RUMOUR has it that Team Tulip is feeling a little hard done by after the BBC zoned a special report in on Hampstead and Kilburn, but went hard and long on a) the intrigue that we should take from the 2010 result which left a 42 crumb Labour majority on the slate and b) her party’s recent fire-fighting on the mansion tax in the constituency. During a segment on the London bit of the Sunday Politics, there were also plenty of scratches at whether Ed Miliband is dawdling around in a Hampstead Heath day-dream, a hangover from his bungled conference speech last Autumn.
Tulip didn’t get the chance to defend her leader – if she did, it was cut – and we saw her for little more than a minute as she frantically defended the mansion tax outside her Kilburn High Road poster shop. She was more or less drowned out as the report switched between Simon Marcus masterfully wheeling around the village in his Hampstead Man sheep-and-pig pilot’s coat, drinking coffee authoritively and messaging that the mansion tax is a tax on envy, and Maajid Nawaz looking scholarly in an office somewhere.
In between, for good measure, the Beeb’s reporter repeatedly mentioned the slim majority, which of course may only be relevant if the Lib Dems are able to defy recent local elections and poll as well as they did in 2010, and pulled out his phone to check what everybody already knows, that a lot of homes in the constituency are being advertised on estate agents’ website for more than £2 million. Then there were unnamed people in the street looking at flashcard pictures of Miliband and revulsing, before a studio chat in which the New Statesman’s Anoosh Chakelian was on hand to list more reasons why the Labour leader wasn’t connecting with voters – chiefly that he thinks leadership is more or less the overseeing of an intellectual dinner party – and to out Tulip as a party functionary.
Tulip’s rivals should get a tape of it, hire some jumbotron TV screens and play it on repeat next to the South End Green fountain, on the Kilburn High Road and outside the Waitrose in Swiss Cottage. She has always managed to navigate press traps quite well, but this one was one-up for Simon. The more people the Tories can convince that the difference here really is still only 42 votes, the better chance he will have.
It’s on the iPlayer for another 20 days if you want to judge for yourselves.