Election daily: The next diversity challenge

33 days to go….


WE’VE seen some of the farewells from last Monday’s full council meetig, but what about Andrew Marshall, the Conservative who eventually ended up on the Liberal Democrat bench after his dissatisfaction with the Tory handling of Europe and Brexit grew? His goodbye came with a warning, as he returned to an interesting point about diversity in the council chamber. Camden often congratulates itself – and why not – for having more women and BAME councillors, but there’s now also a challenge to make sure the room is not overrun with university educated, mobile middle classes.

Of course, there are lots of routes to university and I remember a Labour councillor in the early 2000s getting very upset when the old Camden Gazette made the point that the cabinet was stuffed full of people who had been lucky enough to go to Oxbridge. “I was the first person in my family to go, and I worked bloody hard for it,” he railed into the night. This debate really isn’t about individuals, and it gets debased when people try to prove their humble backgrounds are more humble than anyone else’s. For definition, Cllr Marshall told us he was talking about the need for people “in manual work and living on council estates”, although conceded this was simplistic too.

It reminded me of Charlie Hedges, the council tenant, lorry driver who headed up the housing department. And, although it was before my time, what about Charlie Rossi, the rat-catcher? Last year, I went to see the stage show, A Witness For The Prosecution, currently showing at the old County Hall chamber by the river and his name is etched in marble outside. It can be done, but it’s seems a struggle.


Don’t jump in, YES!, you can say the same about journalism…


BOOKMAKER odds on Labour winning in Camden’s neighbouring boroughs are drifting. The main issue since we last looked at the prices has been the party’s anti-semitism protests, so maybe it is having an effect with the public. Labour was as low as 1/8 to win in Barnet earlier this month, but have edged out to 1/5 with Ladbrokes. Meanwhile, in Westminster, is the talk of an eye-catching talk of a revolution premature? The Tories have come in by four price points, from 4/7 to 2/5. Wandsworth may now be a more realistic target, if you believe the gambling industry’s rough guide.


THESE last two posts we’ve mentioned the final farewells for long-servers Andrew Mennear and Andrew Marshall, so let the Flashback time machine land on photos of them. Back in 2006, they were on the same team and heading for roles in the Camden cabinet.



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