41 days to go
A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month, and a very long 30 days of November ahead…
YESTERDAY we tried a load of postcodes in Best For Britain’s tactical voting dashboard and found the pro-EU group recommending that voters in Hampstead and Kilburn choose Labour if they want to fight Brexit; this despite the Liberal Democrat pledge to halt the divorce altogether. Tulip Siddiq’s campaign will hope her continual vow that she will never vote for any form of Brexit will shield her from the risk of losing remain voters to Matt Sanders.
But what dashboard do you check if you want to find a candidate who will help push through Brexit? Leavers, you have the OneUK website which is instructing Brexiteers how they should vote tactically. In Hampstead and Kilburn, surprise, surprise, the required selection according to the computer is currently a vote for the Conservatives. Tory challenger Johnny Luk is, after all, the only declared candidate who believes the UK must leave the EU in order to save democracy.
There’s no sign of a Brexit Party candidate so far and the days of Magnus Nielsen turning up in UKIP colours seem to finally be over. He still apparently insists that his 408 votes collected in Hampstead and Kilburn in 2010 were what prevented the Conservatives from beating Glenda Jackson in that dramatic 42-vote finish. I guess he has a point.
THE Liberal Democrats must find that Best For Britain dashboard annoying in their pursuit of Tulip Siddiq. Punch in the postcode and remainers are told to vote Labour.
It must be more frustrating for them that those who scroll down are then given an analysis which actually recommends no tactical voting and wallops in a big yellow bar graph.
How many will scroll down though? Not many, but expect to see this chart on a few leaflets coming to a letterbox near you soon.
AN interesting tweet from former Liberal Democrat council candidate and local campaigner Andrew Haslam-Jones, although maybe it’s best if Kirsty Allan, the party’s parliamentary candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn two years ago, skips the next few lines.
While Mr HJ (pictured above at conference with former Camden councillor John Bryant) may be extolling the virtues of ‘not-that-difficult’ vote-swapping, he and all other Lib Dems in this area will surely be asked not to contemplate doing the same this time around.
RISING STAR ON THE SIDELINES
GIVEN her track record of ‘played two, won two’ at elections and a steady rise through the party – at the autumn conference there whispers that she might even one day be the party’s national leader – it might seem strange that Belsize councillor Luisa Porritt’s name will not be on the ballot paper anywhere on December 12.
She already has decent profile beyond our council chamber and regularly fronts media ops for the party. Surely the Lib Dems would want their best performers on the pitch at a general election they seem so confident about making a big splash at? To a few raised eyebrows, party rules set this summer have shut that door by preventing MEPs from now standing in domestic parliamentary elections as well.
The raised eyebrows are because if the UK does leave in January (or before) Cllr Porritt, one of the national party’s favourite rising stars, and others will no longer be MEPs but will also have missed out on shot at becoming an MP. Instead, they have had to watch while new members – lots of defectors – have largely been able to take their pick of attractive constituencies.
Cllr Porritt, presuming she would like to be an MP, will have to wait until a future general election then… which given how often this country now holds them shouldn’t be too long.
NEXT TRY: SEVENOAKS
FORMER Conservative Camden councillor Laura Trott, recently seen as a news channel pundit (saying a lot more on the TV than she ever did in the Town Hall chamber… to reheat an old line of some of her former colleagues) continues her quest to be an MP. She is down to the last three for selection in Sevenoaks with a decision due on November 10. Sir Michael Fallon is stepping down there, and it had been an area which Boris Johnson himself had been rumoured to be considering, what is called in the trade, ‘a chicken run’ to. Local councillor Graham Clack and former MP Stewart ‘BrexitStewart’ Jackson are with Ms Trott on the final shortlist.
Still more interested, though, in where Henry Newman, a current councillor in her old Frognal seat, might stand.
TWO SEASON TICKETS UP THE ARSENAL
HARPING on about 2010 again but not only was it the closest that the Lib Dems came to winning in Hampstead and Kilburn, they were also players in other London constituencies including Islington South where Emily Thornberry is the Labour MP. Yesterday, the Islington Lib Dems were on the scene when the party drove a slogan wagon around the borough to goad Jeremy Corbyn in his own patch. It attempted to stop outside Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium but read Emily Finch’s account in today’s Islington Tribune to find out how that proved to be harder than might have been first imagined, the Lib Dem machine stymied by… double yellow lines.
Also on the scene was the disarming but deadly Joe.co.uk, which has already caught a few politicians out in their social media videos. This time Kate Pothalingam, the Lib Dem candidate standing against Ms Thornberry, was put out admitting she shouldn’t have said that she doesn’t live in the constituency. There was also talk of two season tickets at Arsenal, which, sadly, can be code for ‘north London metropolitan elite’.
Note also, the urge to get the name ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ in as many times as possible.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
THOSE keeping up on these posts will know I live in Brighton. So a quick update on a cringe factor change to how full council meetings are being conducted by the sea: the new mayor has begun ‘walk in’ music (like boxing, or the darts), opting to appear in the chamber to the sound of the city’s favourite DJ Fatboy Slim and his track ‘Right Here, Right Now’. Could it work in Camden? Walk-in music. A bit of Madness? Some Amy? It could work.
AN update from yesterday’s bookmaker odds. Ladbrokes has now made up its mind on Hampstead and Kilburn and starts Tulip Siddiq as favourite. It’s not like the ‘dead cert’ markets being run by bookies in other areas, however, such as Islington North and Holborn and St Pancras.
GOOD LUCK RAMZY
FINALLY, a best of luck message to Ramzy Alwakeel who is leaving the editor’s chair at our rival newspaper, the Hampstead and Highgate Express, this week to join HuffPo. Ramzy has been credited for injecting energy into the Archant titles at a time when resources have not been plentiful. His teammates all talk of his commitment and love for the local press game, and how he has helped them to get better.
We can all agree or disagree over newspaper ownership and funding ideas, or even what makes a good news story and what doesn’t, but Ramzy’s final editorial had lines we can all get behind: “Local news is a vital, irreplaceable resource but it can’t be run on goodwill. We need people to invest in adverts, support us by buying copies and let us tell their stories, or we don’t really have a business… Your local paper needs you as much as you need it.”