Election Live: Wow, fair play to Glenda Jackson

Live Blog: May 7/ 10.45am

DID that just happen?

After hours of waiting in the stifling atmosphere of Haverstock School’s canteen, the General Election in Camden came alive with one of the most stunning wins of the night, given the danger she was in. Glenda’s ‘Great Escape’ was confirmed not long after 8am when she was declared the winner in Hampstead and Kilburn by just 42 votes. You should have heard the rat-a-tat screams of Glenda! GlenDA! GLENDA!

The clues to this unforeseen win, as eventually suggested on these pages, were in the results elsewhere.. Karen Buck, Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn led the way for Labour with spectacular wins. Frank Dobson and  Jackson duly followed suit, essentially untroubled by the Lib Dems.

Labour critics of the Lib Dems can say they had the last laugh this morning, their predictions of a Jackson victory in a redrawn constituency had not been given enough weight against the backdrop of Gordon Brown’s awful national campaign.

Labour briefers were to large extent right when they said that the much-vaunted ‘Clegg Effect’ would have little sway on the polls in Camden, where voters were already familiar of Lib Dem handiwork. And when it came to marking a cross, a cross for the Lib Dems, away from Frank and Glenda, was clearly a leap of faith too far this time.

The Lib Dem charge to win a parliamentary seat in Camden for the first time was, as they said, wrapped in hype, the support ultimately too soft.

The scene at Haverstock this morning will live with me and I’m sure the pack of all journalists that were there. Glenda could have got up and said: Told you all so. Lots of time. She instead spent her time with warm thank yous to a campaign team that has clearly worked harder than anybody outside the Labour Party had imagined.

Conservative Chris Philp, so close to a life-changing victory, made a particularly gracious loser’s speech, full of humility. Around the side of the gym, there were Lib Dem head in their hands, eyes watering in a shock they did not see coming. They have invested years of work, not for this. Some of them were absolutely certain that Ed Fordham would beat Glenda Jackson, and had a genuine suspicion too that Jo Shaw would run Dobson much closer than she did. She was nearly 10,000 votes short.

I was wrong too. I thought Glenda was off the mark during the campaign and that she had misread how much peril she was in. Of course, she was only 42 votes from losing, but she was right every time she insisted she was bang in the middle of the running. This success was the ultimate answer to so many doubters who had begun wondering what Philp or Fordham would be like as MP.

The icy growl people talk about was nowhere to be seen in Glenda this morning. But then this was emotional stuff. A frog even caught Dobson’s throat.

7 Comments on Election Live: Wow, fair play to Glenda Jackson

  1. Nick Harding // May 7, 2010 at 11:51 am //

    Both Glenda and Frank will have benefited from the return of many labour voters who were disgusted with Blair last time. The extent of local fury over Iraq in particular has gone largely unmentioned. Although both were against the Iraq adventure, many voters wanted to make sure their votes could not be interpreted as supporting labour’s behaviour.

    Nick Harding

    • Richard Osley // May 7, 2010 at 11:55 am //

      The restoration of a healthier majority for Frank Dobson suggests that is very much the case.

  2. John Bryant // May 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm //

    Isn’t it the case that no one deserved to win in this three way split? And surely Glenda cannot claim a mandate to represent the area based on only 32% of the votes cast, which was less than last time in Hampstead and Highgate, and less than the notional position that Labour started in, extrapolated on the new boundaries?

    I suspect the winning slice of the votes here was the second lowest in the country for a single seat, and the movement of votes between the parties points to a further dropping away of Labour’s support in the area. This is a perfect example of the need for electoral reform.

    • inde pendant // May 8, 2010 at 3:59 am //

      yes, john bryant – as your party the FIB DIMS only got 10 seats on the council and 50 odd nationwide;
      indeed it’s time for a reform – of the idiots within your party !!
      stop moaning and groaning, accept defeat and stay in the hung opposition.

  3. Theo Blackwell wins Gospel Oak // May 8, 2010 at 6:19 pm //

    John, Glenda won fair and square on an election campaign you ran with a slogan reminding voters that there were 474 votes in it.

    I share your enthusiam for PR, so am disappointed that the Lib Dems nationally are treating with the Tories without an explicit guarantee for a referndum on voting system changes.

    Many of your supporters and councillors will feel let down by this, and our door is open to them should they wish to join us if you do provide support to a Tory government.

  4. It was the CNJ wot won it.

  5. what a dramatic night

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