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local politics

Sorry this post was delayed a while by other events, illness and being off having a lot of fun. As some in the know may be aware, I live in Haringey. Others may be aware that on Jan 15th Seven Sisters ward had a local by-election. This was due to the death of previous councillor Fred Knight. He was a Labour politician who served for yonks and was actually a rather decent sort in my experience. My dad and I even sort of liked him. He didn’t do all that much, but he had his uses and didn’t wreck the place/ have much scandal/ spend taxpayers’ money on clothes – which is more than can be said for most politicians recently.

During the six weeks or so before the election, my parents and I (and my brother who doesn’t even live here for the most part) were bombarded with propaganda. Letters, phone calls, canvassers knocking on doors, constant attempts to contact us and make us vote for whoever. An element of this is fair enough, given that despite all the pushing only 31% of voters bothered to show up. 10 letters spread out over 6 weeks is overkill and possibly over campaign budget. Yes, David Schmitz, I’m looking at you here. You who put bits and bobs through our door on almost every single fucking day during the fortnight before the election, and a lot more before that. FFS, man. So anyway, there were five candidates standing for election. One for each party and one so-called ‘independent’ candidate. In my own words, and some garnered from others, have some details.

  1. Joe Goldberg, the Labour candidate. Nothing in his campaign really stood out, to be honest. He seemed dull, unambitious, unwilling to do anything very much for our area, and far from leadership material. He also doesn’t live in the local area and has been trying to get into power in Oxfordshire, as well. For more about him in Oxfordshire and his flitting about between political locations, see here. This is one of his campaign speeches. Nothing there is anything new.
  2. Anne Gray, the Green Party candidate. She’s a long-standing political person and actually was with Labour back in the day for a brief period. What struck me about her is the fact that she used to be a Social Policy researcher. This is a field pretty darn close to my heart, and I’ve often considered going into it academically and professionally some day if I can. She’s been looking to raise the minimum wage, which is a good plan, and work for more and better employment in Haringey. Of course, she also supports the standard Green ideals as I do, which is the reason the Green Party have been my primary vote in all elections I’ve voted in to date. Like anyone with half a brain she’s also wanting A&E facilities back in Haringey. It’s really incredibly shitty that despite public need and the sheer idiocy of distance for emergency facilities we have none here. The only local emergency facility is the Mental Health specific one, which has worked well for me and my family at some points but of course is not nearly enough for most people in many circumstances. I’ve had to travel out into Islington or Edmonton on some occasions just for A&E, which sucks and is surely meaning more deaths in the borough. Of course, she doesn’t live in Seven Sisters either though she has lived in Haringey long-term. Ms Gray’s public campaign speech, for anyone interested. See also a description of her and her wishes for Seven Sisters on the local Green Party blog.
  3. Isaac Revah, the Conservative candidate. He’s young by political standards (43 *snort*) and a local, Orthodox Jewish married man with a load of kids. He lives a couple streets away from me actually. If he got into power people could actually go talk to him and ask him things. He’d be in an accessible position to actually be vaguely helpful, it would seem. He’s working on issues like supporting faith schools, sorting out our social services department and taking care of the children, the 210 bus route extension (v. useful), sorting out stupid road blockage, parking reviewing and all sorts. For more about him – his profile and his campaign speech. Apparently in conversation with my dad his associates asked my dad if he felt like standing for the Conservatives. *g*
  4. Lydia Rivlin, the Independent candidate. She lives in Muswell Hill, and wanted to stand for election just because of Baby P stuff. Fair enough, Baby P was a huge deal. There is however a helluva lot of other stuff to deal with around here. Ms Rivlin reckons somehow that if all the Labour councillors were removed from their positions, social services policy would be sorted and this couldn’t happen again. WTF? Surely this is an infantile theory? It’s great that she’s campaigning for action about it surely, but it cannot all be blamed on Labour. I’m not now and never have been a Labour supporter, but I do think this is not all their fault. It’s the fault of social services, neighbours, friends, family, politicians and most of all of course the actual people involved. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of bits of fault – not just one political party. Her propaganda has all been quite shouty, and she makes the assumption that as an independent candidate she is immune to political pressure so must be a saint. *headdesk* Her campaign speech, fyi.
  5. David Schmitz, our Liberal Democrat. He’s a lawyer and lives on the Tottenham/ Hornsey border. He has been quoted as saying this: “[Baby P] is an enormous issue because it’s the most prominent example that one can give of a long list of Labour incompetence.” Fair enough, sure, but have we seen other parties provide lots of competence? How about some of Labour’s competence? How about getting yourself elected on your own and your party’s merits rather than by dissing your competitors? How about sending information that actually talks about yourself rather than banging on constantly that it’s a two-horse race and other parties are bad, wrong or out of the running? I could rant on, but I think my point should have come across there. For more about him, see: Lynne Featherstone yapping, David Schmitz’ own website, his online campaign speech.

After quite a bit of deliberation I decided the issues I cared about were most likely to be dealt with by Isaac Revah, and voted for him. My parents did too, but that was more expected. I’ve never voted Conservative before, actually, I always vote Green and occasionally Lib Dem. But hey, I voted for the person who worked best for me.

For more info about the whole election, see: article 1, the Grauniad Baby P article.

The results were as follows:

  • Joe Goldberg (Labour) 1032
  • Anne Gray (Green) 166
  • Isaac Revah (Conservative) 968
  • Lydia Rivlin (Independent) 36
  • David Schmitz (Liberal Democrat) 581

Joe Goldberg (Labour) is duly elected as councillor for Seven Sisters ward.

Electorate 8991

Votes cast 2797

Spoilt papers 14

Turnout 31 per cent

Result info from here.

I’m disappointed, sorely disappointed, given how close the votes were. See many bitchy comments by similar-minded people on Conservative article. There is also a typically gushy local paper story filled with ‘ooh I’ll do so much for you’. Isaac Revah commented on the result here, too.

Now that I’ve filled your brains up, thanks for reading and feel free to join the discussion here or elsewhere.