WITH some members of Camden’s Labour Party toiling away at expanding their political careers from the Town Hall to parliament and beyond without getting too much further than the Judd Street pavement, is there any green-eyed envy for the fast-track success of Luciana Berger?
Known as “Lucky Luciana” among some of her old colleagues in these parts, affectionately by some, jealously by others, Luciana went from aborting a campaign as a council candidate in Somers Town to being the MP for Liverpool Wavertree in the blink of an eye back in 2010. Here she is hanging out with Frank Dobson and the Camden crew at a conference in Brighton before her 200 mile migration north.
Now, she could take on even more power, after announcing she will run to be the new metro Mayor on Merseyside as power is devolved up north. On the local BBC network last night, Luciana, a distant relative of Labour councillor Roger Robinson, said she would fight any suggestion that a north London root should be some sort of hurdle to securing the role. “I’m proud to call this region my home,” she said. “I chose to come here.”
And who is to say that, in her contest against Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson and MP Steve Rotherham, she can’t overcome such sniping? For when her safe seat in Liverpool became vacant six years ago, the same grumbling surrounded her selection, as rivals cast her as an UFL (up from London) seeking a short cut to the House of Commons. She won a vote of members despite a loud objection from Ricky Tomlinson, the Royle Family actor who accused her of arriving by parachute and suggested he might run himself, and a trip in the Liverpool Echo when she struggled with a pop quiz about the city’s famous history.
“Who was Bill Shankly?” the newspaper asked her.
She replied: “You can’t ask a girl a football question.”
I’m sure she knows now. And probably who Jurgen Klopp is too.