AWAY from Labour’s animated search for a successor to Frank Dobson, the Greens are excited about how the General Election may pan out in these streets next May. This feeling of anticipation was recently stoked by a New Statesman piece in which the constituency was set up as a Labour vs Green battlefield. ‘Can Natalie Bennett and the Greens seize power in Camden?’, the headline, to which the answer is almost certainly no, read.
— Caroline Crampton (@c_crampton) October 31, 2014
Harsh as it may be, ‘Labour vs Green’ is a stretching it a bit if you’re talking about overall victory. As we’ve seen in recent weeks the constituency is more Labour vs Labour right now, with the leading party aware that when they choose their candidate next week they are effectively choosing an MP. If the in the know folk at the Staggers see it any other way, there are juicy odds for them to enjoy on a Green win. Labour, without a candidate, are 1/100.
But that’s not to say that there isn’t anything in what the New Statesman, or for that matter Natalie Bennett, is saying. This is an important election for the Greens. Nationally, it wants to show that it is not boxed in down in Brighton. But locally there is an opportunity, particularly with the departure of Frank Dobson, to dig deeper foundations for future battles.
At the council elections in May, the Greens showed they were the only party capable of depriving a Town Hall seat from Labour across the entire Holborn and St Pancras constituency. So there’s an ‘if not now, then when’ feeling to the party’s basic mission of at least leapfrogging the Lib Dems and the Tories in a parliamentary contest.
Victory, even with the party’s leader Natalie Bennett standing here, is a lot to ask, as those Ladbrokes odds show, but a close second would be a good platform. And of course, she will not be an easy adversary for whoever Labour pick on December 13, as a local with a profile beyond the borough borders and Question Time recognition. She can stir the pot by batting lefter than than Labour in a constituency where members seemed to have enjoyed having a thorn to Tony Blair as an MP, but then voted in greater numbers for David Miliband be the party’s leader, than his brother Ed. Figure that one out. In those gaps, Natalie will hope to slip.
The question discussed this week is whether a video appeal for crowd-funding is a sign of weakness – or strength. An immediate reaction might be: how can the Greens rattle on about topping Labour in the south of Camden if there’s no money in the bank.
But the film released last month, see below, is not just being circulated privately to members in an effort to prise a little bit of extra money from those who have already revealed their support and signed up to the cause. It is open for all to see on the internet, an unashamed begging bowl message aimed at drawing in new supporters whether they have money to donate, or not. To some extent, such a push is a way of saying to as many people as possible – not just New Statesman readers – ‘hi, we’re still here and we’re not going away’, a letter of intent that might just unnerve their immediate opponents in a race likely to be for an honourable second place.