Harringay online

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.

Views: 7592

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Actually, there often isn't that much fighting in Labour party meetings, and over the last year CLP meetings have been as constructive as they've ever been in my 16 years here (gulp!), with Seema and others in the fantastic team organising the branch. Things may get more heated when we try to hold our elected representatives, particularly the Council leader but others too, to account, on issues such as housing, regeneration and cuts/changes in council services. Pav, please note that not all of those posting on this thread are Labour Party members. Also, if you join now there are lots of events and people keen to welcome new members, and there are hundreds of you in Tottenham CLP (and probably on the other CLP as well, Hornsey & Wood Green), in most wards so you won't be alone!

Has anyone picked up the baton re having a welcoming party for all the new members?  I brought it up a couple of weeks ago, we could be doing something proactive with both members and supporters, instead of just canvassing them for votes.  Does anyone know how many there are in the two constituencies?  I don't hang out in Labour Party pubs to get the latest chat, I rely on HoL.  Something informal, not just inviting people to the highly procedural monthly ward meetings, could encourage more involvement. 

a meet up in a pub is being organised in Green lanes

Cool - as long as it has proper access and a creche.  And no loud music or football TV.

I am very tempted by what Jeremy Corbyn could bring, but I fear that what we see both in Haringey and nationally with how he is treated, that he is fighting a losing battle.

Our borough is being run by a handful of people who seem not to play by the rules to obtain and retain power. Learning about what happens before we get our opportunity to vote is scary and makes me think we should get rid of political parties and just let people be chosen on merit.

There must be an independent body governs this.

There's no independent body, P. Knight - unless you include the possibility of a Judicial Review by the courts. (Unlikely and in any case hugely expensive.)

Political parties are voluntary associations. Each has its own rules which they're supposed to abide by. As you saw from the links John McMullan gave to the St Ann's selection, the Labour Party apparatchiks selectively quoted one rule - a rule which supported the outcome they wanted. They simply ignored other rules which were flagrantly broken.

P.Knight, as you say, Jeremy Corbyn may be fighting a losing battle. But if he wins the leadership he stands a better chance of winning battles if there are thousands of party members standing up, speaking out and supporting him.  Including you, should you decide to join.

It's helpful to think about three choices. People can walk away or remain detached from these issues. Or they can pitch in, speak-up, argue, and campaign for what they believe is right.  Or they can simply and loyally repeat what the leadership tells them to say, and do what it tells them to do.  In other words: 'My party right or wrong'. Individual members keeping quiet about what they actually think and believe.

The sociologist Albert Hirschman called this "Exit, Voice and Loyalty".

P, on the idea of voters just electing individuals on merit, two words of warning, Donald Trump.

P.Knight, in case you haven't seen it, today Catherine West published her "thoughts on the Leadership election".  Which you may find interesting.

That's like £10K each on top of any pension entitlement. I want to be a councillor when I retire. It would keep me in beer and laptops anyway (two things I'm currently appreciating I won't have when I retire).



© 2023   Created by Hugh.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service