Mary Mills

There are two things that make a post like this one unusual.

Firstly my head is full just now. I am taking time out because I have to. I wasn’t going to post at all for a while.

Secondly I rarely – almost never – talk about political issues in Greenwich. There are fine websites that do that already and in general I do other stuff better.

But something happened last night that shocked me to the very core and I just have to say something or burst.

Greenwich’s finest councillor by a country mile, Mary Mills, was deselected in what has to be the biggest own-goal the local Labour Party has scored in some time, and believe me there have been some pearlers. Darryl at 853 Blog has the gen and there’s no point in my reinventing the wheel by repeating it here but I am utterly gobsmacked that they have been so shortsighted in getting rid of the only personality that actual, real humans on the doorstep recognise and like.

Mary’s the one who actually talks to her constituents. She has a Twitter presence (@maryorelse ), a blog and a website, she responds to phone calls and emails, makes time to talk to people at any hour of the day and deals with issues others would sweep under the carpet because they’re politically embarrassing or just don’t bother with because they’re small or only affect people that aren’t trendy.

She has a deep interest in Greenwich historically (there are few who know as much as her about Greenwich’s industrial past) but also in the Greenwich of today. Perhaps that’s why she’s being got rid of – she’s just not towing the party line enough. Instead, she’s addressing issues that local people want to see – and doesn’t always leap to say yes to everything The Party wants.

Mary’s the one with the monthly newsletter that actually tells people what’s going on in the ward, listing what’s on, what planning apps have been submitted, what council things might affect people – that sort of thing. She very generously mentions every month that sundry other individuals ‘would like to be associated with this email.’

You don’t say. ‘Associated with’ but not actually doing any of the graft, of course.

I don’t know why they’ve made this catastrophic-for-the-ward move; it smacks of bullying, control-freakery and even, perhaps, ageism (she herself describes herself as an angry old lady – all power to you, Mary.) But I suspect it’s even simpler than that. Could it possibly be that they’ve got rid of her because she makes the rest of them look bad?

Unlike most of the career politicians in her wake, Mary Mills actually gave a damn – in fact she still does – I note that after deleting her webpage last night in a frankly understandable move – she has reinstated it today, with the words “After all there are lots of interesting things which could do with an airing.” Too right. There are.

And that’s why I think Mary needs to strike out on her own. To stand as an independent, to actually stand up for the things she’s always known were ‘the right thing to do’ but felt compromised about because of being strongarmed into following party dictats. I have no idea who has been wheeled-in in her place – I did see the name, it didn’t register, I didn’t care. I am sure they will be good little party members and be seen occasionally opening a school fete or something.

Mary – if you stand as an indie, I will vote for you.

24 Comments to “Mary Mills”

  1. Old China says:

    Utterly utterly gob-smacked. The ONLY local politician who would regularly talk and listen to locals as opposed to the council’s general policy of ignore and steam roller over the wishes of locals.

    I’d love to hear Mary’s version of what happened.

  2. Anon says:

    It’d be even more interesting to hear from Peninsula ward Labour as to why they think the new candidates will be better than the one who got the most votes at the last election.

  3. Neil says:

    It’d be even more interesting to hear from Peninsula ward Labour as to why they think the new candidates will be better than the one who got the most votes at the last election.

  4. Trevor says:

    Stunning! I strongly encourage Mary to stand as an Independent. I hereby volunteer to act as an envelope stuffer, canvasser or whatever!

  5. Jools says:

    Shocking, devastating and incredible! I’m speechless. I’ve known and worked with her since about 1971 so know how good she has been. Utter madness.

  6. Franklin says:


    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.

  7. WestCliffGB says:

    Terrible. How can they justify this? Mary, go it alone.

  8. Max Sang says:

    Ridiculous decision. I’ll be voting for her again if I get the opportunity, no matter what ticket she’s under.

  9. David Carson says:

    If this is to have legs, then people need to support Mary with their feet; get out and about in Mary’s support as an independent (if that what she chooses to do)!

  10. JR says:

    Mary Mills – you go it alone! You’re the only councillor who gives a rat’s patootie and you’ll have HEAPS of support.

  11. Matthew S says:

    Oh no this is awful news. I always voted for Mary because she did a great job. I for one won’t vote for her replacement. Greenwich will be a worst place without Mary as a councillor. Please stand as an independent Mary.

  12. I’ve known Mary on and off for a number of years. This is a crazy decision which hopefully will cost the control freaks dearly. Please stand as an Independent Mary.

  13. Capability Bowes says:

    “I’d love to hear Mary’s version of what happened”.

    As would we all. But I suspect that the good lady is far too canny and intelligent to spill the beans in public.

    OK, I will admit that Cllr Mills and I have crossed swords now and then on this blog about a couple of things. But I certainly don’t think she deserves the “Borgia” treatment, particularly as she seems to be the only local councillor who gets up off her backside and pounds the streets (literaly and metaphorically). Revenge would indeed be sweet for her to stand as an Independent and sweep the board; she certainly seems to have public opinion very much on her side.

  14. james says:

    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 (*)

  15. Caroline says:

    I agree with all of the above and I’m only a newbie! Having just 5 minutes ago bought my flat in East Greenwich I was gutted that my greedy neighbour started converting his garage into a whole new house for rental, looking right into my flat, on the sly, no permissions .. and an email to Mary by chance, produced an amazingly quick, helpful and sympathetic response, I was so impressed and surprised, and she followed up unsolicited too.
    It does sound like awful treatment, what is wrong with these big organisations! .. I would also vote and support if needed.

  16. Kelly Jones says:

    Cheer up Phantom!

    The new candidates are really good people.

    It’s great to see Mary intends to carry on with her blog and community efforts.

    Every good run has to come to an end.

  17. deebee says:

    Big, big fan of Mary Mills.

  18. Capability Bowes says:

    I’ve no idea who Kelly Jones is, but I suspect that she won’t be making any friends here.

  19. Franklin says:

    I’m *guessing* Kelly Jones might be dating one of the newly selected candidates?

  20. Hils says:

    I have only voted labour once and that was for Mary Mills. Probably wont vote labour ever again.

  21. Ex Greenwich says:

    We recently moved away from the area, but I am very sad to hear this. Both Dick and Mary were helpful to us when we lived in the ward.

    Whilst I don’t doubt that the new candidates are nice people, the fact remains that their party has shafted one of their best councillors, presumably for not towing the party line.

    My instincts are labour, but I never voted Labour in the general elections whilst living there due to Nick Raynsford. Looks like I wouldn’t be voting for the councillors either if I was still there…

  22. Helena says:

    Mary, another x from me if you do go it alone…

  23. A N Other says:


    You are the only person in politics who actually:
    A) listens to the public
    B) responds
    C) acts
    D) cares

    As others have said, please stand as an independent (better in any any case that party political nonsense)

  24. Egn says:

    I am also shocked, I do hope Mary stands as an Independant and wish her all the luck in the world if she does. If I lived in Peninsular Ward I would definitely vote for her. Alternatively please come and stand in Blackheath/Westcombe where I would definitely vote for Mary.