Election Daily: Gone clubbing

22 days to go


THE Liberal Democrats were back in Camden again this evening, with the slightly curious choice of the Fest bar in the Stables Market to officially release their general election manifesto. The map says this is Holborn and St Pancras but the home candidate, Matthew Kirk, watched on while Hampstead and Kilburn choice Matt Sanders was once again thrust forward.

He had the job of introducing party leader Jo Swinson, their second meeting on the campaign trail in less than a week. More hugs. It’s hard to know how the party faithful have taken to Ms Swinson. Some are clearly proud that they have appointed a woman as leader, while the Labour Party still waits for its first. There are those who think she performs well on television, when she gets the chance, and has been relatively gaffe-free in the opening salvos of this election.

Others, and it should be said that Lib Dems speak more in code when chatting off the record than their Labour counterparts, wonder if it’s the simple message of ‘Stop Brexit’ which is the weapon here rather than Ms Swinson herself. This is decoded one way as: Anybody could be up there vowing to cancel Brexit and remainers would listen up. We’ll see as the contest continues.

Mr Sanders suggested afterwards that the venue had been chosen to show that the Lib Dems are going at it hard in Camden at this election. Not then because somebody got a good early Tuesday evening hire deal.

There was club candy floss and lolly pops. A DJ gamely spun some tunes – Siobhan Benita posed with some headphones without playing a track – but it was all too loud for most of the Lib Dems in the room, who quickly filtered out or to a quieter bar once Ms Swinson had finished speaking.

Two helpers were sweeping away tickertape by the second song, and it came across a little like a lot of people pretending they still go to clubs in Camden, if they ever did in the first place.

Why was everybody leaving so quickly? Back to the campaign doorstep, they insisted, there’s an election to be won.


WHILE Jo Swinson was speaking on the stage at Fest, a couple of photographers in a large pack of snappers crouched down low to get photos of her bright pink shoes… like they used to do with Theresa May’s leopard print slip-ons. The fetishists seemed less interested in Mr Sanders’ footwear. Harsh. It’s true you never see the same fashion guide in the wotcha national press about male candidates.

So here you go, sensible but smart, brown-tan, whatjimicallthem, lace up clogs. Discuss.


TWITTER tells us, rather than your soaraway local press, that Dame Margaret Hodge arrived at the Labour campaign front line in Swiss Cottage today. Sadly, there was no invitation for us to be there and ask her a few questions, as is often afforded when newsworthy figures who come to the scene in the midst of an election run-in.

Dame Margaret’s trigger ballot survival and challenge to Jeremy Corbyn over anti-semitism have made her one of the most written about MPs on the Labour benches this year and the opportunity would have been perfect to ask her how a few questions about everything that has happened – and how she is moving forward by trying to put Mr Corbyn into Downing Street on December 12 with canvassing sessions like this.

Maybe next time.

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