Muswell Hill crime meeting

7am start on emails having done fifty sit ups. Given the amount of exercise I get during and election delivering leaflets and the amount of weight I lose from being on the run – I have decided that I might as well have a flat stomach by May 5!

Inevitably during a campaign the blog content of my daily efforts will be repetitive in terms of 1) delivering leaflets 2) canvassing 3) stuffing envelopes and 4) answering emails, letters and the phone.

The interest I guess will come from the twists and the turns, the media and the national campaign.

So today was unremitting emails and paperwork all morning. Then for light relief three hours of leaflet delivery midst beautiful sunshine – interspersed with hail, lightening and thunder. We (Monica and I) were leafleting a really up-market part of the constituency – with mega houses and tree-lined drives. Only issue with long drives is that it takes twice as long to deliver as normal roads.

At 7.30pm arrive at the British Legion in Muswell Hill Road for the consultation with key stakeholders in Muswell Hill. I am the lead councillor on the roll out of the police’s Safer Neighbourhoods Scheme in Muswell Hill. This is what we have all been waiting for – 6 police personnel, ring-fenced for Muswell Hill on a permanent basis. Hurrah!

This is a real ‘good news’ story – and tonight is about asking the chairs of residents’ associations and neighbourhood watches what they believe are the priorities for the area.

I have raised already one of the key problems for residents of St James’s Lane and Connaught Gardens – which is kids hanging around – and in the case of St James’s Lane acting quite aggressively to passers by.

I have been in email correspondence with Stephen Bloomfield, the local Commander and suggested to him that we try Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs). Yes – we can have patrols (if we are lucky) and that will move them on – temporarily. But I am for long term resolution – not just pushing a problem into someone else’s back yard.

ABCs were pioneered in Lib Dem run Islington with the Met and involve the police, the parents, the children, and other partners from education, social services, housing – whatever the problems need. Parents and children sign up to an agreed way forward for behaviour and have regular meetings to discuss any difficulties etc. These have worked stunningly well – so much so that Labour Ministers Charles Clarks and Hazel Blears are now advocating this as best practise across the land.

Stephen Bloomfield emails back that this seems just the right sort of case to be taken forward with ABCs but he isn’t promising anything until he knows more.

So at the meeting, the team are there and the issue is raised and we will see what path they take.

One of the most positive and optimistic evenings in my memory in terms of policing (outside of the re-opening of Muswell Hill Police front counter).

Come home to find phone message from Andrew Gilligan – so call him back. Piece in Standard will come out on Monday. He asks how I am getting on – and I say well. Lots of emails from Labour supporters telling me not only that they are going switch from Labour for the first time in their lives and vote for me – but why.

Interestingly – the reasons are not just the war. Iraq certainly leads the field – but the disappointments with Labour are many. It’s feeling very good on the doorsteps – especially as former Tory and Green supporters are getting the tactical voting message that to beat Blair’s candidate they need to vote Lib Dem in Hornsey and Wood Green.