THIS is Wes Streeting playing Oona King at Camden Town Hall. The wannabe Mayor sent Streeting, a twittering former NUS president, to deputise for her on Friday night. He spoke confidently and sometimes LOUDLY, and did his best to defend King’s convicted support for the Iraq War. But, on the night, Ken Livingstone was too much to handle in a head-to-head. Back in a room he once patrolled as Camden Council’s housing chairman, Livingstone was in relaxed mode, firing against old governments – Labour and Conservative. “I don’t think a pro-war candidate can win in London,” he punched.
It probably doesn’t need to be said again but however bright and sparky Streeting appeared – and the room certainly warmed to him – what we really wanted was Livingstone and King going head to head. In her absence, there was a lack of clarity over what she thinks about the Freedom Pass, a spot of mud was thrown here and there, just missed the carpet.
Oona was at what sounded a more glamorous event than earthy branch hustings, An Evening With Polly Toynbee And Oona King in Westminster. But her campaign team say she has actually been more committed to this hustings lark than Livingstone. Ten invites were sent his way by the OK team, they say, and only one was accepted. The KL team responds: Most of the invites were for events held on days Oona and Co knew he was away on his summer holiday. All a bit catty, and not for the first time in the evening Camden’s Labour Party didn’t get the debate the healthy turnout deserved.