I was first elected as a Councillor for Hillrise Ward in Islington in 2006, and re-elected in 2010. During my eight year tenure, Arsenal have failed to win a single trophy. These things may be connected.
Now Arsenal stand on the brink of winning the FA cup.
My course of action is clear.
To avoid another four trophy-less years, I will not re-stand.
Tribune article here.
1 In 2006 and 2010 the Conservatives were trounced in Hillrise. This year, they are fielding NO candidates! My work here is done.
2 I always said I would only serve a maximum two terms. I fulfil that promise. In fact, I think all Councillors should serve a maximum two terms. There are two many tired old faces, entrenched in the Town Hall bubble, with seemingly no life or interests outside politics. New candidates with fresh ideas are surely preferable to careerist politicians becoming increasingly dependant on their allowances, and surviving by patronage in servile demonstrations of Party loyalty.
3 I would like to pay tribute to my fellow ward Councillor Lorraine Constantinou, who has been an outstanding, hard-working Councillor.
4 I was elected as a Lib Dem Cllr, but became Islington’s only Independent Councillor after resigning from the Lib Dems over the National Party support for Secret Courts.
I would like to thank everyone who entrusted me with their vote, and particularly those who campaigned, done-knocked and delivered with me in two elections. Also to my former Hillrise colleagues Fiona Dunlop and Julia Williams, current Cllrs Lorraine and Marian and the excellent MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn.
And not forgetting Donna Boffa (RIP)
I also acknowledge the massive support from Council Officers, who of course do all the hard work for which Councillors take credit.
And (yes I know this is worse than an Oscar speech) to my family, who at times I saw less of than I would have liked.
Below:-Hillrise Councillors 2006. I still had hair when I was first elected!
Sunnyside Community Gardens are a precious (although small) piece of Green Space in Hillrise ward, the Northern tip of Islington. The physical location is opposite the only significant Park in the ward, Elthorne Park, and separated from it by a quiet part of Sunnyside Road. I have campaigned for years to close that stretch of Sunnyside Rd, green it over and create a larger green space-see my YouTube clip here
But Sunnyside is more than just a physical space. Sunnyside provides a range horticultural and other services,notably helping and supporting residents with learning difficulties.
The fire of July 2013 that burned the Community Gardens building beyond repair was devasting news, reported in the Islington Gazette here. (See also this report in Islington Tribune )
However, the local Community has rallied round, and until such time as the Insurance settle, and we can rebuild, services will continue. My call for the Council to provide a portakabin was picked up by Cllr Lorraine Constantinou, and with help from Mullaley, a portakabin duly arrived.
We set up a support group on Facebook
And local campaigner Carl Quilliam organised an auction in the Royal Oak pub, where I was proud to be auctioneer at an event which saw generous donations from residents and Councillors Stacy, Horton and Constantinou. And then of course there were the numerous residents who turned out to bid for the lots, and buy the raffle tickets.
But it didn’t stop there. Local residents group WHPARA donated £100 and publicised the event, and prizes were donated by other local groups including Islington Boxing Club and Caxton House.
Local MP Jeremy Corbyn also offered tea in The Commons as a raffle prize.
And there were contributions and help from many more-too numerous to mention (but maybe a quick plug for Archway with Words who donated tickets for a very interesting forthcoming community event )
So from this adversity we have found a real community spirit, and hopefully (if you will forgive the cliche) we will see a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
In total, the auction/raffle raised over £700, but there is of course a long way to go.
letter to local paper
Sunnyside Gardens Playlist here
Thanks to M.Heath for the photo from auction.