Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A trip down memory lane


I've got three scrapbooks at home full of press cuttings about wonderful stuff that we have done since Katie Dawson was elected to the Council. I am prone to getting them out and making guests look through them - the political equivalent of holiday photos.. Anyway, this blog post is the electronic equivalent of that - some of the great, and funny, moments of the last four years since the election of Islington's first Green councillor, and my good friend, Katie.

Here, with a lovely photo of election night, is the Gazette in May 2006 when Katie was elected, suggesting that the Greens held the balance of power on the Council. Sadly, we didn't - quite - at that stage, as (rather unfairly!) the Lib Dems (with 24 members against Labour's 23 and our one) got to choose the Mayor - and the Mayor has the casting vote.

Trees have been a big issue over the years, including some 'killer pear' trees which eventually featured on the pages of the Evening Standard (and even the Daily Mail); I'm pleased to say our campaign to save the trees succeeded and the residents now harvest the fruit and make it into jam and even pear liqueur!

On a more serious note, Katie has worked year in and year out to stand up for residents against big property developers (including Arsenal) seeking to squeeze ever-bigger developments into Highbury without the necessary infrastructure (eg schools, doctors' surgeries, public transport) to cope with them. Islington is the borough with the least green space per head of population anywhere in Britain, and the situation in Katie's ward (Highbury West) is even worse, with the smallest amount of play space in any ward in Islington. Despite this, we have had to battle hard to prevent developers being allowed to concrete over the few remaining areas of green land - and, sad to say, with only one councillor among 48 we have not always succeeded.

There have been some bizarre moments too - Katie's been quoted in the press over the years on a variety of subjects from freshly-slaughtered polar bears to dominatrix shoes .. but I'll leave you to track those down for yourself!

So - after that whistlestop tour of my virtual scrapbook - what's the verdict at the end of Katie's first four years? Well, far be it from me to trumpet our successes: the last word goes to the Islington Gazette, which last week reported on ... Katie's Green revolution!

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