From flags to riches - a review of Islington’s 2014
- Credit: Archant
It’s been another tumultuous year in Islington’s history with closures, cuts and cups dominating the headlines.
The elections in May saw Labour make a virtual clean sweep of Islington Council, nabbing all but one of the town hall seats. The Green Party managed to snatch the other, while the Lib Dems, who had been charge of the council as recently as 2010, lost all every single seat.
With almost no opposition, council leader Cllr Richard Watts promised to allow himself to be grilled by members of the public at a series of “leader’s question times” in a bid to promote scrutiny.
Meanwhile ahead of further predicted cuts, secret town hall proposals to close half the borough’s libraries, along with leisure centres and lollipop services were revealed by the Gazette in August.
Arsenal ended their nine year wait for a trophy by beating Hull City 3-2 in the FA Cup Final at Wembley in May.
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The Gunners also hit the front pages after it was revealed they had dished out £60,000 in free tickets to Islington Police in a deal that broke Met rules. The following week it emerged the Scotland Yard were considering withdrawing match day policing unless Arsenal stumped up the cash to pay for it.
Violence erupted on the borough’s streets during a week of terror in March; an axe attack on Upper Street, Islington, during rush hour left a young man with his hand hanging off, while a lunchtime moped shooting in nearby Essex Road saw Cllr Paul Convery, Isington Council’s executive member for community safety, vow to get a grip on the upsurge in violent crime.
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In August, on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, Islington remembered it’s estimated 9.400 denizens who had died in the conflict.
A series of remembrance event took place across the borough, with Islington Council erecting plaques bearing the names of the fallen on the streets where they lived.
Finsbury residents rallied round Brendan Clusky, much-loved landlord of the Angel pub, in City Road, when the pub’s owners Mitchells and Butlers threatened to turf him out after 25 years.
Despite almost 1,000 angry punters joining the campaign the company said they were going ahead with their decision.
Meanwhile when the Gazette revealed that a series of drug deaths at world famous Farringdon super club Fabric had promoted a license review, nearly 40,000 people signed a petition to prevent the venue’s closure.
And finally, Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington south and Finsbury, lost her role of shadow attorney general after she tweeted a picture of a house covered in England flags during the Rochester and Strood by-election. The resulting backlash saw her branded a “revolting snob”.