Pober now sits as an independent councillor. Tulip Siddiq and Sarah Hayward lead the congratulations here.


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