Thursday, 22 January 2009

Farewell to the Officers Club

I’ve been in Bath for a couple of days, and took this picture – the stark sight of the Officers Club menswear chain closing down.

It was the same at the Bristol branch today, and there is of course a branch in Wood Green Shopping City.

It reminded me that on Monday’s Full Council meeting, the Labour member responsible for business said she’d never heard of the Officers Club.

She said this was obviously an issue for the west side of the borough (as if a shop closure in Hornsey or Wood Green was somehow not her concern) as it wasn’t a shop she was familiar with.

I kid you not.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Seven Sisters post script

If you'd like to see the declaration of the Seven Sisters by-election result, the Council has posted a video on the council website here.

It's the first by election win by Labour in six years.

If footage of the recent Highgate and Alexandra results (both won easily by the Liberal Democrats) takes your fancy, I wouldn't waste too much time looking for them...

Monday, 19 January 2009

It's Liberal Democrats 33, Labour 24, or so says someone at the Council

An interesting afternoon and evening. I went over the Council’s offices at River Park House in Wood Green to do a bit of work before tonight’s full Council.

Sitting on the photocopier, in the time honoured fashion, was an interesting analysis of the implications of the Seven Sisters election result. It confidently predicts a Liberal Democrat majority after the next council elections.

The report gives a “predicted majority” for every ward on the Council. In the narrative at the end, it mentions Woodside, which it says the “Lib Dems would take” and says “in the split wards of Noel Park, Haringey, and Bounds Green, the Lib Dems would win a clear majority, possibly costing Labour 5 seats.”

By my reckoning, that give a prediction of 33 Lib Dems and 24 Labour at the election next year. Not something you'd want to leave sitting arround!

Highgate residents are greenest, says survey

Highgate residents are the the greenest in London, according to this week's Hornsey Journal. 

You can read the full piece here, with a comment from my collegue, the extremely environmentally friendly Bob Hare.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Streetcars are coming to Highgate

At last, the Council is pressing ahead with plans to introduce ‘streetcars’ at 41 locations in Haringey. This has taken eons, and neighbouring boroughs have had streetcars for some time – the pic shows Lynne Featherstone booking herself a streetcar in Islington, in 2007.

There is more info at It’s a great service, though I would like to see more than one provider in the future. As the website says:

Streetcar has cars parked in a dense network of dedicated spaces across London and several other UK cities, typically within a few minutes walk of your home or work. You can use one for as little as 30 minutes or as long as 6 months.

The council is now consulting on the locations for Highgate. Those mooted:

Two car club vehicles will be located in Cromwell Avenue, N6. This will require the installation of two car club parking bays for specific use by these vehicles and will involve a change in use of two existing CPZ parking bays.

Two car club vehicles will be located in Church Road, N6. This will involve a change in use of two existing CPZ parking bays.

Two car club vehicles will be located in Hillside Gardens, N6. This will involve a change in use of two existing CPZ parking bays.

The council consultation is here. We’re looking in detail at the planned locations, and have other ideas on how to expand the service.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Well done David, in Seven Sisters

The by-election is over. It was yesterday, in Seven Sisters, so I hope to have more time to blog again. Labour won (just) with the Tories second and David Schmitz for the Lib Dems third -but with a big increase in our vote.

The dynamics of this election were one of the most interesting we've had in Haringey. The Tories were able to mobilise large numbers of voters in the Orthodox Jewish community to support their candidate from that area, in the south eastern part, largely through a campaign to sign up postal voters. Elsewhere in Seven Sisters, they seemed to have the impact of a ton of feathers.

Whatever you think of this sort of postal vote sign-up campaign, it undoubtedly produced a Tory vote that was a big, yet rather fixed, part of the equation. Most of the real competition for votes went on between Labour and the Lib Dems in the other 80 per cent of the ward.

Those in the know within Labour are probably worried. On the one hand. in the parts of the ward where the Tory vote wasn't much of a factor, I don't think the swing from Labour to the Tories (if there was any at all) was enough to gain the Tories a seat anywhere on Haringey council.

On the other hand, the swing from Labour to the Lib Dems in these parts of the ward was quite hefty - around 12-15 per cent, I'd guess. As far as the Council is concerned, with Labour holding six seats in Wood Green with tiny majorities last time, this would be more than enough to show them the door.

As the result came in, the Labour winner gave a bizarrely bombastic speech attacking the Lib Dems, and our wonderful candidate, David Schmitz. To any assembled journalists not familiar with the local dynamics, this must have seemed very odd, as David came third. We don't usually get this sort of thing at election counts in Haringey – especially as David had no right of reply. This new Labour councillor has a few bits of protocol to master.

But great work, David. I am bound to say it, but you would clearly have made by far the best councillor for Seven Sisters.
pic: Gladesmore Road, Seven Sisters, December 2008

Monday, 5 January 2009

Happy New Year

A belated one, as I have been away in a magically frost-bitten Scotland - where else? This shot was on route to Peebles.