Saturday, April 18, 2009


Jim FitzPanic – Must Be A General Election Looming

Living on the Isle of Dogs for the last fourteen and a bit years, my MP has been identikit Labour machine politician Jim Fitzpatrick. I assume. Of course, being an identikit Labour machine politician in an apparently safe Labour seat, I’ve never seen him, nor heard from any of his minions outside of election time. So imagine my surprise when our buzzer went this afternoon, and the person trying to get into the flats introduced himself as Jim Fitzpatrick, our local Member of Parliament. Shame he instantly gave away the reason for his shock appearance with the words “George Galloway”. Still, my opinion of him’s risen sharply for having got off his arse at last, even if it’s because he’s scared silly that he’s about to face an election that he can’t sleep through.

“Mr Clark?” he asked. Obviously, Labour turn up to canvass this area so often that two guys living here since 1993 and 1995 respectively are too recent a pair of incomers to show up on their records. Anyway, once I’d set him right on our identities, he asked who I was planning to vote for at the General Election, and seemed very surprised indeed at my answer. “Would it change your mind if you knew that George Galloway was planning to move over to this seat, and that voting Liberal Democrat might let him in? Or,” and here he sound less chirpy, “is George Galloway the sort of person you like and admire?”

I reassured him. Well, up to a point.

“No, I can’t stand him,” I replied, but before he could take that as an endorsement, “but while I have nothing against you personally, your bossy, smearing, warmongering Government is even worse. So it’s much of a muchness, isn’t it?”

At this, he laughed, and thanked me for my time. And because he’d actually come along and seemed to demonstrate genuine good humour, were I voting by a preferential voting system, I would consider giving Mr Fitzpatrick my second preference, because Mr Galloway is a loathsome, lying, puffed-up, opportunist shit. And the only reasons I can think of that Mr Galloway is chicken-running to Poplar and Canning Town from the seat next door are that he’s pissed off enough of his constituents by being a rubbish MP and pissed off enough of his own party by being a rampaging egomaniac that he thinks getting re-elected on his record (rather than posing as an insurgent again) would be impossible. But as one of the many, many broken promises from Mr Fitzpatrick’s Government was over any sort of electoral reform, I have just the one vote, and there’s no conceivable way that that will ever go to an anonymous Labour machine politician, even one who’s finally introduced himself, and even with Satan as his main opposition.

Last night, incidentally, I had to wave a piece of paper at my beloved Richard when he came in, rather than greet him with my usual effusive lovingness. I was on the phone, having just been rung up by Ipsos-Mori with an opinion poll (the first of those since I was grabbed on the street in Eastleigh in 1994 and, having – cough – established my local credentials and carefully obscured my Lib Dem rosette, told the woman asking the questions that I thought Margaret Beckett would be a real vote-winner for the Labour Party and that they certainly shouldn’t pick that Tony Blair). Anyone would think there was a General Election looming…

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I'd been saying for ages that Brown was planning a GE for after the G20 summit and budget.

The carefully timed release of long sat on leaked emails and the incredibly well run media campaign by the Tories should have killed that off, but I reckon that's evidence that they thought he was planning it too.

I still suspect he'll consider going, if he can get some good economic news (even a flattening off of falls could be spun as good), then there's a chance the GE is still around the corner.

I'm lucky, in many ways, I live in a definite 3-way marginal. Combine that with this being a definite 'change' election with all to play for, and I think voting expressively in most seats is a good call, we should be taking 2nd from Labour in a lot of the country I think.
Yeah, like Gordon's going tell Labour MPs about a GE before he leaks it to his favoured journalists.
I live on the Isle of Dogs too, although Jim hasn't been round to my place yet. I'm a Tory and our candidate (Tim Archer) is a good guy who would be an excellent MP.

But if Galloway gets in I would be incredibly upset. He is a disgrace of a MP. So I'm not taking the risk, I'll be voting for Jim Fitzpatrick unless local polls show that either Tim Archer has a decent chance of taking the seat, or Galloway has no chance.
Andrew, given his record, the odds of Galloway getting elected are minimal, he didn't expect to get in at BG&B, and his complete non-attendance at the House will give a big campaign bonus to everyone: I'm assuming it's a fairly safe Labour seat, so the best thing to stop him would be to make sure the Lib Dem and Tory leaflets have seperate attack stories on his attendance, book tours, etc.

He won't get in. But I do find the idea that someone who's never voted Labour not voting Labour might split the anti-Galloway vote amusing, nice logic from Mr Fitz there.

@Mr Quist, the Labour machine is almost certainly made aware of notional possible dates, they certainly were last time Gordon was thinking about it. I think the spin element is there, but that'll be final decision, etc.
Unless, of course, MatGB, Fitzpatrick is concerned that Galloway's name recognition might siphon off 4,000 votes or so from Labour to Respect, handing victory to the Tories who were only 7,000 votes behind him last time? Especially since I understand boundary changes mean there are a few rich voters in Canary Wharf to reckon with as well. Polling Report puts it no. 105 on the Tories' target list - and they would have to take more seats than that to gain power.

That would explain Fitzpatrick's desperation to pick up all LibDem voters going and his tactics of claiming that they might "get Galloway" if they don't vote for him.
In which case he's a bloody fool. One of the worst things to do when campaigning is have a message that's easily debunkable and obviously stupid.

Galloway can't, and won't win if he stands there. He might split the Labour vote. That's a different campaign.

Admittedly, it might get him some tory voters worried about his stupid message, but most people won't fall for it--he needs to concentrate on the squeeze message, only he can keep the Tories out, etc. He's tilting at windmills.

OTOH Alex, if they're being that stupid, then the vote might fracture all over the place, might be worth stepping up the LD campaign a bit?
I suspect the Labour vote was only depressed so remarkably last time because of the strong showing by Respect - I very much doubt the Tories or Lib Dems (both of whom went up a bit last time) would be able to take the seat without something amazing happening, but I find it pretty unlikely that Mr Galloway can manage it, either. Respect is vastly more likely to leapfrog the Tories than the Tories to come through the middle, though.

The Lib Dems have an excellent candidate in one of the two Tower Hamlets seats that I know about, but I can't actually remember which. Um, he's good, though.
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