Mayor accuses Labour councillors of ‘misogynistic bullying’

FROM maternity leave, Maryam Eslamdoust, the mayor of Camden, has sent an angry email to all Labour councillors in Camden about how upset she is that at least one of them had apparently raged to the Hampstead and Highgate Express newspaper about the cost of her inauguration ceremony in May.

The Ham revealed this week that the occasion cost around £11,000 – up £4,000 from previous years; the council in response says new decor for the converted Crowndale Centre will be used again and so the figures are a little skewed, but it has nonetheless sparked a debate. How many [insert spending priority] could the council have bought with that? etc etc

For transparency: the local press (me included) were fed at this event. So were some of the politicians cross about the cost.

Anyway, while councillors from other parties were named in their criticism of the spending – Oliver Cooper, Flick Rea and Sian Berry – a Labour councillor who also added their thoughts declined to be identified in the Ham. And they wielded the sharpest dagger for the Mayor.

“Clearly socialism starts at home and socialists have very expensive tastes”, was the quote.

So although on the face of it, this is a story about council spending and what has been described as a wedding reception style event, it is also another left-right scrap inside Camden’s ruling Labour group.

After all, it’s hardly breaking news to suggest Cllr Eslamdoust, an ardent supporter of the party’s national leadership, and her husband Thomas Gardiner, also a councillor in Kilburn, have enemies within the group amid years of accusation and counter-accusation backstage between the two wings of the party.

This evening, Cllr Eslamodoust, whose day job is in Labour’s head office, said she was the victim of ‘misogynistic bullying’ and asks them to ‘control their aggression’.

The text of her leaked email reads:

Dear Labour Group

I’m writing to you to flag some deeply unpleasant bullying by some individuals from the Labour Group who have briefed a very hostile and misogynistic article against me in the Ham & High.

I genuinely feel very sad and upset that some from my own Group feel such hostility against me and have shown such disrespect towards me especially since my election as mayor.

They have displayed this by making efforts to brief multiple false stories on me in the local press, spreading nasty rumours about me, turning up to the mayor making reception in sloppy clothing which would not have been appropriate in an ordinary council meeting let alone the annual meeting of the council and finally succeeded in briefing a nasty and skewed article against me in an attempt to generate a public pile on.

The people who briefed this story and provided cowardly unattributed quotes are fully aware that I do not set the mayor’s budget. They are also fully aware that the additional costs incurred at this year’s mayor making are as a result of the town hall’s temporary relocation – a project which Labour Group members are aware I always had reservations about. Some of these costs were one off costs as events officers wanted to use the mayor making to lay the ground to use Crowndale for future events which will gain income for the council. If Group members had any real concerns about any of this then they could quite easily have asked me or officers rather than engaging in public hit pieces. For what it is worth, I spent much of my year as deputy mayor going to events on the bus whilst heavily pregnant, rather than incur expensive transport costs for the council.

I am currently on maternity leave and feel doubly hurt that individuals from my own Group would use this period in my life as an opportunity to publicly bully me for matters outside of my control because it suits their political agenda. If you are struggling to understand why it is misogynistic to try to publicly humiliate a woman while she is recovering shortly after she has given birth, then please do get in touch and I will try to explain.

To my recollection, no other mayor has been subjected to this level of ostracism and hostility.

The bottom line is that this misogynistic bullying cannot be shrugged off. The Group members engaged in this horrendous bullying should think long and hard about the impact of their abusive behaviour on the council as a whole, on our Party, on the Labour Group and on me as individual.

To be clear I don’t hold any ill will towards the individuals engaging in this bullying behaviour towards me, this incident is unfortunately a sad display of the bullying culture in our Group which has long persisted. I merely ask that the individuals engaged in the bullying reflect on their behaviour and take appropriate actions to control their aggression.

Camden politics has long been cut throat, rife with bullying and it is a difficult truth for us a Group that much of this behaviour comes from people in senior positions of power who should be focusing on their duties on the council, not on petty political games.

I will be focusing on doing the best for Camden in my duties as mayor. I hope that others can do the same from now on.

Best wishes,

Maryam

7 Comments on Mayor accuses Labour councillors of ‘misogynistic bullying’

  1. On the subject of wasted money (and we’re talking many millions here, not thousands) there are some people holding high office on Camden Council who really ought not to make so much noise.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wowzer! Can we all join in throwing our toys out of the pram? Everyone in the Camden Labour Group, including the new Mayor, seems to be having a ball, hurling Teddies at each other.

    But fair do’s. Whichever way you look at it, splashing 11 Grand worth of our meagre cash, while depriving kids of a safe play area or denying pensioners another 10 minutes of daily home care, is possibly not the most helpful look for Camden’s Labour Council. What were they thinking?

    Last Sunday, I went to a fundraising concert-with-supper for GOAL, the Gospel Oak Youth Club. A stupendous bunch of young musicians played riveting music to a packed crowd at St Martin’s Church. Mouth watering culinary offerings were all home cooked, the wine flowed freely and a good time was had by all, in stunning surroundings. For 20 Quid a piece.

    Never mind forking out £11K, GOAL made a tidy sum instead.

    Perhaps it’s time for some blue sky thinking at Camden Council when the next bit of shiny bling needs to be hung around another Councillor’s neck. Think Sheffield’s Green Ex Mayor, Magid Magid, who took voters to the cinema to see Mamma Mia, just to say thank you.

    Kirsten de Keyser
    Barnet & Camden Green Candidate
    For The Greater London Assembly

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am appalled that Maryam Eslamdoust has been subjected to bullying at this time in her life especially. I was about to congratulate her and Thomas on their beautiful baby and also to congratulate Maryam on attending the Pearly King & Queen event in Somerstown only a week before giving birth which I remember telling her was going above and beyond the call of duty. How dedicated she and Thomas really are to this borough is evident from their consistent attendance at events where their presence makes a difference to people’s lives. That after all, is all that really matters isnt it? Petty jibes at activists is offensive and counterproductive to the Party and those responsible should be ashamed. Thank you for attending the many events you do Maryam. Know that many members and residents of this constituency are right behind you and your politics and are not phased by anything printed against you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bob Yeardley // June 27, 2019 at 9:21 pm // Reply

      I’m sure you’re aware of her ( and the other Kilburn Cllrs) total absence from community meetings. When did they last attend a local policing event? What have they done to reassure their residents and businesses in the face of a massive spate of broken windows on the High Road? Too busy tweeting about Celtic or getting their noses in the PartyJQ trough.

      Like

  4. Andrea Nader // June 27, 2019 at 9:56 am // Reply

    ruap..your comment does zero to justify the ridiculous amount spent for her inauguration. and i am apalled at her using the gender card. there is nothing mysognistic thrown at her . its not an attack on her gender -she is cheaply using this and makes a mockery of feminism. ,, wonder why she never threw in the race card for good measure. #fakesocialists #careerpoliticians

    Like

  5. camdenres17 // June 27, 2019 at 12:39 pm // Reply

    The labour councillor commenting on the “excessive cost” of the event could also, hiding behind anonymity, give his/her views on the £28millions-£30millions cost of the new Edith Neville Primary School, considering that, although not payed for by the Council, the new Hawley Primary school cost was about £6 million.

    Like

  6. What a surprising place to read a review of GOAL Youth Club’s recent concert! (see Kirstin de Keyser comment). It was a wonderful evening and we raised £6,600 for youth work in Gospel Oak. We are still accepting donations on https://localgiving.org/charity/goal/ if readers would like to help ensure the young people have somewhere safe to go.
    PS For sake of clarity, we have no opinion on mayoral receptions.

    Liked by 1 person

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