IMAGINE Camden Council’s local elections end with no party claiming overall control. That didn’t take long did it..?
A result like that would leave the political parties considering what power-sharing arrangements might be set up at the Town Hall. Would the Lib Dems work again with the Conservatives? Would the Lib Dems forget all the squabbles and bad blood of the last four years and strike a deal with Labour instead? Will the Lib Dems even have the major say this time? So many questions… it’s a bit like all the wondering over what Nick Clegg would do if the General Election on the same day produces a hung Parliament.
The question today, however, is whether there is even an atmosphere in Camden for friendly negotiations to take place should the results end in a flux? The Lib Dems and the Conservatives are ripping each other to shreds in the jostle to be best placed to beat Glenda Jackson. And what of Labour’s raw relationship with the Lib Dems? Labour has already said they won’t work with the Lib Dems in Camden if they continue to sell council homes. Plus this: Look at the anger in a letter from former Labour council leader Dame Jane Roberts published in today’s Guardian today. These are fierce words which suggest brokering a deal for control of Judd Street won’t be simple at all.
I have considerable respect for a number of national Lib Dem politicians and Nick Clegg does indeed have a compelling, straightforward style of talking, so important now for any party leader. But what sticks in my craw is the notion that the Lib Dems represent a new and different type of politics. In local elections, Lib Dems have long been the most shameless, unscrupulous campaigners of any mainstream party. Let’s not kid ourselves that the Lib Dems have the high moral ground.
Jane Roberts, former Labour leader of Camden Council