A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Councillor/activist's diary

I occasionally get complaints in the comments here (usually from Kris) that I don't write enough about local stuff in Hackney.

There's two reasons:

a) most of what we do as councillors whilst worthy doesn't make for interesting reading


b) the stuff that is politically contentious would need to be cleared for publication by the Group Press Officer under our standing orders, and he's got better things to do than edit my blog

Just to give a flavour of life as a councillor/Labour activist in Hackney, this is my diary outside of my day job for the last few and next few weeks:

Mon 8 - Unite/Amicus London Regional Political Committee meeting - discussion on GLA election planning
Tue 9 - babysitting while the other councillor in my household (Linda) goes to Planning Cttee
Wed 10 - babysitting while Linda goes to Stoke Newington Neighbourhood Forum
Thu 11 - Hackney North Labour Party Executive meeting - again mainly about the GLA elections
Fri 12 - Advice surgery for my ward
Sat 13 - campaigning in Bexleyheath & Crayford
Tue 16 - Labour Group meeting - main discussions are on the Stoke Newington gyratory road system and whether to revert to a 2-way high street, and the Estates Plus regeneration scheme
Wed 17 - Governance & Resources Scrutiny Committee - main discussions are on the Overall Financial Position of the Council, and on the workings of Team Hackney, our Local Strategic Partnership
Thu 18 - Homerton Neighbourhood Forum - debate on the new Controlled Parking Zone I have been campaigning for in my ward, other discussion was on review of Licensing Policy
Sat 19 - Leafleting in my ward
Mon 22 - Police Community Advisory Panel meeting for my ward
Tue 23 - Nisbet House Estate Tenants & Residents Assoc meeting
Wed 24 - Jack Dunning Estate Tenants & Residents Assoc meeting
Thu 25 - Hackney North Labour Party General Committee meeting
Sat 27 - Speaker of Hackney's community coffee morning
Mon 29 - Council Cabinet
Tue 30 - All-residents Meeting on Trelawney Estate to explain residents' concerns have been addressed and they have been removed from a regeneration scheme they were unhappy about
Wed 31 - Meeting with Borough Solicitor re. review of council constitution; followed by pre-Council call-over meeting, followed by Full Council meeting
Thu 1 - Ward Labour Party meeting to report back to local members
Sat 3 - Progress Conference
Mon 5 - Night off!
Tue 6 - Labour Group Executive meeting
Wed 7 - Hackney Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education meeting (statutory body on which I'm a council rep.)
Thu 8 - Visit to Tower Hamlets Council as part of scrutiny committee inquiry into best practice with LSPs, followed by meeting of Reserve Forces & Cadets Association of London meeting, an outside body I represent the council on
Fri 9 - Advice surgery
Sat 10 - Canvassing in Stoke Newington Central Ward where I live


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Luke, get a life!

1:52 pm, October 19, 2007

Anonymous DaveHill said...

Bit lazy, aren't you?

(joking, joking, joking...!)

3:59 pm, October 19, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you, Luke. Combining all of that with a full time job and your family. I think you're doing a grand job.

6:01 pm, October 19, 2007

Anonymous hard working Hackney resident said...

Nearly every working parent I know has a similarly busy agenda to yours. Most do charity work too or run sports and youth clubs or such like.

The difference, Luke, is that they don't unceasingly boast about it AND get paid AND seek public approbation. You and your colleagues [of all political parties] get to claim a generous councillor's allowance at the tax payers' expense and [foolishly] think you're convincing us with your boastful claims of what great achievements you have accomplished (allegedly) for our benefit.

Lots of us make great achievements through our extra community work, to help our fellow man. But we don't constantly seek other people's approbation whilst being a drain on the public purse.

It sticks in one's craw to hear boastful councillors (particularly one or two of your colleagues on the Cabinet) pleading for community work to be done by volunteers, when they themselves are being generously paid for their lacklustre efforts.

7:13 am, October 20, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Hard working Hackney resident,

I haven't ever detailed what I do as a councillor on here before, I prefer to just get on with it in the knowledge that people I help at a ward level know I have done it. I posted this because I got fed up with comments on here suggesting that because I mainly post about national politics I was somehow neglecting my local duties.

I would defend my cabinet colleagues - yes they get generous allowances but they work full time and then some, and would be considerably better off doing roles of comparable responsibility in the private sector, the voluntary sector or as council staff - some of them took serious pay cuts to take on the roles they have.

The basic rate allowance for backbenchers is about £8k a year which is not bad value for the public given that the role can involve meetings almost every weekday evening plus casework and paperwork at weekends.

Ultimately you can sack us every 4 years of you don't feel you are getting value for money.

10:40 am, October 20, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The other point I would make is

a) a lot of my colleagues do exactly the kind of charity/voluntary work or community activity you cite in their spare time as well as being councillors

b) where do you think we recruit potential cllrs from? Exactly the kind of people you are refering to - we spot good active people in community and faith groups, tenants and residents assocs, school governing bodies, trade unions, and try to get them to consider being politically active so they can help create the political environment - locally and nationally - that ensures the causes and organisations they care about get the funding and policy environment they need.

3:57 pm, October 20, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But, hand on heart, what did you create, what did you actually do that you did because it was right, that you believed to be true, that didn't benefit the party, that didn't square with the whip and the press-officer, that didn't sell munitions, that actually touched someone and sent them on through life enriched, empowered, because you honestly believed it was what they needed and deserved selflessly and without posture.

F**k you and your corrupt, class-ridden, self-serving, patrician, priest class.

10:21 pm, October 20, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


"hand on heart" as you put it, I don't think anything I've done and voted for as a councillor has been against the interests of my constituents. Quite often it's involved me disagreeing with colleagues to fight my constituents' corner.

There wouldn't be any point being politically active unless you were doing what you believed to be right and true.

I love the bit about "corrupt, class-ridden, self-serving, patrician, priest class". It makes a bunch of people who get their kicks from delivering leaflets and attending tenants' association meetings sound like the illuminati.

8:57 am, October 22, 2007

Blogger Kris said...

(In a Northern Irish accent)

I'm saying nothing.

8:33 pm, October 25, 2007

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

"delivering leaflets"

which leaflet was this? was it the one in april 2005, or the one in august 2007?

9:32 pm, October 25, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linda must be mad to trust you with her children given your defence of one of the most notorious paedophile in recent times. Mark Trotter.

It is like putting Frankenstein in charge of the blood bank!!

2:41 pm, October 18, 2008


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