Ex-mayor waxing lyrical about poet she once expelled from meeting

By koos.couvee@nlhnews.co.uk in

TWO former adversaries who once occupied radically opposite sides of the political spectrum will meet again on Sunday, 21 years after one had the other thrown out of a council meeting.

Former anti-poll tax activist Kevin Higgins will come face to face with Nadia Conway, the Conservative mayor of Enfield in 1993/94, for the first time since she expelled him from the meeting after he staged a noisy protest against the policy in July 1993.

The two have been in contact in recent years and the one-time mayor will launch a new book by Mr Higgins, now a poet, who teaches creative writing and organises literary events in Galway, Ireland, and whose work has received praise from none other then Mrs Conway, 64.

The Ghost In The Lobby is Mr Higgins’ fourth book of poems and will be launched at the Haringey Irish Centre, in Pretoria Road, Tottenham, from 3pm.

Mr Higgins, 47, who was born in Stroud Green to Irish parents, said: "It will be revisiting of old turf for me. Lots of people I was involved with at the time and whom I have not seen for more than 20 years will be there, so it’s quite a reunion and a bit of fun I hope."

Speaking about his poetry, which is characterised by a satirical take on politics, as well as his own personal life, the former activist said: "There is something to annoy everybody."

In 1993, Mr Higgins, then a Middlesex University student, was chairman of Enfield Against The Poll Tax.

He led a protest against the council’s use of bailiffs against non-taxpayer, and disrupted the start of the meeting chaired by Mrs Conway, who is married to former deputy council leader David Conway.

In that week’s edition of the Advertiser she was quoted as saying: "If Kevin wants to play his silly little games, I think he should do it somewhere else. Eventually, he will grow up."

Asked whether Mrs Conway was right when she predicted he would grow up, Mr Higgins said: "I suppose you realise that left-wing groups can also be very dogmatic.

"If you believe you can solve all the problems in the world, you can justify almost everything."

Mrs Conway added: "He started corresponding with my husband a few years ago and it turned out Mr Higgins had indeed grown up and turned out to be a very fine poet with a satirical, gently mocking style.

"I am delighted to host the event."

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