Popular councillor Mary Mills out in election sensation

Mary MillsPeninsula ward councillor Mary Mills has been deselected by her local Labour party this evening, as the battles within Greenwich Council’s ruling party to stand in next year’s poll get ever more vicious.

One of the very few Greenwich backbench councillors with a profile beyond her local party, she has served the area on the council since winning a by-election in 2000, but has been involved in community work in the area for decades, and is also well-known as a local historian.

New faces Denise Scott-McDonald, Stephen Brain and Chris Lloyd will represent Labour in east Greenwich and Charlton in May 2014’s election. Fellow councillor Dick Quibell is stepping down, while Miranda Williams has switched to next-door Charlton ward.

It won’t be Lloyd’s first election – he stood for Brecon and Radnorshire in the 2010 general election and the 2011 Welsh election, twice coming third behind the Lib Dems and the Tories.

The news will come as a shock to many, and Mills carries a hefty personal vote in the ward. But this website understands the selections for Labour candidates so far have been arguably even more ill-tempered than the actual election is likely to be, and the views of voters outside are unlikely to have counted for much.

In 2007, the Greenwich Phantom wrote:

“This woman deserves a medal. Whatever political persuasion you are, whatever you think of the rest of Greenwich Council, Mary Mills is gold.

“Why? Because she actually gives a damn. She lives locally, and the things she has to decide on directly affect her.

“I have lost count of the anecdotal accounts of people for whom she has gone that extra mile on a personal basis – from major issues to tiny details – if you email her, she’s onto your case immediately (and I mean immediately – someone I know told me she once replied within five minutes) and even if she doesn’t entirely agree with your cause she will make an effort to understand and help, burning shoe leather where necessary.

“Mary Mills is a fine local councillor who cares what happens in her community – something which it could be argued possibly throws some of her colleagues into unfavourable relief.”

Perhaps her record of hard work and actually communicating with people – including keeping a blog and using Twitter when colleagues more than four decades younger than her were too shy to do so – counted against her.

She has also publicly spoken against the Silvertown Tunnel plans – while it’s believed her three replacements are against the council-backed scheme, it remains to be seen whether or not they will speak out against it.

Long-standing readers will know I ran against Mary in 2010’s council election for the Greens. One of my clearest memories of that time was taking part in a hustings at the Forum in east Greenwich. I remember Mary joining us – her opponents – in the pub for a chat afterwards, while the other Labour candidates skulked off elsewhere, something I thought spoke volumes about her.

So, the election just got interesting – and Tory and Green ears will have perked up tonight, along with anyone else in that area with reason to have a go at the council.

The three Peninsula candidates, saddled with a council pushing a policy in Silvertown that will do lasting damage to their ward, will have a lot of work to do.

9.35am update: Mary has now posted on her own site: “There are lots of interesting things which could do with an airing…”

1.05pm update: The Greenwich Phantom: “Mary needs to strike out as an independent.

2.10pm update News Shopper: “I have tried very hard to serve the people of east Greenwich – but clearly didn’t do it well enough.”

89 comments

  1. ThePirateKing

    Surprising news.

    Any chance of Mary standing as an independent in the same ward?

    From what I see from outside that ward, she might well have enough loyal support to win.

  2. Darryl

    Mary finished 366 votes ahead of Dick Quibell in 2010, over 500 more than Miranda Williams. That’s a lot of work for the new candidates.

    Chris Lloyd tells me on Twitter, re Silvertown:

  3. Roy Tindle

    I don’t live in Mary’s ward but count her as a very valued friend; I am one of many who has benefitted, again and again, from her extensive knowledge of people and, of course, Greenwich. Her tirelessness, energy, knowledge and real concern set her apart.

    Her qualities had the sadly unusual effect of generating great respect among council staff – as well as her constituents. A bad day for Greenwich and a bad day for Labour.

  4. Clare

    Denise Scott-McDonald appears to be @dscottmcdonald on twitter. Not that that will tell you much about her other than she knows how to lose weight fast without dieting…

  5. John Norman

    Mary,
    (as you read this blog)
    Please stand as an independent, assuming it was not your choice and this make sense.
    Living in Peninsular for quite a while I can see you aim to make a difference and care.
    I was quite sad in the Iraq war days, I had to vote against you as I believe that local councils should be devoid of national politics.
    Unfortunately I feel that people in Greenwich vote Labour just because they don’t want to vote for the other parties, not because the people in charge do a good job, again national politics at play. But in your case I have a feeling that people vote for you.

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  7. Franklin

    Mary

    I strongly agree with all those who have urged you to stand as an independent candidate in Peninsula ward.

    You have done, and continue to do, an excellent job as our local councillor, and you have been terribly treated by the Peninsula ward Labour Party.

    As it happens I also strongly believe that you would win, which would deprive Labour of at least one seat on the Council.

    We have had the odd disagreement in the past but I would certainly vote for you – as long as you committed to not re-joining the local Labour Party while in office.

    I am sure that would be difficult for you as I understand that you have had a long association with the Labour Party.

    However, as an independent you would be freed from the fetters of the local party machine and its domineering leadership, and able to represent the views and concerns of your local constituents even more effectively.

    In fact, I am so fed up with the local Labour Party cabal that I would also consider standing as an independent in Peninsula ward, particularly if you did as well, family and work obligations permitting of course…

    I plan to post this comment on all the local blogs that have covered this story, so apologies in advance for the cross-posting, but I want the message to be heard by as many locals as possible.

  8. Clare

    I see Denise Scott-McDonald has deleted the spam tweets from her account so my comment above no longer makes any sense…

  9. Nelson's Left Eye

    Mary, I also urge you to run as an independent. Your tireless work serving your ward is an increasingly rare sight in modern politics.

  10. James

    Mary take you time review all the viewpoints, have a very well earned rest. If you decide to stand in 2014 you will have my X.

    And with the rest of my Xs. will be then used Strategically to ensure that peninsula ward doesn’t have labour councilors that jump wards Miranda has jumped from Peninsula ward or to a safer seat, that’s what she thinks on Peninsula ward.

    These three don’t come knocking on my door
    *Denise Scott Macdonald
    *Stephen Brian
    *Chris Lloyd
    Sorry for using bad language (*)

  11. NoToBlackwall3

    I’m sorry Mary’s been deselected – she did sterling work on the Thames Path amongst many other things – but don’t blame Steve Brain I’ve known him for 20 years and he’ll be a real asset fighting the tunnel and he’s someone who’ll represent the ward and choose common sense over the party line if the two are in opposition.

  12. David Gardner

    As Chair of Greenwich & Woolwich Labour Party, I know that Mary has been a very strong advocate for Peninsula residents and tireless in representing the people of East Greenwich, NW Charlton and the Peninsula. I am sorry Mary was not selected as a Labour candidate for 2014 but it is a democratic vote open to all Peninsula Labour Party members with a very strong field.

    Mary is a great character with huge commitment and local knowledge. The three candidates selected are equally local and all rooted in the community in different ways. I am sure they will be, in a different ways, as passionate and while Labour, very much like Mary their own people.

    I am sure they will join me, the CLP, Mary and many other Labour councillors in putting air quality, public transport and reducing traffic at the heart of our transport policies and any river crossing proposals. And like Mary they will be strong community advocates.

    Cllr Mills is quite exceptional and absolutely committed. It is sad that she was unsuccessful this time. Politics needs characters who are not identikit career slaves to the party line. Mary has served Labour and the people of Trafalgar and then Peninsula with great distinction.

    And her successors as candidates, and hopefully councillors, have a big task to emulate her work rate, attentiveness and achievements.

    David Gardner

  13. Roy Tindle

    As Chair of the Greenwich & Woolwich Labour Party, it would have been better had you remained silent and not compounded the foolishness and discourtesy of the Peninsular Ward selection. I’m quite sure that this will come back to bite you, come the next local election.

    A little more praise for Mary’s unique representation and for the relationships that she built within her ward and elsewhere would have, perhaps, reduced the anger that so many of us feel. The word ungracious comes to mind.

  14. John Norman

    Hmm,
    What sort of party would vote out a person who is pretty perfect for her ward. It would show a terrible disconnect with the residents. I question the vote – either the other options are so impressive voters will come flocking, or there is something wrong with the incumbent, both these statements, we know not to be true, so that would leave internal politics.
    The above paragraph also seems to describe Mary as the best choice (exceptional, committed, big task to emulate) so I am confused.
    When the statement ‘by democratic vote’ is quickly wheeled out in defense, it is normally when the democratic process has misfired, or an elected person has made the wrong decision.

  15. Stephen Brain

    Like many people I was surprised at the vote on Monday evening. I’m a little concerned that I, and other candidates, have been identified as members of some sort of cabal. I’d never even met Chris Lloyd before the evening of the selection meeting (just before we made our presentations)…I worked closely with Mary on the board of GCDA from 2004-2012 and respect her as a colleague and my local Cllr. Together we oversaw difficult times and aided their expansion and move to new premises in Deptford.
    n.b. I’ve been been a resident since 1985 and community activist in both Greenwich and other parts of London and I look forward to meeting many of the contributors over the coming months.

  16. Franklin

    “The three candidates selected are equally local and all rooted in the community…”

    Really, David? Didn’t David Lloyd run for Westminster and Welsh Parliament seats – in WALES?

    I suspect he didn’t pitch himself to the Brecon and Radnorshire Labour Party as a southeast London boy…

  17. Darryl

    I think the main problem is that the vast majority of current Greenwich Labour councillors are very much *not* their own people, and Mary was the exception which proved this rule.

    While new candidates mean a greater chance of change, they’re going to be handicapped by the past record of hear-no-evil, see-no-evil and speak-no-evil representatives who currently sit on the council – something which never held Mary back.

    And if these new faces get onto the council, will any independent thought get bullied out of them?

    (And Stephen – thank you for your comment and welcome to the site.)

  18. Richard

    If people are that upset then join the Labour party and influence their internal decision making. This is just democracy in action, elections always produce winners and losers.

  19. Clare

    Sorry Richard but I am so sick of hearing this line about joining the party to change it from within. It’s complete tripe. Why would I join a party which at national level supports the removal of universal benefits and plans to continue with the Tory party’s austerity programme? They don’t represent me and I’m certainly not giving them my money.

    This doesn’t mean that I can’t be gobsmacked at a decision like this one. People outside political parties still have a right to be heard!

  20. Paul

    For me personally the main problem with this whole issue is the secrecy that seems to surround the process. If it wasn’t for this blog and Twitter I wouldn’t have a clue what goes on in the GWLP. The ‘latest news’ on the GWLP website is that Nick Raynsford is stepping down, ditto their Twitter account. Myself and others find out who is up for selection, and who has won, from tweets from the candidates and winners or Labour members.

    It is ridiculous that Mary has been deselected but I am sure the anger felt by many would be at least tempered if there was some public information about those who had been selected in her place. As it is we have names (and Twitter accounts) and not much else.

    As for the old ‘well join the party if you don’t like it’ chestnut, I’m a Labour voter 9 times out of 10, but the few bits of GWLP that peak out from behind the veil don’t seem very welcoming. In a borough where Labour votes are weighed not counted it seems that the local party don’t give a toss about showing ‘outsiders’ how important decisions are made.

  21. Richard

    Clare its not tripe. Mary joined the Labour Party and stood on their slate. Their selection process is a private matter for that party. They have chosen what they perceive to be better candidates. It happens. I personally loathe the Labour party but having grown up in a place which makes Greenwich seem like a model of multiparty politics I would suggest that anyone thinking of getting off the Labour bus should watch the In The Thick Of It episode where Glenn begs Tucker for his job back.

  22. David Gardner

    I must take some issue with Paul about Greenwich and Woolwich Constiuency Labour Party. We can always do better I accept. But we are one of the largest, most active and representative parties in the country. While it is tragic that Mary has lost out on this occasion and we need people like Mary, we are very fortunate to have so many excellent candidates some of whom are fairly new to the party and are above all else community activists. We also never take voters for granted and are determined that we will be on every doorstep in the next few months. Also, as a CLP we share the same values about social justice, environmental sustainability and propserity for all but we have great and wide-ranging debates with contrasting views. We welcome challenge, debate and different perspectives and are proud and stronger for being a “broad church” Once all the selections are done, we will be publshing details about Labour’s team; but we have had more interest and greater invovlement in our selection process than I have ever seen in recent years. Now anyone know how the Lib Dems and Greens and Conservatives will be selecting their Peninsula (or any other G&W) candidates?

  23. Chris Lloyd

    I would like to echo the comments made by Stephen.

    I was shocked at the result as I know that Mary is an excellent councillor, ‘a local champion’ as I described her in a recent tweet.

    I have campaigned on the doorstep with Mary recently and I am proud to have done so. I am certainly not ungracious to her achievements and reputation in peninsula ward and wider Greenwich. She is an asset to all of our communities. Selection meeting are unpredictable but I am proud of the faith placed in me by local members. I look forward to the opportunity to serve if elected.

    As for the comments directed at me and my campaigning history I only have the following to say. Yes, I am Welsh (although I do not have the accent). I have lived in Greenwich since 2004 having studied at the Maritime Greenwich Campus of the University of Greenwich. I love this area so I decided to make it my home. I have lived in both Peninsula and Greenwich West wards in this time. I worked in Meridian Pharmacy (formerly on Greenwich Church Street) for a few years. I was also proud to have been selected to contest the parliamentary and assembly seats in which I was born and spent my childhood. A huge honour. Despite my efforts, I was unsuccessful. Following this, I came home, to Greenwich. Then I met my wonderful partner who lives in the ward.

    Stephen, Denise and I have a lot to prove and massive shoes to fill. We know this.

    I pay tribute to Mary and I hope that she will continue to fight with us on the issues that affect the area that we all love.

    Chris Lloyd

  24. Clare

    I’ve seen that episode Richard, thanks.

    I’m not on the Labour bus to start with and have no intention of going anywhere near it. I maintain that doesn’t remove my right to comment on how shabbily Mary has been treated and how bad this will be for her constituents. I may be proved wrong on the latter, we shall see.

  25. Darryl

    David – all this is very well, but it’s not borne out by the actions of Greenwich Council, is it? We’ve all seen the patronising contempt members of that council’s cabinet have for the general public’s views. It’s not a great advert for you guys.

    Yes, a national Labour government may or may not be the tonic the country as a whole needs – but how many local members actually take any responsibility for the actions of their own Labour council and its leadership, or are even aware of how local people feel about their council?

    Chris – thanks for commenting, and welcome to the website.

  26. Stuart

    Can it not be enough to feel for Cllr Mills? Does the system have to be broken, do people have to be at fault and blamed? Surely there are always winners and losers.

    I have always been struck (here and Twitter) by Cllr Mills’ passion, knowledge and willingness to help. The outpouring of love here and elsewhere is testament to the wonderful work she did for so many people.

    Cllr Mills, if you’re reading this, I don’t think anyone here believes you failed to serve the people of Greenwich or “didn’t do it well enough”. You deserve the upmost respect, and although I’m far from Greenwich, I’d like to thank you personally for your public service. Thank you.

  27. Mark Adams

    To the excellent Labour people contributing to the comments here, please remember that it is a very small minority of people, clustered around this blog, who can see no right in anything Labour will ever do in Greenwich.

    Mary did Labour proud and did her community proud. I’m sure she will continue to do so. And I’m sure that our excellent new candidates will do so also.

  28. Pingback: Francis Sedgemore - Mary Mills – Greenwich Labour claims its latest victim
  29. Franklin

    Stephen Brain –

    Welcome to 853. I hope that you’ll continue to participate in the local debate on this website if you are elected.

    As you’ve lived in Greenwich for almost 20 years I would hope you would know that my reference to the local Labour cabal didn’t include you or your recently selected colleagues in Peninsula ward, but the small group around Chris Roberts who have dominated the Council for the past decade and who run it in an untransparent, unaccountable, and arrogant fashion.

    It is not for nothing that Roberts is widely referred to as Dear Leader.

    David Gardner –

    It is scant consolation that you “will be on every doorstep in the next few months”: what matters is what happens BETWEEN elections, not in the few weeks before them.

    It is precisely in this regard that Mary has been exceptional: she has remained in constant contact with her constituents day-in and day-out and laboured tirelessly on their behalf, not turned up on the doorstep in the weeks before an election and then disappeared again for four years.

    Local residents know that most councillors in Greenwich do not stay in touch with their constituents, or slave away on their behalf day-after-day, or communicate with them regularly. It is precisely for this reason that we fear that the newly selected candidates in our ward will not live up to the high standard that Mary has established in this regard.

    Chris Lloyd –

    Sorry for referring to you as “David” in my earlier reply to David Gardner, and likewise welcome to 853. I hope you’ll also continue to participate in the local debate if you are elected.

    I don’t think there were any comments directed “at you” as such, and I don’t think that anyone objects to the fact (or indeed cares) that you’ve moved to Greenwich from Wales: London and Greenwich are cosmopolitan, multicultural societies. I was simply challenging David Gardner’s assertion that the three of you selected in Peninsula are “equally local and rooted in the community” as Mary Mills is.

    Mark Adams –

    Are you an official spokesperson for Greenwich Labour? You certainly put yourself across as such.

    As one of the “very small minority of people, clustered around this blog” who is more than capable of assessing Labour’s record in the borough over the past decade, I can assure you that it’s not the case that I “can see no right in anything Labour will ever do in Greenwich”.

    But I certainly do see a lot that’s wrong in the way that Labour has run the Council over the past decade, as has been painstakingly uncovered and publicised on this blog which you hate so very much.

  30. Hayley

    Mark, you’d be surprised how many times I talk to people and they say ‘have you read this on The Greenwich Phantom, 853, Bugle etc?’ and ask me what it’s all about and if it’s true. In fact that happened with one person last week with someone I wouldn’t have thought of as an avid blogger reader (probably due to my own prejudice in thinking the blogs/Twitter is a realm of the young for which anyone only need to look at Mary to see is far from the case) so I don’t think blogs are the realm of the minority. Moreover, with declining newspaper circulation and general changes in media consumption, people will access information about their communities on blogs. There is no requirement for any Twitterer(?), blogger, instagramer, Facebooker to post anything positive about the Council. It’s not just blogs, Yahoo groups such as the Greenwich Cyclists are invaluable and their criticisms have often vastly improved the thinking on policy. A broader debate about the role of blogs would be rather fascinating I think.

    There are some excellent new candidates up for election next year and I hope they too read the blogs, twiitter, emails and keep in touch with what a growing group of local people , think about things. It’s important.

    The focus here is Mary. I’ve made my views about Mary known elsewhere but it needs to be said again. She is an excellent councillor. I am very sad that she wasn’t re-selected and I hope she stays involved in the Council in some way because, frankly, her knowledge and passion is invaluable. I don’t know why she wasn’t selected but given the work she does, night and day, 7 days a week, it cannot and would not have been a reflection on her abilities. As chair of the current sustainable communities panel which deals with cycling issues, we’re seeing the outcomes of her hard work on assessing cycling provision in the borough come to fruition. And that’s just the beginning before you look at her work with Nigel Fletcher on Heritage and preserving some of our industrial heritage which often gets over looked. She commands respect from residents, councillors of all political persuasions, officers (not to mention historians!) alike and I hope that in the weeks, and not just days, ahead we continue to remind her of that. I don’t know what Mary will do next, maybe she doesn’t yet, but I really do hope that at the very least she starts publishing even more of her thoughts about local issues and knowledge of the industrial heritage of the borough.

  31. Chris Smith

    Mary Mills was one of the very few Greenwich Labour Councillors to engage with the Lib Dems at a Greenwich and a London level without resorting to stupid party cat-calling. She had a very constructive and engaging debate with us on local cycling policies, including commenting on a Lib Dem website – she didn’t have to do this. Impressive.

    I agree with the comments above that there has been a remarkable amount of comment on Labour selections (and a bit on Conservative selections) this time around – perhaps it is the growth of social media since 2010, though I suspect it is more a depressing expectation that this is the real election and that the actual 2014 election will just be a 51 candidate “shoe-in”. I also suspect that readership of local blogs is quite high given the crowding out of traditional local media by the atrocious state paper Greenwich Pravda (Time).

    As far as the comments about other parties selection processes go, I am not au fait with the Labour selection process, but the Lib Dem one sounds similar and is open to all members (and anyone can apply to be a member) – approval and selection is completely democratic and open and in areas where membership is small we do have rules to prevent undemocratic outcomes. We are still going through our selection process by the way – so nothing to hide.

    In the meantime, and in the light of all this furore, I feel we Lib Dems should have some sort of selection controversy to even things out!

  32. Mark Adams

    Hayley,

    I do indeed recognise that lots of people read this blog. That is why I have been challenging it when it publishes inaccuracies.

    My point is that Labour colleagues should not lose heart from the negative comments on here. I have noticed it is usually the same dozen or so people who are responsible for them.

    I would be very interested in Daryl giving an example of where he thinks the council have got it right in recent years

  33. Darryl

    On the contrary, Mark, your Labour colleagues should gain heart from what they read here – after all, it’s the same dozen or so people who have have hijacked Greenwich’s Labour council. Seeing voters’ discontent should give your Labour colleagues confidence to deal with them and give us an open council which responds to our needs.

    I’m sure many of those Labour colleagues were working hard for their party back when you were denigrating their values as a PR man for the right-wing New Party, so I’m sure they need no help from you. By the way, Mark, have you told the local parties about your past clients?

    I had a nice email from the council about cycling facilities this afternoon, by the way. The councillor who’s helped push cycling through in the borough of Greenwich? Mary Mills.

  34. Chris

    The refurbishment of the council flats (why are they called social housing nowadays?) in and around Charlton has been impressive. How much of this is down to the council? Well done to whoever brought it about.

    But Mark, as professional lobbyist surely you must realise that the Labour Party in Greenwich is seen as arrogant and just assumes that the electorate will turn out and support them. Please don’t deflect my observation with the ‘it’s only a few whingers whipped up by Darryl’ line. I’ve lived in Charlton 13 years and not had one Labour councillor knock on the door.

    There are ties with big business that in the eyes of many are a little too close for comfort. Certainly when it comes to new housing around here, the companies seem to get everything they want. The knee-jerk deference to business re the Silvertown link and assumption (almost fanatical insistence, via the GT) the electorate support it is another example.

    And that’s what we see in public. What goes on in the smoke-filled rooms (sic)?? The autocratic reign of the Dear Leader has summed up this arrogance and whiff of cronyism.

    So now that you’ve tipped up here, do you have any plans to address the questions posted on this blog and elsewhere? Or will you continue to deflect?

  35. Mark Adams

    The voters get their chance every four years. And regular engagement between elections. I’m a member in Charlton and know we are regularly on the doorstep. Personally I would support more engagement and openness.

    This site is for Daryl to post his observations and for others to comment, so although tempting to make it about me, I think that is beyond the intention. I am just a little surprised that quite a few commentators on here make it so personal rather than concentrating on the issues.

  36. Stewart

    Chris – if you’re talking about the ones I think you are these are Charlton Triangle Homes properties. Mark Adams is the Chair but I don’t know how much input he or the council had.

  37. Franklin

    For f*ck’s sake Mark, your crude New Labour spin tricks – deliberate obfuscation, portraying yourself as the victim, questioning Darryl’s integrity and dismissing the rest of our concerns – really aren’t fooling anyone.

  38. Steve

    Hitler came to power through a massive democratic vote. Doesn’t always lead to good results.

    And by the way Mark Adams, Darryl has two “r”s in it. Surprised you hadn’t spotted that yet since you spend so much time monitoring this site. First rule of PR – get people’s names right.

  39. Mark Adams

    Stewart,

    Thanks for mentioning my role as Chair of Charlton Triangle Homes. Careful though, as this lot just see me as some kind of evil right-winger. It was actually a good all-round effort, including the council, as well as an excellent scheme by the Labour government now trashed by the coalition.

    Apologies for the wrong spelling of your name Darryl. I tend to dictate my comments and I’ll blame my iPhone for getting it wrong 🙂 However I am just spelling your name wrong, whereas you seem to have most of the facts about my life wrong, so I guess you’re still doing rather well in comparison.

  40. ThePirateKing

    Good to see the discussion staying centred on Mark Adams and how he was surprisingly, even shockingly, deselected as a Labour councillor last night after years of great service.

    Oh, hang on…

  41. datademon

    I was saddened to hear of Mary’s de-selection. In the time I have been involved on the peninsula Mary has been amazingly active, supporting all residents on all issues all the time. Phenomenal energy and positive despite the enormous hurdles one faces in that role. I can’t for the life of me think how a councillor could represent her community better. I would encourage her to stand as an independent because Labour have become so complacent and don’t have any competition to speak of in the borough. I know she would have huge support and good will if she chose to go down that route. If not, I’m hoping her successful replacement will be able to fill her shoes – in particular as we begin to enter the enormous challenges of developing out the peninsula in the years ahead.

  42. Stewart

    Sorry, I don’t mean to derail this thread.

    Mark – I thought the refurbishment was paid for by Family Mosaic themselves along with Scottish and Southern Energy as part of their obligations under the Community Energy Saving Programme? I didn’t think there was any council involvement at all.

    It’s worth pointing out that although this scheme closed at the end of last year, £125m of historic Greenwich housing debt was paid off centrally not that long ago. RBG officers have confirmed in their reports that this leaves Greenwich in a far better position in the medium to long term.

  43. David Gardner

    I am pleased many people are engaging with this debate and can fully understand some of the negative impressions. However, Labour have had a surplus of excellent candidates including sitting councillors wanting to stand and record attendances at local selection meetings. This has meant huge change – with 14 new candidates for seats Labour are defending (40/51 seats) compared to just 5 changes for seats defended in 2010.

    I think you will find these winds of change will led to more councillors like Mary, willing to speak out; relentless in pursuing ward interests, promoting environmental sustainability and not afraid to stamp their character on the local blogosphere. just a great pity that Mary also lost out.

  44. John Fahy

    Mary Mills has made an enormous contribution to the Labour Party and the community she served. I am saddened that she lost out in the selection process. We are all aware that there is the potential of party members wanting to see a change,in the end that is their right. It is certainly a wake up call and the demand for change is self evident. There has been a very strong field of candidates and in life there are winners and losers. The process is very clear,each member of the Party is intitled to put their name forward and participate in the selection process. Despite the accusation of all of us being arrogant and out of touch,it is,at least for me a humbling process.

    Mary has a strong personality and knowing her for many years she will find new challenges and I wish her well. I very much suspect,that kicking the cat and the furniture around for a while she will recognise that our ambitions for the success of the Labour Party takes priority. Having been in a similar position on many occasions I know how difficult it is from an individual point of view. We will rally round that give Mary the support she so richly deserves.

    No doubt I will receive a further tirade of angry comment but healthy debate and engagement is our bread and butter. Appreciation to all for engaging.

  45. Paul

    I can only speak for myself John but I don’t see why you should expect a tirade of angry comments. The comments made by yourself, David, Chris, Stephen and Hayley have helped me better understand the rough and tumble of local Labour party politics (and given some insight into the personalities involved) and while I don’t agree with everything that’s been said (on either side of the fence) I appreciate the engagement. I do think it is something that gwlp could learn from in its communications with the outside world. It’s a sad irony that one of the councillors at the forefront of using these newer forms of communication to engage with her constituents is Mary Mills.

    Talking of which, good to see Mary is back blogging again, let’s hope it has given her cat some much needed respite. Of all the comments I have read on here and on several other blogs (and Twitter) I haven’t read a single comment about Mary that doesn’t praise her work to the hills, which is staggering really.

  46. Franklin

    Absolutely agree with everything Paul’s said.

    I applaud your contributions here and in other places, John, and have said so every time you’ve made an appearance. It’s exactly what I would hope for, and expect from, our local councillors.

    The problem, of course, is that you and Mary have been the ONLY councillors willing to engage and communicate in this way, with the occasional intervention from David Gardner.

    I sincerely hope David Gardner is right in his optimism that the newly chosen candidates will engage as openly as Mary has done, and if elected will focus on local constituents’ concerns as she has done, rather than seeing the Council seat as merely a stepping stone to ‘greater things’ (Westminster, etc…)

  47. Darryl

    I’d like to also thank John and David for their comments, which are always appreciated if not agreed with.

    It’s vital for democracy that elected representatives should be allowed to speak honestly and without fear of being punished – particularly on such a crucial issue as the Silvertown Tunnel. This is why Mary was , and remains, such a breath of fresh air.

  48. Chris

    What puzzles me about all this is why Mary Mills was de-selected.

    Was it because she was not doing a good enough job looking after her ward constituents?

    Or were there other reasons?

  49. Paul Webbewood

    Thanks to David Gardner for information on Labour candidates. Remaining bits of the jigsaw seem to be

    * Have the three incumbents been re-selected in Abbey Wood, Eltham West,& Glyndon?

    * Who are the three newbies in Thamesmead Moorings?

    * Who is the new person in Plumstead? (I presume Cornforth & Morrow reselected).

    * What is the position in Woolwich Common? All that seems to be on-line is that Ambreen Hisbani is selected. My hypothesis is that Beverley Jones is retiring and Rajwant Sidhu was locked out, leaving Harry Singh & A N Other to join Hiswani on the Common. This would tally with David’s figure of 14 new candidates assuming no change in AW, EW & Glyndon.

  50. Mark Adams

    I think the problem you are making is to assume that there is a single reason. If you are a regular reader of this blog, I can understand why you feel there is some kind of authoritarian control over the local party. Instead, local members of the party come along and listen to the candidates, and then vote for the ones they feel will do the best job.

    Each member will have their own reasons for supporting the candidates they did. Presumably every member voted for the people they felt would do the best job for the four years from next year. As other Labour Party commentators on this blog have posted, the party is fortunate to have so many excellent candidates. Unfortunately they cannot all go forward. I would encourage you to stop looking for conspiracies. Leave that to Darryl, it seems to be all he knows.

  51. Paul Webbewood

    Major memory failure. I forgot David Gardner’s own selection in Woolwich Common

  52. ThePirateKing

    Afternoon all:

    My own theory about why Mary didn’t get selected is that perhaps – in the secret ballot – many members thought that Mary was a dead cert to get in and probably come first and voted for the other people they would like to see along side her. Resulting sadly, in Mary finishing 4th.

    I (obviously) have no idea if that’s true or not, but it’s about the only thing I can think of to explain what happened.

  53. Mark Adams

    Yes I’m in favour of us being as open as we can. It makes it more difficult for people like you to fill the vacuum with inaccuracies.

    As David Gardner posted before, does anyone have any idea how the other parties are selecting their candidates?

  54. Dave

    I know nothing about Mary Mills or any other candidates as I have had no dealings with them .
    Having read all of the above comments with great interest , I have to say that if I find myself in the position of having the opportunity to vote for Mark Adams , I would certainly refuse to do so !

  55. Mark Adams

    Thanks Stewart, I had missed that. To be fair to the Lib Dems, what I know of their selection process suggests it is pretty sound, although they obviously do lack numbers compared to Labour. Not a dig, Chris, just being understanding!

  56. Republican Greenwich

    As someone present at the meeting where 3 candidates other than Mary were selected, I would note that the main theme of the evening was local opposition to the Silvertown Tunnel and the way the Labour-run Council had failed to listen to Labour members. I would regard the result as a reflection of that issue and a recognition that Peninsula will need Councillors that can articulate the case against the Tunnel cogently and robustly and with the ability to have some influence over the new leadership to change its position. I think everyone present was surprised that Mary lost even though it was by the narrowest of margins – but to suggest some kind of “Dear Leader” fuelled coup to deselect her is frankly absurd.

  57. Franklin

    Republican Greenwich –

    Thanks for weighing in and shedding some more light on the Peninsula Ward selection. I’m heartened that the Silvertown Tunnel was top of the agenda.

    I don’t anyone was suggesting a “Dear Leader fuelled coup” to deselect Mary; I certainly wasn’t.

    Instead, my point – I believe shared by others – is that Mary is the last of the councillors who needed to be deselected. She has gone to great lengths over many years to communicate with and work on behalf of her constituents.

    I sincerely hope that you’re right that the new candidates, if elected, will be able to influence the new leadership to change its position on the tunnel. But based on past experience, I am not very optimistic that that will turn out to be the case.

  58. Chris

    Republican, thanks for the background. I must admit that I certainly suspected a coup of some sort, Dear Leader inspired or not.
    I am also heartened by the meeting’s apparent opposition to the proposed new tunnel.
    However, I can’t help but feel that the de-selection of certainly the most popular councillor I know of will prove to be an own goal.
    As I’ve said before, I do believe many in the higher echelons of the council just take the Labour vote for granted. If Councillor Mills stands as an Independent I think you will find that assumption sorely tested.

  59. Mark Adams

    Chris,

    Labour people believe we are stronger when we stand together. It is the only way we have achieved radical reform in this country in the face of opposition by the privileged. I’ve always thought of Mary as Lavour to the core.

  60. Franklin

    Let’s just hope Mary stands as an independent – and that other concerned, engaged locals will as well. That really would bring a breath of fresh air to the town hall.

    Ahem… Darryl? You journos do have a lot of free time… 😉

  61. Darryl

    Franklin – Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, ta.

    (Shane/Franklin – have deleted the little “what did that mean?” exchange to keep things on track)

  62. Ian and Louise

    We moved to Greenwich just 5 years ago. A great place, and one that that had a very very good local councillor in the ward we live in. Let’s hope Mary does more good things outside the machine. Many will certainly support her.
    Ian and Louise

  63. Ben

    As one of the voters on Monday evening I can say with confidence that The Pirate King’s theory is correct for at least 4% of the electorate. It was not a vote against Mary, who is a great local councillor.

  64. Hilly

    That 4% figure is interesting ….
    If Ben is talking with confdence about himself only then 4% is one person, which would mean that the total number who voted would be 25 people. If it is one member one vote, and knowing that there were at least 4 candidates that would mean candidates could win with just 7 votes.
    Lots of “ifs” I know, and I don’t have any knowledge about how the parties’ processes for electing candidates work, but …
    What would it mean for democratic accountability if a councillor who is elected by the votes of, say, 2566 or 2917 people is removed from office by the votes of 7 people? The electorate will not get the opportunity to express their opinion on that candidate’s work as a councillor. The councillor will have a year of their tenure remaining knowing that they won’t have to face the electorate at the end of it,
    OK, so it is up to the party who they have to represent them, and I suspect all the parties will have similar numbers participating in their candidate selection, but it does seem the wider electorate is irrelevant in deciding who represents them.
    Maybe in the interests of transparency someone involved in one of these selection meetings could let us know how many people took part and what the process was.

  65. Chris

    Hilly – firstly, thanks for your link to the Shooters Hill Mob! Looks very interesting.

    You’re discovering a fact that has influenced our democracy for decades. The fact is, you have to get off your arse, become a member of a local party and attend policy meetings in people’s front rooms or unheated church halls and it dispirits many.

    If Britain was established today the UN electoral fair play chaps would probably have a word with several constituencies!

    When I was younger I was on the fringes of the SWP and saw the way they worked for a while by taking over local groups (of all causes anti-roads, ant-capitalism, ant-this and that) just by turning up in numbers and voting for each other.

    The main parties are in the whole ‘fairly transparent’ about what goes on. But the only answer is to join a party you fancy and start work. It aint easy.

  66. Franklin

    Hilly –

    You’ve raised a hugely important fact – and the precise reason that I’ve been encouraging Mary (and, in a joking-ish way, Darryl), to stand as independents.

    Labour take their majorities as givens. But there is absolutely no reason that the votes of 25 people should matter infinitely more than the thousands that vote in each ward.

    We have a lot of talented and deeply engaged local people who would make great councillors. All we need is for them to stand and run half-decent campaigns, and we might see some real change.

  67. Richard

    Franklin you are talking about the Labour party. You are asking this woman to basically scab.

  68. therealdecoy

    The original version of Clause IV, drafted by Sidney Webb in November 1917 and adopted by the party in 1918, read, in part 4:

    To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

    With the accountabilitity and local dedication of people like Mary, and a bit more scope for individuality, I really think this could work.

  69. Chris

    Richard. Scab. Heavy word in my manor. Not one to use lightly.

    There are times when democracy is hijacked by a few and the people have to do something about it. Mary Mills enjoys the support of the people because she works for them — not the Labour Party per se.

    If she stands as an independent I am sure you will see what I mean. If she doesn’t we will never know.

  70. Franklin

    Beautifully said, Chris. My thoughts precisely, but more eloquently put than I would have done.

  71. ThePirateKing

    I’d love to see more (any) known Independents standing. I think if they were credible (like Mary) they would pick up a lot of votes from people fed up with all the main parties.

  72. James

    East Greenwich Labour party canvassing today in East Greenwich. They knocked on the door and put newspaper and flyer through door. I opened door and handed them back saying that they are not required thank you. This wouldn’t of happened if M,M had been selected.

  73. Stephen Brain

    Hi James Just returned from the canvassing and post-canvassing socialising.. MM had written a very useful brief for all candidates and joined us at The Pelton. Arms…..still very much involved Stephen Brain

  74. fahy

    Delighted to be canvassing in Peninsula Ward today. Residents interested in discussing issues rather than personalities.

  75. Fahy

    Apologies Chris,was certainly not intended. Mary has been a friend and colleague for many years and will remain so for many years ahead.

  76. James

    Discussing issues, like the saying goes the lights are on is they’re anyone at home. Hearing residents discussing issues isn’t the same as listening and resolving issues as M,M continues to do so as Ward Councilor and the outrage that is felt of the deselecting of the best Greenwich ward councillor in my lifetime so far, this is about what M,M does day in, day out. Those who wish to mock about personalities feel free, the fact is, can you not see and hear that as from this site and others many residents want M,M not just as a councillor, but as a Peninsula Ward Councillor.it isn’t about the any political parties as we don’t see M,M once every four or so years we see M,M every day in the peninsula ward out and about with and for us residents.

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