Election Daily: Something Wiki This Way Comes

50 days to go


WHAT could be sadder than writing a nightly election blog, 50 days from polling day, about one local authority where the overall result of the voting is already known?

Well, there is somebody out there with an apparent keen interest in our council politics who is screaming ‘hold my beer’ at that question. Who, after all, is the busy Wikipedia editor with so much time on their hands that they would change almost every line of the entry for Camden Lib Dem leader Luisa Porritt, the former MEP, so that it reads in the most unflattering way possible. That takes a special energy.

The edits drum up laughably strained connections, making her sound responsible for the wider ills of any of her past or current day job employers.

Politically, we learn she is the leader of the “small” Liberal Democrat group – which is true, it is small, but unnecessary needly– and that her predecessor as the party’s London mayoral candidate, Siobhan Benita, had not leant her support. The unpredictable Ms Benita instead opted to endorse Rejoin; you remember.

There’s more about polling figures and bike lanes but the piece de resistance for the mystery writer: ‘Porritt will stand down as a Camden councillor at the 2022 Camden London Borough Council election, citing work commitments. Although it has been noted Porritt was set to lose the seat at the upcoming election due to new ward boundaries and her poor showing in the Mayoral elections. Creating speculation that she was going before she was pushed.’

Perhaps the outgoing Labour councillor Maryam Eslamdoust may also have reason to be aggrieved on the way WIkipedia selectively dips into council history. Under the entry for Camden Council, there apparently has only been one real controversy in its 50+ existence – and that’s how much the mayor-making celebration cost when she became the first citizen.

Believe me, there have honestly been a lot worse controversies than that; the WIki writers haven’t even mentioned the time the Camden Magazine once ‘coloured’ in a photo of a white child to make them look black in a fostering advert. The list could go on but, no, it’s just Cllr Eslamdoust and her celebration that makes the list.

Of course, Camden lost a councillor last year because he was tapping away missives on social media under what seemed like a cloak of anonymity, but it doesn’t seem to put others off – so important it is, after all, to score a few points over Cllr Porritt, a councillor who is leaving in less than two months anyway.

You can see why people – and it seems women have it a lot worse – can be put off be taking part.

4 Comments on Election Daily: Something Wiki This Way Comes

  1. Paul Braithwaite // March 17, 2022 at 6:26 am //

    Well said Richard, for pointing out these distortions and their pettiness.
    Luisa has been an excellent Camden Councillor and she should rightfully leave Camden with her head held high. She can hardly be held to account for dubious behaviour by her lobbyist employers. I confess that I worked for Tim Bell on Margaret Thatcher’s winning 1978 campaign at Saatchis!

  2. Rotten Roses // March 17, 2022 at 7:03 am //

    Interesting the ‘Camden wiki editor’ didn’t see fit to add an entry on: missing millions and men who still do well afterwards

  3. Shezan Renny // March 17, 2022 at 7:09 am //

    Good points made qbout women. In my coucillor panel shortlist interview a comment was made that I may not have time for Councillor duties even though I explained I was planning to go part-time. A comment was added that I had not allowed for any time for ‘family commitments’. I am over 50 and my youngest is 28. I do not think this would’ve been a concern if i was a man.
    Needless to say,, i did not make it to panel. Was told I didn’t do enough campaigning. I set up the Highgate LP covid response with over 50 volunteers. But that doesn’t count…

  4. Despite what you say, my gut feeling tells me that Labour is going to take hammering in the local elections. Maybe not enough to oust them, but enough to change the balance of power.

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