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.