The political undead
Hackney residents who suffered years of infighting, budget meltdowns, service cuts and chaos in the 1990s when the Lib Dems were in the driving seat in a hung council will surely be delighted at being given the chance to cast a vote against Meral Ece next May.
Meral has, for some unknown reason, been picked as the LD candidate for the Hackney, Islington & Waltham Forest GLA seat. Presumably this is so she can extend the positive impact she has had on Lib Dem fortunes in Hackney and Islington to Waltham Forest.
Meral started her career on the left of the Hackney Labour Party, and within two years of becoming a Labour councillor in 1994 she had risen to Deputy Leader and brought her knack for comradeliness and consensual politics to bear by playing a leading role in splitting the Hackney Labour Group, quitting with 16 other councillors to form the short-lived and extremely misnamed "Hackney New Labour Group", which might more accurately have been entitled the Jurassic Labour Group.
Within a few years she changed group again and became Deputy Leader of the Hackney Lib Dems, who in turn descended into an orgy of infighting, changing leaders three times in three years. Ece courageously went on the chicken run to neighbouring Islington and did not defend her Dalston ward in 2002, leaving the rest of her group in Hackney to reap the electoral whirlwind of the hung council years and go from 18 seats down to 3.
Across the border in carpet-bagger land - oops sorry Islington - the newly re-elected - for a totally different borough - Cllr Ece - acted as the same lucky talisman for the Islington Lib Dems as she had for the Hackney Labour Group and the Hackney Lib Dems. At the first election she went into as their Deputy Leader - in 2006 - they bucked the national trend to lose 12 seats to Labour.
With Meral's reputation as a fence mender, bridge builder, team player and election winner, she is sure to maximise the Lib Dem vote across North East London.
If this sounds a bit personalised, it's because having seen what this woman and her mates did to public services and tax-payer's money in Hackney in the '90s, and having listened to her screeching diatribes across the council chamber, it is my personal view that she has no place in public life, and is not worthy of running a whelk stall, let alone scrutinising the governance of Greater London.