In their latest by-election leaflet the Camden Labour group claim to have saved the Highgate Safer Neighbourhood Police Team Sergeant when other wards in Camden are being forced to share. This is patent nonsense according to none other than Cllr Abdul Hai, Labour's Cabinet Member for Community Safety. In an email to all Camden councillors earlier this month he said the council had had absolutely no influence over which SNTs kept their sergeants and which had to share sergeants. It was, he said, "solely a police decision". So which was it? Did Labour try to nobble the police to save the Highgate sergeant because they knew there was a by-election coming or is the claim in their leaflet simply rubbish?
The Camden Labour group also claim to have "saved" Highgate Library, but it's hard to see how cutting the library's budget by 50%, and telling the community they have a year to find someone to run it, could be described as saving it. The executioner's arm has simply been stayed - possibly because Labour knew their Highgate councillor Michael Nicolaides was likely to stand down and provoke a by-election. And if volunteers take it over and it fails, then Labour will try to shift the blame on to the community.
Of course, we've been here before. During pretty much every election Camden Labour have fought in recent years in fact. When they have nothing positive to say and their candidate has no experience, they resort to fantasy.
My promise to Highgate is that, drawing on the experience I gained as a councillor from 2006 to 2010, I will strive to hold Labour to account at all times. But I will also work with them, and with any other party, whenever there is scope for cooperation. In these difficult times it is only by being honest with voters, and by being collaborative across party lines, that we are likely to find effective and lasting solutions that work to the benefit of Camden’s residents.