At 78, the Labour veteran, Pat Haynes, who relishes another polls scrap

Friday, 15th January 2010

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HE served as an Islington councillor in the 1970s alongside Jack Straw, in the years before the latter became a government minister.
And at 78, Labour veteran Pat Haynes, a councillor for a record 31 years, believes he’s not too old to do the job all over again. He hopes to be nominated as a candidate in his Mildmay ward for this year’s Town Hall elections.
Not that he would be the oldest elected member of the council. Islington Mayor Anna Barent is a sprightly 83, although she is standing down at this year’s elections.
Mr Haynes has certainly got the credentials. He is a former leader with print union Natsopa, a Labour Party member for 54 years, branch secretary of the local party for 10 years, secretary of the local Fabian Society   for 40 years and a historian who wrote a book about his life as a councillor from 1971 to 2002.
Asked if he still had the energy for the job, Mr Haynes, a former mayor, said: “I may be a bit slow on my feet but my enthusiasm is there. I believe I could do the job because I’ve done it before and being retired I can devote the time to the duties.”
An active member of Islington Pensioners Forum, Mr Haynes said his priority once elected would be to provide more support for the elderly.
He added: “There are more elderly than ever before and they are not being looked after. We need more luncheon and social clubs.
“The council has just given free school meals to every child in the borough, which is a very good thing. But what about the old people? Why can’t they have free meals?”
Mr Haynes, who knows what it is like to live on a state pension, said he is worried that in the current cold spell many pensioners would have put heating before eating.
“When you have little cash there’s a danger that something is sacrificed, food or warmth,” he said. “It shouldn’t be like this.”
Mr Haynes believes his chances of being selected as a candidate are slim, but he has the support of former Labour council leader Derek Sawyer.
Mr Sawyer, chairman of Islington Community Police Safety Board and a Mildmay councillor for eight years alongside Mr Haynes, said: “Any selection process must take its course, but he’d be a jolly good councillor. He’s got the pulse of the area, and the experience.”
PETER GRUNER

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