‘ELLO, ‘ELLO, ‘ELLO
AS you all know, this blog hates to drag up long forgotten quotes and ancient anecdotes, but Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Marshall’s wise words from yesteryear sprung to mind on a first flick through his new party’s election manifesto. Back in 2010, he went as far as contacting Camden’s borough solicitor no less, to ask what the legality was behind politicians posing with police constables in photos later used for election material.
Quite reasonably, Cllr Marshall, then a Conservative councillor, asked: “One area I have complained about before is around police constables who are persuaded to pose for a photo with councillors/campaigners and then appear on campaign literature. Such public sector staff are not contracted to the Council, but frankly exploiting them in this way is surely close to bringing the Council into disrepute. Can you advise?”
Cllr Marshall was, ironically, raising a question about Lib Dems on that occasion, and maybe he should be doing so again. An investigation is surely due into page 9 of the Lib Dem manifesto, released yesterday, which shows Hampstead candidate Linda Chung getting a friendly arm around the shoulder from a uniformed-up police officer. Did the officer know that a nice little photo would one day end up looking like an endorsement for crime policies suggested in the local Lib Dem manifesto? If he did, no doubt somebody at the Met will want a word. If he didn’t, which is more likely, has Ms Chung, to use Cllr Marshall’s words, frankly exploited a police officer?
WELCOME TO THE MCC
THERE was a taste of things to come for Labour candidates and councillors in Haringey this week. The Evening Standard, which had previously written supportive editorials of former council leader Claire Kober during the HDV turmoil and the deselection dramas, ran the story about Haringey’s election false start with the botched postal ballot info but headlined it: ‘Momentum coup council’. After everything that’s gone on in the neighbouring borough, this is what Haringey is destined to be known as in the press, whenever things go wrong that is; a bit like the way Barnet is saddled to some extent with the ‘easy Council’ label. The transformation in personnel isn’t even yet complete in Haringey and the rebels are being blamed for an admin error.
The council spent £85,000 on rebranding and a new red tape logo a few years ago, so to save Haringey a bit of money this time around, here’s a redesigned logo it can have for free, complete with its new name handed down by the Standard and a deeper shade of red.
‘PRACTICAL, CONSCIENTIOUS. AND ANTI-CORBYN’
WHO are the Labour canvassers in Camden directly telling punters on the door that they are anti-Corbyn?
The Times columnist David Aaronovitch, who lives in Hampstead/Gospel Oak, had them at knocking at his home today, and explained in a tweet: “Just racing to deadline when two Labour canvassers at appear at the door in the sunshine. They are the essence of what I’ve always liked most about Labour. Practical, conscientious. And anti-Corbyn. But any vote I cast for them becomes a vote for him. I just don’t think I can.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, he got more than 100 replies to this red rag to a bull.
“Council is safe Labour,” Mr Aaronovitch, pictured below being ambitiously canvassed by Tory Chris Philp in 2010, went on to say. “Given the area, a dent in their vote will be seen as a Jewish rebuff to Corbyn. No dent will be seen as no problem. What do you do?”
And asked directly who he would vote for instead, the writer said: “Lib Dems? Greens? Not at all? I don’t know. In 2022 if JC is still there the problem will be much sharper.” It’s sentiment like this which helps fuel the Lib Dem belief that they can be a greater threat to Tories in the Hampstead Town than Labour.
PS: I’ll also get in trouble with them if I don’t recite 100 times for you that Belsize should be a three-way ward.
SOONER or later, this one had to go into Flashback, as here’s another MP who successfully graduated from Camden’s politics. This is Chris Philp first election win, as a councillor in Gospel Oak back in 2006. I think we all remember quite clearly him shouting ‘I’m Alastair Campbell’s councillor’ soon after he had won, referring to one of his better known new constituents. Keith Sedgwick and Lulu Mitchell who were interesting councillors in different ways – Mr Sedgwick was always frank and outspoken, while Ms Mitchell saved the day by stepping up after the Lib Dem mayor got arrested – were elected alongside him, as Labour shipped three council seats. Mr Philp later almost won a parliamentary seat in Hampstead and Kilburn, before finding his way to the House of Commons via south London. Gospel Oak meanwhile is a Labour stronghold again.