10 days to go
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ELECTION HUSTINGS
WHILE the room may have had few people who are undecided about which way they may vote next week, the Ham & High did a good job clearing the streets of canvassers and packing the debating hall at UCS for what is likely to be the biggest Hampstead and Kilburn hustings tonight. Journalist Harry Taylor, our friendly rival up the road, put a lot of effort into organising it – not just dry-cleaning the burgundy jacket – and deserved the big turnout. A blog account to come.
In Holborn and St Pancras, meanwhile, there are hardly any events like it, largely because those who tried to organise one found it hard to pin down Keir Starmer. For the last three weeks, he has been everywhere from Brighton to Scotland geeing up the troops for one last heave. Cynics say the pressing of flesh of Labour memebrs in all of corners of the country will also help with… well let’s not get into what might happen after the election just yet. Proposed hustings in Highgate and Primrose Hill are now apparently not going ahead.
Of course, you can’t really blame Mr Starmer for his busy schedule. He is a stardust guest for Labour canvassers across the country – there’s a zillion pictures on Twitter of Labour stans gazing at their hero – and the battle for this election will not be won and lost in Holborn and St Pancras. That’s FPTP, folks!
USUAL guidance applies but if bookmakers odds are to be taken as a steer then it’s more or less all over in Camden already. Some bookies had been offering Labour’s Tulip Siddiq at 4/6 – a price which suggests doubt over the outcome – a couple of weeks ago. As the campaign has gone on, however, the number takers have decided it’s looking decidedly more clear cut. Today, some bookmakers had slashed the odds to 1/25 on Ms Siddiq (almost dead cert territory) while the Lib Dems were as high as 12/1, spiralling out from 2/1. The drift explains why some Lib Dems in our area wish the election had been held a couple of weeks ago, rather than next week.
A COURT date has now been set for the first part of Hamish Hunter’s legal case against the Conservatives in Hampstead and Kilburn. The former council candidate who says he was unfairly removed from the campaign to win a seat in Hampstead Town ward at last year’s Town Hall elections has named a series of individuals and the local association itself. The party has rejected his claims and a judge will now decide next month if the case should be heard. The potential is still there for some of our local politicians and organisers to be cross-examined in court over a turbulent period in the party.
In the meantime, Mr Hunter appears in The Dregs, a podcast/videocast recorded with other people who are ‘former something’ in their prefaces. These include host Calvin Robinson, appearing with a number plate spelling out his name in his bedroom. I haven’t been able to catch all the recordings but last week Mr Robinson was talking about hadn’t done enough ‘selling austerity’ as policy to get the country sorted.
IT WAS ALL YELLOW/NEVER MET A KEIR LIKE YOU BEFORE
FAMOUS people in the celeb-rich Camden constituencies are having their doors knocked just like the rest of us… with some rumours of quite interesting results. Canvassers are of course not allowed to divulge the details of private doorstep chats. It’s up to the stars to do that themselves if they want to, a la Sean Bean, who always seemed very proud about the day he told Brian Coleman to buzz it. This year, Chris Martin, the Coldplay singer who made Belsize Park, has said he will now probably vote for the Lib Dems – cue the ‘it was all yellow’ pun, x 100. For older viewers, Edwyn Collins, off-off Orange Juice, tweeted publicly about what a “wise man” Keir Starmer is. Starmer chose one of Collins’ songs for his Desert Island Picks earlier this year and regularly plays in a Talacre football game with the singer’s son.
BEAT CAPITALISM IN BELSIZE PARK
THE Socialist Equality Party are in-play in Holborn and St Pancras where candidate Thomas Scripps is on the list of contenders taking on Keir Stamer. Campaign agents might be advised that Belsize Park tube station, where the ‘don’t extradite Assange’ posters were up this weekend, is in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency though…