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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Below is a blog post that was written by someone who attended the Labour Party meeting where they selected their candidate for Noel Park.

It strikes me that many Labour members do not want Kober as Leader but she has subverted democracy ensuring only people supportive to her retaining power will be allowed to have a vote on her future. This does sound like a dictatorship.

Is this something we should accept as residents. What if there are better people out there to run our council and be our Leader but this is not being allowed? Surely democracy is vital? It sounds like Tower Hamlets.

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the labour party (because of antics below). I do not know Seema, although I had the pleasure of watching her in action at a council meeting and she ran rings around them, whilst still being calm and funny. I can see why Noel Park Labour wanted her.




Following the resignation of Cllr Marshall in Noel Park ward, the Labour party started the process to select a new candidate to contest the by-election to be held on Sept 17th.


The two applicants for the role were Stephen Mann (husband of Haringey Mayor, Jennifer Mann) and Seema Chandwani.


Suspicion began when Mann started contacting members of the Noel Park branch of the Labour Party from mid-July. Ordinary members, unaware of the process were somewhat surprised a few weeks later to see an email sent on the 6th Aug 2015 to formally open the process with a closing date of 12th Aug. Ms Chandwani who had applied, had only been able to contact members from the evening of the closing date.


Both candidates were subject to an interview prior to Noel Park members voting on who they wished to select. The interviews were scheduled on Sat 15th Aug, however Mann already had his interview the previous weekend, before the deadline closed. On both of the interview panels was Cllr Elin Weston, the Councillor in Hornsey with Mann’s wife and also the chair of the Labour group, who herself would require votes from the new Noel Park Councillor to retain that position. Mann, a Hornsey resident would also be eligible to vote for Weston for her reselection in 2018.


Ms Chandwani was informed on Sun afternoon that she was not successful but was able to appeal; her appeal was rejected and she was only informed hours before the selection meeting.


Members of the Noel Park branch, unaware of the situation, turned up to cast their votes and were surprised not to see Ms Chandwani on the list of candidates. Many members were holding her leaflet and began to ask where she was. It was obvious as the discussion of her absence progressed that the majority had come to vote for her. If she was not rejected – she would have won.


Steve Hart, who was embroiled in the Falkirk election scandal, struggled to keep control of the meeting as concerns of racism, sexism and accusations of fixing in favour of Mann were made. Ms Chandwani was the only ethnic and woman candidate.


Members wanted to know the reasons of her being rejected as many did not believe from her literature and meetings they had with her that she was incapable. Ms Chandwani is currently the Secretary of the Tottenham Labour Party, one of the most senior positions in the party, members were bemused how someone in such a position could be unsuccessful. Tensions grew as Hart could not give any responses to the questions posed.


It is believed that Ms Chandwani was blocked as she is a “Lammy-Loyalist”  [it is no secret that David and Seema are very close]. Tensions between the Council Leader Claire Kober and David Lammy have been simmering for a number of months as Lammy questions decisions made by the council on housing, youth centres and Marcus Garvey library. Kober in-turn has publically endorsed Lammy’s rival in the mayoral race. Blocking Ms Chandwani is being seen as another attack on Lammy from Kober. Some believe that Ms Chandwani’s popularity could see her overthrow Kober as Leader, leaving her and Lammy to overturn some of the decisions upsetting many residents.


Members of Noel Park branch were presented with Mann and two other candidates, both of whom the members had not heard from until the meeting. One was a former Councillor and the other the son of a current councillor – all were white males.


After the selection meeting Ms Chandwani tweeted congratulations to Mann. Mann, who ironically wrote a book on blacklisting, did not respond.


Ms Chandwani continues to be the Secretary of the Tottenham Labour Party for the third year, a position she won by being voted in by members from all 9 wards within the constituency, including Seven Sisters where Kober is a councillor.


2018 will be interesting.

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Well, after the way the St Ann's ward selection process was conducted for the 2014 council elections this doesn't surprise me one bit.
Nor me. Sad that it has come to this.

It is rumoured that if the London Mayor job goes to Tessa Jowell, and she wins (against the IMHO very electable Zak Goldsmith), we can expect to see our Dear Leader finding a new job in Ms Jowell's 'cabinet'. 

The ensuing scrambling for places in Haringey will best be watched from a safe distance.

The Jowell, Ford, Kober wiki triangle. Men power network so why not, but why compromise Labour values in Haringey under the guise of 'regeneration,' AKA development opportunities.

Introducing Margaret Ford: Awarded a life peerage as Baroness Ford, of Cunninghame in North Ayrshire on 5 June 2006.

On 7 April 2009 Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell announced Ford's appointment to chair the newly created London Legacy Development Corporation, known officially as the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC).

In 2011, she was included in the Times newspaper Sport Power 100, entering at number 26. In 2012 she was controversially replaced as chairman of the LLDC by Daniel Moylan, a Conservative.

Barroness Margaret Ford, appointed Grainger Chairman Nov 2015.

Unfortunately it feels like there is a belief you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and anything goes, but nothing runs deep.

Looking at Bermondsey, developers have ruined a great opportunity for the area, to what it could have been, Even Stratford struggles with its new identity, each plot wrestles with each other, no cohesiveness.

Melbourne post Commonwealth Games is the victim of quick development. Unless Baroness Ford can take hold of the situation, arresting community distrust, and taper plans, by placing people at its heart, then Tottenham will follow.

Here the big vision for another Croydon, is far more important to the big state infrastructure approach, than any individuals plight. The many outweigh the few, but in the end we all loose.

Buildings last longer than a lifetime, and we're stuck with some dogs of buildings from the 80's. So I implore some 'slow design' on a human scale, and properly consider existing residents views to maintain our diversity.

Consultation is a dead term now, no one believes in it, dialogue is more meaningful, as long as isn't just 'statutory'. It's time to employ some Urban Designers permanently like Hackney do, or share their resources.

Scrutinise the master plan, look at alternatives, you may discover something truly dynamic for the community.

I do like Tessa Jowell as a Labour media operator, I don't know of Barroness Ford, but I will keep a look out for her in Parliament, I feel Kober may be increasingly isolated in Haringey, until there is a return to old-new Labour Nationally, but now is the time to power shift, while factions vie for control within the party. Maybe the only way up is out for Kober.

Perhaps it's the system that has institutionalised our councillors, and the desire for the end result has blinkered some judgement. I would also say that, if you choose not to live in your elected ward, but the complete polar opposite, then empathy is not the same as local emotion.

Wheels within wheels.

Thanks for useful info.  TheGrainger website says she was appointed chairman in March this year (not November).

Does she know about Grainger splashing their cash about, investing £1000 in sponsoring the Tottenham Winter Fair?  Not that they want to influence planning decisions coming up in January or anything.

With profits around £140 million they can give us all a £1000 for charity

Matthew, like other councils, Haringey is required to have a Public Register of Gifts and Hospitality. (Worth over a certain amount.) When I became a councillor in 1998 I got some excellent advice from former councillor Ray Dodds about accepting gifts or hospitality. In essence it consisted of one word: Don't.

Now, if a resident had asked me to visit their home to see the holes in the roof their landlord was refusing to fix, then refusing a cup of tea and a biscuit could be rude. On the other hand to refuse an offer of cash, or a gift, or a free meal, say, from their landlord would be common sense. Same thing if the money or gift came from a planning applicant; or a local business. It would be wrong ethically; and also foolish. People might think I was biased. Or even that my support and decision had been bought. 

Then let's say you heard I'd been in charge of regeneration - I never was - and some developers paid for me to fly to Cannes; put me up in a hotel and paid for some meals. Now I can assure you that I'm a scrupulously honest bloke and that not for a second would such -imaginary - largesse affect my absolute and totally unbiased neutral judgement. Bribe?  Heaven forfend!

Matthew, we are speaking of "sponsorship".

And I expect that being a fair-minded and honest person you would slap me on the back; compliment me on my frankness; and smilingly assure me that you completely accept my explanation and assurances.

Though you might also add some helpful advice. Along the lines that not everyone would necessarily take the same view. And that perhaps a public body, public officials and people elected to public office should also consider how such things look.  Politicians most of all, since their reputations currently and in many cases deservedly, stand so low.

Whilst I have little doubt that Ms Chandwani has been wronged, her social media profile does little to suggest that she is an appropriate candidate for any public office.

She also took a back seat in the St Ann's selection scandal. Note, Steve Hart was in the middle of this one too.

Thank you Simon, I confess Twitter is beyond me. But I just Googled and saw her Twitter, it only allowed me to scroll to about early April. 

I saw nothing of any concern to me, in fact I think I like her a lot more now. 

For the benefit of others I saw

  • She was someone who is a huge Corbyn fan and has helped him campaign. In fact 80% of her tweets are in support of him.
  • She is definately a left wing member of the party, very supportive of trade unions
  • She is just as funny as I remember her in the meeting I saw her in. I chuckled a few times reading her tweets.
  • She is concerned with local issues around rubbish dumping, community centres, homelessness, young people and the future of 7 Bruce Grove. Very telling that Noel Park Councillor Strickland was refusing to answer her concerns on 7 Bruce Grove.
  • Others who appear to be members of the Labour party like her a lot.
  • She seems to have won the election as Secretary for the 3rd term by getting 100% of the vote and many members congratulated her.
  • She looks as if she campaigned a lot for David Lammy. He wished her happy birthday.
  • It looks as if she was responsible for the Bernie Grant memorial event. 
  • She also seems to be friends with a lot of local Cllrs
  • She likes to have a laugh, is very witty and normal. This is what we are missing in politics, normal people who have a personality, fire and actually care.

I do not know much about the St Ann's selection, but Zena who was the Anti Kober victim then seems to still talk to her. Maybe she was silent, but she was not the perpetrator - there is a massive difference.

What is telling is she is not in public office but has more followers than Kober.

This debate however is not about her, it is about democracy. If you do not find her suitable, do not vote for her. But democracy means we have the choice.

If I had to say who was "an appropriate candidate for any public office" between Chandwani and Kober, I'd choose the one who was not demolishing council homes, who was not closing a library and lying to residents, who was not on a luxury boat in Cannes selling off our land, who was not recruiting a ceo that feels paying his friends £20,000 a day as consultants was acceptable, who was not closing down autism services and childrens centres without a care in the world.

I would therefore, based on appropriateness choose Chandwani as Kober's behaviour over the past couple of years has been anything but appropriate.

I did not suggest a choice between Kober and Chandwani (I find them to be equally poor public representatives).

I would alos suggest that you name the author and provide a link to the blog you have quoted. This might provide a little more context for some of the more ridiculous statements within it.

Ms Chandwani is currently the Secretary of the Tottenham Labour Party, one of the most senior positions in the party

Ms Chandwani’s popularity could see her overthrow Kober as Leader

I suggest you don't. The Labour Party in Haringey are not above using the police to shut down criticism (Simon P!).

Simon P.  Why is there something ridiculous in  the statement about the Secretary of Tottenham Constituency Labour Party (CLP)?  I don't know who you are and how much you know about the Tottenham Party, but the (voluntary) role of both chair and secretary are key to the the proper running of the CLP.  Both carry considerable weight, with some formal powers and significant influence. Under the National Party rules, constituency secretaries are ex-officio members of other key party committees.

Many years ago I did the Tottenham CLP secretary job for two years. It's a lot of work and I was pleased to hand over to the next person. Much of what you achieve is 'invisible' - in the sense that if things are done well, on time and go smoothly you are taken for granted. But if things go wrong you can be sure that someone will complain. Often loudly. And whether or not the problem is within the secretary's control.

Maybe whoever P. Knight spoke to is hopeful that Seema Chandwani might "overthrow" Claire Kober. Personally I don't think this idea is helpful.  But there's no doubt in my mind that Cllr Kober does not welcome dissent and - even worse - appears not to understand how to work constructively and fruitfully with people who have strongly divergent viewpoints from her own, and who present any sort of effective challenge. From my own observations I'd also suggest a remarkable lack of curiosity in her and her colleagues. (Unless of course important or famous people are involved. E.g. Starchitects or Mayors of London, or directors of football clubs.)

As I've posted before on HoL probably one way to make sense of Koberville is to read a short piece called Injelititis or palsied paralysis by C.Northcote Parkinson (of Parkinson's Law fame.)  The style and content are old-fashioned. (It was written in the 1950s) and the jokey examples and presentation may have led many people to see his writing as lightweight. In fact while all his work is funny it always has a practical core and is deadly serious.

"Injelititis" is Parkinson's invented term to describe either an organisation or individuals within it who combine "... a high concentration of incompetence and jealousy".  I'm sure that description rings a bell for most people who've suffered incompetent managers and council leaders.



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