Morning update 16.03.15: Every loser wins

morningupdate5AFTER a few deep breaths before the mayhem of the next seven and a half weeks, it’s time for the blog to get a more regular update in time for May’s general election. You can still subscribe with the link on the right: warning, this may or may not be a good thing, because it sends you an email every time there is an update. This usually translates as getting the version of the post with the most amount of typos. All updates are still uploaded here, with a morning update on the things that didn’t quite make a full post.


BY-ELECTIONS in Camden are not always as one-sided as the contest in Somers Town and St Pancras recently. Back in 2008 there was a real humdinger to report on in Hampstead Town ward where the Liberal Democrats, in peak Lib Dem times, held off the Conservatives by just 100 odd votes or so. Linda Chung, a well known local face, was elected, while the Tory candidate Stephen Phillips went off to lick his wounds in a ward which the Tories were always angry about having to share, albeit temporarily, with the Lib Dems. And yet, here is another example, it seems, of a loser getting the better chomp in the end. 

For, while Linda’s council career has been paused, for the time being at least, by last year’s Lib Dem wipeout, Mr Phillips could be found in the thick of the important action at parliament last week. Soon after his Hampstead by-election defeat, he was selected for a safe parliamentary seat in Sleaford and became an MP in 2010. The local association seem to have taken to him and he was re-selected to stand again there last week. And the Commons life seems to be doing him good, he even looks younger than the days canvassing the hills of Hampstead seven years ago. The energy was certainly running through his efforts at the Public Accounts Committee last week, when, as you can see from the clip below, he drew the biggest gulp from HSBC board member (and BBC chairwoman) Rona Fairhead. ‘Somebody has to be held responsible,’ he warned, as the committee tried to work out who was to blame for what went on at the bank. Ms Fairhead looked like she hadn’t been spoken to like that for a long, long time.


ANOTHER case of a ‘loser winning’ was James Morris, who was beaten by Chris Philp to the Conservative selection in Hampstead and Kilburn ahead of the 2010 general election. James headed off to Halesowen, got selected there and duly became an MP. Chris won the open primary here, but famously missed out on victory by 42 votes as Glenda Jackson clung on. That should be encouraging for Alex Burghart, who was outflanked by Simon Marcus supporters at the primary to find the Tories’ candidate in H&K this time around. He’ll need all the good omens he can find, however, having popped up as the Conservative challenger in the more intimidating climate of Islington North – a Labour stronghold, Jeremy Corbyn’s long-held seat.


THE main broadcasters are starting to ring around local authorities to ask where they can stick their cameras on election night. There is talk of one of them running webcams, like CCTV cameras, at count centres across the country, which should be thrilling. While the results in some constituencies will pass through without the film of the final declaration ever being seen by anyone, it’s a dead cert that both Sky and the BBC will be here in Camden. Firstly, Hampstead and Kilburn is still rated as a marginal, despite differences of opinion as to whether the narrative of a 42-vote gap should really be trusted. Secondly, there is a feeling among journalists up the tree that the political rise of Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer needs to be properly charted, starting with his much-forecast winner’s speech in Holborn and St Pancras. Just in case, just in case he one day becomes…


LABOUR members took time off from their election campaigning to celebrate retiring MP Frank Dobson’s 75th birthday They gathered at the Red Fort, a bespoke curry house in Soho, and listened to the storyteller crack some of his favourite jokes.


Insert joke about David Cameron chickening out of the TV debates

Tulip Siddiq: respectful or greasy, you decide…


Hampstead and Kilburn:
LAB 1/6; CON 9/2; LIB DEM 16/1; GREEN No price; UKIP No price
* William Hill

Holborn and St Pancras:
LAB 1/100; GREEN 28/1; CON 50/1; LIB DEM 50/1; UKIP 125/1
* William Hill

Hornsey and Wood Green:
LAB 4/11; LIB DEM 2/1; GREEN 33/1; CON 100/1; UKIP No price
* William Hill

Finchley and Golders Green:
CON 1/4; LAB 11/4; LIB DEM 100/1; GREEN 100/1; UKIP 100/1
* Coral

Islington North:
LAB 1/200; GREEN 50/1; LIB DEM 50/1; CON 150/1; UKIP No price
* Coral

Islington South and Finsbury:
LAB 1/33; LIB DEM 20/1; CON 50/1; GREEN 100/1; UKIP No price
* William Hill

Westminster North:
LAB 1/14; CON 13/2; LIB DEM 150/1; GREEN No price; UKIP No price
* William Hill

2 Comments on Morning update 16.03.15: Every loser wins

  1. Chris Knight // March 17, 2015 at 10:50 am //

    Richard, thanks for the update on the 2008 election it just goes to show just how wrong the electors were in their choice, that said we all make mistakes and live to regret them, two comments spring to mind;

    “baby with the bathwater”

    “panning for gold and keeping the rocks”

    Stephen Phillips MP. QC. would have been an amazing Cllr not just for Hampstead but for the general good of of the people of Camden, lucky old Sleaford !!!

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