37 days to go
AT the 2018 council elections there was talk of all sorts of possibilities for Labour with some party members even claiming they could take down the Conservatives in Westminster. That was a little ambitious and, of course, didn’t happen but the post-2017 election momentum (small m) did lead to more serious questions about the chances of Labour winning Barnet. In fact, rewind four years and you could detect whispering over resource management and why Labour was so fixated on beating Sian Berry, then the only Green councillor, in Highgate, and defeating Lib Dem Flick Rea in Fortune Green.
Surely, the argument went among some doubting Labour canvassers, it would be better to try and send heavy numbers to Barnet to get the Tories teetering there, as one or two seats either way was not going to make any difference in Camden where the overall result, like now, was essentially already known before the polling stations had opened.
Like a dog with a bone, Camden Labour nonetheless ran hard in those two target wards, ultimately as it happens failing to unseat either Cllr Berry or Ms Rea.
And Barnet stayed Tory.
This time around, it is said that Labour has an even greater chance of securing a change of control in Barnet. We’ve learned on these pages to be wary of bookmakers’ odds and remember the 7-1 punters got on Glenda holding her parliamentary seat in 2010 but, folks, Ladbrokes makes them odds-on favourites (just) to win a majority.
Even so, although the party will certainly still be in power in Camden after May 5, the Barnet Labour lot will have to do a lot more pleading for some helping hands to more regularly cross the borough boundaries as, rest assured, our local Labour campaigners are determined to clean up in South Hampstead and finally do what they’ve been trying to do for so long in Highgate and Fortune Green.
Here’s those odds… but can they get over the line?
Don’t gamble, btw, just look at the indicators.
I KNOW YOU
WALKING through Victoria Station earlier, it was striking to see the woman pictured in the Labour manifesto – who was meant to be entralled by all the local party and pledges – promoting something else on a digital advertising board. It’s like she will be enthralled by anything.
ANOTHER one for next week: Georgia Gould, Oliver Cooper, Sian Berry and a Lib Dem rep at the JW3 on Tuesday evening.