Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Friday, 21 September 2012

Sad news...

Probably not the one you are thinking of tonight, but I was sad to hear of news from my former university town of Canterbury. My first political opponent, though I would never really call her an opponent, has sadly passed away.

In 2007, whilst a student at the University of Kent, the real University in Canterbury, I stood in the council elections for the ward that held the University campus, Blean Forest. I stood with my housemate, really to make a point about the anti-student nature of the local Councillors in Canterbury. We did a bit of work, but never had a cat in hells chance of winning, and in fact I came last with about 130 votes.

We did have one visit to the residents association, which was quite unpleasant as they accused the university of being a ghetto. The only bright point was meeting one of the sitting Conservative Councillors, Hazel, really was one of the nicest people I met in Canterbury. She was lovely to us on that evening, and on the day of the count. In fact the residents said off her the kind of things every politician wishes people would say about them, like "We think she is brilliant!, I wouldn't care if she was the communist candidate, I would still vote for her!" I think that would make a touching tribute to any Councillor (except a communist one!)

I heard tonight that she had passed away, and that the Tories had won the seat. Hazel was an excellent local Councillor, widely respected, very hardworking and a true community champion. I have tried to model my own engagement with constituents on her, and she was a role model for all those who seek to represent their communities I wanted to thank her for her kindness to me ad my friend.

May she rest in peace.