So long... farewell... auf wiedersehen... ad-Jules: Memories of Jules Pipe as he steps down as Hackney Mayor
- Credit: Archant
Jules Pipe is stepping down as Mayor of Hackney this week after 14 years in the post, to work for London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
He has become somewhat of an institution in the borough, having represented Hackney for 20 years in total.
Starting out as a backbench councillor, he went on to become leader of the council, and then directly elected Mayor in 2002.
When the news was leaked that he had taken on the job of deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills at City Hall, he said the decision to leave Hackney “was not an easy one”.
Here we ask five people for their thoughts on his “reign”.
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Councillor Ian Rathbone: “It has come as a shock that Jules Pipe is suddenly leaving Hackney as Mayor. It seems like he’s been here forever. Having known him for 20 years, I know he has taken a very big and difficult decision in leaving Hackney.
“He has been much influenced by those turbulent and unhappy 1990s, which led to traditional Labour losing overall control of the council for nearly five years.
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And that set him bravely on the determined course of successfully bringing Hackney from being ‘a basket case’ as he has often mentioned, to being ‘Labour’s secret runaway success’ as the Times described it a few years ago.
“Hackney has much to thank him for.”
Colette Allen, director of youth charity Hackney Quest: “We have seen many ups and downs within the statutory and voluntary sectors. Since Jules came on board as Mayor, he has had a massive impact on the community and stability of the voluntary and youth sectors, ensuring these areas are continuously prioritised with support and funding. This is key to changing the community for the better during good and hard times.
“I had the pleasure of being on the Mayor’s Civic Awards Panel this year alongside Jules Pipe. He is an intelligent, funny and dedicated person who understands the real needs in our diverse and exciting community.
“I am delighted to hear about his new role and, although he will be very much missed in Hackney, I am sure he will make just as much of an impact on London.
“But how will that work be able to continue to be built on with the savage government cuts we face in the coming years?”
Reporter Emma Bartholomew: “During my eight years at the Gazette I’ve spoken with Mayor Pipe just once – at the last election, to congratulate him on his win. He seemed like a humble, modest man, and it was touching to see his young children by his side celebrating his fourth Mayoral victory.
“Apparently to combat the turmoil that embroiled Hackney in the 90s, Pipe introduced a strict media policy. Keeping under the radar seems to be part of the plan.
Elected Labour officials aren’t allowed to comment to the press without permission from the party whip.
Hackney is a well-run borough, but as a journalist the level of control has been frustrating. A greater level of openness would be welcome.”
Opposition councillor Abraham Jacobson: “Before Jules Pipe took over, Hackney Council had been in total chaos for the previous six years. During his term in office, Hackney has once again become a desirable place to live and bring up one’s children.
“Mayor Pipe was always his own man. He will be remembered as someone who did things his way.
“He was not scared to go into partnership with the private sector to ensure previously blighted areas like the crime-infested Woodberry Down Estate provided social housing and more affluent residents, who contribute to the economy.
“Whoever takes over the captaincy will have a hard act to follow.”
Independent mayoral candidate Mustafa Korel: “During Jules Pipe’s ‘reign supreme’, the Hackney Today freesheet has been the worst sort of legitimised propaganda by a Labour-run council.
“It continues to devalue serious journalism and has had a negative effect on proper journalism that holds elected representatives to account.
“On planning, we have seen the destruction of community assets, and the heart of our communities has been taken away – from the battle of Broadway Market, the Four Aces Club, and the destruction of the Dalston Lane Georgian terraces.
“These unfortunate events have happened because of a concerted effort to sterilise the borough of its activist history.”