3 days to go…
NO NEED FOR A NIGHT BUS
I’M still waiting for a sensible reason as to why Camden is counting through the night on Thursday, when Islington and Haringey are simply locking the boxes away and coming at it afresh on Friday. So far the best I’ve had is: We like the drama of it all. You could sort of understand that line if control of the council was at stake this week, but the international money markets are hardly going to be waited with bated breath for a quick, decisive answer about Swiss Cottage.
For the doubters, there was more reason to grumble today when the Press Association suggested we could be in for a 7am finish at the Somers Town Sports Centre, and Stephen Bush at the New Statesman, surely winding some old acquaintances in Camden Labour, predicted a 9am declaration. While there may not be as many votes cast as a general election, the task is not as simple due to the different splits on three-vote ballot papers.
Obviously councils often like to overestimate how long it is likely take when asked to predict what time they’ll be done, so they are not accused of being slower than expected. Fingers crossed that’s the case here. There is hope among the campaign teams who say 4am to 5am is a more realistic shout. Anybody who was at the European referendum count in the Camden Centre in 2016 may in turn say they are being optimistic.
In 2006, recounts in Bloomsbury meant everybody came back the next day to finish the job. There is some suggestion that if Camden is making slow progress through the night and it is unlikely to get it all done by morning light, the centre could be locked and the process re-started again on Friday. Rather than counting every ward concurrently, Camden is set to use a new system of trying to clear as many of the wards which are unlikely to have close finishes first, before moving onto a second or third batch of wards which may require more than one count-up.
FRIENDS of the former mayor Gloria Lazenby gathered to remember her in St Martin’s Gardens, the graveyard/park in Camden Town, earlier as a new bench was unveiled. She died in 2016. There’s are also benches in the park for Barry Sullivan, who ran the Camden Town Neighbourhood Advice Centre and Ellen Luby, who after years of unforgettable heckling really should have something in the public gallery at the Town Hall rather than a park. Yes, a big bronze of Mrs Luby looking down on the new chamber please. Make it happen, Camden.
Ms Lazenby was deselected after opposing the library closure plans of the early 2000s – one of the famous nights of rebellion which Labour’s opponents at Thursday’s elections say will not be repeated under a highly-whipped ‘one party state’. She was later expelled when she stood as an independent. When we talk about independents doing well if they pierce the 200 vote mark, Ms Lazenby hit more than 600 in Camden Town with Primrose Hill in 2002.
DOWN in south London Labour members who thought they might be getting a break from elections after Thursday’s polls may have to rewrite their plans. The swirling stories that MP Heidi Alexander is planning to step down to take a job with Sadiq Khan at City Hall, if true, would leave a vacancy for a very attractive parliamentary vacancy in Lewisham East. Labour’s majority there is more than 20k and a queue around the block would mount. At such an early stage, it would be stirring to even suggest opportunity knocks for London Assembly member Tom Copley, a former Camden council election candidate who was briefly linked with a run at the post-Dobbo parliamentary selection contest in Holborn and St Pancras. Now a south Londoner, Coppers is set to become a councillor in a safe Labour seat in Lewisham later this week.
AHEAD of the 2014 elections it could be argued that there was as much intrigue about the likelihood of Frank Dobson vacating the Holborn and St Pancras parliamentary seat as the ward-by-ward council results. Labour had been experimenting with making internet films, so we twisted their hipster format to explain what was really being talked about behind the scenes that year.
The silliness was based on the film below, which includes some of Labour’s manifesto pledges from four years ago, including the now disputed ‘we’ll build 6,000 new homes’. The Tories say this promise has been broken.