I still take a perverse pride in Hackney's obdurate performance at the last borough elections in 2006. All around us - Camden, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Barking and Dagenham - weird and sometimes frightening swings were taking place, but in Hackney the message from the voters was a resounding "Labour: no change". Indeed, practically no change at all. But was I right to read the result as a cantankerous yet somehow endearing indication that we Hackneyites are not fickle or easily swayed by fashionable opinion? Is it really all that clever to be as stubbornly unchanging in our political alliances as we appear to be? Should we rejoice in the fact that the Liberal Democrat surge will scarcely trouble our two Labour parliamentary candidates at all? Is it likely that the Council's Labour edifice will be significantly disturbed and, if not, what will it mean?
The author of Blood And Property - a Top London Blog - has been industriously worrying away at questions like these, probing the implications of communalism and wondering if Diane Abbott is losing some of her appeal in the eyes of the local intelligentsia and even BME electors. Will anything ever change? Andrew Boff, who we might now have to dub the partial Conservative candidate for Hackney mayor, will surely argue that it might if other parties were given a half-sensible chance to join in. More seriously, there has to be a danger that when incumbent politicians are as firmly installed as most of ours they get complacent and lazy and dull. Abbott, after all, has recently been accused of getting a bit grand and we don't want that sort of thing round here.
For such reasons I'm pleased that Boff is bringing his libertarian Conservatism to the table, that Suzanne Moore is running for parliament in Hackney North and that Denny de la Haye is running on a direct democracy ticket in Hackney South. The temptation to vote for anyone who's shaking things up a bit is rather large. That said, I'd feel guilty about not re-electing my three Labour ward councillors. They've knocked on my door. I've seen them out on the streets and drinking coffee at Palm 2. I know from experience that they are diligent and deserving, so how I could I not put my "x" next to their names? It's a conundrum, isn't? Yes? No? Hello?