Happy Easter everyone!
MOVES FOR THE MOVEMENT
WE’VE been expecting some independents to enter Camden Council’s local elections for some time, but what about more than one binding together to tackle the job as a group? Enter: The Independents for the Movement, who have begun doorknocking and flyering in selected wards and say they have candidates ready for the May 3 ballot.
You may have noticed one of the candidates, Stephen Cameron, in the letters pages of the Camden New Journal, warning that measures against engine idling are not going far enough.
“We accept that every opinion counts and has value,” says Mr Cameron in terms of what the group stands for. “That’s why it is great to run an organisation like ours. It’s an incredible way to innovate. We are giving a platform for a society not influenced by personal egos but an open mind.”
Also involved is Marx de Morais, who was one of the Conservative candidates in Gospel Oak before quitting, claiming the party was not willing to have a proper discussion on Brexit ahead of the local elections. And the Independents for The Movement is working too with political science students who have taken part in discussion sessions at at the University of Westminster. They are calling it ‘liquid democracy’ – explained in the promotional material as “a less static, more fluid system: with an understanding that nothing should be imposed from top-down or set in stone”.
It is also pro-European. “We believe we can get our great nation back, which until yesterday was known in the world as one of the most friendly and cohesive – a Britain that was praised as an example of togetherness, culture and openness towards the future,” says Mr de Morais. “A Britain that pioneered some of the greatest aspects of the European Union, like the single market and the inclusion of Eastern Europe. A Britain that brought our continent freedom and that liberated it more than once. A Britain that became the moral light and anchor of the Union. Let us remember that the Poppies grow in Flanders fields, and Flanders is in Europe. It is something worth fighting for and the fight must grow from the local level. A healthy, open minded community is the key for a thriving nation.”
Past experience suggests a tough road ahead for anybody standing as an independent. One or two have come close-ish in the recent past but even if we agree 200 is a good score for a candidate entering the race from a standing start, it would still be nowhere near winning a seat on the council. The question is: if they do make a larger impact, who are they most likely to take votes from? The Liberal Democrats are happy as the most outwardly pro-Remain, stop Brexit party and would not want their place in that market place getting crowded.
THE HAPPY WORKERS
GOOD news for Camden, there is no yawning pay gap between its male and female staff. In fact, median female earnings are higher than those of male colleagues. “More female than male staff occupy positions at the top and middle earning levels in the council, with women making up 57% of employees in the top two earning quartiles,” explains the council’s press release. The bad news: There’s a lack of black, asian and ethnic officers at senior levels, as is pretty noticeable from the outside, and this has helped create a 11.6 percent gap between white and BAME staff, a worry which every now is brought up by backbench councillors in scrutiny meetings.
The comms concentrate on the positive bits of this year’s pay analysis with the council tweeting a picture of woman looking ecstatic to be at work. In which department does work feel so good? Well, once again, rather than save a few quid and simply take a photo of one of its own staff (they can’t be hard to find), Camden has paid for stock picture of a staged model for its optics. This isn’t anybody in the Camden workforce; it’s official Shutterstock title is ‘happy people doing further training in academy course with laptop computer’.
Our frizzy-haired friend, then, promotes a driving school, hospital services, evening classes and a lot more all around the world every day. To think, there was nobody at 5PS who Camden felt comfortable being on the cover. It’s a shame because there are a lot of good officers who they could’ve snapped.
UM, this was the tasteful front page of the CNJ’s sister paper, the Islington Tribune, after Labour’s super-landslide win in 2014; which was on a scale the party’s opposition now fear in Camden.