52 days to go
ROSE GARDEN REMINDER
HERE goes with another week of updates but first off a few clips from last week’s final full council meeting that may have slipped by unnoticed…
…such as finance chief Labour councillor Richard Olszewski accidentally/deliberating putting the Liberal Democrats first when reminding the chamber of the coalition government years. Was it the Tory/Lib Dem coalition or the Lib Dem/Tory coalition? Delete as applicable.
Back then, the Lib Dems had spent years slowly wresting power away from Labour in Camden but lost huge ground once David Cameron and Nick Clegg (remember them?) were seen backslapping in that perfect party venue, the Downing Street rose garden. Why would Cllr Olszewski, in particular, want to bring the Lib Dems back to that moment? It is the Lib Dems who are the main opposition in his own Fortune Green ward; despite its Town Hall dominance, Labour lost the by-election there last summer.
Outgoing Lib Dem leader Luisa Porritt wasn’t going to let that one pass and told him to ‘get real’, even if in doing so she had to say out loud that the Lib Dems haven’t been in power for seven years.
NOT much chance of the Lib Dems being a threat in Highgate where instead it’s a head to head between Labour and the Greens. And in his final speech to a full council meeting, the departing – voluntarily – Labour councillor Oliver Lewis had to have one last gibe at the party he has shared the ward with for eight years.
While he joked about the less-than-crowded field to choose a deputy leader of the two-seat Green group, everybody knows the Highgate ward election will, in contrast, be far more contested in the first week of May. Background guffaws courtesy of council leader Georgia Gould.
A NAMECHECK FOR STALIN
AFTER the number of citizens assemblies and so on that Camden has held, it’s an obvious source of irritation for the leadership to be told they are not listening to residents. With his blue and yellow ribbons for Ukraine pinned to his blazer, Cllr Olszewski insisted that council consultations could hardly be compared to a Russian dictatorship.
YES, YES, YES
AS noted here last week, Left Wing Corner was ‘dignified’ in its final appearance at a Camden council meeting despite its dismantling during Labour’s candidate selection process. There were no I Am What I Am furious speeches. That did not stop Conservative leader Oliver Cooper reminding the room that Leo Cassarani had said that the party was now only looking for ‘yes men’ among its backbenchers.
While LWC may have been happy to explain their feelings about the deselections at the time, they perhaps didn’t want to write the Tories’ speeches for them.
Later in the evening, Cllr Cassarani actually got a well done from Cllr Olszewski for his work on the production of a data charter.
While you can find pockets of sympathy for the barred councillors in the Labour group, however, there has been hardly a note of commiseration said out loud. Any ‘sorry to see you go’ to Cllr Cassarani has been kept purely confidential… but that’s not an order which is something that’s been issued by Stalin etc
FINALLY, here’s Douglas Beattie adopting his familiar lawyerly (he’s not a lawyer) approach to make a point about backbenchers not getting to speak in the budget debate. The outgoing – not voluntarily – councillor Simon Pearson’s raised hand request presumably didn’t get seen by Camden mayor Sabrina Francis.
You can see the applause and smiles from the deputy mayor Lorna Russell, as namechecked in the Cllr Lewis clip, who switched from Labour to the Greens last autumn.