MY post about Luciana Berger’s swift exit from the race for a council seat in St Pancras and Somers Town caused a bit of a stir (Luciana heads to Liverpool). I was rightly corrected that Berger will not have a guaranteed path to the House of Commons by running for Labour in Liverpool Wavertree. The Lib Dems, by all accounts, are closing in on a seat held by the same Labour MP for 18 years. I’d guess it’s probably still regarded as a better bet for Labour than a well-known constituency closer to home though.
There was also comment on these pages from David Bartlett, a journalist at the Liverpool Echo, who has blogged this week about the apparent division Luciana’s candidacy has caused. It’s not a Labour vs Lib Dem sort of division, but a division within the Labour Party itself. Apparently, just one day after she was confirmed as the new candidate, another Liverpool MP Peter Kilfoyle has dismissed her as little more than a student politician. Frosty.
Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert in the politics of Liverpool – got enough going on in London – but doesn’t this sound all too familiar? When the Labour Party need unity in the face of encroaching threat, why do members always seem to turn on themselves? Fighting among themselves, distracting each other from the increasingly daunting task of holding onto seats that they would traditionally have no problem winning.
Certainly there are Labour-supporting locals in Liverpool who regard Berger as a classic carpet bagger who has picked off a seat which gives her the best chance of a quick route to Parliament. But you wonder whether this kind of public civil war, to use the Echo’s term for it, will only lead to the whole lot of them being turfed out on their backsides. Then they will have plenty of time on their hands to argue out their differences.