JILL Fraser is among the Lib Dems looking to arrest the Labour comeback in Camden at council elections in Haverstock.
She will surely, as she has done in the past, benefit from a good personal vote. People, put simply, like her and arguments about whether the Lib Dems betrayed their supporters by dealing nationally with the Tories will, in the minds of some, be of lesser interest tomorrow.
The former Mayor knows the streets like the back of her hand and has served a lot of the electorate here a bag of fish and chips from a takeaway in Queen’s Crescent at some point or another. Good chips too.
And we’ve so recently seen how local popularity can have an important effect on ward by ward polls. Paul Braithwaite was, for example, the lone Lib Dem survivor in Cantelowes recently. He got around 300 more votes than his fellow Lib Dems candidates in the ward on May 6 and consequently was the only one of his team to get elected. In the case of Maya De Souza, the Green who resisted the local charge in Highgate, she got more than 400 more votes than her own colleagues. People often say they don’t even know who their local councillor is, but in Maya’s case her profile must have helped split the results.
Now, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened in Haverstock had the elections there been held on the same day that Labour took back Kentish Town, Gospel Oak and the main share of Camden Town with Primrose Hill and Cantelowes. Would Jill – and for that matter Matt Sanders, also familiar locally for his record on the patch – have retained enough support to survive the swings in Camden? I’m not sure, but the chance to whir up the ‘by-election’ machine for a one off showdown with Labour will clearly give them a greater chance of retaining seats here. It will be a close run thing.