HAVING BEEN a national-newspaper journalist in his twenties, Jules Pipe could have been earning a five-figure salary by now. As leader and since 2002 Hackney’s mayor, he has shown an ability that would have led him into senior management in any organisation.
He has just accepted an offer of a position as a deputy mayor at City Hall that will keep his salary around a comparatively modest £97,000, well below what he might by now have been earning in Fleet Street.
The distant thudding marking his slow progress towards a seat among the dozing peers and easy remuneration of the House of Lords will be ignored as he takes up the post of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s aide for regeneration.
Pipe has a good reputation in Labour, and Conservative circles, for having done well in Hackney with what is termed regeneration, pejoratively known to some local people as “gentrification”.
Some Hackneyites will, however, remember his contradictory attitude to heritage, for example, his claim to be a conservationist while his regime destroyed — sorry, regenerated a Victorian theatre building and later a Georgian terrace. It was part of his stated wish to make Hackney less “crap”.
Either way, his talents so impressed the last Labour government it ordered a CBE for him.
As for the council press release marking his move to the South Bank, Loving Dalston will spare you the full horror of the florid platitudes spread over it. In any case, a freesheet has reproduced it uncritically, failing to mention, for example, that Pipe campaigned vigorously for Khan. Context can be vital in explaining local appointments.
The Pipe quotations in the release refer to “clean streets, the new homes, a decade of frozen council tax, award-winning services”, and taxpayers can be thankful for that.
Like many Hackney councillors, however, the handout could not resist having Pipe claim credit for “the transformation of our schools”, even though primary schools get low league-table ratings and Mossbourne and other well-regarded secondaries are independent of the council.
Such blurring of facts is good practice for Pipe if he continues to keep the Lords at bay and moves into national politics. At 51, Julian Benjamin Pipe is still young enough. Twould require a salary cut, mind.
David Altheer 010716
* A September election for a new Hackney mayor is being considered.
* Backstory: Loving Dalston exposes Hackney’s election trickery; Georgian terrace an eyesore, says Pipe; Cloud over Hackney democracy; Mossbourne A-levels ‘outstanding’; Hackney Mayor’s ironic republic (date-sensitive)
* All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com, and all for sale for reproduction. Most photographs are available in bigger formats.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. A link in no way expresses support for a site.