41 days to go
Ah the weekend… a time for us all to relax.
THE Liberal Democrats switched from demanding a second referendum on Brexit to a pledge to stop Brexit altogether (without even holding that people’s vote) when they met for their autumn conference. This was couched in terms of the party securing a majority of its very own at this election.
While the party believes that clarity will be a winner in the London seats it is targeting on December 12, not all members were wholly convinced by the logic. it is claimed that in the weeks since that motion was passed, more doubters have come around to the idea, especially now they are in general election mode.
But back in Bournemouth one prominent-to-us member had an interesting counter take.
Kirsty Allan, who stood in Hampstead and Kilburn in 2017 and had hoped to do so again before Matt Sanders won the local selection contest, told the Politics Home website: “Personally, yes absolutely 1000% I would support it any day of the week. But I’m not just making policy for me and the party shouldn’t be just making policy for the party faithful who will of course subscribe to this view. It took people a long time to come around to our current viewpoint and I don’t want to alienate them at this point. To my mind if we complain that First Past the Post doesn’t give the Conservatives a mandate to do whatever they like, then First Past the Post doesn’t give us a mandate to do whatever we like. Just because it happens to appeal to us doesn’t make it right.”
With Labour fearing the Lib Dems most in Hampstead and Kilburn, that’s the kind of critical line about the halt it on day one policy which may soon be appearing on a leaflet from the Pick Tulip camp.
NOW WE’VE HEARD OF BASSETLAW
MOST of us had hardly heard of Bassetlaw before former Camden councillor Sally Gimson popped up as the Labour parliamentary candidate. You can tell the Labour-held constituency is a place of interest though because Matt Hancock was this week clumsily name-checking it on the television as if it was somewhere that had just come to him off the top of his head.
Anyway, you may remember that the exiting Labour MP, angry Brexiteer John Mann, seemed happy with the choice of candidacy, congratulating Ms Gimson on her selection and insisting that a stitch-up had been defeated.
Such crowing had the good people of Bassetlaw (it’s in Nottinghamshire, 160 miles from Highgate) re-reading Mr Mann’s letter to the Worksop Guardian before the contest began in which he suggested the role of defending his seat should go to a local.
“I have kept out of supporting any successor to me, but it is only right and proper that local people are able to choose their own person,” he said. “I am demanding that Jeremy Corbyn shows leadership and gives local people the opportunity to be Bassetlaw’s MP and stops this outside interference. Anything else will be an outrage.”
An outrage, he said. Just wait until he finds out how passionate Ms Gimson, who stepped down from the council last year, is about remaining in the EU.
HERE’S a silly tale going around in the Labour ranks in the south of the borough, but might be just barmy enough to be true.
When talking tactics for the election campaign, the obvious strategy would be to spread people power and resources to marginal seats in London and beyond, rather than racking up as many votes as possible in Holborn and St Pancras.
Sir Keir Starmer, who launches his campaign in Camden Town later, holds a majority of 30,509, meaning he is sitting in one of the safest seats in the country.
But here’s the rub: apparently a small group of Keir stans are determined that he doesn’t lose a single percentage of that lead on December 12 and would rather stay right here in Camden than join the packs heading out to Chingford and beyond.
Why? Apparently, losing a slice, or even a slither, of that majority “wouldn’t look good” if there is a Labour leadership contest following this election.
They want to say, if necessary, he’s the MP who always increases his majority.
That’s some chess game stuff beyond my comprehension, but there you go.
JOHNNY’S KITCHEN SINK
CONSERVATIVE candidate Johnny Luk felt a little left out of the CNJ coverage this week in which Labour and the Liberal Democrats in Hampstead and Kilburn were positioning themselves as the best choice for remainers still looking to stop Brexit. Let me add his quote here then: “We are throwing the kitchen sink at Hampstead and Kilburn and we have a series of senior ministers and the PM backing our campaign for that One Nation Conservative moderate platform, leaving with a good deal and to move on to other priorities. Let’s get off the Brexit roundabout. Even our launch video had over 100,000 organic views and a thousand retweets. A second referendum can only come under a Corbyn led government, potentially propped up by the Lib Dems. That’s we are fighting so hard for this seat. It’s a binary choice between us or Labour and I don’t trust Labour’s plans on the economy.”
The kitchen sink? We can expect those senior ministers he mentions, and the PM, to be visiting Hampstead and Kilburn every week until polling day then… a la 2010. Can’t we?