And so the first full @lambeth_council meeting back in the Red Flag flying
44 43 42 seat controlled @LambethLabour borough, and it was all supposed to be apolitical; it was all supposed to be about the retiring @mayoroflambeth. It was all supposed to be about the incoming (and as yet not online) new Mayor of Lambeth.
And in a roundabout way, it more or less was. All up until sometime after the pomp and ceremony of the civic duties were complete, and the guests of Mr Mayor (Keith Vaz MP, Val Shawcross) had been shown the way to the warm white wine in Mr Mayor’s parlour.
And then up cropped the Tulse Hill Situation.
In some La La Lambeth Land twisted turn of fate, the Tulse Hill Situation somehow became embroiled with dear old Comrade Kingsley. Having had the @LambethLabour whip removed for allegedly leaking sensitive Nu Labour documents (is it a co-op? / isn’t it a co-op?) the good Councillor for the Vassall ward suddenly found himself centre stage, somehwere between Vassal and Tulse Hill.
Trust it to be those pesky @LambethLibDems for trying to make political capital out of the internal failings of the squeaky clean Nu Labour tribe. Way down the order paper, and an amendment was placed in at the last minute by @BishopsGavin, one of the @LambethLibDems’ elected representatives for Bishops ward.
In essence, the good Councillor was asking what the chuffers do we do with *that* empty Tulse Hill seat in the chamber, all the way up until the by-election on July 1st?
The Love Me I’m a Liberal voice of reason (and actually it did seem rather sensible to me) was to allow the displaced old Labour figurehead of Comrade Kingsley to take up the Tulse Hill seat in the chamber, sitting as an independent.
This may be a symbolic gesture in principle, but it actually has real ramifications. Don’t be confused with talk of Comrade Kingsley becoming a Councillor in Tulse Hill. What was being put forward here was the motion that dear old Kingsley, now ostracised (rightly or wrongly) from the squeaky clean Nu Labour tribe, should be allowed to sit in an independent Tulse Hill seat in the chamber.
The implication is that Comrade Kingsley gets to form a group of one. Or even two, three or four, depending on how many of the squeaky clean Nu Labour sheep actually find a backbone.
I don’t think Comrade Kingsley will be joined by my Nu Labour Councillor, @JackHopkins_Lab. Having given a sychophantic first speech in the chamber, describing @cllrstevereed as “a champion for taking important decisions,” Jack the Lad Hopkins then used his Chief Whip role to talk down the sensible @LambethLibDem suggestion:
“Why do we need an independent group? The seat will be retained by Labour anyway in the by-election.”
This was fighting talk, not to mention arrogance in the extreme. It would have made sense during the political hustings in that merry month of May, but as a response in what to do with the incredibly delicate Tulse Hill Situation?
Jack the Lad Hopkins now has significant power within Nu Labour himself. So would you if you had just referred to your glorious leader as a “champion.” The @LambethLibDems motion was voted down by the Nu Labour tribe, and poor old Comrade Kingsley was left to sit alone on the Lambeth naughty step.
It’s not that his Nu Labour colleagues smell or anything, simply that forming an independent and recognised political group actually allows you council privileges within the Town Hall. You physically get a desk, a phone and access to the borough’s IT infrastructure.
Oh, hang on…
Comrade Kingsley is now stuck out in Lambeth No Man’s Land (somewhere between Vassall and Tulse Hill) awaiting the outcome of his appeal to the wider London Labour party over his treatment, following the removal of the @LambethLabour whip.
The move by @BishopsGavin to try and find a lone voice for Comrade Kingsley wasn’t a political act of philanthropy. There is little love lost between Comrade Kingsley and his @LambethLibDems ward colleague, Councillor Bradley.
In Lambeth street slang, I believe the vernacular for the inclusion of the motion is that of s*** stirring. Sadly it looks like that it is dear old Comrade Kingsley that is left in the s***, given the Nu Labour tribe respecting the “champion” that is @cllrstevereed.
And so why the cold shoulder for Comrade Kingsely? He’s a lovely fella, who although may not be politically aligned with the pioneering vision of a co-operative form of local government (aren’t we all?) he cares passionately about his ward, and the future direction of the Labour party.
At a time when the Nu Labour project has imploded so spectacularly on the national stage, now is the time when the party is supposedly trying to reconnect with its core values.
Not in Lambeth, it ‘aint.
Kingsley’s appeal to the London Labour party should be lively. He wants to remain within the political organisation that he is keen to take forward. But does the Labour party, Nu or traditional, want to listen to a dissenting voice?
His @lambeth_council email account was hacked into directly by @LambethLabour. It is permissible for Lambeth Council as an employer to access his email account, but it isn’t @LambethLabour that is paying Comrade Kingsley his allowance.
And what did the hackers find within Comrade Kingsley’s Inbox? Nothing at all to do with the Tulse Hill Situation, but simply a few constituency emails, oh, and an email from some old bird called Kate Hoey.
We need to return to a familiar old theme around these parts to find further rationale as to why the Nu Labour election-winning machine wanted to take a butchers at Comrade Kingsley’s emails…
*shhh* The… South London Press.
‘ere we go.
@LambethLabour has become so paranoid about the complete meltdown in relations between the sex ad funded newspaper and the Nu Labour cabinet, that it was prepared to hack into Comrade Kingsley’s account, just to access the slightest hint of any sordid betrayal.
One of the allegations that Comrade Kingsley is facing from Nu Labour is that he sent an email to a @SthLondonPress reporter. The allegation continues that this was then read back out over the phone from the offices of @SthLondonPress to a very high ranking @LambethLabour official.
Seeing as the contents of the alleged email haven’t appeared in the pages of the @SthLondonPress, the conclusion is that the local newspaper is either asleep on the job, or simply that the allegations are a complete fabrication.
As I said – the London Labour group internal investigation should be interesting.
It is actually the exact opposite that has taken place. Comrade Kingsley has attempted to act as a peacemaker in the whole @LambethLabour / @SthLondonPress stand off.
He arranged for a meeting in the Effra pub between a high ranking @LambethLabour party official, and a representative from the newspaper. Both sides failed to find common ground, and you can draw your own conclusion over the success of the meeting, with the continued publication by @LambethLabour of Lambeth Life. Which doesn’t really help anyone.
The end result is a further freezing of the frosty relationship between the local council and the local media (of sorts,) as well as a further problem to be added to the Tulse Hill Situation – what the hell do we do with Comrade Kingsley for the next four years?
Timing couldn’t be worse for @LambethLabour. Comrade Kingsley is entitled to remain representing the good people of Vassall until 2014. That is what they voted him in for with 2,533 votes – the highest in the ward.
It is my understanding that his wishes to continue to represent his Vassall constituents. I believe that he also wants to represent Vassall under a Labour banner, something that he campaigned under during the #labourdoorstep period.
So yeah – the first full @lambeth_council meeting back in the Red Flag flying
44 43 42 seat controlled @LambethLabour borough, and it was all supposed to be apolitical. It’s such a shame, as the other News In Brief (that really should be headline news) include:
The election of Neeraj Patil as the new Mayor of Lambeth, and a totally wonderful and inclusive speech from the as ever ace @mayoroflambeth.
A call for an investigation into the “events of May 6th and May 7th at the Town Hall count” (I think we’re talking about the bundles of missing votes in the Oval ward…)
A motion from the Tory group for all Councillors to take a 5% pay cut. @LambethLabour’s Red Jimbo @JimDicksLambeth called for the sheep to go back to grazing on this one.
A confused attempt at political humour from Lambeth Conservative leader, Councillor Whelan (male variety) that no one really understood.