38 days to go
‘GET TO SOUTH HAMPSTEAD’
LABOUR Party campaign organisers are happy with the way things are going. It must feel like a home fixture when you already dominate the council chamber with so many councillors and are playing in an area which has nearly always voted Labour in.
That said, the message has gone out that more help is needed in the new South Hampstead ward.
A recent bulletin to the troops said: “All candidates are now regularly turning out in all target wards. We are also now having amazing support from Tulip and Anne Clarke. Concerns, however, are with South Hampstead who continue to need support from outside the branch to field more people on canvasses and support with their future leafleting.”
South Hampstead is the closest thing to the Labour-held Swiss Cottage ward and the party should be holding the seats there; in fact, regardless of what this post tells you, really don’t bet against them securing all three seats on May 5.
But there is a call to arms not seen in many places elsewhere in the borough and needless to say left-wingers – everybody in the Labour Party says they are left-wing but you understand what this means… – are unlikely to be gung ho about door-knocking in this particular ward after Labour councillor Leo Cassarani was barred from standing again in the recent and well-documented deselections.
Of all the seven who have been booted out, Cllr Cassarani’s rejection is an open sore; I have found the most sympathy for him among fairly non-partisan members, or people just fed up with the endless infighting.
Residents in South Hampstead, meanwhile, are getting leaflets with fold out into a giant A3 size and with the names of the new candidates – Izzy Lenga, Nina de Ayala Parker and Will Prince – in a supersized typeface through the door.
On the list of achievements, readers are told the council has stood up to Deliveroo over its ‘dark kitchen’ operation at Dobson Close, which residents complain is noisy and smelly.
Of course, despite this ‘standing up’, the Deliveroo Editions kitchen setup has been able to keep on running for more than two and half years and looks set to be made permanent, if councillors accept recommendations from Camden’s officers. Cllr Cassarani, the old articles show, has been one of the loudest voices criticising how this has all been allowed.
Up against the fearsome power of Conservative candidate Marx de Morais dressing up in an anti-tower block party hat, Labour campaigners began to get the message and were in the ward last week and over the weekend – and not just because Ms Parker sent a message saying that if they did make the effort and turn up then the drinks would be “on us” in the Railway pub on Thursday.
NB: Given the interest in the ward and the new faces, I asked the Labour candidates if they wanted to talk about their campaign a few weeks ago and they decided to write a letter to the CNJ letters page instead.
LABOUR Party leader Sir Keir Starmer gave his take on the party’s decision to bar seven of its own councillors from the election when he appeared at the manifesto launch last week.
“Firstly with that [deselections] there was a process it was the same for everybody. It has been argued about in the letters page of the CNJ, which I read every week,” he said.
“There are lots of people in this room who have supported me on some things not on others, and that’s absolutely fine – that’s what I expect.”
“The people here are not all of one mind – that is completely wrong. They are of one mind in delivering what’s best for Camden, and going on to deliver what’s best for the country.”
THE Lib Dems are pushing to defend ground in Belsize where they have two of the three seats – the other being held by the Tories.
You have to feel sorry for candidate Matthew Kirk however, whose biography and achievements seem to have been left off one of the leaflets dispatched earlier this month. I’m assured that residents will be getting plenty more about him through the letterbox before polling day.
PUTIN vs CAMDEN SQUARE
IN the interests of ‘national security’, Camden’s FoI team say they cannot confirm or deny whether a plan is place to deal with any attempt by Vladimir Putin to “annex Camden Square”. It’s not clear who sent in the request to see how this specific corner of Camden Town will be defended from Russian invaders or why Camden Square is of particular concern, but it was a straight bat from officials at the Town Hall.
The earnest reply: “We believe that telling requesters if we hold information about plans or contingencies we may have in place in the event of an attack by the Russian Federation will cause damage. This is because saying if we do or do not hold information would give Russia, or their operatives, insight into vulnerabilities which may, or may not, exist.”
FRONT PAGE RUMBLE
LOOKING adoringly at Conservative group leader Oliver Cooper, the Tories opt for a photo which includes the man for all
parties seasons, Nigel Rumble, for the front cover of their manifesto. Still can’t see the resemblance with George Clooney, mind.
If he wins in Gospel Oak… then that will really be a front page story, but I doubt Marcus Boyland and co will be losing too much sleep there.
Date for the diary: Good old WHAT are holding election hustings for candidates in West Hampstead and Fortune Green wards next week. It’s on Thursday April 7, in the synagogue hall in Dennington Park Road. and starts at 7.30pm.