ED Fordham would surely love it if parliamentary politics in Hampstead follows the lead of what’s occurred in Hornsey and Wood Green in the last 25 years.
In the 1980s, Sir Hugh Rossi held the seat for the Conservatives. Similarly, Hampstead and Highgate was blue back then.
Then in 1992, Barbara Roche was elected for Labour in Hornsey and Wood Green. Remember that was the first year Glenda Jackson was elected for Hampstead and Highgate for Labour.
After spending years trying to win the seat, winning it and climbing her way into junior ministerial roles under Tony Blair, Roche then surrendered the seat in 2005 to the Lynne Featherstone of the Lib Dems. She was a victim of a dramatic 14 percent swing.
And what now? Featherstone looks unbeatable this time around. Fordham doesn’t need a 14 percent swing, but he would love the new Hampstead and Kilburn constituency to decide – after spells under the command of both the Tories and Labour – that the Lib Dems are worth a go, especially if he can build a base like Featherstone has a few miles east. It all must be considered as part of a plan to turn a great big band of north London yellow. Bridget Fox wants a slice of that action in Islington South.
One of the reasons, Featherstone has been a hit locally, it seems, is her obvious knowledge of the area and her apparent interest in even the smallest of issues. She is the interfering old aunt that the fragile Labour council in Haringey must be sick to the back teeth of. Featherstone has after all micromanaged the constituency to a tee. Take her YouTube efforts below. She plays the part of peeved of train customer superbly. A great use of ‘hey ho’ in there too. This is the kind of irritated rant that will strike a chord with voters locally. Of course the majority of people are worried about banks collapsing and the environment folding, the big things, but folks do love to rage about the broken ticket machines and bad signs at stations given the chance. Featherstone here taps into that daily annoyance we all find when things don’t run as they should.
So, with Roche a distant memory, what now for Labour in Hornsey and Wood Green? Candidate Karen Jennings must know she has an uphill task. Party members in Haringey I’ve spoken to say she has pulled herself back into the race in recent weeks, although nobody I know will be rushing to the bookies to back her just yet (Featherstone had odds of 1-20 recently).
She has fewer outings on YouTube, but there is this gem in which she attempts to tell voters that she is a candidate that should be taken seriously… by hauling in the John Prescott battle bus. He grinds his teeth about the Liberals and insists he’s here to help win it back for Labour. Shame then, that at about 1min 11secs in the film, he looks sleepy-eyed and half asleep on the stage when Jennings is addressing a members rally. I wonder if JP asked Glenda if she wanted him to stop his bus up the road. He’s yet to pull up in that three-way warzone.
Richard Merrin, the Conservative party candidate in Hornsey and Wood Green, has yet to break into the world of YouTube election films.