Now I know Boris Johnson has never won an award for attention to detail, but here is one detail will need to take on board if he really intends to stand at the next general election, as he surely must. In order to be selected as a Conservative candidate you actually need to be on the approved list of Conservative candidates. And according to my sources at CCHQ, Boris isn’t on that list. It may be that he thinks because he is the Mayor of London he doesn’t need to be, and can just waltz in anywhere and put his name forward. It would be a brave soul on the Candidates Committee who sought to veto him, but there’s always one, isn’t there? The trouble is, if Boris puts in an official application it would be bound to leak, which is why he presumably hasn’t done it. Oh what a tangled web we weave.
Those of us who were beginning to take UKIP seriously as a political party were somewhat surprised to see them select Roger Helmer as their candidate for Newark. Now I rather like Roger Helmer, but anyone who thinks that at a by-election he will be anything other than disastrous wants their political antennae rewiring. Nigel Farage tells me Helmer’s views on homosexuality and other things have changed and that he has recanted his previously strongly held opinions. Indeed, there’s a lengthy statement on his website doing just that. But does he really think anyone in the media will do anything other than use these views to beat UKIP with a very big stick? And how can Helmer campaign properly in the by-election when he is supposed to be campaigning all over the East Midlands to secure his European Parliament seat? UKIP have treated the electorate of Newark with contempt, and shown they are not serious about winning.
The history books suggest that most Prime Ministers are remembered for one thing. If we go through all post-war PMs it seems even more of a truism:
Churchill – Winning the war
Attlee – The NHS
Eden – Suez
Macmillan – Saying ‘most of our people have never had it so good’
Douglas-Home – Counting with matches
Wilson – The white heat of the technological revolution
Heath – Joining the Common Market
Callaghan – Winter of Discontent
Thatcher – Falklands
Major – Black Wednesday
Blair – Iraq
Brown – The financial crash
So when David Cameron falls on his prime ministerial sword, what exactly will he be remembered for? Libya? Gay marriage? If he’s not careful he will go down as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland who lost Scotland. I don’t think many people realise how near we are to that becoming a reality. In recent weeks some commentators, led by Ben Brogan, have speculated that if that happened, Cameron would have to resign. Well, it’s easy to see the logic, isn’t it? This week Number Ten poured a cup of cold sick over the suggestion. As usual, they got it wrong. It would have been far better to say nothing and not dignify the suggestion with a comment.
I’ve been posting European election result predictions on my blog all week, going through the country region by region. I’ll be posting more predictions over the next few days at www.iaindale.com. In many regions the result hardly changes even with quite a dramatic swing in the vote. At most two seats change hands. Some regions are so small that it’s almost impossible for any change at all beyond one seat because of the ridiculous D’Hondt system of PR. Strangely that system isn’t used in Northern Ireland which uses STV. Why that is, I have no idea. It’s small wonder that turnout is so low when voters know that however they vote, the end result is more or less the same. Bearing in mind that few people could name a single one of their MEPs, I wonder if it might not be fairer for there to be a national list rather than regional ones. Or alternatively, allow people to vote for individual candidates rather than just cast one vote for a party. In that way the parties couldn’t be able to give sitting MEPs preference on their lists and they’d actually have to fight for their seats.
Labour’s Party Election broadcast this week didn’t bode well for the tone of the election campaign over the coming twelve months. Labour’s strategists clearly think it’s a strategic masterstroke. Judge for yourself here. It’s sub-Harry Enfield. And that’s being kind. I’m told the LibDems had one a couple of weeks ago which poked fun at Ed Miliband, but was actually funny. Well, maybe amusing rather than funny. This one may play well in a student union and among people who genuinely hate Tories or Nick Clegg, but would it win over a single floating voter? I doubt it. Indeed, it may have achieved quite the opposite. Someone emailed my LBC show saying they were a long time Labour voter but this PEB made him realise that Labour isn’t serious as a political party and they take the electorate for fools. He said he would now be voting UKIP. Incidentally, I also had two callers on Wednesday who were both UKIP switchers … from the LibDems. Now there’s funny.