Listen carefully, and you might hear screams of anguish in the air. It’s now less than a year until the London borough elections, and parties across the capital are picking their candidates for next May’s poll.
By all accounts, the process in Greenwich Labour has so far been bloody, as new faces fight to get a foothold on the council and old hands cling on for dear life. Cabinet members have found themselves in the firing line, with one forced to shift ward and two others without a seat so far. Local members, it seems, are finally finding their voice.
Outgoing council leader Chris Roberts is home and hosed in his Glyndon ward – but his deputy and loyal enforcer Peter Brooks has decided to step down from his berth at Thamesmead Moorings. Party whispers say he decided to walk before he was pushed.
It’s thought that Brooks has been Roberts’ choice to succeed him as leader of the party – but without his loyal second-in-command, Roberts will find it much harder to control the council from the back seat.
Fellow cabinet members Peter Kotz and Sajid Jawaid have been dumped by party members in Thamesmead Moorings and Plumstead respectively, while former cabinet member-turned Roberts critic Rajwant Sidhu was booted out of the party altogether just before selections started.
Selections are still far from complete – there’ll be others this website doesn’t know about or hasn’t been able to stand up, and plenty of switching between wards. But plenty of new blood is guaranteed for Labour, with veteran councillors Janet and Jim Gillman stepping down, along with former mayor David Grant, bullying whistle-blower Alex Grant and fellow “awkward squad” member Dick Quibell. Confirmed new faces include human rights campaigner Ambreen Hisbani, selected in Woolwich Common ward along with ex-councillor David Gardner – as local party chair, he’s a possible contender for leader.
One new face standing for them in Blackheath Westcombe – one of the few council seat’s that’s a genuine battleground will be Thomas Turrell, who’s conveniently also turned up on a group called the Blackheath Royal Standard Village Association. He’ll be hoping to do better than he did at a recent student union election.
No news of any candidates from the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, but People Before Profit, who have stood candidates for Lewisham Council in recent years, have picked married couple Nicola and Michael Walters to run for them in Greenwich West ward.
More details as I get them. (Hopefully.) Of course, if none of these names appeal to you, you could always run yourself. With a poll not expected until 22 May 2014, you’ve plenty of time to prepare yet.