IF last night was Thursday, then it was the Queens Park Resident Association hustings for the increasingly battle-weary election candidates in Hampstead and Kilburn. But as Tulip, Simon and co sat down to answer questions from voters living in the corner of Brent tacked onto the constituency during a boundary shift before the last election, punters wondered where Lib Dem hope Maajid Nawaz was. A game of choices, Maajid decided the winner of a clashing diary would be an appearance on Channel 4 News and a debate hosted by Kristian Guru-Murthy about whether the votes of ethnic minorities could swing the election. If the local Lib Dems would have preferred he had been at St Anne’s and St Andrew’s Church for the hustings, they would not have much grounds for complaint. From the very start of Maajid’s local adventure, he’s been honest that national politics seize his attention beyond the party’s neighbourhood reputation for sorting out pothole politics.
— Cllr James Denselow (@cllrjdenselow) April 9, 2015
The final list of candidates in Hampstead and Kilburn, Holborn and St Pancras and the Hampstead Town by-election was finalised yesterday evening. As said here earlier this week, there is no TUSC candidate on either slate, nor is there anyone from the BNP. The Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol candidate is confirmed in the south of the Camden, while the pensions reform candidate from the ‘U party’ Robin Ellison rides once more in the north. In the Hampstead by-election, one regular reader of this blog obsessed as to whether the Lib Dems would be fielding former Linda Chung. When it was confirmed that she was not seeking a comeback here, the reader – a Conservative who must remain nameless but he once described himself proudly by the frightening nickname ‘the Chung slayer’ – messaged to say: “It’s official Linda Chung abandons Hampstead and joins the rest of the Lib Dems on sinking HMS Clegg. Does she still agree with Nick?” There are wounds there that are still taking a while to heal. Meanwhile, Nigel Rumble returns as an independent choice.
Camden Conservative leader Claire-Louise Leyland ignored the teasing from T-Money last night about why her @BelsizeBulletin Twitter profile had not been changed to reflect her election adventure standing in West Tyrone. She sent him a separate handle, @WestTyroneCons, with which we can follow her efforts in the Sinn Fein stronghold. Here we find her 400 miles from home, exploring the farms of Castlederg and following strict Tory campaign orders to be photographed with a lamb.
THE MOB OF FANS
Conservative candidate Simon Marcus is not wrong when he said that Boris Johnson was mobbed when he visited Kilburn on Tuesday, and as I reported in the New Journal yesterday – no other politician will be stopped for so many selfie pictures. The constant requests for souvenir snaps meant it was slow progress for the Tory team as they headed up the High Road. But is Simon right to say all, as in absolutely all, the people in the pictures he tweeted were ‘fans’. See the woman at the fruit stall in the top left picture and… the video below, which shows he spent a little less time with her when she asked what he, as Mayor, had done to make living in London more affordable.
THE WORD (AND PHOTOS) ON THE STREETS
If you haven’t already, check out the Marginal Streets website, where photographers Lawrence Fox and are posting pictures of two voters from Hampstead and Kilburn every day with a caption explaining who they are voting for and why. The portraits are ace, and the collected comments are interesting too. Yesterday, a man explained: “I’m worried that if Britain pulls out of the EU, freedom of movement in Europe will be withdrawn, as in the 1930s, when you couldn’t escape if your country was in crisis and it had become unsafe for some minorities. Definitely not Greens – they said they would legalise ISIS.’ This came out of an awkward television interview Natalie Bennett had with Andrew Neil a couple of months ago. Whether her thoughts on tolerance amounted to ‘legalising Isis’ does not seem likely, but the photo project is interesting in how it reveals how one jumbled interview answer can be translate to the views of voters on the streets. Tune into Marginal Streets each day for more.