Monday, 29 June 2009

Time of their lives film

Highgate resident Hetty Bower (101), who lives at the Mary Fielding Guild on North Hill, is due to star, along with other residents, in a Film about their lives on BBC4, 13th July At 9pm.

I mentioned Hetty in an earlier post, but more on the film can be found here.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Charles Adje and the register of councillors' interests

Labour’s Charles Adje has now placed his declaration of interests on the boroughs’ on-line system. Until now, the former council leader hadn't done so. The register can be viewed here.

During the height of the controversy surrounding the publication of a Standards Board report into activities around the sale of the Welbourne Centre site in Tottenham, I went to look at his entry at the council offices.

Apart from his membership of the Rosicrucian Order (which I think is some sort of freemasonry outfit) nothing leaped to my attention. But the newly published register has some entries for some companies of which he is a director. One them is called Empowerment (NW) Ltd. I've no idea what NW stands for - but not 'Neil Williams'.

On another note, having been removed from the council cabinet in April, Charles has re-emerged as a member of the Scrutiny committee, Haringey’s top ’watchdog’ body.

Having Charles scrutinise any of the recent fiascos in which he played a part would not be a good idea. It’s like sacking Dracula as director of the blood bank, and sending him straight out onto the wards disguised as a nurse.

In their wisdom, most Labour councillors don't seem bothered.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Where were you when the Iron Curtain was torn?

As it's the 20th anniversary of the first hole in the iron curtain, I've been thinking about what I was doing at the time.

I was working in Italy for the food giant, Parmalat. This was several years before the company famously imploded due to massive accounting irregularities. I was only doing a bit of market research, honest.
I had just graduated, and spent the summer with other stagieres from all over Europe. We were out of touch with political developments in our home countries. We must have discussed lots of issues, but I can only recall two. One was the collapse of Princess Anne's first marriage, which seemed to have solid transcontinental news appeal, and other other was the opening of the Hungarian border, and the crisis it was causing in East Germany.
The West Germans in our group were very sceptical that the events would have any lasting impact, as the entire East German leadership was hard line. The upcoming junior Ministers, who might conceivably take over, were all hard line too.
By the time I moved to London later that year virtually every east European dictatorship had collapsed, with Romania the last to go by Christmas. Princess Anne's marriage went the same way.

Pic: me with colleagues at the office in Collechio, Parma.

Have your say over directly elected Mayor

Haringey is pressing on with efforts to whip up a frenzy of apathy among local residents, via a dubious consultation on whether or not the borough should have a directly elected mayor.

The Council is being forced to do this by the Government, but the process has been promoted with a whimper, and in the Council’s on-line survey, which you can complete here, they ask around 17 questions, only one of which is about whether or not you’d like this change.

A constituent has written to us with the following confession:

The online survey is not validated in any way at all - I have now completed it twice, once in my own name and once as "Bill", a 50 year Old Kurdish transsexual whose email address is x@x.x. I have no idea whether neither or both submissions have been accepted. I suggest you disregard Bill's contribution.

I’m hearing the response rates have been very low so far. If you don’t want Bill to carry the day, you have until 10th July to respond.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Labour cabinet member resigns - in Haringey

Labour cabinet member Matt Cooke has resigned, it emerged on Wednesday, as he’s to become a Special Adviser in ‘Dah Biz’ – the new mega-government department for Business, Innovation & Skills under Peter Mandelson (DBIS).

As he was only in the job a few weeks, I’d hesitate to say Matt was irreplaceable. Yet it must be true, as I'm told there’s unlikely to be a new Cabinet Member for Regeneration. This is good in one sense - Lib Dem Leader Robert Gorrie has been arguing that there are far too many councillors in the Labour Cabinet, and it needs slimming down. I'm not sure this should have been the first post to go.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Highgate's 'Fair in the Square'

Some pictures of today's marvellous 'Fair in the Square' in Highgate, which was better than ever, I thought.

Lynne Featherstone was judging the dog show - centre pic is the winner of the dog and owner 'lookey-likey' category. Bottom right is the runner up, though rumour has it that victory may have been squandered with a recent shearing of that labradoodle.
The chickens (top centre) were a new one on me. 'Chicken roulette' is a lottery in which you have to guess in which square the chicken will next do a poo. I was number eight, but I still don't know if I won, as the chickens were holding on gamely when I was there.
Huge thanks are due to the Fair Committee, who organise the whole day in Pond Square with the support of the Highgate Society.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Tory post-election Euro-spin in Haringey

My colleague Mark Pack over at Lib Dem Voice has his favourite piece of post election spin – from the Tory candidate for Hornsey & Wood Green, who described the Euro election result as disappointing for the Lib Dems. The Tory vote fell, as they slipped into fourth place.

Richard is a recent arrival whose pronouncements show signs of being helpful - from a Liberal Democrat perspective, that is. He blogs here.

The verdict of yesterday’s local newspapers on the European elections in Haringey was very different, needless to say:

"The battle for the control of Haringey is now closer than ever, with the borough's Liberal Democrats closing the gap on Labour to just 2,500 votes in the European elections. The result on Sunday has given an extra boost to the Lib-Dems…"

Hornsey Journal

"… the worst election result suffered by the Haringey Labour party, with a 4.5 per cent swing to the Liberal Democrats"

Ham & High

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Haringey Euro-election - great result and Tories pushed into 4th

I'm just back from Haringey's Euro election count at the Ally Pally. We did very well - vote up around four points, and not far behind Labour, who must have had their worst vote share in history in Haringey. The Tories were pushed into fourth by the greens. BNP and UKIP, making no headway here.
Results: Lab 14,093; Lib Dem 11,550; Greens 8,528; Cons 7,396; UKIP 2,164