THE last thing the Liberal Democrats want anywhere in London is the General Election and the local elections to be held on the same day. A bit like their irritation over the way the Ken vs Boris showdown took over the London elections last year, the party understandably hates it when the vote is built up into a straight face-off between Labour and the Conservatives. Like the way some people will tell you the next election is becoming a question of: Yes or No – Gordon Brown, is he a keeper?
There was a bit of talk over the weekend that Brown may actually surprise us all and go to the public vote in April but hardly anybody now would bet against May 6 for the General Election, the same day as the Camden Council elections. No Lib Dem will say ‘oh drat’ publicly but an email doing the rounds sent by eco-champion Lib Dem councillor Alexis Rowell to members of the Sustainability Taskforce at the Town Hall suggest fear is creeping in. As he discusses what shape the Taskforce might take in the future, he admits Labour – currently occupying the opposition benches – might end up with more seats than anybody else on May 6. That would be an amazing reversal in fortunes for both Labour and the Lib Dems in Camden.
In the email sent around last night, Cllr Rowell wrote: “The Camden Labour group, which may well have the most councillors after May 6th if the general and local elections are held on the same day, has, apart from Penny, shown near zero interest in the Task Force. Roger Robinson has been to 30 minutes of one Task Force meeting and Sue Vincent has been to half of another. Penny is standing down so there’s no reason to expect that the Labour Group will have any interest in prolonging the life of the Task Force.”
Labour members will be annoyed at Cllr Rowell for stabbing away at their apparently poor attendance at the cross-party Taskforce’s meetings, but seeing a Lib Dem predicting Labour to bounce back on May 6 will surely make them smile. I wonder if they have the same confidence over their chances at the boroughwide ballot as their opposition.