Glenda: I didn’t watch TV debates

POSSIBLY out for the night at hustings and clearly not so inclined to watch a recording, Glenda Jackson tells the Washington Post that she didn’t see the moment when so many commentators think the shape of this General Election campaign was bent in a completely new direction.

Whether Nick Clegg’s performance, particularly in the first debate at the start of the campaign (you remember, the one in which he excelled at being not as clunky as the other two), is translated into votes and seats on Thursday or not, it obviously changed the narrative of the last few weeks. It gave the Lib Dems a foundation to at least have a shot at scooping a whole heap of new parliamentary seats. Their moment of truth is almost here.

In what is a revealing interview with the WP, Glenda – described as “resplendent” in her trademark red riding hood election coat – says in terms of the impact of TV she “gets it occasionally”.

Only occasionally?

Having not seen the potentially pivotal moment and the dawn of the overblown Cleggmania that followed just 90 minutes of TV, Glenda suggests all this talk of Lib Dem rival Ed Fordham forcing his way to the front in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency is a distraction and that her main threat is still the Conservatives. The quote:

You mustn’t believe the fantasies the Liberal Democrats are putting out.


Of course it’s true the Lib Dems, to quote Sinatra, may find themselves riding high in April, shot down in May. There is a chance that their hoped-for share of the vote may not materialise in a final polling day squeeze. Past Labour voters may find a cross for Ed a leap of faith too far when a Conservative government is looming in the backdrop.

But the repeated dismissal of the Lib Dems as a threat in this divided, fluid constituency, when they have clearly polled and campaigned well, benefited from the new boundaries and been given squeaky-tiny odds at the bookmakers is baffling. The more she says it, the more Glenda risks appearing like she is out of tune with the neighbourhoods she has represented for so long.

In her 18 years in Parliament, she has been refreshingly independent, hardly ever shackled by spin and press office orchestration. Now, would be a strange time to take up a negative communications strategy like this.

4 Comments on Glenda: I didn’t watch TV debates

  1. John Bryant // May 5, 2010 at 12:43 am //

    Her Little Red Riding Hood coat reminds me of the frightening image of that ugly minute woman in “Don’t Look Now”. Her ridiculous denial of her imminent and humiliating defeat might lead her to even stranger behaviour perhaps?

  2. Jack Holroyde // May 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm //

    It is said that a certain woman who was in power for a long term went a bit crazy in the weeks before her removal from power.
    Of course, I draw no links between Glenda and ‘she-who-must-not-be-named’, but as Ghandi once said, ‘Any change in a good change – especially after someone has been in power for some time’.
    Apt for the constituency, methinks

  3. Albert Shanker // May 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm //

    Confident of your council seat Bryant? Would be very humiliating if you lost.

  4. Theo Blackwell for Gospel oak // May 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm //

    Hmmm. Certainly the Lib Dems would like you to think that.

    They’ve been running campaign which borders on the ageist, with Ed Fordham – for his own ambitious reasons, having moved to camden for this purpose 5 or so years ago – wanting Glenda to just get out of the way so he can get two important letters after his name. As with Frank Dobson, the Liberals have taken steps to dirty-up the record of long-serving MPs, which takes the halo of them somewhat.

    While the constituency has changed over the past decade, with more professional young people moving in to areas like West Hampstead (perhaps reflected in both Tory and Lib dem choice of candidates), it also remains a place with historic communities and long-term residents. All to play for.

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